When it comes to turntable cartridges, the Goldring E3 and the Ortofon 2M Blue are two of the most popular models on the market. Both offer high-quality sound and are often recommended for audiophiles looking for an upgrade from their entry-level cartridges. But how do they compare? Let’s take a closer look.
The Goldring E3 is a moving magnet (MM) cartridge that features a spherical stylus and a high output voltage of 3.5mV. It has a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and a tracking force range of 1.5-2.5 grams. The E3 is known for its excellent detail retrieval and imaging, making it a great choice for those who prioritize clarity and precision in their music playback.
On the other hand, the Ortofon 2M Blue is also an MM cartridge, but it features a nude elliptical stylus and a slightly lower output voltage of 5.5mV. It has a frequency response of 20Hz-25kHz and a tracking force range of 1.6-2.0 grams. The 2M Blue is known for its warmth and musicality, with a slightly softer sound than the E3.
In terms of build quality, both cartridges are well-made and durable. The E3 has a plastic body and a metal cantilever, while the 2M Blue has a more substantial body made of a combination of plastic and metal. The 2M Blue also features Ortofon’s unique split pole pins, which are designed to reduce magnetic distortion and improve channel separation.
When it comes to installation and setup, both cartridges are straightforward and easy to mount. The E3 comes with a standard screw-on mount, while the 2M Blue uses Ortofon’s proprietary bayonet mount. Both cartridges require careful alignment and adjustment of tracking force and anti-skate to achieve optimal performance.
In terms of sound quality, the Goldring E3 and the Ortofon 2M Blue have different strengths and weaknesses. The E3 excels at delivering precise, detailed sound with excellent separation between instruments and vocals. It’s particularly well-suited for classical and jazz music, where intricate arrangements and dynamic range are essential. The 2M Blue, on the other hand, has a slightly warmer sound that’s well-suited for rock, pop, and other genres that prioritize groove and rhythm. It also has a more forgiving sound that can smooth over rough or worn records.
So which cartridge is right for you? Ultimately, it depends on your priorities and preferences. If you prioritize clarity, detail, and precision, the Goldring E3 is an excellent choice. If you prefer warmth, musicality, and a forgiving sound, the Ortofon 2M Blue may be a better fit. Both cartridges offer exceptional value for their price and are excellent upgrades from entry-level cartridges.