I've had both. They are voiced very similar but the Black is worth upgrading to.
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For the price of 2M black (shibata) you can easily find nos Stanton 980 or 981 (both with stereohedron stylus), those cartridges are way superior to modern Ortofon and most of the top vintage MMs.
My friend replaced his 2M Red yesterday with vintage nos Stanton 881s mk2 i gave him (official Doug Sax / Sheffield Lab's studio monitoring cartridge). He said it's a huge improvement over the ortofon.
"Ridiculously good." - Michael Fremer
The 2M Black is the new moving magnet flagship from Ortofon. The 2M black is graced with a Shibata diamond stylus – the same diamond as on the acclaimed MC Jubilee. Its slim, highly polished profile allows an exceedingly wide contact area to the groove walls and ensures notably detailed reproduction throughout the spectrum, including even the most high frequency groove information. Users of the 2M Black will enjoy the benefit of impeccable sound quality, along with reduced record & stylus wear and reduced distortion and phase error as a result of the diamond’s improved tracking geometry.
The cartridge body used for the 2M Black is manufactured from a newly-developed Lexan DMX Piano Black, a revolutionary material which ensures high rigidity while eliminating unwanted resonances. The 2M Black uses a special upgraded engine, featuring split pole pins with a silver plated copper wire.
The cartridge body used for the 2M Bronze and 2M Black is manufactured from a newly-developed Noryl plastic/glass combination, a revolutionary material which ensures high rigidity while eliminating unwanted resonances. The 2M Bronze and 2M Black use a special upgraded engine, featuring split pole pins with a silver plated copper wire.
Johnjohn, correct the bronze and black styli are interchangeable. The effective mass of these styli are essentially the same and their tracking ability is close to identical. The radius is a little different so they will contact the groove at a different level. Whether or not one stylus sounds better than another will probably depend more on what styli your records have encountered in the past or rather where your grooves are worn the least.