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Bonded vs. Nude? 50 Shades of Diamond.

Diamond stylus vs steel stylus

The three standard cartridges that come with Pro-Ject turntables, come fitted with ‘bonded diamonds’. That’s not a diamond stylus, it’s a steel stylus with a diamond chip bonded onto the tip that touches the record.

It’s easy to upgrade the sound of your turntable yourself. You just slide off the original stylus and slide on a solid diamond model (called nude diamond the catalogues) and instantly improve your treble clarity. Higher model nude diamonds relate to how smoothly they’re polished, and into what shape. The best stylus shapes contact the record groove in a thin line but they cost a lot more money.

Slide off and slide on options:

Standard OM10 body becomes an OM20 for $279, OM30 for $479 or OM40 for $589
Standard 2Mred body becomes a 2Mblue for $279 and
Standard 2Msilver becomes a 2Mbronze for $499, or 2Mblack for $769 (or 2Mblue is still an upgrade, although it doesn’t align with any of Ortofon’s standard models).

Changing a stylus saves between $100 – $330 compared with purchasing a whole new cartridge.

OM vs. 2M?

The OM series and 2M series are much the same cartridge with different plastic mouldings. The cartridges have hardly changed in 30 years! OM became ‘SuperOM’ in the 1990s. when Ortofon discovered that coils wound on hollow pins sounded slightly better than solid pins. The ‘2M’ cartridges employed hollow pins and the plastic moulding was redesigned to replace the small OM brass weight with a larger stainless steel weight. Baby-steps. I wouldn’t bother replacing an OM body with a 2M body – the diamond stylus is what makes the biggest differences.

You can’t really over-spend on a stylus, since you’ve already paid for the turntable and cartridge body. With more money to spend – some high end cartridges do cost thousands, even tens of thousands – I’d revisit the turntable itself, but in their price categories, every Ortofon stylus represents excellent value for money.

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