Shure M97XE vs Ortofon 2M Red

Music is one of many things that gives color to our daily life and people can have different preferences about the musician, genre, and even how we play the audio file. For those who are into classic players and currently looking for a replacement for their phono cartridge, Shure M97XE vs Ortofon 2M Red are two amazing moving magnet models you may want to try but, before you make a decision, see which cartridge will suit your preference better below.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Why Choosing Record Player
  • What are Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red
  • What Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red Look Like
  • How are the Sound Quality of Shure M97XE
  • How are the Sound Quality Ortofon 2M Red
  • How are the Performance of Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red
  • Shure M97XE Vs Ortofon 2M Red

Record Player

In this era where everything is digital and easily downloaded or taken from the internet, it seems that all of our life aspects is getting more convenient and while this should have been a great improvement from for example when our parents were still young, in fact, not all of us have the same feeling about it. Music industry is one of the biggest businesses in the world and it continues to evolve to follow market’s demand but some of us prefer the “old ones”.

It is all about taste and preference since everyone’s opinion is valid and we are free to choose whatever we like. For those who love to listen to old-school music, it might be strange to have them played in digital player such as from smartphone or portable music players which is why we prefer to have them loaded in a record player. There are many people who collect record plates and liking how this machine play their songs but as with most classic items, we may also have to spend more budget on the setup.

Depending on how many you can spend, the whole setup can be as affordable or expensive as you want for there is a wider range of price when it comes to record players and what it required to perform at the best level. However, we also admit that besides the personal preference itself, a record player is a nice option for people who are tired of seeing digital content all the time and want to disconnect their world for a moment. Read also: Zoom H4N vs H4N Pro.

Listening to a playlist from a streaming site is convenient but it is very tempting to open those social media accounts while the device is being used and in addition, we get a chance to enjoy the whole playlist without tempted to curate the tracks every now and then. Next is how good they will look like in your living room because a classic player will give an authentic vibe, moreover when added with your visible collection that can be a great way to start a conversation with new friends.

Last but not least is collecting vinyl record will be a very positive hobby for those who are able to spare some of their income to collect the releases from their favorite musicians. There are various hobbies out there and having this hobby will require you to continuously hunting for new disc which is again, a very entertaining and exciting journey to spend the weekend with. If you have friends with the same hobby then you may understand or know each other better based on their selection. 

About Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red

Besides the budget which probably will need a proper consideration before someone jumps into this hobby is the record player itself because just like any ancient technology, most of them require proper caring and replacement every now and then, unlike with digital players. One of the parts or components which is fragile enough to often break is their needles set or also called as cartridge or pick ups. This is what utilized by a record player to reads the undulations in the groove wall.

The good news is this part sold by various manufacturers in the market despite being a piece of ancient technology because there are still lots of people need them and as long as we prefer to use record player or turntable, the supply should last. Among those many audio equipment who made the cartridge, Shure and Ortofon are two of the most popular and trusted to provide reliable products at a competitive price range and also have quite the options for customers to pick.

 Shure M97XEOrtofon 2M Red
Shop now at Amazonclick hereclick here
Product Dimensions22 x 4 x 6 inches
4.7 x 3.5 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight6.4 ounces2.4 ounces

For those who are looking for a good cartridge but still friendly to the pocket, Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red are an ideal choice to check out. Both of them are very similar to each other and promising a long hour operation thus we don’t have to spend more in between regular replacement but, in general their stylus will last for 1000 hours and if you are only using them approximately an hour per day, then their stylus should last for years.

Comparing them from price point, Shure is the powerhouse when it comes budget cartridge and many people have been in love with them despite there are many with greater sound quality because they indeed deliver lovely sound in a price range we don’t mind spending most of the time. Ortofon on the other said is dubbed as one of the best cartridge makers and while they are a little bit more expensive, the sound is often reviewed as overall better than M97XE from Shure.

Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red Design

Let’s check the package first and as you can see on the sample picture above, the Shure one has this beautiful package which is great since it includes the nifty tools to replace the cartridge and needles, making the whole process convenient for first timers. It also pack a dynamic stabilizer brush to clean them and it does a good job to pick and remove those small particles that may cause static since this brush will run ahead of the record itself.

Moving to the 2M Red from Ortofon which name actually an abbreviation of Moving Magnet, the one we are talking here is the Red version and if you are wondering, there are Blue and Bronze version as well that was designed for higher and pricier range. It comes in a box with a casing encapsulating the cartridge and needle set inside but, it also doesn’t have anything inside especially an aluminum protector like the one in Shure so you may want to get one for a better setup.

Shure M97XE Sound Quality

Stepping aside from how convenient their packaging are, the most important part of an audio tool is their sound quality and in this part, we may have different opinions because taste play a huge role as well when it comes to deciding what kind of sound we like better. Starting with Shure M97XE, this cartridge is beautiful and while it is not as clear or high definition as our digital music file played through a decent speaker, this is how music used to be listened to in the past.

It has a very warm analog sound character which will remind you of the old days or probably around 70s. The low end is nice for those who like bass sound and our favorite is actually the highs because some cartridge makes songs appear brighter and the treble often cause discomfort to our ears while this M97XE is not exceeding the comfort limit makes it very pleasant for a casual music listening session.

Ortofon 2M Red Sound Quality

As for the 2M Red cartridge from Ortofon, this cartridge is also amazing and it even looks great on your turntable set but what makes people fall in love with this one is because it already sounds very nice right off the bat while not achieving those sweet spot yet. Comparing it to Shure, it definitely has a wider soundstage, making it looks fuller and you will notice that it has a brighter characteristic to it as well or have more pronounced highs.

Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red Tracking

The last thing we want to talk about these wonderful cartridges is the performance or how they will perform aside from the sound character itself and yes it is about tracking. Some people seem to have issues with tracking when installing these models but we don’t find the same problem in none of them because performance wise, they are incredible especially for Shure M97XE because this cartridge is cheaper than 2M Red so overall there is no worrying needed for skip and miss track.


Both of Shure M97XE and Ortofon 2M Red are a great cartridge to replace your old ones when it is time to change both of the tool and its needle in case brushing or cleaning them no longer helps. Build quality side, we see Shure is putting much attention on how sturdy their cartridge is made in which Ortofon looks amazing but not as tough. 

Sound quality is pleasantly amazing on both sides but what you may want to pay attention is Shure has warmer, nicer low end, a 70s nuance while Ortofon has wider soundstage and better highs or sounds brighter. But still, they will sound as good as our whole setup will let them be.

Shure M97XE vs Ortofon 2M Red

- High-performance phono cartridge with finely polished elliptical diamond tip
- Accurately reproduces difficult musical passages, particularly in high-frequency range
- Viscous-damped dynamic stabilizer maintains uniform distance between cartridge and record
- Universal fit for most turntables
- Upgrade from stock cartridges
- The Ortofon 2M Red is an all-purpose cartridge that delivers open, dynamic sound with a slight touch of warmth


All in all, we can pick any of them any day for they are equally nice but for personal reasons, we love the kind of sound Ortofon 2M Red has and this is the reason why we would like to recommend the cartridge for anyone who is up to the budget.

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