How to get a $285 Ortofon OM30 Cartridge for just $30

Imagine having a $285 OM-30 Ortofon Cartridge for just a fraction of the price.  I’ll explain how!

Well, it’s a two-step process. First you take any bottom-of-the-line OM cartridge (such as the OM5 which can be had for $25 or less).  Keep in mind that you don’t even need the stylus, so if you find an OM body without the neelde you’ll be set.  I had already purchased an OM20 from this seller hensbottomandassociates on ebay who has a lot of cool TT gadgets. (I actually just purchased a stylus weight gauge from him last week which should arrive any day now. )

om5-ortofon cartridge

om5-ortofon cartridge

Now, this is a little known fact, but a company called Digitrac formerly produced OEM versions of Ortofon cartridges.  That division of the company may very well be out of business, but behold, the dirt-cheap Digitrac 200 stylus is actually the equivalent of an OM30 (nude elliptical) which sells for over $285 with the OM30 cartridge.  It takes a bit of digging to find these Digitrac 200 styli, but they are out there.  You might want to look on eBay to get one for next to nothing.  Originally there was a guy selling them there but now sells them here for $20 shipped:

Digitrac 200 NE Nude Ellipitcal Cartridge

Digitrac 200 NE Nude Ellipitcal Cartridge

Once you receive the cartridge you can pretty much throw out the body.  Apparently only 1-in-3 actually work.  Luckily the stylus is what you’re after, plus you get a nice little stylus brush, screwdriver and screws.  To make the Digitrac stylus fit onto the OM body you will need to remove the tab on the back of the Digitrac stylus.  It’s an extra little piece of black plastic that prevents the stylus from fitting onto the OM. You will see right away what I’m talking about.  To remove the tab I used toenail clippers and finished off with a nail file.  By the way, an OM stylus will fit on the Digitrac body without modification (but it’s not exactly a winning combination)

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Others have reported that the Digitrac stylus (tab removed) is “loose” on the Ortofon LM body (such as an LM-era Concorde 10 body) and that it took major surgery to fit it on a TM (p-mount) body.

In the end if you buy the OM from Hensbottom and then the Digitrac you’ll be looking at $55  to get a cart worth $285!  I happened upon a guy selling a used OM30 without a stylus. I got it for $10 shipped.  If you look around ebay maybe you’ll find something similar.  Here is what you’ll have in the end (P-mount version shown)

Orotofon OM10 with Digitrac 200 Nude Elliptical Stylus

Orotofon OM10 with Digitrac 200 Nude Elliptical Stylus

Orotofon OM10 with Digitrac 200 Nude Elliptical Stylus

Orotofon OM10 with Digitrac 200 Nude Elliptical Stylus

Rest assured it’s not a gimmick, the cart does sound amazing when you put it all together and properly align it.  I’ll leave you with a review from an avid OM-30 user:

A short review of the Digitrac stylus on an OM body compaired to OM30.
It fitted just fine after cutting off the little plastic flip. The overall impression is that it is very neutral, very similar to the 30. But there are some quite audible differences: the resolution is quite a bit better, the high end is more right sounding and the location of instruments in the soundstage is also better.

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