Ortofon, in their present capacity have been around since 1951, so thats 60 years of innovation and technical pioneering under their belts. That for me is the first biggest clincher when looking at a company's product - Do they know what they're doing? But when you consider their history actually dates back all the way to 1918 and topped with the fact that these guys produced the worlds first moving coil cartridge back in 1948, well you can be pretty certain that they've got more technical know-how and experience than most.
Experience is the key, but most people's first impressions will be drawn from the styling, right or wrong this is pretty inevitable. Fortunately the Danish company have firmly hit the nail on the head in those stakes too. In general cartridges aren't all that much to look at but some how they've managed to craft the 2M series into something of pure beauty. Infact, style wise Ortofon haven't missed the mark on any of their products. From the gorgeous retro SPU series to the more up to date minimalistic charm of the Cadenza line it's clear that they know what they're doing and can do it better than anyone else.
As for performance you'd expect the 2M Blue to deliver nothing but the best right?... Needless to say it does. There really is no point burying the lead here, this is best MM cartridge I've ever tested. Fantastic design apart the 2M series has really shifted the bench mark of the moving magnet market, pushing it to and in some cases beyond the level of some moving coil models.
I will admit I tried desperately to catch it out in some shape or form while testing. I chose a variety of albums over a selection of genres in an attempt to isolate a flaw. From the thunderingly heavy stylings of Eagle Twin's 'The Unkindness Of Crows' and stormy tones of Isis's 'Wavering Radiant' to the mellow tones of Sneaker Pimps 'Becoming X' and the frantic beats and Bass of Crystal Method's 'Vegas'. Nothing could catch this thing off guard. Even when faced with first pressings of Pink Floyd's 'Meddle' and Deep Purple's 'The Book Of Taliesyn' which aren't in the best condition, every chord and symbol crash still sounds crisp and clear. It's truly astounding how well this cartridge distinguishes every layer of the recording, whether its old or new, stereo or mono, 33rpm or a 45. The clarity at which this thing delivers is truly a wonder to behold. It completely blows the competition away, leaving similar priced cartridges such as the Grado 'Prestige' or Audio Technica 440ML in its dust.
Ranging from £75/$110 for the 2M Red to £460/$730 for the award winning 2M Black there's no reason not to not buy this cartridge, whether it's for your first turntable or you're looking to upgrade, don't pass by the 2M range. It looks amazing and can handle anything. It's pretty much the Fonz of MM Cartridges.