Sumiko and Ortofon are two of the biggest names in the Hi-Fi market. They produce some of the most durable and reliable audio equipment.
That’s why it can be a little tricky to choose between the different cartridges the brands produce. So, if you’re debating Sumiko Olympia vs. Ortofon 2M Blue, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at the major differences and similarities between the two devices.
The two cartridges have a similar moving magnet operation and stylus shape. In addition, they can both last for up to 1,000 hours of playback. Although, the Ortofon is marginally larger than the Sumiko. Other than that, Olympia has a steeper tracking angle and a smaller output voltage.
What Is Sumiko Olympia?
Sumiko opened its doors back in 1982. Since then, the company spends most of its resources perfecting its cartridge devices.
That’s how the Sumiko Olympia came about. The brand designed the gadget to combine technical performance with sonic presentation.
As soon as you use the cartridge, you’ll hear the impressive audio quality. It has a rhythmic aspect that makes it incredibly enjoyable to listen to.
Plus, the sound is dynamic, which makes for a much more pleasant listening experience. This is likely because of the solid midrange and bass tones.
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So, that makes this cartridge especially suited for the rock and pop genres.
While this device may struggle with treble, it can still deliver reliable performance.
Other than that, the Olympia comes with an aluminum cantilever. This is the component that provides balance to the cartridge.
Because the metal is rigid, it can help reduce some of the unwanted vibrations.
The Olympia also comes with excellent tracking. That makes audio skipping far less likely.
What Is Ortofon 2M Blue?
Ortofon has been synonymous with amazing audio quality for many years. Since the brand opened its doors in 1918, it’s produced cutting-edge sound equipment.
An excellent example of this is the Ortofon 2M Blue. This device can deliver incredible acoustics with minimal effort from the user.
It does that by relying on expert craftsmanship. For starters, the exterior consists of resin that can reduce the surrounding resonance.
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We also can’t forget about the translucent blue window that gives the gadget a much more elegant look.
Besides that, it comes with a great frequency response range and a decent output voltage.
One of the most impressive features of the 2M Blue is the exceptional timing. This is due to the stable tracking force that allows for seamless playback.
Moving on, this device gives users solid audio and defined treble and midrange notes. Although, it can have a hard time with a pronounced bass.
However, the overall acoustics are crisp and include plenty of texture and detail.
After going through the specifications of each device, we can move on to the distinctions. Let’s take a look at how the Sumiko Olympia and Ortofon 2M Blue are different.
|Ortofon 2M Blue
|12 Hz to 30 kHz.
|20 Hz to 20 kHz.
The first difference you’ll notice between these two cartridges is their size. As you can tell, the Ortofon 2M Blue is larger than the Sumiko model.
This will affect the overall ease of use and sound quality.
In general, a larger cartridge is easier to handle. That’s because you can see all the components, which makes connecting the device simpler.
Other than that, the extra inches can help balance the cartridge. Since the gadget spends most of its time in suspension, this is crucial.
In addition, the Ortofon cartridge is slightly heavier. This additional weight can improve the stability of the device and reduce resonance.
2. Tracking Angle
Many of us talk about this feature of a cartridge, but few actually know what it is. To make this a little easier, take a look at your tonearm.
You’ll notice that the component lies on a specific slope. This incline is the tracking angle. It determines the position at which the stylus touches the vinyl records.
For that reason, this will have a major effect on playback.
Generally, a larger angle means smoother audio. That’s because the stylus tip will be able to rake the grooves on the record more efficiently.
The Sumiko Olympia cartridge sits on a steeper angle, meaning it’ll have an easier time tracking the disc.
Although, the difference between the two cartridges is small. So, inexperienced listeners may not even pick up on the audio change.
3. Output Voltage
The output voltage is another crucial aspect of a cartridge’s performance. This feature determines how loud the device will play once you connect it.
The Sumiko Olympia provides around 4 mV, while the Ortofon 2M Blue supplies about 5.5 mV. This may seem like a small difference, but it has a significant impact.
A larger output voltage means the cartridge can produce higher volumes. So, if you play the Olympia and 2M Blue side by side, you’ll notice the latter is louder.
However, this is only the case if you’re using the turntable to produce the audio. Once you connect an amplifier or a speaker, the difference is unnoticeable.
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Now that the differences are out of the way, let’s talk about the similarities.
One of the major similarities between Ortofon and Sumiko is the operation. Both devices rely on a moving magnet mechanism to function.
To explain this, we have to look at the inner workings of a cartridge. As the stylus passes through the grooves, the component will jump up and down.
Inside the cartridge, the stylus attaches to a magnet that can move freely. In addition, there’s a stationary coil that’s linked to the outer casing of the device.
As the magnet moves, it will produce an electric charge that we can then translate into audio.
2. Stylus Shape
Another notable similarity is the shape of the styluses. Both the Sumiko and Ortofon devices come with elliptical tips.
That means the styluses have an oval cross-section. This allows the tip to glide between the grooves on vinyl records with minimal friction.
For that reason, the two cartridges will read music notes in the same way. On top of that, because both styluses have the same diameter, they’re equally accurate.
The Ortofon 2M Blue and the Sumiko Olympia can both run for around 1,000 hours. That’s close to 41 days of music playback.
So, the two devices have a similar lifespan. Although, you get more use out of the Ortofon model.
When you first install the Sumiko Olympia, the stylus will take a while to break in. Depending on your turntable, this can take anywhere between 10 and 30 hours.
During this time, the device is prone to skipping and even creating audio distortions.
For that reason, you get more bang for your buck with the Ortofon.
The Sumiko Olympia excels in many areas. For starters, it can deliver amazing midrange and bass notes. That means it produces warm audio with clear edges.
Other than that, this cartridge has a larger tracking angle, so it’s more stable.
To top it off, Olympia is slightly more affordable than the Ortofon device.
Ortofon 2M Blue comes with many exceptional features. For example, it has no problems playing crisp treble and midrange notes.
On top of that, it has a high output voltage, so it can produce louder audio. Plus, this device is a bit larger, making it a little easier to handle and install.
If you’re on a budget and looking for an all-around great cartridge, the Sumiko Olympia may be for you.
It can give you a solid sound with reliable performance. However, it may take a while for the stylus to settle in and produce clear audio.
As a beginner turntable enthusiast, the Ortofon 2M Blue may be the way to go. This device is one of the easiest cartridges to set up and use.
In addition, the 2M Blue will deliver excellent acoustics straight out of the box. On top of that, because of the stable tracking, you won’t have to worry about the audio skipping.