Ortofon 2M Review: The Best Turntable Cartridge Under $500

Turntable cartridges are a dime a dozen nowadays and it has become quite challenging to find the best turntable cartridge under 500. The Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge is one of the very few cartridges that strike a perfect balance between efficiency and affordability. 

best turntable cartridge under 500

Ortofon is a brand that’s no stranger to audiophiles, as it’s been putting out incredible-sounding cartridges since 1948 when their first moving coil magnetic cartridge first emerged. This article attempts to point out all you need to know about the Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge.

Overview of Ortofon’s 2M Series

Developed in conjunction with the industrial designer Møller Jensen Design, the 2M Series is a lineup of turntable cartridges that are designed for accurate retrieval. It’s worth pointing out that Møller Jensen Design has designed the award-winning MC Jubilee and Kontrapunkt series. 

As far as the origin of the name 2M, it just means MM, which stands for moving magnet. The 2M Series is comprised of a color-coded bracket that starts with Red, which is the entry-level model, followed by Blue, Bronze, and Black. Pricing-wise, the Blue model retails for around $225.

The Best Turntable Cartridge Under $500

The 2M Blue is quite similar in structure to the 2M Red, as it boasts the same angular body. But it’s also equipped with a replaceable stylus that you can remove with ease. The Blue has a nude elliptical tip, not just a diamond tip that’s placed on a metal mounting like most budget needles. 

Housing a new and improved engine, the 2M Blue boasts a superb output of 5.5mV, which is an above-average value that isn’t very common with units within the Blue’s price point. Additionally, the engine helps provide remarkable sonic accuracy and optimized sound reproduction.  

Despite the plastic construction, the build quality of the 2M Blue remains quite impressive. It’s a combination of a precision molding, a commodious surface area, and a removable stylus, to put it simply. This combination does a great job of taming any potential undermining movement.

The 2M Blue also features split pole pins that allow this moving magnet cartridge to boast a flat frequency response, which is an attribute that you can only find in more high-priced moving coil cartridges. It’s also worth noting that split pole pins are one of Ortofon’s inventions. 

As far as compatibility is concerned, the 2M Blue boasts a mounting plate equipped with captive nuts that help provide a reliable anchor for mounting hardware. To put it differently, you can very easily screw the fixing bolts into the top without bothering with the tiny nuts.

However, aligning the 2M Blue can be quite cumbersome due to its faceted sides. To overcome this, you’ll have to count on the parallel sides of the mounting plate. All you have to do is match the mounting plate’s parallel sides to the headshell then place the tip in the right place. 

One of the things that you’ll grow to appreciate is the opening right above the stylus, as it makes the cueing process extremely easy and free of excessive squinting. Simply put, placing the tip in the right place is going to be a lot easier and a lot less time-consuming. 

Compared to 2M’s entry-level cartridge, the 2M Red, the 2M Blue presents a more open sound that’s richer in details and that’s accentuated with more resolution and dynamics. Using the 2M Blue, you’ll enjoy a full-range presentation that offers a superb balance of tone and resolution. 

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Technical Specifications

  • Cartridge Weight – 7.2 g
  • Output Voltage – 5.5 mV at 1 kHz, 5cm/sec
  • Channel Balance – 1.5 dB at 1 kHz
  • Channel Separation – 25 dB at 1 kHz
  • Channel Separation – 15 dB at 15 kHz
  • Frequency Range – 20-25,000 Hz at -3 dB 
  • Frequency Response – 20-20,000 Hz +2/-1 dB
  • Tracking Ability – 80 µm at 315 Hz
  • Stylus Type – Nude Elliptical 
  • Stylus Tip Radius – r/R 8/18 µm
  • Tracking Force Range – 16-20 mN
  • Tracking Force – 18 mN
  • Tracking Angle – 20 degrees
  • Internal Impedance – 1.3 kOhm
  • Internal Inductance – 700 mH
  • Recommended Load Resistance – 47 kOhm
  • Recommended load capacitance – 150-300 pF



The 2M Blue offers plenty of value, especially when compared to the 2M Red. The sound isn’t at all flat, it’s more neutral and balanced. The bass is quite boomy but without sounding forced. We love how smooth, crispy, and clean the vocals are with this turntable cartridge.

Another reason why you should purchase this unit is the fact that it’s super easy to listen to it for hours without feeling fatigued or overwhelmed by its sound. To add, the construction is solid and it’s extremely easy to mount. Lastly, the 2M Blue’s compatibility is nothing short of impressive. 


Compared to the 2M Red, the 2M Blue doesn’t suffer from a lot of shortcomings. However, if put against more premium units, the surface noise becomes quite glaring. To add, trying to align this cartridge can be hindering the first time around. Aside from that, it’s a great bang for the buck. 

What Customer Reviews Say

The Ortofon 2M Blue is one of “Amazon’s Choices” and it has over 150 customer reviews. To give you an idea of how well-received this product is, over 84% of its reviews are 5-star reviews and a mere 7% represents its 1-star reviews. Quite a respectable ratio if you ask us. 

The general picture that Amazon’s customer reviews paint is that the Ortofon 2M Blue is a great upgrade from the 2M Red. Moreover, a notable percentage of the reviews indicate that the Blue offers a ton of value for the money. Customers also raved about how incredibly accurate it is. 

Final Thoughts

The Ortofon 2M Blue is one of the most capable turntable cartridges in its price point. It may not be able to compete with the more prestigious tier of cartridges out there, but it surely delivers an astounding deal of value. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

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