MP300/2M Black

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Deleted member 108165

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Had some time on my hands this week to tinker; to follow is my personal take of both these carts on my Marantz system:

MP300: Incredibly insightful cartridge, beautiful subtle detail retrieval with a soft edge. Soundstage is not as wide as the Ortofon, but I could sit and listen to music all day long with this cart fitted. Bass is well defined to the point where you can actually tell how hard percussive instruments are being played, especially drums, and it renders piano beautifully. This cart negotiates bias tracks 6, 7 and 8 on the HFN Test LP with ease. Could be fiddly to mount for a novice owing to screw/nut arrangment but easy to set-up because of the square body; sadly not so easy to see the stylus tip.

2M Black: Again, very insightful cartridge. More forward in presentation than the Nag and maybe not as subtly detailed. Bass is definitely enhanced and it has a wider soundstage than the Nag. If you predominantly play pop music then this cart makes you want to get up and dance. Requires about 1/3 of the anti-skate of the Nag. Dead easy to mount as only screws required, but difficult to set-up because of the cartridge shape; easy to see the stylus tip.

Strange thing about the 2M Black is that it would only negotiate bias track 6 on the HFN Test LP when fitted to the Pioneer; I had put this down to the Pioneer arm being of poor design. However, with the 2M Black fitted to the Marantz it performs exactly the same as the Pioneer in that it will only negotiate bias track 6! Maybe this is just a foible of the cart? I’ve got a spare 2M Blue stylus so I’ll give that a go at some stage. Looking at the Ortofon site they only recommend the OM5E, 2M Red/Blue and MC Quintet Blue for the TT15-S1!

Moving forward the Ortofon really wakes-up the laid-back Marantz amp but I guess it could be a marmite cartridge on a more forward system. The Nagaoka is different in that it is a much warmer cart. Try an MP500 maybe?
 
DougK said:
Had some time on my hands this week to tinker; to follow is my personal take of both these carts on my Marantz system:

MP300: Incredibly insightful cartridge, beautiful subtle detail retrieval with a soft edge. Soundstage is not as wide as the Ortofon, but I could sit and listen to music all day long with this cart fitted. Bass is well defined to the point where you can actually tell how hard percussive instruments are being played, especially drums, and it renders piano beautifully. This cart negotiates bias tracks 6, 7 and 8 on the HFN Test LP with ease. Could be fiddly to mount for a novice owing to screw/nut arrangment but easy to set-up because of the square body; sadly not so easy to see the stylus tip.

2M Black: Again, very insightful cartridge. More forward in presentation than the Nag and maybe not as subtly detailed. Bass is definitely enhanced and it has a wider soundstage than the Nag. If you predominantly play pop music then this cart makes you want to get up and dance. Requires about 1/3 of the anti-skate of the Nag. Dead easy to mount as only screws required, but difficult to set-up because of the cartridge shape; easy to see the stylus tip.

Strange thing about the 2M Black is that it would only negotiate bias track 6 on the HFN Test LP when fitted to the Pioneer; I had put this down to the Pioneer arm being of poor design. However, with the 2M Black fitted to the Marantz it performs exactly the same as the Pioneer in that it will only negotiate bias track 6! Maybe this is just a foible of the cart? I’ve got a spare 2M Blue stylus so I’ll give that a go at some stage. Looking at the Ortofon site they only recommend the OM5E, 2M Red/Blue and MC Quintet Blue for the TT15-S1!

Moving forward the Ortofon really wakes-up the laid-back Marantz amp but I guess it could be a marmite cartridge on a more forward system. The Nagaoka is different in that it is a much warmer cart. Try an MP500 maybe?
Nice summary of two very well known cartridges. Your findings follow my own thoughts however I have never tried the Black on a test LP.
 
K

keeper of the quays

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Best cart i ever used was a reson reca...i borrowed it..didnt want to return it..lol..i use a denon dl110 and happy with it..i once used a shure m97xe..very goid indeed and quite cheap!..my mate just got a denon dl103 and is using it with a step up transformer..and it is quite something!
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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Well, fitted the 2M Blue, going through the whole set-up process again just to re-check all my settings, including the test LP and......it performs..... exactly the same as the Black!! Searched online for some answers and it would appear that none of the 2M range like test records. One guy actually said throw the test LP away and use yer ears *biggrin*

I'm not in the market for an MC cart as this would involve the additional expense of a phono amp and as you've always stated, Al, the cheaper MC's offer nothing more that a good quality MM can offer. Add this to the fact that most of my paltry vinyl collection is of the poorly recorded 'pop' variety I guess I'd be wasting my time.

The Nagaoka's are truly beautiful performers so I guess I might venture towards an MP500 stylus upgrade at some stage in the future.
 
K

keeper of the quays

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Well? Not sure..do cheap mc carts offer much not? For starters they are much quieter! Possibly being lower output than mm..may be the reason? Im not sure though? The reson is a mm..stunning! Other reason to use a cheap mc cart..is to use the rest of budget on a step up transformer..this of course raises the output making it louder.but it also reveals a better soundstage and subtle details which would be missed otherwise..so a decent step up is bout £500..seems a lot of money but in my opinion worth the expenditure..my friends cart is a very low output cart..but with the step up? Its perfect! (he didnt know about step up transformers..i lent him mine..he bought one! Lol )
 

stevebrock

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Doug

really can't help you out on this - all I can say IMO the nag 500 is a lovely performer - found it less forward than a 2m black

just don't know how it compares to a nag 300 - however it out performs the 200 in every department - soundstage is huge and the background is very quiet, tracks very nicely too
 
keeper of the quays said:
Well? Not sure..do cheap mc carts offer much not? For starters they are much quieter! Possibly being lower output than mm..may be the reason? Im not sure though? The reson is a mm..stunning! Other reason to use a cheap mc cart..is to use the rest of budget on a step up transformer..this of course raises the output making it louder.but it also reveals a better soundstage and subtle details which would be missed otherwise..so a decent step up is bout £500..seems a lot of money but in my opinion worth the expenditure..my friends cart is a very low output cart..but with the step up? Its perfect! (he didnt know about step up transformers..i lent him mine..he bought one! Lol )
This is an expensive route to venture out on. If you are going to spend hundreds on some sort of step up and then hundreds on a cartridge you're better off spending many hundreds on a moving magnet. Remember any damage done to a cheaper MC and its trashed. The quality of sound improvement a cheap MC will give, no matter what step up is used, is debatable.
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
One of the reasons i use a dl110 is i buy most of vinyl from charity shops and the denon seems to go a little deeper into groove and cuts out a bit of the surface damage..so quieter..my cleaning lp with a eraser sponge helps a lot too! Only thing i would say re step up trsnsformers is screened cables are a must! They can hum! Theres a place here in hastings that makes them..(it seems according to magazine reviews? They make one of the best phono stages in the world!) and as far as i am aware they make a basic step up for £250..all i can say is if anyone has a mc cart, its worth borrowing one..they work!
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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Cheers Steve *good*.

If the Nags are anything like the Ortofon's then I guess they all retain a certain house character/sound. However, I have found with Ortofon the jump between the models is significant and each level is a very a worthwhile upgrade. Having fitted the 2M Blue last night the difference between that and the Black is very noticeable indeed.

The MP500 upgrade can be had relatively cheaply, (much cheaper than any of the Ortofon styli upgrades), so I will definitely be exploring this at some stage as they really are astonishing cartridges. All thanks to both you and Al for the initial recommendation.

I was very surprised by the online Ortofon replacement cartridge-finder for the Marantz. It would appear that they are suggesting the Bronze/Black are wasted on the Satisfy arm?
 
DougK said:
Cheers Steve *good*.

If the Nags are anything like the Ortofon's then I guess they all retain a certain house character/sound. However, I have found with Ortofon the jump between the models is significant and each level is a very a worthwhile upgrade. Having fitted the 2M Blue last night the difference between that and the Black is very noticeable indeed.

The MP500 upgrade can be had relatively cheaply, (much cheaper than any of the Ortofon styli upgrades), so I will definitely be exploring this at some stage as they really are astonishing cartridges. All thanks to both you and Al for the initial recommendation.

I was very surprised by the online Ortofon replacement cartridge-finder for the Marantz. It would appear that they are suggesting the Bronze/Black are wasted on the Satisfy arm?
Strange one that, by all accounts the Satisfy is quite a decent tonearm.
 
D

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Al ears said:
This is an expensive route to venture out on. If you are going to spend hundreds on some sort of step up and then hundreds on a cartridge you're better off spending many hundreds on a moving magnet. Remember any damage done to a cheaper MC and its trashed. The quality of sound improvement a cheap MC will give, no matter what step up is used, is debatable.
Agreed Al. The last 3 years have been a very steep learning curve for me involving one trashed 2M Red and a nearly trashed 2M Bronze, (in both cases stylus only and the Red wasn't really much of a loss anyway *biggrin*). If these had been expensive MC's I would have cried.

When I sum up what I've spent on carts/styli over this period it equates to somewhere around £1K. Now what would that have bought me if I had gone down the MC route? A middle of the road pre-amp and a reasonable, but entry level, MC cartridge. But I would have lost out on the wonderful experience of getting things very wrong *smile*
 

stevebrock

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Phono stages & Cartridges are very hard to get right

Its all about what presentation you like and your partnering equipment

A 10x5 is too forward imo with my Elciit R amp - with a Brio R it sounds bloody fantatsic....... strange as the phono stages in both these amps are loosely very similar. However the Elicit is a clean amp and very revelaing !

I am always thinking about MCs but it opens up a whole new list of challenges and you cant do it on the cheap.

So for the present time I am more than happy with systems presentation - I dont want to unbalance things.

When I have a spare £2k lying about I will invest in am Aria phono stage and blow £1200 on a MC until then nothing will better what I have for under £2k

If your going to go MC you need to do it properly - only my view though
 
stevebrock said:
Phono stages & Cartridges are very hard to get right

Its all about what presentation you like and your partnering equipment

A 10x5 is too forward imo with my Elciit R amp - with a Brio R it sounds bloody fantatsic....... strange as the phono stages in both these amps are loosely very similar. However the Elicit is a clean amp and very revelaing !

I am always thinking about MCs but it opens up a whole new list of challenges and you cant do it on the cheap.

So for the present time I am more than happy with systems presentation - I dont want to unbalance things.

When I have a spare £2k lying about I will invest in am Aria phono stage and blow £1200 on a MC until then nothing will better what I have for under £2k

If your going to go MC you need to do it properly - only my view though
I concur wholeheartedly. :)
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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Well after all my postive comments about the Ortofon I have re-fitted the Nagaoka *smile* For all the 2M Blacks' strenghts it still pales in the presence of the MP300. The Nagaoka is a truly beautiful sounding cartridge that is hard to beat, (MP500 notwithstanding), the detail retrieval is superb and I simply cannot pass this over now I have heard it perform against the Black.

The 2M Black is a little like the MA speakers I used to run - a little too forward in presentation, which can eventually become fatiguing. The MP300 is anything but fatiguing.... sublime would be the only word that fits.
 
DougK said:
Well after all my postive comments about the Ortofon I have re-fitted the Nagaoka *smile* For all the 2M Blacks' strenghts it still pales in the presence of the MP300. The Nagaoka is a truly beautiful sounding cartridge that is hard to beat, (MP500 notwithstanding), the detail retrieval is superb and I simply cannot pass this over now I have heard it perform against the Black.

The 2M Black is a little like the MA speakers I used to run - a little too forward in presentation, which can eventually become fatiguing. The MP300 is anything but fatiguing.... sublime would be the only word that fits.
Glad to hear you are enjoying Nagaoka, I always rated them better than any 2M Ortofon.
 

stevebrock

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Fantastic !

So glad you approve of the MP300

I have an aquaintence how has an avid diva with cyrus amps and a 2M Black - frankly it fooking sounds horrible - hes convinced its amazing but seriously my ears hurt after 10 mins - i think he knows it sounds brighter than bright but hes sunk a lot of money into purely from magazine reviews - crazy

The Nag MP500 is a beaut so i can imagine the MP300 is very similar
 
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Al ears said:
Glad to hear you are enjoying Nagaoka, I always rated them better than any 2M Ortofon.
Definitely a Nagaoka convert now, Al. Anyone who currently owns an Ortofon should try its Nagaoka equivalent before venturing any further up the catridge food chain.
 
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stevebrock said:
Fantastic !

So glad you approve of the MP300

I have an aquaintence how has an avid diva with cyrus amps and a 2M Black - frankly it fooking sounds horrible - hes convinced its amazing but seriously my ears hurt after 10 mins - i think he knows it sounds brighter than bright but hes sunk a lot of money into purely from magazine reviews - crazy

The Nag MP500 is a beaut so i can imagine the MP300 is very similar
I've played nothing but vinyl all week comparing the carts and I am now extremely content with the MP300, but when it begins to age I know where my money is going to be directed - a 500 stylus *biggrin* These Nagaoka's are truly amazing. I sat there the other day thinking this deck with this cart fitted sounds better than my cd player, (or maybe just different in the best smile inducing way). As a direct consequence the stylus wear aspect may occur a lot quicker than I had initially anticipated *smile*
 

stevebrock

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My Vinyl front end easily out performs a Rega Saturn R !

I have no interest in investing in digital whatsoever

The Nagaokas just want to make you play vinyl all day
 

thescarletpronster

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I would love to find someone who's selling the cartridge base for an MP-300 or MP-500 with a worn-out stylus, then I could buy a JN-P500 replacement stylus to go on it. Unfortunately while I was making my decision about which cartridge to upgrade to, Nagaoka doubled their prices! This meant the best cartridge I could afford was the MP-200, which is excellent in itself, and gives me a lot of listening pleasure, but I'd love to be able to listen to my music via the best cartridge in the range. Have never seen one for sale on eBay, though.
 
thescarletpronster said:
I would love to find someone who's selling the cartridge base for an MP-300 or MP-500 with a worn-out stylus, then I could buy a JN-P500 replacement stylus to go on it. Unfortunately while I was making my decision about which cartridge to upgrade to, Nagaoka doubled their prices! This meant the best cartridge I could afford was the MP-200, which is excellent in itself, and gives me a lot of listening pleasure, but I'd love to be able to listen to my music via the best cartridge in the range. Have never seen one for sale on eBay, though.
It is indeed unfortunate that they increased the price this much as it no longer makes them the bargain they used to be. With the MP-500 now costing as much as a Benz Micro Glider SL moving coil you know it's difficult.
 

stevebrock

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my MP500 came in at under £470 including import duty etc from audiokazu.com

nearly £200 cheaper than UK
 

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