Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

Delivering a substantial 4.7mV (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec) output, albeit some 1.8dB lower than the whopping 5.8mV recorded for the 2M Black [HFN Mar '11], Ortofon's flagship LVB 250 derivative is otherwise a new chip off a very reliable block. The 'MWCNT' suspension yeilds a slightly softer 19cu (lateral) compliance but the key attribute of the 2M Black – its excellent symmetry across lateral and vertical groove modulations is retained. The response matching between in- and out-of-phase bands [black and red traces, Graph 1 below] is particularly fine, showing the same +1.5dB to +2dB boost through the presence/treble followed by a steep roll-off to ~–5dB/20kHz. This is contrary to the 'flatter' response specified by Ortofon, but consistent both with my own measurements over the last decade and – importantly – the subjective experience reported by Ken in his review. Equalised distortion is uniformly <2% from 20Hz-5kHz (lateral) and, once again, shows great consistency between in/out-of-phase cuts. This would typically promote a very uniform soundstage with no 'hot spots' in the centre or periphery.

While the general tenor of its response, separation, distortion and 26o VTA are all broadly unchanged over the 2M Black, there's no mistaking the more robust tracking enjoyed by the LVB 250. Yes, it was tested at +0.1g over the 2M Black's downforce but this is not sufficient to explain the improvement in groove threshold – circa 60μm for the 2M Black but a higher and symmetrical 75μm for the LVB 250. So while the plain-vanilla 2M Black failed the penultimate +15dB groove modulation (re. 315Hz/5cm/sec) at ~10% THD, the LVB 250 cleared this at 0.3% before navigating the +18dB torture test at ~3% THD. PM


Freq. resp. curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) vs. vertical (L–R, red). L channel dashed


Lateral (L+R, black infill) and vertical (L–R, red) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harmonics) versus frequency from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Generator type/weight Moving-magnet / 7.2g
Recommended tracking force 1.5-1.7mN (1.6mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 4.7mV / 0.6dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 14cu / 19cu
Vertical tracking angle 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability 75μm / 75μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 0.75–7.0% / 0.65–4.5%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) +2.3 to –7.6dB / +3.1 to –2.6dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 28dB / 14dB
Price £829

Ortofon A/S
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166