Classic Ortofon Cartridges: The MC2000 MK II or the MC3000 MK II?

So I have owned quite a few Otofon cartridges over the years, everything from the modest OM cartridges to a couple of Cadenza up to an A90. I typically enjoy Ortofon cartridges.

Now one I have never owned is the MC2000. It seems from a bit of reading I have done that owners of the MC2000 felt it was the most accurate of the Ortofon cartridges, and that releases after it were not its equal.

However, when you look at the MC3000 it has a higher output level that would allow it to work with my Esoteric phono stage. The Esoteric is happy running an MC200 on it which has .09 mV output. but the MC2000 is .05 mV. The MC 3000 MK II is .13 mV from what I find.

Has anyone spent time listening to these classic MC 000 series of Ortofon cartridges? I know there is also a 5000 and 7500, but those seem to be pretty rare.

Regarding the MC2000, I wonder if I use a low mass headshell if I can use it on the Dynavector DV505. I don’t think the mass of the arm in the horizontal plane should affect it, and the vestigial arm can be configured to be an appropriate match for the compliance on this cartridge.

I currently have an MC200u on the arm and its very surprising regarding how good it sounds. Its actually pretty neutral, pretty expressive, but just a bit relaxed in the top end. I certainly enjoy it, but I wonder how these statement cartridges from the classic Ortofon line will sound. These would have been from their long time designer who has now retired, so its a different era of Ortofon versus what their current offerings are. Even though we should acknowledge that the current cartridges use design principals that were developed from this earlier time period and engineering team. 

I can only say than between MC2000 and next mkII version you have to choose MC2000 first version (not mkII).

The MC2000 is very rare model, dedicated headshell included in the box. This is my NOS sample. And this is a booklet.

MC 2000 incorporates Ortofon’s patented Wide Range Damping System, and a new Symmetrical Contact Line diamond. Low-output moving coil with 0.05mV output! Frequency response; 5Hz–50kHz. It was released in 1985 and official price was $1000. I just tried to convert 1k (80’s dollars) to today’s dollars and it’s about $2300. The MC-2000 sure looks as if it’s worth the money. It comes packed in a black-finished wooden box with rabbeted joints, no less, and brushed aluminum latches. The inside is lined with a dark-blue velvet-like material, and has a lift-up hinged panel on top of which nest the cartridge, an Ortofon headsheil, and a "certificate" listing quality-control measurements on the enclosed cartridge. Made in Denmark.

P.S. The mkII is cheap and very easy to find model, you can recognize it my white plastic (ceramic) body, this model is veery often available for sale for $500.

The first version (the original MC2000) is much more expensive cartridge, extremely rare in mint condition or NOS, and you can recognize is by aluminum body and tapered aluminum pipe cantilever. Make sure the cantilever is original, this type of cantilever is not available today from any retipper and not even from Ortofon. You may need a dedicated SUT designed by Ortofon for this particular cartridge. This cart is very difficult to run with conventional phono stage, you need a high gain and super low noise. The sound quality is absolutely amazing if you can find the right phono stage, sut or headamp for this super low output model.
I own both an MC2000 and an MC7500. I cannot recall what is the difference between an MC2000 Mk2 and the original MC2000, but it may have to do with the signal voltage output, 0.05mV for the MC2000. I rank the MC2000 as one of the two or three best cartridges I have ever heard in my life. Scuttlebutt is that the Mk2 version and the MC3000 were just attempts to increase the output voltage but that the trade-off was a loss of "magic". I rank the MC2000 ahead of the MC7500 (and ahead of most other LOMC cartridges), but the MC7500 is also superb. The big issue with the MC2000 is, of course, its miniscule voltage output. I have three high end, high output phono stages, and none of them really cut the mustard with this cartridge, even though the results were good enough for me to hear that it is special. As you probably know, the MC2000 was originally marketed with a matching SUT; I think it’s called the T2000. I have never owned a SUT, and the T2000 is at least as rare as the MC2000. So I was not about to go that route. Finally, Dave Slagle of Intact Audio and EMIA came to my aid. Dave built me a special solid state head amp with a very low input impedance. I think we calculated that it adds 24db of gain. I plug that into the MM inputs of a Manley Steelhead, set for 55db of gain, and this seems to work very well. Ergo, plan on 80db of total gain that you can get one way or another (phono plus linestage, for example).

Why is this cartridge so great? I think it could be because it has minimal turns of wire on its coils, resulting in very low moving mass (and also its tiny voltage output). It also is high compliance compared to nearly every other MC cartridge. You correctly surmise that you need a low effective mass tonearm, and, since I run my own MC2000 on a DV505 using a carbon fiber headshell, I can say the DV505 can work great. (Don’t use the OEM DV headshell; it is too heavy.) Finally, since the MC2000 has a very very low internal resistance of 2 ohms, it actually makes a good amount of current. (Current output = voltage output/internal resistance. 0.05mV/2 ohms = 25uA) It’s extremely well suited to drive one of the "current-drive" phono stages. I’d love to try that.

It’s instructive to re-read Gordon Holt’s original review of the MC2000 in Stereophile. He noted that in order to achieve the accepted range of resonant frequency, one in theory would need to use a tonearm with total effective mass of 5 grams!!! Because of the relatively high mass of the cartridge and its unusually high compliance.
Recent Adverts
About $1000 will get you owning the complete Set Up
Caveat Emptor Applies to these types of sales. 

I also discovered a recent MC 2000 sale Ad' where a Beryllium Cantilever is in use.
I am using Beryllium Cantilevers on my Ortofon MC Rebuilds and am totally satisfied.
I have another Ortofon MC rebuild lined up to use the Beryllium with a Ogura Vital. 

orutohonn ortofon MC-2000 operation unused goods : Real Yahoo auction salling

Ortofon T-2000 MC step up trafo, silver wiring *reservert * | Hifisentralen
Who is able to supply a beryllium cantilever these days? I thought beryllium was verboten. Regardless, the MC2000 came with an unusual aluminum cantilever, and it might be best to stick with the OEM cantilever in order to preserve the original SQ, particularly because beryllium and aluminum are so different in their character. However if it sounds good, it is good.
I also discovered a recent MC 2000 sale Ad’ where a Beryllium Cantilever is in use.

1) This is total BS on yahoo, the cantilever transplanted from Audio-Technica cartridge if you can’t see it !

Gold-Plated Beryllium cantilever is Audio-Technica exclussive.

The stylus tip also replaced with glue. This Ortofon MC2000 has been rebuild, stay away from this one! Please do not start this nonsense discussion about rebuild vs. original. The original cantilever on MC2000 is very special aluminum, not just a cheap aluminum junk people can buy today. It’s completely different cantilever and to see it please find a booklet for Ortofon MC2000 and look at the pictures.

Ortofon ST-2000 SUT normally goes for $1500
But for the minty fresh condition Ortofon MC-2000 prepare to pay more (it’s impossible to find NOS).

2) Another sample on Yahoo has BENT CANTILEVER. It’s clearly visible that cantilever bent to one side too much. This is used sample in bad condition. Seller explained that you can’s use headshell, treated holes for screws are damaged. And you have no idea about suspension.

I also discovered a recent MC 2000 sale Ad’ where a Beryllium Cantilever is in use. I am using Beryllium Cantilevers on my Ortofon MC Rebuilds and am totally satisfied. I have another Ortofon MC rebuild lined up to use the Beryllium with a Ogura Vital.

Another Ortofon is another original cartridge and not a Frankenstein made by someone in Japan using cantilever from cheap Audio-Technica cartridge and glued it to the Ortofon MC2000.


Yes, this is the problem with a MC2000 or other classic Ortofon. It has to have the OEM cantilever. A diamond can be replaced, Expert Stylus will do this well, although you will have to accept differences between a Paratrace cut and the Replicant 100. How the damping material ages on a classic Ortofon I do not know, that is another point of concern. Sometimes classic audio components just lose the battle with Father Time. 
The question is who is your supplier, you can buy NOS MC2000 only from serious collectors of vintage high-end, and they can honestly describe the condition. My NOS sample is absolutely perfect and fully original, I am so happy to have it in my collection of the best LOMC. Never seen a NOS sample for sale, only hardly used or damaged samples. This is very rare model.

Expert Stylus is nice little company and their Paratrace is nice profile, but the genuine Ortofon MC2000 stylus profile is NOT a Replicant 100.

The stylus profile is "Symmetrical Contact Line Diamond".

The problem why no one can equally retip the stylus tip is its Press-Fit method. Once the diamond is press-fit you can't press-fit another. They can only glue a new tip, but it’s another method.

You should ask our @edgewear about model 7500 and related stuff. 
Apologies for going off topic and referencing Beryllium.
My advice to express Caveat Emptor for such types of sale adverts seems an appropriate guidance.
It's true that buying any vintage cartridge a buyer must have trained eye :)) 
In my opinion, the remarkable thing about the MC2000 is that it does use an aluminum cantilever and a line contact stylus.  Neither is really very exotic.  Yet the sound is sublime in either of my two audio systems.  This is evidence that one ought not to judge a cartridge a priori based on the materials of which it is made.

Chakster, You wrote, "The question is who is your supplier, you can buy NOS MC2000 only from serious collectors of vintage high-end, and they can honestly describe the condition. My NOS sample is absolutely perfect and fully original, I am so happy to have it in my collection of the best LOMC. Never seen a NOS sample for sale, only hardly used or damaged samples."  But you MUST have seen an NOS sample for sale at least once; otherwise you wouldn't own one.  My advice is, if you have not already done so, see how it mates with your 4212 current-drive phono stage and report back.  It's not going to give you any of the pleasure of which it is capable while sitting in its OEM box.
I bought mine long time ago, then I tried it with Gold Note PH-10 phono stage, then I put it back into the box. Too many cartridges here, at the moment my current mode phono stage working in my system with FR-7fz. What surprising me the most after a long long break is zyx headamp with my FR-7f. 

However, If there will be another NOS MC2000 somewhere in the future I will place a bid. 
I looked at those two MC2000 on eBay, and they do have issues with cantilevers. One also has surface corrosion. That unfortunately seems to be a common occurrence with audio goods from Japan. Neither one is of interest. I imagine obtaining a properly operating MC2000 is going to be difficult. I suspect I will go another direction.
Ortofon is Danish company, generally Japan is the wrong place to look for cartridges made in Europe. 

Japan is the right place to look for cartridges made in Japan. 
I once and once only put out a Search for a Cartridge in Europe and was for multiple Months approached by scammers, sending ID Images and demanding a Payment.
For fun, I inquired if a deal could be done on the Tonearm in the image, amazingly it was on offer as well.
When I informed the administration of the Portal, they were extremely helpful and suggested I use another Site if I am not satisfied.

I have not suffered anything like this when importing from Japan.
Lots of Images, and if not trialled or not wanted to be in a dispute, the Item will be declared as Junk.
From my experience, a Purchaser will be quite clear about the Vendors offer and a informed decision can be made.

Again Caveat Emptor 
I agree with the general rule that Japan is the best place to look for cartridges made in Japan, but Ortofon might be an exception. Their products are and always have been very popular in Japan and they sold many there, especially SPU’s.

Most has already been said about MC2000. My sample came from the personal collection of a UK importer and was very sparingly used. So not NOS, but pretty close. I was apprehensive about the ridiculously low output, but in practice I can make it work without a hint of noise on both an Ortofon T3000 SUT and Boulder 1008 phono amp, both with total line level gain of 70dB. The sound is a benchmark of neutrality and it’s probably the best tracker I have in house.

The high compliance is probably the main reason the MC2000 sounds so good (and tracks so well) and generally considered quite a challenge in terms of tonearm synergy. Again I had my doubts, because my system and tonearms are tailored to low output, low impedance AND low compliance cartridges. But again in practice it turned out easy to work with. In a lightweight headshell it even works spendidly in a heavy gun like FR64S with the lighter W170 counterweight. For the record, the lightweight original MC2000 headshell was in silver and made of magnesium, but these didn’t survive the times very well. My sample and all others I’ve seen have what I’d call ’bleeding’, a kind of disintegrating of the material, including the threads that are supposed to hold the cartridge. Mine is useless, but I found a later black version of this headshell (also on chakster’s photo) that works perfectly.

The MC7500 was the first ever cartridge with titanium body and has 0,13mV output from 8N copper coils (unique as far as I know) and again a tapered aluminum cantilever with Ortoline stylus (not the Replicant 100, as in MC3000 and MC5000). And if you think the packaging of the MC2000 is lavish, think again and compare it with the leather handbag that came with MC7500. Even my wife, who normally doesn’t give a ’.....’ about my audio hobby, was impressed!

Although more congenial in terms of specs, the MC7500 is actually much more difficult to get right. You’ll need a headshell with azimuth adjustment (preferably the dedicated LH7500). The reason is very likely to be the stylus profile, which is unique (4x100 um instead of 5x100um of Replicant 100). But when you do get it right, I would rank it ever so slightly over the MC2000. It has the same kind of neutrality, but with a bit more detail (the stylus profile?) and a bit more slam (copper coils instead of silver coils?). Both are very special cartridges that can still compete head on with A90, A95 or even MC Anna.

Edgeware, your comments on the MC7500 vs MC2000 intrigue me. Maybe I need to try harder with my MC7500, but so far in my systems the MC2000 is best. Besides paying attention to azimuth, what else? What tonearms have you used? Thx.
The packaging style of those classic Ortofon is amazing. I remember huge clear display case cut like a Replicant-100 diamond.

German Audio Markt is a great market place if you are in Europe, sometimes you must be in Germany, it’s better if you speak German too :) There are local market place in Denmark where I bought some amazing cartridges even though the site is not designed for international buyers at all (but sellers are nice). Superb stuff available not only from Europe, but from Russia as well where the audiophile scene is pretty strong (however, the problem sometimes is language barrier). You can find almost everything high-end in Russia nowadays, especially in Moscow or St.Petersburg (two biggest cities).

As I said earlier the most important is who’s the seller. You can’t personally communicate with Japanese auction sellers at all if they are not on ebay. In my opinion personal communication with the seller direct is HUGE benefit for the buyer! If you can communicate with the seller you can ask to declare lower value for custom control, because in most countries in this world, except USA, the import tax is huge and it’s not good to declare full value for an old rare and expensive cartridge to pay additional 30% import tax.

For security reason paypal is a must (best buyer’s protection from scam).
Dear lewm, the MC7500 has a tendency to sound a little edgy or bright in the wrong set up. I think this has mostly to do with that Ortoline stylus profile. So spot on azimuth and SRA are crucial, but I assume you have that covered.

It took some time to find it, but the LH 7500 headshell made a very positive contribution and so did the LW-1000S leadwires. You would  think 7N copper would be the best match to the 8N copper coils (8N copper lead wires are not offered by Ortofon or anyone else I think), but these silver wires contribute to a neutral balance comparable to MC2000.

It sounds very good in FR64S (all my cartridges do, even the high compliance MC2000), but even better in Audiocraft AC-4400. And perhaps contrary to what one might expect, it likes the phono amp (at 500 ohm loading) better than the Ortofon T3000, which is basically the same as the dedicated T7500. Hope that helps.

Dear @neonknight  : I owned 3 MC2000 and owned/own/listened almost any Ortofon cartridge in my system, so certainly I like Ortofon designs.

""  It has to have the OEM cantilever. ""

Not really, it was not that aluminum cantilever what makes the real difference but the cartridge engine and suspension design . The MC2000 has an over 30cu on compliance and yes it's a really great cartridge tracker and along what I pointed out from this tracking abilities comes part of that very high quality performance.

In one of my samples I bended the cantilever  and time latter I decided to send to VdH to fix it.
I received it with boron cantilever and VdH stylus tip and as good as the original was/is the boron/Vdh  performs with better quality performance level with out loosing the original cartridge attributes.

So, you can buy it in almost whatever condition  ( about cantilever/stylus ) and you can send to Northwest or Expert stylus or Vdh to fix it.

My boron/Vdh was unique and probably the only one out there, I sold it. I'm not a collector but I owned and own a lot of cartridge just to know its " signature " quality level and obviously to enjoy MUSIC.

So, don't worry about that " original " word at least with the 2000.

 Now, the MK2 is a way different cartridge and there is no comparison but the 3000MK2 is something to listen and yes different than the MC2000 but not to different.

In the other side you can look for a second hand A90/A95 and you are " there " too with out be disturbing your self for that very low MC2000 output, its high weigth and very high compliance because you have to fix all these cartridge characteristics for the 2000 can shows it.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
How are MCx000s compared to other LoMC Ortofon cartridges, like MC20, SL15, SL20? I've used them with MCA-76, T-20 and T-30, and they all sound fantastic, but never had a chance to use MCx000s.
I used MC100 briefly, but it was not as good as others.
If a Cantilever has been treated in a manner where it has damaged the Bobbin, with the earlier designs of Ortofon Cartridges, there is going to be a long search to get the support to repair the damage.
Even Ortofon will not guarantee the original parts are used, an updated compatible part might be substituted, and might not be to the Spec of the original design.

A Cartridge purchased with a Damaged Stylus will be a Wild Punt, as the Internal Damages will be a unknown.
A Inspection from a Third Party Rebuild Service might result in a rejection of the build as the Donor Cartridge is not suitable.

Many of Ortofons Internal Assemblies are in house designs, that are unique to their Brand and not items selected from a supply chain, as some other recommended Cartridges.
Ortofon does not share these assemblies freely.  

Again Caveat Emptor is the best guideline for such a purchase 

I have owned an A90 and a Winfeld, and enjoyed both cartridges. I am not as wild about the A90 as other cartridges, although it is a fine moving coil. The top end isn't as vibrant as I prefer, although it's remarkably free of colorations. 

I might give a MC3000 II a go for the interim, and keep my eyes open for a nice MC2000 or perhaps a 7500. 

To be honest I like my Ikeda 9 Kawami, but  one day it's going to need a restoration. When that time comes it would be nice to have a quality stand in for it. 

My other favorite is the Transfiguration cartridges, and I imagine one would sound nice on the Dynavector. I would also be interested to try the Audio Tekne. 
ihco, I don't know how Raul would answer your question about the 4-digit Ortofon cartridges, but from the MC2000 up to the MC7500, those were their flagship, "best", most expensive cartridges.  After the MC7500, they continued development but abandoned that 4-digit naming system.  Moreover, with each new high end model since then they have experimented with materials, method of production, shape of cartridge body, cantilever material, and stylus shape.  So in some sense the different models have little in common save to say they were all top of Ortofon line at one time or another.
I had in the early 80's the MC 2000 with its sut which I have been using for some time but when I was able to try the 3000 mk2 and its T3000 sut I preferred this in my chain and sold the MC 2000 and the sut; over time I also had the MC 5000 on test but I was not impressed by the sound and the value for money I still use the Mc 3000Mk2 in rotation with other cartridges today.

edgewear, I never found the MC7500 to sound "edgy" or harsh at all.  In fact, I would characterize it as remarkably neutral, almost to a fault, which is to say that if anything it fell a bit short on bringing out the drama and contrasts put into the music by the musicians.  But as in most cases where one tries to describe an aural impression, what I just wrote is an exaggeration.  It's a very find cartridge, in my opinion.
I also have the Rohmann and it's interesting to compare it to MC7500. Same cantilever and stylus, but different coils and different body material. While the Rohmann is a really nice cartridge, the MC7500 is in another league. It confirms that cantilever material and stylus profile do not determine sound quality any more than other parts like coils and body material do.

Lewm, I was exaggerating as well in order to make the distinction. The MC7500 is every bit as neutral as MC2000, but the stylus profile demands more attention to bring it out. It's thrown out of neutral more easily so to speak. What gives it a (positive) edge over MC2000 is the ability to deliver greater dynamic contrasts, but this might very well be system dependent.

For the record, I meant to write "fine cartridge", not "find cartridge" in my summary of the 7500.

My impression of the two cartridges, 2000 vs 7500 is just the opposite of yours, in two different tonearms on two different systems. I found the 2000 to be more lush and a bit more dynamic, in the best possible ways. Goes to show ya..... something.

Neon, I have a longstanding interest in the Transfiguration cartridges. It was a great loss when that company went out of business, but given the nearly incestuous relationships among Japanese cartridge manufacturers, it may well be the case that the top line Transfigurations live on, under another name.

I believe Mutech had a relationship with Transfiguration and is at least a source for refurbishing them.

Well I am the owner of a MC3000 MK II. Should have it in 4 or 5 days and we will see how it works out. I have an OEM Dynavector head shell with Furtech silver litz wires waiting for it. 

Curious to hear how this works out as the MC3000 MK II has the most varied opinion about it of the X000 series of cartridges. Guess we will see. 
You are correct about Mutech. The RM-Kanda has the same body as Transfiguration Orpheus. Both brands aim for a combination of highest possible output and lowest possible impedance and seem to share some design principles as well. Coincidentally, both share the same stylus protector as My Sonic Lab, further evidence of these 'tight' relationships....

With the original MC2000 Ortofon boldly aimed at the state of the art in analog music reproduction, just when 'perfect sound forever' was taking over the music industry. They definitely succeeded, but it was considered too impractical in use due to its peculiar combination of extreme low output and extreme high compliance in a rather big and heavy aluminum body.

One could argue that the subsequent '000' series was an attempt to bring that performance plateau to a more managable package of less extreme and less contradictory specs. In my opinion they didn't quite succeed with MC2000mk2, MC3000(mk2) and MC5000, but of course they're still very good systems. I have little doubt you will be able to enjoy MC3000mk2.

In my opinion Ortofon did reach the MC2000's level of neutrality and refinement with the 75th Anniversary MC7500. Which of the two is preferable might be system dependent, but it's a close (personal) call.

@lewm your opposite preference made me listen to both systems again in various set ups. As I like both cartridges best with classical music, I picked a record that brings out the dynamic power of the orchestra extremely well: Prokofiev's Symphony no. 6 by Walter Weller and the LPO on Decca SXL 6777. One of those great Kingsway Hall recordings by Kenneth Wilkinson.

You're absolutely correct about one thing: there was not the slightest hint of the edginess I mentioned before, so memory was playing tricks on me. Perhaps that memory was the result of playing too many US Columbia pressings that give every cartridge (more than) a hint of edginess.
Playing this Decca recording the MC7500 sounds almost too polite through the T3000, but it dynamically 'wakes up' through the Boulder phono amp and that is the 'winning' combination here. With the MC2000 it's exactly the other way around, with more power and bass slam through the T3000. I'm completely at a loss to explain......

I have one MC 2000 for sell. As on ckaster's picture with the box
and headshell. 
@nandric re-cantilevered by Axel, isn’t it ?
Or it was Lewm’s sample re-cantilevered by Axel ?
I forgot.
Thanks lewm for your response.
Somehow, the majority of cartridges I've used so far are Ortofons MC cartridges, including very low output MC20, SL15, SL20, and MC20 super, and SPUs (Gold ref, Silver Meister MKii, and mono). I like them all. But I've never had a chance to try those 4 digit cartridges. Maybe they cost much more than I could afford to, but I just wonder how much better they could be compared to SPUs. 
chakster, you are probably  confused with my Sony XL 44 l. This
one got boron cantilever + nude Shibata from Axel. Lew got MC
2000 without box and headshell and the one I still own is complete
with box and (titanium?) headshell. 

This cartridge was purchased to be used as a daily player for more casual listening sessions. I listen to a lot of vinyl, and while I enjoy my digital rig its really the turntables that get played more. I need a cartridge that I can use up and not worry about the hours it accumulates. My other cartridges are pretty decent, a Transfiguration Audio Proteus, a ZYX 4D, and Ikeda 9 Kawami, and indirectly they set the bar for the sound quality needed from the casual cartridge.

I had obtained an Ortofon MC200 to try in this application, and it sounds quite respectable, but its not where I need it to be. I could have bought a new Audio Technica OC9 series, maybe an Ortofon Quintet, but in the end when the hours are done on those carts they become throw aways. Also, they trail my main cartridges in terms of SQ by a fair amount, so they would not be something you look forward to listening to, but rather also rans.

So this is my attempt to have a good sounding casual cartridge. The acquisition price was a bit higher than a TOTL OC9 cartridge, but I am thinking its worth the difference. We shall see. My ZYX is getting up there in hours and I need to plan for a diamond replacement for it. I don’t need the MC3000 MK II to vie for the best sounding cartridge spot in my collection, I just need it to be competent.
Dear @neonknight : The A95 is better than the 90 and I agree with you about but these cartridges not only were designed for the 90 and 95 Ortofon anniversary as limited edition where some Ortofon collectors are and were really happy with.

But those designs were and are an Ortofon departure in overall design and specially in the cartridge body shape and the way they builded that body material used.

Normally Ortofon shows something new in its anniversary designs.

The 7500 is too a limited edition by the 75 anniversary and really good performer. For you this is the one to go if you want a different top Ortofon cartridge with out all the deals you have to do with the MC2000: extreme high compliance, extreme output level and higher weigth that the desired for its compliance.

About the MC2000 almost no body cares on it ( at least in Agon. ) and several audiophiles not even knew of that model till several years ago I brought here as an owner of that model and after that some gentlemans started to be interested/curiosity on it to confirm if what I posted about was a reality . @lewm is a very well regarded Agoner and confirmed it in this thread.

Miss I my MC2000? not really I owned for years and enjoy it at its best, so I move on.

Btw, this humble AT today cartridge not only could be a challenge for your top cartridges at very good price point that you can get for your today and future casual listening sessions:


When in college I worked part time in an audio store. We were an Ortofon dealer and the owner was a fan of the MC2000. We always had one in the store, but very very few were sold. It was too expensive for most customers. But I got to hear it back then, and have always knew of it's pedigree. 

I have owned the A90 and it's a nice cartridge. But I suspect I will like the voicing of the X000 cartridges, I have plans to acquire a 7500 whenever an opportunity arises. 
Yes, to expensive at 1K in those times when the Ortofon top of the line set you back only 0.6K but additional to that 1K you need to buy the T2000 for other 1K.

Dear @ihcho : ""  compared to other LoMC Ortofon cartridges, like MC20, SL15, SL20? I've used them with MCA-76, T-20 and T-30, and they all sound fantastic, but never had a chance to use MCx000s.
I used MC100 briefly, but it was not as good as others.  ""

There is no comparison with the cartridges you name it. I still own the MC-10 and the 20 this one is pretty decent cartridge even today. I owned the MC200 and after 30 days I sold it.

Your T30 is way better than what we can imagine where its frequency range goes from 4hz to 200K  !.

In those old times the MC-30 was the top of the line till appeared the 2000. I bought a demo sample ( at very good price. ) and I think that even today is good cartridge.

Btw, if I remember the first time that Ortofon used in its cartridge designs the patented WRD ( damping suspension that still today continue to use. ) ) was with the MC-30. You can read somewhere in the net this about the critical/important Ortofon design issue:

""    which selectively damps resonances in the mechanical system and consists of two layers of special rubber with a platinum disc between them. At low frequencies the two rubber bearings enable the cantilever to make wide movements, while at higher frequencies the platinum disc acts as a sort of brake, progressively damping the movements with increases in frequency, so that at very high frequencies only the front rubber bearing is working ""


The MC30 was Ortofon's highest achievement before the arrival of MC2000, introducing some important innovations as mentioned by Raul. It was a real statement product that initially came in a luxury leather attaché case, complete with test record. In the Ortofon 100th Anniversary book it is mentioned that the MC20 which preceeded the MC30 was (co)designed by a young Japanese designer. The story goes that this individual was none other than Nakatsuka San, later of ZYX fame. Small world indeed!

The original MC30 was also a very low output device at 0.1mV (my sample is even lower at 0,09mV) and was probably as difficult to operate in the 70's as the MC2000 was in the 80's. All subsequent versions of MC30 (mk2, Super, Supreme) had higher output to make it more managable, just like subsequent models in the '000' series, but none sounded as good as the original version.

To my ears the original MC30, original MC2000 and MC7500 were the best Ortofon cartridges of the 20th century, until in this century new owners started a new phase of ultra high end designs with models like MC Anna and the A90 and A95 Anniversary models. These are extremily good systems, but their sonic priorities are more geared towards maximum information retrieval, consistent with what high end audio is all about these days.

later of ZYX fame.

I am aware that before Zyx he worked for Monster Cable with the Alpha and Genesis series ... I do not remember if it is always the same designer of the Ortofon Mc 20 30 etc. etc.

The original MC30 was also a very low output device at 0.1mV (my sample is even lower at 0,09mV)

also my two MC 30s ... one 0.09 the other 0.092/0,093mV but I knew an owner that the output was 0.085mV.
Thanks for the reply Raul.
I've been tempted to get MC30, but always settled for others, like MC20, MC20 super, and SL15/20 due to the budget I had.
On my system, MC20 super sounds better than MC20 and SL cartridges. SPUs sound a bit smoother, but I cannot really tell my SPU gold ref and Silver Meister MKii are noticeably better than MC20 super.
Currently I am using SPUs, MC20 super, Denon DL103R, DL303, and AT150mlx. I like them all, but I will try MC30 some time in the near future.
Dear @best-groove : The MC-30 manufacturer spec was 0.08mv but each sample was tested in its main specs that is what you received in the card certification. The MC 20 spec was even lower 0.07mv

Something that I can’t explain is why ( from 1948. ) in those years Ortofon was not a very well regarded cartridge designer/manufacturer by the " high-end " market even its great contributions in the cartridge development and not only LOMC cartridge bu MM/MI too.
Seems to me that almost no one but only a few audiophiles as you or edgewear and some other gentlemans gave and give the real credit that Ortofon deserves in the cartridge market.

When every one talks about: ZYX or Koetsu or Dynavector, Clearaudio, Lyra, etc, etc..but not Ortofon down there,.

It was with the Anna and A90 when the people turn his head for Ortofon.

I can’t remember, from its top designs, any Ortofon with a bad sound or " so so " performance. Its quality level always up to the task and a challenge for any other top cartridge out there.


Raul, it’s true that Ortofon always had a somewhat mundane reputation, at least here in the West. The book released for their 100th Anniversary describes in detail their professional heritage and they did their business accordingly. No brand mystique or fancy marketing tactics. Their record cutting lathes were equal if not superior to the Neumann lathes, but didn’t sell as well mostly resulting from licensing agreements and other business reasons. Their tonearms and SPU cartridges were also broadcasting industry standards, in direct competition with EMT. Again the EMT products were generally more succesful, perhaps because Ortofon never produced a dedicated turntable.

In the 70’s they became a household name for low priced MM cartridges, competing with companies like Grado. In the 80’s when digital took over, they managed to be very succesful in the DJ crowd. This market position probably didn’t sit well with a high end reputation, even when such products were just as much part of their portfolio (like the ’000’ series discussed here). The new management made the decision to put more emphasis on the expensive high end products, which has changed the reputation amongst audiophiles. It has to be said that the situation in Japan was very different, where they had always been one of the most highly regarded European brands, especially for the SPU cartridges.

It was with the Anna and A90 when the people turn his head for Ortofon.

It depends; in my country Ortofon in the 70s-80s 90s has always been appreciated for its products and sold a lot, even the x000 models.
With the early 2000s many brands took over the sales for hi-end models but Ortofon it survives well especially with models accessible to all.

I have two MC 30 as I wrote but I use one of them without the body; the sound is much better without a body; as it happened in the 80's when I extracted the body of a Dynavector 10x4 the leap forward in terms of quality and freshness in the sound was immediately noticeable.
If it were possible and easy I would like to listen to all my cartridges without the body