Ortofon 2M Blue vs 2M Bronze: Best Value?

Ortofon 2M Blue vs Ortofon 2M Bronze!

If you’re looking to purchase a new cartridge for your turntable, then the Ortofon 2M Blue and Ortofon 2M Bronze should both be on your shortlist.  

And I should know, having owned both cartridges for over a year.  

In this article, I’m going to discuss everything you need to know about the 2M Blue and 2M Bronze.  From specs to price comparisons, to my thoughts on the the similarities and differences in sound quality, I’ll cover all the important things to know about these two cartridges that will help you make a well informed buying decision.

On top of that, I’ll also cover the concept of value in this article.  In short, I’ll give you my thoughts on not just which cartridge I believe is better in terms of quality, but which cartridge I believe gives you better value for your money.

Please take a moment to view the interactive table below, where you can see how my Ortofon 2M Blue vs 2M Bronze comparison factors in when other popular cartridges are added to the mix.

PhotoModelPriceKey Feature
Ortofon 2M Red$MM Phono Cartridge
Ortofon 2M Blue$$MM Phono Cartridge
Ortofon 2M Bronze$$MM Phono Cartridge
Ortofon 2M Black$$$MM Phono Cartridge
GRADO Prestige Black3$Cartridge w/Reconfigured Coil Design
GRADO Prestige Blue3$Cartridge w/47K Input Load
GRADO Prestige Gold3$$Cartridge is 5.5 ounces
Nagaoka MP-100$Load resistance: 47KΩ
Audio-Technica VM540ML$$Tracking Force: 1.8 to 2.2g

Ortofon 2M Blue and Bronze Specs

Here are the specs for the Ortofon 2M Blue:

  • Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.  –   5.5 mV
  • Channel balance at 1 kHz  –   1.5 dB
  • Channel separation at 1 kHz  –  25 dB
  • Channel separation at 15 kHz  – 15 dB
  • Frequency range at – 3dB  –  20-25.000 Hz
  • Frequency response  –  20-20.000 Hz + 2 / – 1 dB
  • Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force  –  80 µm
  • Compliance, dynamic, lateral  –  20 µm/mN
  • Stylus type  –  Nude Elliptical
  • Stylus tip radius  –  r/R 8/18 µm
  • Tracking force range  –  1.6-2.0 g (16-20 mN)
  • Tracking force, recommended  –  1.8 g (18 mN)
  • Tracking angle  –  20°
  • Internal impedance, DC resistance  –  1.3 kOhm
  • Internal inductance  –  700 mH
  • Recommended load resistance  – 47 kOhm
  • Recommended load capacitance  –  150-300 pF
  • Cartridge color, body/stylus  –  Black/Blue
  • 2M PnP MkII cartridge with integrated headshell length – 52 mm 

And here are the specs for the Ortofon 2M Bronze:

  • Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.  –  5 mV
  • Channel balance at 1 kHz  –  1 dB
  • Channel separation at 1 kHz  –  26 dB
  • Channel separation at 15 kHz  –  15 dB
  • Frequency range at – 3dB  –  20-29.000 Hz
  • Frequency response  –  20-20.000 + 2 / – 0 dB
  • Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force  –  80 µm
  • Compliance, dynamic, lateral  –  22 µm/mN
  • Stylus type  –  Nude Fine Line
  • Stylus tip radius  –   r/R 8/40 µm
  • Tracking force range  –  1.4-1.7 g (14-17 mN)
  • Tracking force, recommended  –  1.5 g (15 mN)
  • Tracking angle  –  20°
  • Internal impedance, DC resistance  –  1.2 kOhm
  • Internal inductance  –  630 mH
  • Recommended load resistance  – 47 kOhm
  • Recommended load capacitance  –  150-300 pF
  • Cartridge color, body/stylus  –  Black/Bronze
  • 2M PnP MkII cartridge with integrated headshell length – 52 mm 

The 2M Blue and 2M Bronze both have a cartridge weight of 7.2 grams.  However, if you use the 2M PnP MKII cartridge with integrated headshell, the weight increases to 20 grams for both the Blue and Bronze.

Despite the similarities between the Blue and the Bronze, it should be noticed that the 2M Red and 2M Blue are interchangeable because they both share the same cartridge both.  The 2M Bronze, however, is not interchangeable with the 2M Blue.  The Bronze is interchangeable with the 2M Black, however, as both of these cartridges share the same body.

We’ll cover more about cartridge types in the next section. And below, feel free to take a look at my video review of the Ortofon 2M Bronze (and if you enjoy the video, I encourage you to subscribe to my Devoted to Vinyl channel on YouTube!)

2M Standard vs 2M Verso vs 2M PnP Cartridges

The Ortofon 2M Blue or 2M Bronze standard cartridge is likely the cartridge most people will use on their turntable.  Essentially, this is the cartridge you would purchase if you owned a top mount headshell.  A top mount headhsell is such that the screws that secure the cartridge to the headshell are used at the top of said headshell.

Next we have the 2M Verso.  Whether you get the 2M Blue or the 2M Bronze, the 2M Verso option is the one you would go with if you have a bottom mount headshell.  

A bottom mount headshell doesn’t allow screws to pass through the top of the headhsell.  

Finally, we have the Ortofon 2M PnP.  The Ortofon 2M Blue PnP (or 2M Bronze PnP) should be used if you already have a turntable that features an S-Shaped tonearm.

Ortofon 2M Blue and 2M Bronze Price

Price is always a major factor when it comes to the vinyl hobby, and that’s no exception when it comes to the 2M Blue and 2M Bronze.  

The 2M Blue costs between $200 and $250, while the 2M Bronze tends to go for $400 on the lower end to $450 on the higher end.  

And, for comparisons sake, the 2M Red (the cheapest cartridge in the 2M line) costs about $99, while the 2M Black (the most expensive cartridge in the 2M line) costs about $750. 

How to Set Up the 2M Blue and Bronze

Now that we’ve covered the different kinds of 2M cartridges, I wanted to show you how you can easily set up your Ortofon 2M Blue or Bronze cartridge.  But first, there’s a couple things to be aware of.

The first thing to know is that you can buy the 2M Blue or 2M Bronze as an entire cartridge, or you can simply purchase the stylus.  The cartridge gets connected to a tonearm’s headshell, along with connectors in the back having to connect to the four colored leads/wires that are coming out of your tonearm. I suggest using a pair of pliers to do this, and to take your time. Below is a photo of me attaching the four colored leads coming from the tonearm into the back of the Ortofon 2M Bronze:

And, of course, the cartridge includes the stylus (the needle that goes into the record groove) as well.

By contrast, the stylus is just the needle—it’s a separate component you can purchase if you’re going to keep the cartridge body of your old 2M cartridge.

And so, if you already own the Orotofon 2M Red, for example, all you need to do is buy the 2M Blue stylus.  You’ll save money, and you’ll simply have to pull off the 2M Red stylus and effortlessly attach the 2M Blue stylus.

However, if you already have the 2M Blue cartridge, and you want to upgrade to the 2M Bronze, you’re going to want to purchase the entire 2M Bronze cartridge (which means you’ll have to unscrew the screws holding the cartridge to the tonearm, as well as take a pair of pliers and carefully remove the four colored leads from the back of the 2M Blue).

2M Bronze Stylus on 2M Blue Cartridge?

One additional thing I’d like to mention here.  While the Ortofon 2M Blue and Ortofon 2M Bronze technically don’t share the same cartridge body, you actually can buy a 2M Bronze stylus and simply install it on the 2M Blue cartridge.  It will indeed work.  

However, before you decided to save some money (and time) by going this route, keep in mind that the 2M Bronze uses an upgraded engine that features split pole pins with a silver plated copper wire.  I mention that to point out that while you can just swap the Blue stylus for the Bronze stylus, the entire 2M Bronze cartrdige is a noticeable upgrade from the 2M Blue.  

And so, if you just upgrade the stylus and not the entire cartridge, you’re likely going to lose out on hearing even more sonic improvements coming out of your speakers.

So while swapping out the stylus is a quick and easy fix, it’s probably not what you want to do if you care a lot about the integrity of your sound.  

2M Blue vs 2M Bronze Sound Comparison

I really love both of these cartridges.  But they do have sound differences that I found to be quite noticeable.

In my 2M Red vs 2M Blue comparison, I talked about how the 2M Blue had a much cooler and neutral sound.  In comparison to the 2M Red, I found the 2M Blue to be less lively and “fun” to listen to, but certainly more precise and accurate.

The Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge

On top of that, I liked that the 2M Blue had a wider soundstage compared to the 2M Red.

Well, now, things are stepped up a further degree as we compare the 2M Blue to the 2M Bronze.

Overall, I feel the 2M Bronze does a great job on taking all of the best aspects of the 2M Blue and refining or outright outperforming them all.  There’s nothing that I found the 2M Bronze did that the 2M Blue couldn’t do, but I do feel the 2M Bronze succeeds in doing everything the 2M Blue can do—but much better.  

What I Love About the 2M Bronze

Here are three things I love about the 2M Bronze:

  1. Punchy Bass
  2. Soaring Treble
  3. Instrument Separation

When I listened to the 2M Bronze on my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable, I appreciated the fact that despite me not having a subwoofer, the bass was quite prominent. 

While certainly not providing me the room shaking bass you’d expect to get with a quality subwoofer, I will say that I was more than satisfied to hear bass the 2M Bronze gave me when playing my records.  Playing bass heavy tracks like Pharrell Williams’ “Brand New” or The Jacksons’ “Can You Feel It” provided very tight bass response that gave a nice punch to the music.

On top of that, I was also really impressed with the treble.  One thing that’s really nice about both the 2M Blue and 2M Bronze (though admittedly not-so-much with the 2M Red) is that the high notes really soar.  On other cartridges, the treble might feel a bit veiled, but the technology in the 2M Bronze really makes the highs sing (no pun intended).  

I found that listening to female vocalists like Alicia Keys or Adele or India.Arie felt extremely forward and lively.  The 2M Bronze really gave my records a sense of additional clarity when it came to the music and vocals, something I found to be quite impressive coming off of listening to the 2M Blue (a cartridge I very much enjoyed).

Negatives for the 2M Bronze and Blue?

If there’s one potential negative I’d give the 2M Bronze (and it’s a similar nitpick I’d cast on the 2M Blue) is that the treble-heavy cartridge could potentially be too bright for some listeners.

In fact, I think if you listen to a lot of singers that tend to hit very high notes or ones that just have a natural falsetto (think Minne Ripperton or Smokey Robinson), you might feel the 2M Bronze (and 2M Blue, for that matter) lean a little too heavily into the “highs.”  

While others will enjoy that this emphasis on the highs brings a more open musical experience, there may be some that believe it’s a bit fatiguing to listen to over a long period of time.

I never felt that listening to the 2M Blue or 2M Bronze was tiring or hurting my ears.  But I will definitely admit that these are bright sounding cartridges.  

I have heard other cartridges since listening to these (I now use a Clearaudio Concept turntable with Clearaudio cartridges), and they sound noticeably warmer and more rounded off in the high end.  

By contrast, the 2M Blue and 2M Bronze sound borderline sharp in the high end.  That sharpness is a double edge sword.  On one hand, you’re going to get much better resolution in the music and vocals.  On the other end, you may find yourself growing weary listening to certain genres of music from certain singers.

Lastly, another thing I love about the 2M Bronze is the instrument separation.  I noticed that the Bronze allowed me to not just hear a few new wrinkles within the sound mix of the song, but I was better able to pick out individual instruments that were mixed into the track as well.  

I appreciated the fact that instruments actually felt more defined and independent of one another—giving the feeling that different instruments were being played in different areas of the “virtual soundstage” in my room.  

In many ways, I suppose what I liked about the 2M Bronze was that it was highly successful at simulating the sensation of listening to a live performance.

You can check out my full reviews of the following:

Should I Upgrade My Amp Too?

One additional note.  It’s important to keep in mind that different pieces of equipment in your system can make a world of difference.  Upgrading to the 2M Blue or 2M Bronze will definitely improve your sound, but don’t neglect your phono preamp too.

Changing your phono preamp can provide a big boost to how your records sound.  And while there are very good solid state phono preamps on the market, I suggest you consider getting a tube amplifier as well.  

The Vincent PHO-701 tube amplifier--a good match for the Ortofon 2M Blue or Ortofon 2M Bronze!

For example, I recently purchases the Vincent PHO-701 tube phono preamp, and immediately noticed an improvement in how my music sounded.  Despite the amp not being fully broken in, I heard a warmer sound overall and an improvement in everything from the mid-range to an expansion of the soundstage.

So, if you pair a new cartridge like the 2M Blue or 2M Bronze with a new phono preamp, you may be highly impressed with the results.

What’s the Best Value?

So in a battle between the Ortofon 2M Blue vs 2M Bronze, what’s the better value purchase? 

Well, despite my love for the 2M Bronze, it does cost over $400, while the 2M Blue costs about $200 or $250 (depending where you buy it).

While I think the 2M Bronze is indeed a better sounding cartridge, and if money were no object I would recommend it wholeheartedly, the fact is that the 2M Blue costs about $200 less than the Bronze and still gives you a very good performance.

Because of this, I believe that the Ortofon 2M Blue actually provides the average consumer better value.  This is a very good cartridge and I think if you’re transitioning from the Red to the Blue, you’re going to hear a noticeable change.  

However, if you have the disposable income to spend, I definitely feel that the 2M Bronze is the superior cartridge and  is the one to get.

Conclusion

Both the 2M Blue and 2M Bronze are great.  You’re going to get excellent vocal clarity, a wider soundstage, wonderful instrument separation, and even a little bit of bass.

While the Ortofon 2M Bronze is the winner in this battle, the 2M Blue is no slouch.  If you can only afford the Ortofon 2M Blue, you’re getting a great cartridge that will give you a wonderful experience every time you play your records.

And, if you’re splurging on the 2M Bronze, rest assured you’re going to enjoy one of the better affordable cartridges on the market today.

If you enjoyed this Ortofon 2M Blue vs 2M Bronze review, please “like” us on Facebook too! Please also check out and subscribe to my Devoted to Vinyl YouTube channel!

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