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Ortofon’s 2M Black LVB-250 Cartridge Review [English]


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Ortofon’s 2M Black LVB-250 Moving Magnet

Cartridge Review

Anniversary model dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven

English edition: Stavros D. Gatsopoulos

by Demos Dravopoulos

When one of the most prominent cartridge manufacturers for decades, top Danish brand Ortofon, announce a new product they consider to be their greatest achievement to date in the ‘affordable’ moving magnet cartridge category, then that’s big news! The frankly addictive Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 saw the light of day this September and has since made quite an acquaintance with our vinyl collection. This particular limited production model commemorates – as indicated by its LVB 250 prefix/model number – the 250th anniversary of the birth of legendary German composer-pianist Ludwig van Beethoven. Following a preliminary break-in period of two weeks, we are now ready to put the 2M Black LVB 250 cartridge through its paces, but before we proceed, here is a brief technical analysis.

Until now, the flagship model of Ortofon’s 2M (moving magnet) range was the Black model with the slightly inferior Bronze model coming in second. The multiple award winning 2M series is bookended by the more affordable, excellent value for money, Blue and Red Models. Each model has its own tonal characteristics, while the compatibility throughout the 2M range means that one can easily upgrade the performance of the more affordable models by retrofitting the stylus of a more expensive model (in between models Red & Blue stylus and Bronze & Black stylus).

The 2M Black LVB 250 has been recreated from the concepts of its predecessor, the 2M Black, but the 2M Black LVB 250 performance takes one step further to enhance the cartridge’s capabilities and technical excellence. The 2M Black LVB 250 uses a Nude Shibata diamond on a Boron cantilever, the combination known from the acclaimed MC Cadenza Black cartridge. The Nude Shibata stylus’s slim, highly polished profile allows an exceedingly wide contact area to the groove walls and ensures notably detailed reproduction throughout the spectrum, including even the highest frequencies.The use of an extremely stiff and lightweight Boron cantilever adds remarkable transparency, speed and responsiveness. 2M Series styli interchangeability: The 2M Series’ engines, coils and magnets configurations are not identical: Red and Blue are identical, so are the Bronze and Black and so are the true mono variants 2M Mono and 2M 78. Likewise, 2M series styli are interchangeable within the below combinations: – 2M Red, 2M Blue and 2M Silver – 2M Bronze, 2M Black and 2M Black LVB 250

More specifically, the 2M Black LVB250 is fitted with a Nude Shibata diamond on a Boron cantilever – an extremely rigid combination – the same combination that can be found on the more Cadenza Black MC series, and much more expensive. The Nude Shibata stylus allows for a superbly detailed reproduction of the entire tonal spectrum due to their notably wide contact area to the groove walls. Its suspension system is made of nano tubes, for superior damping, transferable to sound quality. The cartridge’s output – on a par with the specifications of the whole 2M series – remains high at 5mV, with channel separation at 27dB (@ 1KHz), while total weight of LVB 250 model is 7.2 grams. The factory recommended tracking force is between 1.5 and 1.7 grams. Throughout our tests we selected a tracking force of 1.60-1.65 grams.

… and a grand winner of EISA awards for 2021-22, highly recognised cartridges of Ortofon and their gold metal !

Notes with Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 limited anniversary edition.

In terms of external appearance, the 2M Black LVB250 retains the 2M Black livery, with the addition of the composer’s image and several LVB 250 inscriptions. After having broken the cartridge in for about 80 hours and in a critical but also nostalgic mood, it’s time to begin our audio test by selecting ten albums of our choice. Starting with the Beatles’ Abbey Road (Japan 180gr. Pressing), the LVB 250 was truly magical. During the audition of this unique and classic LP, the way the cartridge handled the dynamics of the Beatles’ musical passages and outbursts far exceeded the usual limitations of mobile magnet cartridges priced up to six hundred euros. Beyond the scope of this review, my personal interest in moving magnet cartridges in recent years is well known, as I am always on the lookout for cartridges that best manage to combine value for money and performance (the Ortofon 2M Red at one hundred euros (!) and the upper level 2M Blue, along with the Nagaoka, remain unsurpassed, without a serious rival in my opinion). However, with the Black LVB 250 I felt that there is no need to invest in a mobile coil cartridge without doubling my budget and only under the condition of owning a high quality phono-stage and cantilever. The totally magical rendering of the middle frequencies, the amazingly realistic body projection and reading of information left me speechless. The stereo imaging, separation and the three-dimensional suspension of the Beatles were delivered in all of their glory, proving that the cartridge is capable of lifting the whole performance of the host reception system to new heights. The tones of the instruments were also rendered with excellent fidelity and overall, the 2M Black LVB250 left the best possible impression that a moving magnet cartridge could. Comparing it to the Benz Micro ACE SM (very close in price to a moving coil cartridge), I found that the Ortofon, using the same preamplifier, sounded slightly more restrained in the treble spectrum, with more ‘sensual’ middle and was fuller, warmer and friendlier throughout the whole frequency range. It should be noted here that, in contrast to the well bedded in Ortofon, the normally awe-inspiring rival (Benz) had been on the ‘shelf’ for more than three years, but, ultimately, it did not manage to surpass neither the middle and bass delivery nor the sheer naturalness of volume and timbre displayed by the LVB 250.

Moving to classical music territories, the LVB250’s aura and style fit the musical personality of the composer that this particular cartridge honors like a glove. Beethoven’s Symphonies and Piano Concertos (piano concerto # 3 performed by Sviatoslav Richter) were recreated with first-class bodies and volume, excellent information and a wealth of harmonics. We could also hear a subtle touch of micro-dynamics in very satisfactory doses as well as perfect timing and musical flow, traits that are characteristic of more expensive moving coils rather than moving magnet cartridges. Its transparency makes the sets of strings sound with such clarity of image that each musician really stands out in the mix, depending on the quality of the recording of course. Older recordings, such as Richter’s, are rendered with a new freshness and without the imposition of traces of stress or inhomogeneity. The purity and kindness of delivery evident here are a definite indicator of aural supremacy.

Next up on the turntable is Greece’s first southern hard rock band, Soundtruck, with their “Voodoo” LP, a 200gramms pressing produced entirely in Greece (by Cimbalom Vinyl Plant, a newly founded company that I collaborate with). Although the album has been mixed digitally, the naturalness and body throughout the whole frequency range as well as the wide and expansive soundstage almost transported me to a different continent and the fully analog productions of yesteryear. The selected albums for this audio test included metallica and white stripes, always with the kind permission of Beethoven, I hope he approved! Throughout the test, surface noise was almost non-existent and the sound was as indeed as loud as a truck. The 2M Black LVB250 will confidently handle all rock, blues and heavy music playlists. It will unlock harmonics and details, with a rich tone even at low volume levels of a few db, or in loud club situations with its homogeneity and clarity, stealing your heart in the process. Ultimately, this cartridge must become mine in the near future.


I cannot stress enough the superiority of the Anniversary Ortofon 2M Black LVB250 or why you should buy it, not knowing your financial capability to invest in it. What I can assure you of though, is that even in the case of owning a turntable of four hundred euros, the LVB 250 you grant you a sonic performance that will shock your nights and potentially make your friends jealous. Although this cartridge is aimed at upper scale analog setups of phono-stages and turntables costing two to three thousand euros each, it can work wonders even in the most economical of setups. I tried really hard to find something negative to say about the 2M Black LVB250, but failed miserably.         


Review System:

Analog Sources : E.A.T. (European Audio Team) Forte S, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO, Kuzma Stabi S, Origin Live Silver κ.α. Phono Stages: VTL, Lejonklou Slipsik 7.1, Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista Cartridges: Ortofon 2M Blue & 2M Red, Van den Hul THE FROG, Vertere Mystic, Sumiko, Kuzma CAR-50 Digital Sources : Primare, RT-Audio Design Orpheus HiRes Battery DAC Streaming Music Services: Tidal premium, Spotify premium, Preamps : VTL, E.A.R.-Yoshino, Conrad-Johnson (various) Integrated & Power Amplification : Pathos Classic One MkIII edition, Jadis Orchestra Reference, RT-Audio Design Class-A, Musical Fidelity (various), Conrad-Johnson (tube & solid-state) Transports (CD/SACD/File): Musical Fidelity, MusiChi, Foobar2000, Hysolid, various PC-based others Speakers : Duevel, ProAc Studio & Response series, Kharma CRM 3.2 FE Black Edition, Klipsch Klipschorn, Club-27 Kurt mk2 Signature Kit, Triangle (Various) Cables: Nordost ηχείων-interconnect, Neotech interconnects, Esprit Audio ηχείων-interconnects, Nordost USB cables, Alpha Core Goertz Sapphire Silver RCA, Van Den Hul interconnects (RCA) Power Cables : Neotech, IsoTek, Oyaide, Shunyata Research Power Conditioning : Shunyata Research Hydra, Nordost Qv2/Qk1, Lab12.

Retail Price: 888,00 €

Distribution & Auditions in Greece:




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