What phono cartridge is suited for metal and heavy rock?

I want to purchase a new phono cartridge to replace my Ortofon 2m Blue. Since I'm not an expert by any means, I could do with some advice.

My musical taste is on the heavier side, I mainly listen to stonerrock, metal and 70's rock. 

My turntable is a Pro-Ject Perspective. I use a Musical Fidelity M1 LPS phono Preamp which is connected to a Marantz AV 8801 Preamp. My amplifier is a Marantz MM7055.

The sound of the Blue is a bit bright, maybe somewhat dull, for my taste. But since there are so many brands and models to choose from some help would be appreciated. 


A Dynavector 10X5 used would be around $400 I think. I love these cartridges for their lively dynamic sound. The 10X5 is a High output MC so it will work with the most basic phono pre amp. Happy Listening!



Why not try out an MC cart?  They tend to show a bit more detail.  I wouldn't go much above the aforementioned Dynavector.  For your table and arm a Sumiko Bluepoint would be a good fit, or a Hana EL (or EH, whatever matched best with the M1 LPS).  It would be fun to get an Ortofon Quintet Blue to compare with your 2M Blue
I would steer away from Shibata and microline carts with your setup.  It might be done, but they are really fussy to get aligned right.  Ellipticals are much more forgiving.

System and room dependent (check out my system for more details). In my set up I like Hana EL. I’ve been spinning Slayer and Metallica last few days. No complaints. Plenty dynamic and detailed. The EH (High Output) should also work. 


Those are some interesting suggestions, To be honest I hadn't heard of Hana or Sumiko before.

It probably depends on your own preferences more than the specific genre. I do very much like MC cartridges because they’re so detailed and lively. But I tend to prefer the warmer voiced MC cartridges like Koetsu, Benz, Shelter. I really enjoy these cartridges with some heavy metal, but some might prefer that music with a more tipped-up sound.

The 2M Blue is indeed slightly bright, especially compared to the 2M Red (which is vastly inferior to the Blue, overall) but it certainly doesn’t have the detail or drive of a good MC. The Ortofon Cadenza Red is kind of a good analogue for the 2M Blue in MCs - slightly lean, slightly tipped up, but great drive and detail that can be a lot of fun with rock & metal. Then the Cadenza Bronze model takes that and adds warmth, and fullness (at a higher cost) - even better IMO. That said, a good deal on an imported Benz (audiogon ads) is gonna be hard to beat for the money and I do really enjoy some heavy metal on them.

I’ve enjoyed stylus profiles from plain elliptical to extreme micro lines / micro ridges / etc so I wouldn’t get too hung up on that. What IS important is to get a nude stylus (which your 2M Blue already sports). And cantilever material will probably have a bigger impact on sound than the stylus profile.

Phono stage (or SUTs) is gonna become an even bigger deal with MCs.

Don’t know about sonically, but visually the Ortofon MC A95 looks like it should play heavy metal well

Try a Audio-Technica VM540ML. I bought one while deciding on a new cartridge. The diamond on my Hana SH just disappeared. I actually liked it better than the SH.

The Audio-Technica VM540ML would be very price-friendly in comparison to the other cartridges. I can't say that's a bad thing 🙂

Heavy Rock can present the frequency extremes with abundance.

Screaming Vocals, Guitar Shredding and then all the way down to visceral solar plexus thumping Bass Lines.

Most who enjoy Rock will have been in a venue experiencing it performed live at some point in their lives.

I don't know any HiFi System that will render a live performance experience of gut thumping Lowest Note Bass Lines, but the Upper Bass Notes, Mid's, Upper Mids and High's are certainly able to be produced to a presentation that can be perceived to have an honesty.

I don't know many Cart's that can deliver noticeable Bottom End Bass and then project the Mid's and High's with a Coherence that is seemingly a balance across all of the bandwidth.

One extreme of frequency is usually traded of to achieve the noticeable presence and the opposite end of the frequency range can sound as though it is lacking/subdued in projection.

A Cart' might need to be considered that will emphasise the frequencies that are most important to the listener, whilst replaying Rock LP's.      

Its impossible to make a cartridge favor a certain genre. What makes it good for metal will make it good for jazz too. With high output cartridges, if not loaded properly they can be bright due to high frequency resonances caused by the inductance of the cartridge in parallel with the capacitance of the tonearm cable. That is why low capacitance cables are used for phono signals!

You'll also find that the ability of the arm to track the cartridge properly far outweighs the cartridge character! Put another way, if the arm isn't doing its job properly neither will the cartridge. Paying attention to proper setup is really important too!

I've yet to hear a cartridge that could not do Fields of Nephilim, Black Sabbath and Verdi's Requiem all equally well. 

I think you'll find that controlling vibration around the turntable is a big deal if the turntable is in the room with the speakers. Anti-vibration platforms can really help the deep bass, smoothness in the highs at high volumes!

I think you are much better off sticking with moving magnet cartridges. While I generally have the same opinion as atmasphere the one factor he did not address was value. You get at least twice as much for your money with Moving Magnet cartridges. Both the Goldring 1042 and Clearaudio Charisma V2 have the stylus/cantilever assemblies of very expensive Moving Coil cartridges at a fraction of the price. With most phono stages Moving Magnet cartridges tend to be more dynamic which is a characteristic I think you would appreciate. The Charisma V2 is the most dynamic cartridge I have ever had in my system. It also tracks better than the majority of moving coil cartridges. The AT VM760SLC is another great Moving Magnet cartridge along with the 2M Black LVB 250

Regards, Alex-77:

Lots of good suggestions above.


Recently excavated from my pile of pickups, a rather primitive Shure M75ED body already mounted to an ADC 6gm magnesium headshell. Tags appear to be sturdy AT6101’s. No memory of where/when it was obtained. Absent the stylus so prowled the internet and landed on V-M Audio Enthusiasts, selected a Swiss EVG .3 x .7 nude elliptical, a very reasonable thirty dollars to revive the vintage cart.


Aligned to Stevenson, loaded it at 100k/200pF. 1.4gm downforce. First up, Kraftwerk "Autobahn". Driving bass, rich mids but the Hf’s a little on the etched side. It immediately put a smile on my face, even bringing life to Tulls’ rather wispy "Aqualung". I’ll play with loading in a bit.


Well aware of the distinction between enthusiast and audiophile level transducers, not a recommendation but rather a report. If Vivaldi is your cup ’o tea one might look elsewhere.

A voiceing from the past, on my EPA-250 TA this cartridge/stylus combination has a huge boogie factor.





iv always found most metal music badly recorded.

It can be really hit or miss, even within a band’s catalog. It can also get expensive because even the ones that don’t sound great can go for a LOT of money, and you can’t trust the reviews on DiscOgs AT ALL. But there are a lot of really great sounding metal records out there, and even some spectacular ones.

From my own modest collection, the following are spectacular: Avantasia’s Metal Opera 1 & 2 and Wicked Symphony (Moonglow comes close), Iced Earth’s The Glorious Burden, Rage Soundchaser, Metallica "Black" 45 RPM box from 2008, Metallica Load OG, Helloween Keeper 1 & 2, most of Magnum’s catalog, Iron Maiden Brave New World, Blind Guardian Nightfall, Nightwish Decades box, the Edguy box, the Megadeth classics (RIP, Countdown), Van Canto Voices of Fire, Opeth Morningrise, a couple from Porcupine Trees, the first 3 OG’s from Cirith Ungol, Danzig...oh and Warrant Cherry Pie sounds ridiculously good but that’s more hard rock / hair metal. There’s loads out there worth chasing, and worth playing on a great hi-fi.

Dear @alex-77  : Any decent cartridge as the 1042 named here is well suited for any kind of MUSIC if the whole TT/Tonearm/cartridge set up is accurated and the TT is seated in a good plattform to avoid vibrations/resonances or at least puts at minimum.




Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


@mulveling - if you like 'Keeper of the 7 Keys, Part 1', you should definitely check out Helloween's new one that came out last year; probably their best album since that one, and they've gotten some older members back for it. If you like Porcupine Tree, their leader is Steven Wilson; he has some wonderful progressive solo albums, too...