Ortofon 2m Black surface noise

Curious if others have found it really emphasizes crackle and pop? Seems much worse than my 2m Bronze. Other than that, superior in every way.

Has anyone transitioned from the Black std to the Black LVB? Does surface noise improve with the boron cantilever?

Any suggestions for less crackly cartridges in the same price range, with similar sound?

Looks to me as if one key difference between the 2M Bronze & Black is the stylus profile - Black being Shibata.

Perhaps that means the Black is going places in the grooves, the Bronze never did - ?? Is more running in needed, if very new, maybe…??

Another cart around that price - ? Easy - Dynavector 10X5 (bias here - I am a long term 10X user).

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I think Shibata profile stylii of any make are generally more revealing.
Ive stuck with my Bronze for that very reason.


I had a 2M Black and it emphasised surface noise in just the way you describe. I swapped to a Rega Exact, which was much quieter. You’d doubtless want something better than that. Maybe something from Audio Technica would fit the bill, or maybe move to an MC. With your 32.5 it’s just a case of swapping the boards. This assumes that the arm would be a good match of course.

As others have mentioned it’s (partially) to do with the Shibata stylus. I would suggest you try the Nagaoka MP-500, it’s fineline like the Bronze and does has a boron cantilever. Generally the 2M Black and MP-500 are considered the best two MI cartridges out there, in a league of their own.

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When I got my 2M Black I found I had to get an Okki Nokki record cleaner. With my records cleaned any problems with surface noise and stylus fluff disappeared. I still have both the 2M Black and Okki Nokki.

I also had excessive / exaggerated surface noise with a 2M Black cartridge, albeit on a Rega deck as opposed to an LP12. I contacted Ortofon directly for a little guidance to help with the issue and they were very helpful indeed. The first thing they asked was what size spacer I was using on the Rega RP6, recommending an increase from 2mm I was using to 4mm, as this is what they recommend for the 2M Black on all Rega decks. .

Although the extra shim hasn’t entirely masked the presence of surface noise (how could it), it has improved things to such an extent that I don’t notice the surface noise as much as I did before. It certainly isn’t intrusive any more. Consequently, I’ve decided to keep the 2M Black as its strengths are there in abundance once set up properly. But, I have to admit to a little nagging question as to how an Exact or a Nagaoka MP-500 would compare to the 2M in picking up extraneous noise.

@Nathan, likewise I have an Okki-Nokki and it makes the world of difference having the vinyl as clean as possible for the 2M to work its magic.

Yetizone, is the shim at the arm base or at the stylus? I had read elsewhere that the 2m black works better a bit low in the back.

Agreed otherwise - it is a terrific cartridge.

I also have an Okki Nokki - indispensable.

Both shims are 2 x 2mm genuine Rega items, doubled up, and sat under the arm base.

Huh, so opposite elsewhere online. The interwebs in action!

I use 3 mn shim too under my RB3000. But it generated so many negative comments as : “ Rega doesn’t recommend it “. “ Why buy a Rega turntable is it to go against its philosophy?” . “ a shim doesn’t improve the sound on Rega arms”? ……
Shims on Rega arms are not popular here :grin:

@b-lilja & @frenchrooster The very reason I went straight to the manufacturer of the cartridge for guidance, as I have a feeling they know what they are doing!

Incidentally, Ortofon were very complimentary about Acoustic Signature’s Rega Spacer Set for incremental VTA changes if the end user is a little uncomfortable about removing the tonearm.

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It’s very easy to remove a Rega arm, or at least it was easy to remove the RB880 on a Planar 8 once I’d borrowed the right torx driver. I’d be much more concerned if it was an RB3000, as the brace is ceramic and presumably easier to break. The shims are always going to reduce rigidity, whichever one you choose. It would be so much simpler if all cartridges were the same height.

You don’t have to remove the arm using Acoustic signature or Tad shims.
The most important is that these shims enable you to try other cartridges than the Rega ones. In my own experience you have so much to gain.

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Similarly to the P8 with the metal / resin brace, the RP6 was a breeze to remove the arm, fit the shims and then realign everything after. I would certainly think twice about fitting shims under a P10 tonearm though, as there’s definite potential for over tightening the screws down on that ceramic brace. A good torque screwdriver and the torque settings from Rega would be essential kit before I’d even consider that job. Just easier to leave it to the dealer if fitting an oversize cart.

My dealer had done the job. He said it was very easy. ( on P10).