Received The MC2000 Back From Expert Stylus Today

So I got the Ortofon MC2000 back from Expert today, and Mr. Hodgson did a beautiful job on this service. He fitted a new Paratrace stylus and made a minor repair to the end of the OEM cantilever. Looks as new, and there are no oddities to the stylus assembly. The Paratrace diamond is quite diminutive, barely able to be seen with my aging eyes. 

This afternoon I installed it on a very light Fidelity Research headshell, looks kind of like one of the Swiss cheese SME ones. Wired it to a T2000 transformer and then to a Graham Slee Accession. 

This is a remarkably detailed and neutral sounding cartridge. I have a few decent cartridges here and this is as good as any I have experienced. My system uses a pair of JBL 4365 speakers and a Halcro DM8 pre amp, so I have to be careful with system synergy as a too clinical component can push it over the edge. The MC2000 comes very close to doing this. I am considering a wood headshell like the Yamamoto boxwood, due to its low mass and its ability to add a touch of warmth/body to the overall sound. 

But even as it sits the transparency, the fine detail, the dynamic contrasts are all outstanding. I can tell after an evening of listening this is a keeper for me, and while its been a bit of a drawn out journey to accumulate the bits and pieces and get the cartridge was worth every bit of effort. 

Yes I enjoy my Transfiguration, ZYX, and Ikeda, that is true. But I like the MC2000 every bit as much and I would get rid of a whole bunch of stuff before I ever parted with this cartridge. 


Hi neonknigh,  deed you got also the sapphire cantilever? Try to find

Orsonic headshell. You can't adjust stylus distance nor  azimuth

with an wooden headshell. 

Why did the cantilever need repair? The original stylus is press fitted. Was he able to do the same with the new one? What tonearm? Thx.

@nandric No, I kept the factory cantilever in place, this cartridge was considered among the top of the world when it was produced, I want to hear what it sounds like in stock form. The tapered aluminum alloy cantilever is critical to that sound. The Yamamoto wood headshells allows for both distance and azimuth adjustment. The Orsonic is too high mass to be used with this cartridge. You want as low a mass headhsell as possible, the Fidelity Research I have it on now if 5 grams, the boxwood Yamamoto is 5.5 grams. 

@lewm When I received the MC2000 I briefly installed it to give it a listen, and it performed like there was no diamond. I did look at the diamond was missing. Now I don't know if I received it from the seller that way, or if it separated when I cued it down due to bad timing. The reality is it did not matter because it was already going to Expert to get a new diamond since the cartridge is decades old and I have no idea how many hours were on the diamond. I also wanted the T2000 transformer the seller had, and it worked out well for me as he sold me the transformer several weeks later. When Hodgson inspected it he said the end of the cantilever would need repairs. I did not press him on how he did it, but the cantilever is whole, there is very very little epoxy at the diamond installation, and it in fact looks like a factory installation. It tracks well and has a very low noise floor, so far everything is pointing to a top rate job. 

Tone arm is a Dynavector DV505. I have a pair of them mounted on a Scheu Das Laufwerk No 2 turntable, and an Esoteric E-03 phono stage with 2 inputs. So if I am inclined I can compare two cartridges with the same supporting components all the way down the audio chain. 

I think we went over this ground before the repair. I also have my MC2000 mounted on a DV505, using a CF headshell. Mine was retipped by Axel, with original aluminum cantilever and original or original shape stylus, which I think was press fitted (no visible epoxy). Dave Slagle made the active step up device .

@lewm If there is epoxy it is very little, I pretty much see the tiniest spot of black diamond, and since diamond is typically clear I assume that has to be epoxy that is being used. But it is nothing like you see when a diamond is mounted to a solid boron cantilever. 

Well Axel is retired, and the choice of retippers available is diminishing, at least those with a great number of years of experience. Also its getting exponentially harder to find MC2000 that are good candidates for restoration. Most of the ones I see anymore have been abused and are on Ebay with bent or skewed cantilevers. Perhaps they make a good choice for a boron transplant like Raul thought sounded nice, but if you want one in original form it is a very difficult endeavor. Which is a shame, because from what I hear these are exceptional cartridges. 

Hi neonknight, As J. Carr explained the only advantage of aluminum

cantilever is that the stylus can be ''pressure fitted'' while by all other

(''exotic'') kinds the stylus must be glued in the cantilever. This means

glue between stylus and the cantilever which compromise rigidity of

the combination. 

Dear Lew, If you mean my MC 2000 than this one was never retipped.

Not even by Axel . 

Dear Nandric, I do refer to the MC2000 that I bought from you.  I thought you told me it was re-tipped by Axel with one of his last assemblages (cantilever and stylus) that either resembled the original or was per original Ortofon spec.  If it IS original, then all the nicer.  Definitely an aluminum cantilever with press-fitted stylus; I've examined it under my microscope.  As you already know, it is a favorite.  Based on other writings of JCarr, I would think it is best to stick with Aluminum, since the suspension, etc, was designed with the mass and flexibility of aluminum in mind.  But I would be curious how it would sound with sapphire or boron.  Sapphire would be closer to aluminum in mass, I think.

Dear @lewm  : Boron cantilever puts the 2000 in a higher step on overall quality performance. I made the comparison against an original one. I owned 3 of those cartridges. VdH made the     work. Boron stiffer material helps with the resonance tonearm/frequency due that we have to remember that the measured compliance of the 2000 is over 30 cu and this means that that resonance frequency with high mass tonearms will be at 4hz-5hz.



@lewm  So if the MC2000 you have indeed has the factory stylus, do you have any idea of hours? The cartridge is now pushing 40 years old. Ortofon states their diamonds start to show wear at 1000 hours and are definitely done at 1800 hours. If you are at the end of the lifespan, what would you do for a replacement diamond?

@rauliruegas If I had a MC2000 that had a damaged cantilever I would consider a refurbishment with boron. But in the case of my cartridge I would not replace the OEM aluminum cantilever, there are getting to be fewer and fewer of these cartridges in good working order. In my case I have the Ortofon case,box, headshell, screw drivers, scale, stylus brush, bolt container, graphs, and even lapel pin that came with the original purchase. I also have the T2000 transformer, box, and paperwork. So having a complete original combination is of value to me, and having the MC2000 restored to as close as OEM condition as possible makes the most sense.

If I find a body that is a good candidate for surgery, then I would do it.


Raul, agree with your point about resonant frequency but I use mine in a low mass tonearm with a lightweight headshell. Anyway the last thing I’d want to change would be the high compliance of the MC2000, which I believe has a lot to due with its unique SQ. When the day comes that it needs retipping, I’d certainly consider boron, but not at the expense of high compliance.

Any cartridge would sound good through those kick ass JBL's

The 2000 was a holy grail type acquisition back in the day

Should be killer for sure

Neon, I asked the question earlier, but what was the damage to the cantilever that needed repair? I ask because apart from damage that might accidentally be inflicted if one were to try to change the stylus without also changing the cantilever, I cannot imagine how to damage the tip end of a cantilever without doing some other kind of damage as well.

@lewm To be honest I did not ask for detailed descriptions of why the cantilever was damaged or what its likely occurance was. As I mentioned when I first received the cartridge I set it up and cued it down and got rewarded with the sound of no diamond on the end of a cantilever. Now did the diamond choose that moment to separate or was it sent to me by the seller in that condition? That I cannot answer with certainty.

What I do know is the end of the cantilever did show damage. Was it a failed mounting point, did the metal fatigue, did it get cued hard down in its life and compromised? No way to know with any certainty. Mr Hodgson was able to make a repair to the end of the cantilever to his satisfaction and install a new paractrace. You look at it with modest magnification and you cannot see any repairs. It passes his quality control checks, and that works for me. I listen to the cartridge and there are no issues to be heard.

I went back into my emails, and this is cut from the communication and addresses the issue. The how of this happening is something I cannot pin down. I mounted the cartridge and had the issue right from the first cue down. For what its worth I cannot see any visual indicator of where he made the repair.


The Ortofon MC2000


This particular cartridge received rave reviews and having carried out a detailed examination found it to be in relatively good order apart from the fracture at the end of the tubular alloy cantilever.The fractured piece containing the diamond results in a shorter cantilever and this may be possible to repair by machining an abutment bonded with our ultra low mass Paratrace profile diamond. It is essential the overall mass of the cantilever remains unaltered as any increase will affect the overall compliance.

I believe I recognise in this description Mr. Hogdson from ''Expert

stylus''.  What i miss by MC 2000 descriptions is its output of 0,05mV.

That is to say the ''amount of wire'' used for the coils. This means

reduction of mass but also ''reduction'' of suitable phono-pres

to ''drive'' the cart. My Klyne phono-pre can't  drive my MC 2000.

So I own one but can't use the precious. 


Oh Mr. Hodgson had something to say about that, I just did not figure it was relevant to a post about the repair. He did try to caution me about prceeding with a service. At the time I had not acquired the T2000 transformer. I am very glad I pressed on anyways, as it was my good fortune to get the step up about a month later. This is what I was told:

"I am sure you are aware, this cartridge has an extremely low output and requires a step up device in most cases. Also the compliance is extremely high and will require a low mass arm.

I think you should give serious consideration to spending money on the cartridge, unless you have the experience and equipment necessary to be able to play the cartridge."

I have the Dynavector DV505 arm for it, and have a Fidelity Research headshell that is 5.5 grams, so I can meet the low mass requirement from the vertical plane. Actually I am able to follow the example of our esteemed @lewm in this case. The T2000 feeds a Graham Slee Accession, although I also have an input on the Esoteric E-03 phono stage I can feed it to. I have a second DV505 on the Scheu turntable that goes to one input on the E-03 and a SOTA Cosmos Eclipse/SME V that goes to the second input on the E-03. So I am content to keep the MC2000 on the Graham Slee, it sounds very nice there. What I feel very fortunate about is that I have no significant system noise. If you go back and read writings from JGH on the MC2000 and MC3000 it sounds as if back in the day folks had issues with hum and system noise using this cartridge. I have somewhat higher efficiency speakers and large solid state amps, so noise can be an issue here. Thank goodness I have none using this cartridge and I can just enjoy its beauty. I listed to a few albums last night and am quite content with how things turned out.

Hi neonknight, If you look at new (expensive) Ortofons  you will see also

pretty low output ( 0,2mV) but the lessons from MC 2000 are still in

high regards: only one layer of wire for's 's  the coils and (probably) stronger

magnets to increase the output.  BTW deed Lew try to seduce you with

''hude offer''  to sell to him  your  T2000, He is desperate to find one.

He may try to convince you that phono-pres are better solution referring

to Raul's  conviction as ''argument''. 

@nandric I am not a vintageophile, but I certainly have a respect for the classic components. The MC2000 is one of them. When I was in college I worked part time in an audio store and the owner was a huge MC2000 fan. I could never afford one, but did dream of it. So when I got a chance to get one, it allowed me to revisit my past in a meaningful way. I will not be parting with this cartridge/step up.

I know very well how hard it is to obtain a T2000. I will not be letting mine go. What is amazing is I got the entire MC2000 box, packaging, screw driver, graphs, weight scale, stylus brush, and even lapel pin. with the T2000 i got the box, packing, paperwork, with the only thing missing was the included RCA cables. I don’t think I ever saw a more complete MC2000/T2000 package up for sale. I feel quite fortunate to have lucked into this.

Nandric, I don't know what you are talking about.  I am not searching for a T2000, and I would not buy one if offered to me for a "bargain" price.  I am very happy using a step-up device custom made for me by Dave Slagle (Intact Audio), who is a friend.

neonknight, you forget to mention in the context of ''the entire MC box''

that the material of which the body as well the HEADSHELL are made

is aluminium oxide which is heated to become ceramics; second only

to diamond qua hardness, And I forget that not Lew but nandric is longing

for the T2000 (grin).


By box I mean the entire OEM packaging for the cartridge. The outer box, the inner hinged and velvet lined box....basically everything you would get with the new purchase of the cartridge that owners seem to lose over the years. 

I also have the factory Ortofon headshell for it, but it makes no sense to use it as it weighs 10.5 grams, the cartridge weighs 11 grams, and has a compliance of 30 dyne or so. But I do have it! 

Nikola, If I ever see one for sale (T2000), I will let you know.  In the interim there are a few sources for custom made SUTs; you can have one made with a turns ratio to suit the MC2000.  (I would favor Intact Audio, but I am biased.) But for me the way to go would be to use a current-driven phono.  The MC2000 actually makes a lot of current compared to other LOMCs, because of its very low internal resistance.  The nominal current output is .05mV/2 ohms = 25 micro-amps.  If you do that calculation for other LOMCs, the MC2000 comes out quite well up there for current output.

neonknight, I am not sure if we refer to the same box. My is

luxury wooden box ( 30x15x6 cm) with two ''levels'' . On the

level ''above'' is the cart + headshell. The lover ''level''contains

other parts . 

Dear Lew, My MC 2000 is the only MC cart with such low output.

All other I can drive with my Klyne and Basis Exlusive. So the

question is if the cost ''equal'' spending? 

True.  Which is why I haven't bought a current-drive phono stage for the MC2000; it's the only LOMC I own that would need it.  The box built for me by Dave Slagle actually is nominally current driven, but its input impedance is higher than the output impedance (2 ohms) of the MC2000, so actually it operates in voltage drive mode.  The way I think of it, the cartridge drives the phono stage, not vice-versa.


Yes that is the box I am referring to. I don't think I can be any clearer, its ALL the OEM packaging that was provided when you bought it new. I even have the lapel pin. The only item I do not have is the Ortofon RCA cables that were provided with the T2000. I have a cardboard box that held the cables, but not the cables themselves. Otherwise I have everything else that comes with the MC2000 and T2000. 

I know a retired dealer who used a MC2000 in a top end LP12. I heard it and it sounded very good. Detailed but a little thin and bright in the upper mids for my taste. He has since changed to Garrard 401 and Decca cartridges with claimed musically superior results. Coincidentally, that's what I run too. 

Dear @noromance  : Normally cartridge quality level performance is dependent of the whoile audio system. I don't like the Linn TT and ceratinly the 401 it's better with the rigth tonearm.

"  Decca cartridges with claimed musically superior results. .."

Decca and MC2000 are way different performers and that " musically " reference you post speaks as an audiophile preference and not necessary about MUSIC because MUSIC is not " musically ", this term is an audiophile one.

Btw, that " hin " characteristic you listen it is not intrisecal to the MC2000 and speaks more that the used tonearm was not really a good cartridge mate.

In the other side,that vintage cartridge is really good but I can't say excellent as is the Etna SL or other today top cartridges. MC2000 is not an easy cartridge to achieve its best quality performance, it goes against what in analog we already learned: it's extremely low output, heavy cartridge and way high compliance. Certainly not " user friendly ".





Pursuant to what Raul says about the MC2000, in his review of the MC2000, back around 1990, J Gordon Holt remarked that if one were to adhere closely to the guidelines about resonant frequency (8 to 12Hz range), the MC2000 would have to be mated to a tonearm with effective mass of 5g, because of its heavy weight and its very high compliance. (I know Raul is tired of my repeating this story; sorry.) Holt loved the MC2000, despite those warts. Ortofon never repeated themselves in terms of marketing a cartridge with such a high mass and high compliance. However, some of the latter day Audio Technica LOMC cartridges come close, although they are lighter in weight and slightly lower in compliance, which makes them much easier to deal with.

@lewm : Yes, that’s the ideal tonearm efective mass to stay inside that resonance frequency regards even 12 grs. could works in that specific subject, not exactly inside the ideal range but very close to it.



@rauliruegas Indeed. I too have a mothballed LP12/Ittok. I once ran a Decca in it and it was a poor match. Thanks for your reply.


Have spent some time listening to the MC2000 for awhile now. Just a few things to note. The upper registers are as transparent and detailed without being harsh or grainy, this is the best I have heard to date from analog. Granted my experience with cartridges tops out with a Transfiguration Audio Proteus, and there may be other cartridges out there that can outpace the MC2000, but I have not experienced them yet.

Secondly the mids are as neutral as JGH described in his first reviews of the cartridge, but I can see where this is not a persons cup of tea, or that system synergy may be an issue if the audio gear demands a full bodied cartridge. It is not that the MC2000 is lean, but rather that it adds nothing to the midband. 

So far I have not really been able to form an opinion on the bottom end. It is not thunderous, and at times seems lean. I can work a bit with VTA and see what happens here, as it seems I need to do more work in this region. Also this cartridge is not a macro dynamic bad ass, not like the Ikeda I have. 

All in all a very nice cartridge, and capable of high end performance even after all these years. I enjoy listening to it. It has become one of my favorites, and I imagine I will keep it in the ready for nights where I can sit down and fully appreciate its abilities. 

In the midrange, my MC2000 can be uncannily good at conveying the sense you are there at the performance. I hated when HP used the word "holographic", which was then copied by other reviewers who were not in his class linguistically, but "holographic" is one way to describe what I sometimes hear.  Some LPs are just not good enough to allow that sensation, unfortunately.


Yes the midrange has a purity that is exquisite! I have decided I want another so that I have a spare when one goes in for service. These are indeed special. 

Do you suppose it's possible to run the MC2000 on a SME V? The V is reported between 10 to 11 grams, so a touch high. But Ortofon sold the cartridge with a 10 gram headshell and expected people to use it. So a V should be in the realm of possibility? 

If i am able to acquire another one of these MC2000 I wonder about the possibility of running it on a SME V arm. Arm mass is between 10 and 11 grams as I understand, and it seems like the compliance is 24 dyne at 10 Hz. If the arm comes in at 10.5 grams the resonance frequency calculates at 6.93 Hz. Not as bad as I thought. If 11 gram arm mass its 6.85 Hz. It seems like this might work, as there is a scanned PDF article on the net regarding the T2000 review in Stereophile where the arm was set up with a MC2000 and the resonant frequency was in the 5 Hz range and the reviewer had no issues with warps or mistracking in that set up. 

Now its a matter of finding another MC2000. 

I just yesterday moved mine to my Triplanar, because the TP has no physical connectors between the cartridge pins and the phono input jacks, whereas the DV 505 has three sets, in addition to at the cartridge pins and at the phono inputs.  The TP has about the same effective mass as the SME V, if your numbers are correct.  Of course, I had "expectation bias" based on having reduced the number of connections in the path, but I do believe it's even better in the TP.  The jury is out, however, on bass response.  Bass seemed a little light, but I played only one or two LPs, so far, and neither is really good for judging bass (jazz guitar-ists, entirely). Since mass is probably a tad high, I would listen for a lowered resonant frequency.  Didn't hear that at all.

@lewm That certainly is encouraging. Please do update us with these listening sessions, as I have great interest in your experiences. So far I truly enjoy the cartridge, and would happily acquire another.