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Sound Advice: A smart screen vehicle upgrade and choosing right turntable cartridge

Don Lindich, Tribune News Service on

Published in Tech Advice

Add CarPlay/Android Auto and a dashcam to your car: Many older cars and trucks lack CarPlay and Android Auto. Once you have used smartphone integration it is hard to go back, and I still have an older car with navigation but not CarPlay. Last year I wrote that I tried a few adapters but had not found one I liked enough to recommend. I finally found a winner!

The 7-inch Jataza CarPlay Android Auto Screen is a dash-mounted screen device that pairs with your phone and car. The screen is crisp and responsive to the touch and it incorporates a front-facing 4K dashcam. The Jataza lists for $149.99 on Amazon but I have seen it selling under $125. It’s worth a look if you want CarPlay or Android Auto without an expensive new car wrapped around it, and you get a dashcam, too.

Q. I plan to purchase the Technics SL-1210GR2 turntable and was thinking about buying the Ortofon 2M Bronze or 2M Black cartridge with it. What are your thoughts about these cartridges, and the Ortofon 2M Red and 2M Blue models?

—N.M., Marietta, Georgia

A. A moving magnet cartridge is typically composed of two parts: a cartridge body and a removable stylus. The Ortofon 2M Red and the 2M Blue share the same body and the only difference is the stylus. So, you can upgrade a 2M Red to a 2M Blue by changing the stylus. The 2M Bronze and 2M Black also share a body, though a different one than the Blue and Red. Despite the common 2M name you cannot change a 2M Red or 2M Blue into a 2M Bronze or 2M Black because the bodies differ.

 

I have heard all four cartridges on a variety of turntables. The $99 2M Red is highly regarded, but my personal impression is “meh.” It is pleasant, reasonably detailed and smooth, but I do not find it musically engaging and much prefer competitors from Nagaoka, Goldring and the Vessel A3SE from LP Gear. The thing I like most about the 2M Red is it can be upgraded to a 2M Blue.

The 2M Blue is a wonderful cartridge! It is crisp, detailed, musical, lively and sweet-sounding. Though regularly $239, I have seen it on sale for $189 recently. That’s a great buy and 2M Red owners, when it is time to replace the stylus or you want to upgrade your vinyl-playing rig, I strongly recommend buying the 2M Blue stylus. A great way to get a 2M Blue is premounted on a $499 Fluance RT85 turntable. They work well together and it effectively reduces the cost of the turntable to $260.

I liken the 2M Bronze to a perfected 2M Blue, exhibiting its fine qualities in even greater quantities. I think it is your top choice if you want the 2M cartridge that will bring out the best in your turntable. Regularly $499, it has been on sale for $429 as of late. Why not the $695 2M Black? I have tried it on the Technics SL-1200 series turntables and actually preferred the 2M Bronze. When I told a colleague I preferred the Bronze, he concurred and described the 2M Black as “too good for its own good.” I immediately knew what he meant. It is super-precise and detailed to the point the clinical sound reminded me of a CD player. It’s certainly very good, but I would rather have the 2M Bronze for less money. I can also think of a lot of other cartridges I would rather have for $700. Whatever cartridge you buy, enjoy your new turntable!

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