Where's Grimace with the Shure M97? His favorite budget. Personally, I like Goldring. Ortofon OM 5 is great because you can just buy a better stylus to go up to the 10 or 20.
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Are you refering to the Goldring Elan? I pulled the trigger on the Red 2M. I'm a sucker for the new packaging of old technology. I've heard it sounds "divine" though. We'll see.
I'm personally not sold on uber expensive cartridges just yet, considering my recent happening with a Goldring Eroica, but thats another topic.
The Grado shouldn't sound that bad? I can't say that's the best table but, it could be a variety of things: phono pre, cartridge set-up, table set-up, power...
My Sota is 20 years old and sounds amazing even with my Shure m91, Ortofons sounded good, a Goldring 1012 was really nice, now that I'm on a Clearaudio Beta S, I'm done.
Again, using everything through a PS Audio UPS 200 makes a difference. My Cambridge 640 phono pre made a nice difference too over my Classe pre with phono or my Sherbourne with phono. And then again, cables make a difference.
However, I'll stress that table, arm and cartridge set-up make the main difference. A 10,000 cartridge will sound like garbage if set-up poorly.
For my $100 I'd go with the 2M Red. I have a Shure M97xE and I find it dull. In my limited experience the Ortofons have a precise yet musical way of going about their business.
For $250 the Audio Technica AT150MLX stands alone. To me, it's worth selling $150 worth of stuff lying around the house to obtain it over *any* $100 cartridge.
But if it's gotta be $100, 2M Red. Grado Green is a refinement over three decades; 2m Red is from a clean sheet of paper by one of the most brilliant cart designers formerly in the biz, Per Winfield.
Yeah, I wish I'd been able to spring for something like the AT150, I just wanted to keep it at the 100 mark out respect for the fact that I'm working through a warranty issue with a Goldring Eroica and I thats going to be my primary machine when it gets back. I'm just having a little fun, but obviously I want to get a good product.
Hey Dmm53, is your table P-mount? I'm using a Grado PZTE+1 P-Mount on my 1982 Technics SL5 (I think it's a similar table to yours?) and it sounds very good. Much smoother and more musical than the Audio Technica AT132-EP it replaced. The budget Grado was a giant-killer several years back and mine is the predecessor to the Grado Black/Green series of today. I will say that the sound livened-up quite a bit after several hours of break-in. The sound improved even more when I switched from my Sony ES A/V receiver w/phono input to a newly-acquired vintage NAD 7400 Monitor Series receiver. I think the excellent phono stage in the NAD has a lot to do with the better sound.
Elevick - My Man!!! Actually, I've heard really good things about the Ortofon Red being much in the same vein as the Shures but better. And yes, if you're looking for a cart that costs less than $100 and is still a really good listen - I don't care what the cartridge snobs say - the Shure M97xe is really solid.
I received the 2M Red today, and just got it set up a little bit ago. I'm busy burning it in right now. Through an MMF7 with stock Pro-ject arm and wiring. (My first experience with setting up a cartridge, I found it to be a simple but potentially endless process, for a tweaker)
Excels at demonstrating light horns, and brass. Reasonably apt at creating a nice vocal stage, its smooth but forward. I like that. It does lack the room-filling body that you might gain with a nicer package. I'm very impressed. Obviously it still needs to get some hours in it and maybe a few other positions tried before I can make a final decision.
Does well with brassy jazz and cymbals, loves rock'n'roll vocals and guitar passes. Lacks some body and exhibits some inner-groove-distortion issues. Does it out play my Goldring Eroica? No, of course not. Should it? No, of course not. This is a great "budget" cartridge, and I've very pleased.
Johnnyb53 -- Thanks for asking!
I couldnt be more happy with it. So far in my audio adventure, I contend that its my "best-bang-for-the-buck" purchase. I'm sold for now.
As its gotten more play, the room-filling body that I said it was lacking in has started to appear. I'm not an expert at this subject, but its noticibly becoming a better performer. Some of my buddies noticed that it was a different cart than the Goldring, and they were very impressed as well.
It gets better with every hour. I've also finally settled on an alignment for it as well (for the moment). It has been FUN to have a purchase like this turn out so well. Its good to know that there little gems like this out there in an other-wise expensive hobby.
This thread has convinced me to get an Ortofon 2M series cart as my next audio purchase - I can't decide if I want to go save a little longer and get the blue or just go with the red for now though (I'm on a tight budget at the moment). As someone who's young and just getting into the hobby, I really appreciate that Ortofon has made a series of cartridges that's upgradable.
If you think the Ortofon does horns well, wait until you hear a Grado, if you listen primarily to classic jazz a Grado is very, very good. They modified the line a little resulting in subtle inprovements (the number 1 appears after each model now) and the previous models can be had half price from some dealers. There is one thing about the new Ortofon 2M series, they are noisier in the groove than a cartridge at that price should be. If you have a single imperfection on the record the 2M will find it. All the reviews mention this (Hi-fi World, Absolute sound etc.) albeit don't really highlight it, but it is indeed true. But for that flaw they'd really be something special and still are but they are finicky about what you feed them. The 90 dollar AT440mla is quieter in the groove than any of the 2M's.