Head To Head: Ortofon 2M Red Vs Blue

Between Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue, which is a better choice? Read on to know what sets them apart from each other and pick the one for you.
by Helen Appling | Updated: November 25, 2020

The Ortofon 2M Red and Blue are easy to set up. For those interested in Ortofon 2M lines, both cartridges are among the top picks that give you excellent sound.

Many beginning players have a misconception that two cartridges perform quite the same, but there is a noticeable difference. Commonly, users may recognize that each cartridge delivers distinguishable sound to your ears.

What do we need to clarify when it comes to comparing Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue? we’ll cover more throughout this article and help you understand the comparison of these two lines in terms of specs, price, break-in time, and even potential sibilance issues. Then you can figure out if each line is worth your time and money.

How Do Ortofon 2M Red And 2M Blue Compare To Each Other?

We’ll cover the comparison of the two cartridges and help you to solve the dilemma of 2M Red and the 2M Blue.

Now, we want to cover a brief discussion Of Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue in terms of price.


The Ortofon 2M Red - an all-purpose magnet cartridge is very affordable in the 2M line. This highly effective 2M Red is the average budget cartridge that provides you with room-filling sound. Particularly, the Ortofon 2M Blue is considerably higher than the 2M Red

Cartridge Body Similarity

There is a similarity in the cartridge body in the 2M Blue and 2M Red, and virtually for upgrading 2M Red cartridge, you can make a change in its stylus.

It’s the physical replaceability of 2M Red helps you get a similar performance without costing much. Budget-friendly way of upgrading to

2M Blue cartridge is to swap out the 2M Red stylus and insert a 2M Blue stylus.

Essential Versions

What we can say about installation is that whatever line you’re looking for a new purchase or upgrade, then understanding versions of 2M Red and Blue is something you should strongly consider.

2M Red and Blue lines can come in essentially three possible versions you may have to deal with.

Ortofon 2M Red

Ortofon 2M Red

  1. Ortofon 2M Red Standard
  2. The Ortofon 2M Red Verso
  3. Ortofon 2M Red PnP

Ortofon 2M Blue

Ortofon 2M Blue

  1. Ortofon 2M Blue Standard
  2. Ortofon 2M Blue Verso
  3. The Ortofon 2M Blue PnP

2M Standard, 2M Verso, 2M PnP-What Is The Difference?

Probably the most common is the Ortofon 2M Standard cartridge. In case users have a top mount headshell, this is the cartridge many people end up buying.

Next option, we come to the 2M Verso. This 2M Verso version is designed for those that have bottom mount headshell.

Lastly is something called the Ortofon 2M PnP.  Many vinyl enthusiasts who love S-Shaped tonearms would decide to choose the 2M PnP range.

Important Specifications

Before moving forward in 2M Red and 2M Blue comparison, we can have a comparison on both cartridges' specs directly.

Since the Ortofon 2M Blue is the updated variation of 2M Red, they have shared similarities on numbers of specifications such as 1000 Hz output voltage, 1 kHz   –  1.5 dB channel balance, 700 mH internal inductance, and etc.

What sets them apart is in the minus part-the stylus. Ortofon 2M Red has elliptical while 2M Blue contains nude elliptical. An additional difference lies in the frequency range. In fact, the rate of 3dB  –  20-22.000 Hz in 2M Red is enhanced to 3dB  –  20-25.000 Hz in 2M Blue.

How To Set Up Ortofon 2M Red And Ortofon 2M Blue?

Here’s how you can properly set up an Ortofon 2M cartridge.

In short, if you already touched a 2M Red cartridge setup on your tonearm earlier, it pertains to installing just the stylus to upgrade to 2M Blue. By swapping out the Red stylus and putting the Blue stylus as an alternative, you basically can upgrade your cartridge.

Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge

In such a scenario, when you have a completely different cartridge, you need to take time for the setup process.

First off, remove the stylus guard from the cartridge. It also requires more effort to unscrew the cartridge out of the tonearm and remove the colored channel indicators accordingly.

When working with screwing the cartridge onto the headshell and connecting the colored leads from the rear of the cartridge, be careful or you may ruin downright to the wires.

Any Drawback Of The Two Lines? 

The engine for both the Red and Blue provides optimized sound reproduction. However, they admit there are some drawbacks.

Potential Sibilance Issues

We’ll cover the phenomenon problems users of this cartridge have encountered, vocal sibilance.  On the whole, the handle of sibilance is above average. It is certainly, however, sibilance has been a source of complaint for some 2M Red owners.

Now, let’s acknowledge what sibilance is. Sibilance distortion is an unpleasant tonal harshness when you play vinyl records and get a very musical distraction. It happens whenever a vocalist is pronouncing fricative consonant syllables that either begins with or ends with “s,t, and z.”

The sibilance is a feature of every record, but when there’s subjectively too much noise, it can be very annoying to listen to such distracting harshness.

Why do 2M Red users encounter such sibilance? One thing we’d say about the 2M Red cartridges is that it truly provides a more accentuated treble performance, which means they emphasize brightness and clarity, particularly when it comes to the sound of female vocalists.

Frankly, this is both good and bad. With that said, the 2M cartridges can handle either or exaggerate sibilance.

There is general advice in case you have tried your best controlling such vocal distortion but still not feel happy with it. When you’re recording in 2M Red that may have a sibilance problem, just make sure the 2M Red cartridge was sought from a retailer which you can get your returns accepted.

Break-In Time

We are often curious about “break-in” periods for Ortofon cartridges. This is an interesting subject, especially when compared to 2M Red and 2M Blue designs.

Ortofon 2M Red 

How long will it take for the 2M Red break-in time frame to reach their full sonic potential?

This period, of course, is going to vary from record player. If you want to upgrade to something better than your vinyl record, like the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X, you won’t need any break-in time to hear the difference in sound quality.

Many who’ve done upgrading from an inferior cartridge to the 2M Red to Blue, you’ll see noticeable differences. A normal break-in period will be between 50 to 100 hours to be allowed in order to get the best performance.

Ortofon 2M Blue

When you move up to the 2M Blue, it’s about the difference in sound resulted from the most dramatic break-in. A 2M Blue usually needs a " running-in" period, expecting at least 40 to 100 hours, allowing you to enjoy the best of your music sooner.

The good news is that the sound of 2M Blue changes over time after proper break-in time. Bass tends to show off to fill in after the first few hours. During the break-in, the whole spectrum slowly opened up and seemed to get better and better over time.

How many hours of quality playback can you expect before you realize you need to replace your 2M Blue? Ortofon themselves estimate a 2M Blue with proper care could last beyond 1000 hours in a significant way.

Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue-Which Is Top Choice?

Each Line Has Unique Stylus

Stylus is typically made of diamond, making it possible to last hundreds of hours. Essentially, its construction and shape result in sound quality.

As for the stylus profiles, the Red has an elliptical diamond stylus while the Blue features a nude elliptical diamond. What does that mean, though? Ortofon has a really good breakdown of the differences between the two.

Nude diamond stylus is a whole diamond, mounted directly into the cantilever. With this shape, the nude type reduces moving mass and creates pristine sounds.

Elliptical diamond is a stylus tip of diamond fastened to a metal shank, designed to solve pinch effect distortion. Out of the market, we can see various notable Hi-Fi cartridges are compatible with Elliptical diamond stylus due to bear-bug final sound resulting from this diamond shape.

Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge

The Weight Of Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue

Now, let’s discuss the weight of these two cartridges. The 2M Blue and 2M Red’s same weight fit most turntables on today's market.

Informed by the brand, the weight of both the 2M Red Standard and 2M Red Verso is 7.2 grams, the same specs applies for the standard 2M Blue and 2M Blue Verso.

Also according to Ortofon, the weight of the 2M Blue PnP cartridge or the 2M Red PnP cartridge, coming with an integrated headshell is approximately 20 grams.

Sound Differentiation Of 2M

Sound Differentiation Of 2M Red vs Blue Lines Of Ortofon Cartridge

I’m sure you want to know how these two cartridges audio and do one clearly provide an upgrade over the other?

Ortofon 2M Red


The first thing to notice is that despite the lower price of the 2M Red compared to 2M Blue. However, this cartridge comes with music that sounds very lush, warm, lively utilizing the 2M Red.

What you love about this cartridge is its high value in terms of performance. It’s a good idea to play an instrumental album using 2M Red. The resonance of instruments would be very lush and that’s very pleasing to the ears.

2M Red’s sound is not overly harsh but balanced with a touch of warmth for the average vinyl record enthusiast.

Generally speaking, we think that there’s a lack of some sound resolution of this product.

When it comes to treble, there is a little more rounded around the edges that evolves in the music, giving you an engaging sound.

Ortofon 2M Blue

The great thing about Ortofon 2M Blue is its accurate sounds when it comes to the sound coming out of my speakers. However, they do come with different engaging sounds in terms of musical precision and dynamics, and so it has proven the 2M Blue is definitely worth the upgrade.

After the Ortofon 2M Blue installation, the gift is that the music likely sounded much more detailed and accurate as well.

From me overall, 2M Blue is that each instrument on a vinyl appears and their place in the sound stage. You may prefer 2M Red for Rock and Roll music. Classical, on the other hand, sound more naturally from the added detail of the Blue.

Beyond that, the 2M Blue seems to be a brighter sounding cartridge. There is great detail from the retrieval of the sound, reproducing more music and breathing to your ears, thus.

Despite the clarity the model can deliver with the 2M Blue, the treble in your music is truly accentuated.

When I am listening to a singer hit a high octave, think Mariah Carey or Ariana Grande, for example, we feel like you’re getting over sharpness in the music.

Many players would love how the 2M Blue handles dense music and creates a distinguishable sound of instruments to their ears. With that said, the 2M Blue permits the music to showcase in illuminating detail and much more highly alive to our ears.


In general, we’ve put two of the most cartridges on the market head to head in the Ortofon 2M Red vs 2M Blue showdown.

It seems that these two budget-friendly cartridges are superior to a lot of other alternatives on the market. Eventually, their similarities can make the choice hard when it comes to listening to vinyl music.

Our best advice is trying 2M Red if you have an entry-level system, affordable for vinyl record beginners, which sounds good with a variety of sound signatures. Otherwise, the 2M Blue is a great entry point into the upper end level.  Providing you with detailed music, a wide soundstage and even punchy bass, you can see it will be worth the extra cash.