Ortofon 2M Red Review; Has It Got Balls?

After doing the work in your best to get a perfect, or near-to-perfect, replacement cartridge for your turntable, the Ortofon 2M Red is most likely to end up in your list especially if you’re interested in buying a moving magnet cartridge.

But before parting with your money for this cartridge, your next 10 minutes on my Ortofon 2M Red review below will give you a full insight into what this Ortofon’s model can do for you.

You’ll also get to know its complete downsides to your turntable so you can debate the good sides against the bad sides and ultimately make a guided purchase decision.

Sounds great? Let’s dive in.

An overview first.

Ortofon 2M Red Overview

The Ortofon 2M Red is one of Ortofon’s moving magnet cartridge on the 2M line with the rest of the members on the series being; 2M Blue, 2M, Mono, 2M 78, 2M Mono SE, 2M Black, and 2M Bronze. Generally, the 2M as a series was birthed through the collaboration of Moller Jensen and Ortofon. As a team of two, the goal was to design the highest standard series of moving magnets by tapping inspiration from the structure of a diamond for a stylus that gracefully and accurately tracks the groove on your record’s surface without coloration or distortion.

And the 2M Red, while still boasting the 2M legacy, sets itself apart as an all-purpose moving magnet cartridge known for its open, dynamic sound delivery together with a touch of warmth. Depending on your turntable’s requirement, the 2M red has two other variants namely; 2M Red Verso and 2M Red PnP MkII. through the rest of this article, I will be reviewing the complete features of the 2M Red alone.

How Well Does The 2M Red Fit?

Though recommended to be super-compatible with Rega Planar 1, Audio Technica AT-LP120 -USB turntable, Rega Planar 2, all mono-vinyl records, and even all entry-level turntables, it is equally adaptable to some automatic turntables if you can mount it correctly. Nevertheless, know that regardless of what turntable you’re fitting this with, a spacer is always needed to establish a correct setup. All in all, if fitted right, this cartridge stays on to the tonearm and to your vinyl player without vibrating or distorting your vinyl playback in the least. Also, if you own a Technics SP-15 turntable with an Audio Technica ATP-12T tonearm, this moving magnet cartridge fits perfectly.

What’s The Tracking Accuracy Like?

This Ortofon 2M Red right here has an impressive tracking accuracy thanks to the integrated elliptical stylus. The needle is quite short (at r/R8/18/µm stylus radius) and densely thick which both make it an ideal scratching cartridge for the aggressive DJ. That together with a tracking force range of 1.6g-2.0g and a tracking angle of 20 degrees makes this cartridge a good choice as far as playing back a record from a smooth, clean groove is concerned, though the manufacturer’s recommended tracking force is 1.8g.

How Good Is The Sound Quality?

An intimate, pleasing, realistic ambiance. Those are the words you can define the 2M Red’s sound quality with. The bass is in proportion and the tremble is as natural and clear. You will perceive a sense of obvious space in the climaxes as it takes you around the groove from start to finish. And what could be greater than a cartridge that is as perfect for the DJ and for an audiophile? Here’s what I mean.

For the audiophile who is looking to be close to every detail of their playback, this 2M Red boasts double magnets and a frequency response range of 20hz-22, 000hz. The overall cartridge’s weight is 7.2g, not too light and not too heavy. Just enough to sit the needle tight on your groove, creating a good contact between the duo so that nothing is missed on the tracking radar and that every sound comes naturally.

On the other side, for an aggressive DJ who is playing on a Rega Planar 1 or 2 in the club, you can easily adjust the needle-to-groove contact ratio to your need so you can scratch for as much as you want without burning through your needle mileage whilst still getting the sound effects that you want.

What’s The Headroom Like?

This is the newest 2M Red updated version with an advanced engine in the same red color cartridge body loved for it 20 to 20, 000hz frequency response range. The elliptical diamond needle is redefined with copper wire split pole pins for accurate sonic tracking. These all together result in a bright self-lited cartridge that will track grooves accurately with a lot of headroom for a bar or a house party. Likewise, if you’re buying for your home-listening, you can never go wrong with this baby here.

Does Ortofon 2M Red Last?

Well…that depends on your turntable and for what purpose you’re buying this Ortofon model for. Though the needle has a mileage of 1, 000hrs, according to a test done by Ortofon, the result may vary from user to user. Here’s what I mean. If you were using it for home listening and are able to maintain it well, set it up as recommended, you can bounce off close to or more than the speculated 1, 000hrs of it. On the other hand, if you were scratching with it as an aggressive DJ, well, you may need to replace the needle after your first gig. It’s quite simple. That being as it may, the engine is really strong and will last longer than most moving magnets cartridges in its price range. Unfortunately, as the body is partly made with plastic, careless handling can cause heavy damages that you’ll cause you to replace the entire body.

What’s Special About It?

Not so many but the Ortofon 2M Red is quite special in some ways. For one, the high-tech engine is such that most other cartridges don’t have. Also, if you compare its tracking accuracy to that of other moving could out there, this red baby here blows the rest out of the water. Another special feature is the 1, 000hrs mileage on the elliptical diamond needle integrated. Finally, for your live settings where there’s no much illumination around the corner where your turntable is, this cartridge has a built-in light that will always make your setup visible.

In the next heading, I will highlight the full features of this MM cartridge. See below.

Ortofon 2M Red Features

  • Output voltage; 5.5mV
  • Stylus type; elliptical diamond
  • Frequency response range; 20hz to 20, 000hz
  • Channel separation at 15, 000htz; 15dB
  • Channel separation at 1, 000htz; 22dB
  • Tracking angle; 20°
  • Tracking force range; 1.6g to 2.0g
  • Headshell length; 22mm
  • Internal inductance; 700mH
  • Stylus lifetime; 1, 000hrs
  • Headshell weight; 20g

What You Will Love About Ortofon 2M Red

  • It is highly adaptable and will easily fit into most turntables
  • It is easy to set up and use
  • High sonic accuracy
  • Lightweight
  • Extended stylus lifetime
  • The advanced engine made to last
  • Clear, colorless vinyl sound
  • It can be used on a DJ turntable too
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Replacement parts are readily available

Why You May Not Like Ortofon 2M Red

  • The plastic body can break easily if not handled with care
  • The tracking needle can pick up inconsistencies from a dough, old groove


Just like Audio Technica, Ortofon is one of the biggest names among the world’s reputable music equipment manufacturers. Through the years of reviewing and using their products, I have had more positive feedback than the little negatives. And in this Ortofon 2M Red review, I have explained everything I know about the moving magnet cartridge. I can only hope this guides your buying decision rightly.

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