Best Record Player Needles 2021

Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge

Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge
  • Universal fit for most turntables
  • Upgrade from stock cartridges
  • The Ortofon 2M Red is an all-purpose cartridge that delivers open, dynamic sound with a slight touch of warmth

For those who want the single channel, the Ortofon 2M will do. Ortofon, a household name in the cartridge / stylet industry, has designed a market standard in the MM cartridge class. Where the Benz Glider has towed the upper end of the CM audiophile class, the 2M Moving Magnet offers a more cost-effective but hardly lower-quality alternative. The 2M offers a dynamic and consistent sound at a fraction of the cost of the glider. Only the most demanding audiophiles will prefer the CM to the 2M. It’s a must for serious record listeners looking to boost their budget a bit.

This one is much easier to use than the Blue, but still offers great performance for the money. The mids seem full and expressive, especially the voices. The bass and treble also score well, although the former could use a little more presence. But it is a small problem. It is easy to adjust and align and offers a more than pleasant listening experience. Proof that the best cartridges don’t have to cost the earth.

Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge

Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge
  • Universal fit for most turntables
  • Upgrade to the Ortofon 2M Red
  • The Ortofon 2M Blue adds more dynamics and resolution, sounds more open and reproduces more details

If you only have a few dollars to spend on a cartridge, always choose a moving magnet (MM) over a moving coil (MC). Cheap and cheerful MCs present all kinds of problems that are rarely solved with upstream equipment. But beware, cheap MMs are also usually tough and a bit tough. Fortunately, Ortofon did not have any of these problems. It was an easy upload, he tracked like a champ and gave vinyl an honest review.

The output is an above-average 5.5mV and a typical downforce of 1.8g, making the 2M Blue a fairly universal cartridge in terms of turntables and phono stages. Build quality is high despite the largely plastic construction. This is an investment casting with a large area allocated to the removable needle section, which should minimize any movement that may adversely affect this variety of cartridges.

The 2M Blue is a capable and reasonably unbiased cartridge. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it’s not necessarily what you want with an affordable turntable. It is a steady hand that follows the follow so that you can enjoy the music.

Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge with Blucoil Carbon Anti-Static Vinyl Cleaning Brush

Audio Technica AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge (Green) Bundle with Blucoil Carbon...
  • OFFERS IMPROVED FREQUENCY RESPONSE - The Audio Technica AT-VM95E features an elliptical bonded stylus that follows your vinyl's groove modulation with...
  • PROVIDES EXCELLENT TONAL QUALITY - Thanks to AT-VM95E's outstanding 20dB channel separation and low distortion, this phono cartridge delivers...
  • EASY TO INSTALL, NO USE OF NUTS - Audio Technica includes a pair of plastic washers, 11mm and 8mm screws in the AT-VM95E kit so you can easily install...

Phono cartridges were the first thing Audio-Technica started producing when it debuted in 1962. Since then they have spread to all kinds of electronic music equipment, but they haven’t forgotten where it all started. This still maintains the high level of quality that AT is known for. Don’t let the simple aesthetics fool you about the sound. The AT95E’s incredibly precise diamond stylus lasts a long time and is designed to track with great precision (with a recommended force of around two grams). The result is crisp, crisp sound, with balanced amounts of vibrant highs and lows, without overemphasizing either the highs or lows.

From a solid name in hi-fi comes a solid cartridge / stylus combo in the Audio Technica AT95E. The performance you get for the price of this model is second to none. As with its turntable line, Audio Technica manufactures all parts with quality in mind. This means you will find attention to detail down to the diamond pencil that will not wear into your disc grooves.

With turntables, details matter. Diamond needle. Chase force. Load impedance. These are all terms to keep in mind when purchasing a needle cartridge. The exact force with which a needle is applied to the surface of a record means the difference between clarity and scratches. A popular MM design from a hi-fi family business. This design has been around forever and for good reason is a great budget option that is not only great for those buying a turntable that comes without a cartridge, but also as an upgrade to a basic design that comes with a new turntable.