Kaplan's Korner

September 6, 2016

Toussaint gets the 2M Blue treatment



Record Collector News

Ortofon 2M Blue

I was stopped in my tracks while auditioning the Ortofon 2M Blue moving magnet cartridge a few weeks ago. The 2M Blue, mounted on the Jelco 750 D tone arm on the GEM Dandy PolyTable, was voicing a cover version of Paul Simon’s “American Tune” on Allen Toussaint’s posthumously released double LP American Tunes on Nonsuch Records. Listening to that song through the fully burned in 2M Blue got to me so emotionally, it made me stop thinking and just feel. Toussaint’s version is heartbreakingly beautiful. It’s also how I feel about the Ortofon 2M Blue moving magnet cartridge. It’s a steal at about $236.00, retail; it takes me to a place where I forget about listening to music and just feel it.

With the 2M Blue, decent records sound good and great records sound awesome. Some of my records are in less than perfect condition and those records still sounded great, not like some cartridges where the crappy records sound much crappier. Everything is enjoyable with this cartridge. There’s bite to Joe Gordon’s trumpet on his solo on “Step Lightly” on Shelly Mann & His Men at the Black Hawk, Volume 2 (pretty nice looking stereo version on Contemporary. S7578) I’m pleasantly shocked at how good this record sounds. If the 2M Blue is an entry-level cartridge then, you can stay entry level for a long time. And, the combination of the PolyTable and Jelco 750D tone arm is a solid foundation that, with the aid of the trusty Fozgometer, allows you to accurately “set-up” the cartridge/arm combo to the point where you’re, practically, tuning a musical instrument. The 2M Blue sounded spectacular with everything I threw at it. What’s nice is being able to hear into a record and say out loud, “GOSH Dang what an outstanding sound.”

Another synergistic match is the Ortofon combined with the stock, vintage 1983 AR THE Turntable. The singing cartridge showcased that live, springy, isolated sound that brought the music right into the room. Then, a late 70’s vintage Luxman PD 441 turntable showed up with the SME Series lll tone arm, and again, the 2M Blue highlighted the musicality of this direct drive beast of a turntable/SME tone arm combo.

The conclusion is, no matter what was thrown at it, the 2M Blue stayed musical and dug deep, into both the record and the gear, and showcased the strengths of each.

I live in a world where $236 is not an insignificant amount of money. So, dear readers, if you think you should really be replacing your worn out cartridges every few years — as you probably should — and, if you have what I refer to as “budgetary constraints,” at $236, the Ortofon 2m Blue is a “must have.” Warning: you’d better automate your life as much as possible because you will neglect your pets and your pansies in favor of resurrecting long forgotten vinyl treasures to audition your new Ortofon 2M Blue. I don’t want to confess that it made me sit for days “on end” enjoying record after record until my ass hurt. But, it’s true, I was captivated: the 2M Blue made my ass hurt.

Associated Auditioning Equipment

• GEM Dandy PolyTable with Jelco 750D tone arm.
• Vintage AR THE Turntable
• Zesto Audio Andros 1.2 Phono Stage
• PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter
• Music Reference RM-5 Mark1V Preamplifier
• BGM System model 250D solid-state power amplifier.
• Rogue Audio Chronos Magnum Integrated Amp
• PSB Imagine T2 speakers

Intervention Records

Intervention Records sent us Joe Jackson’s I’m The Man and Everclear’s So Much for the Afterglow and Sparkle and Fade. Both of these artists had been limited to radio listening for this reviewer. I have to admit, Joe Jackson was one of those performers who’s hits I never tired. I had forgotten how much I dug him. They are such great morsels of pop ear candy that I just want more.

In a chat with Intervention Records founder Shane Buettner, he really expressed, passionately, his intent on releasing absolute first class analog reissues of the music he loves. So, his reviving of these classics is obviously a labor of love as opposed to some corporate flooding of reissues. The sound quality is best of class, as expected from Kevin Gray mastering at Coherent Audio and pressing at RTI. Enjoy!

Desert Trip Indio

If you’re heading out to Indio for the Desert Trip concerts do not forget to visit the Glass House Record Store POP-UP at the show. Alex from Glass House has curated over 50,000 records just for sale at these shows. Leave room in the car so you can bring some records home with you. Seriously, this is the biggest LP pop up anywhere.


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