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Comments on Ortofon cartridges welcome.
Currently running a well over 1000 hour Cadenza Blue that still sounds superb after a couple of sides warm-up but will not last forever.
Comments on how the Quintet series compare or the Cadenza Red, Bronze, Black or .. Windfeld welcome.
Their competition too.

 

Edited by Von Krolock
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If you like what you have but just want similar but better then the Cadenza Black would be an obvious choice. The Bronze is a slightly different kind of animal. Remember to claim your trade-in allowance.

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On 04/01/2021 at 00:17, Von Krolock said:

Comments on Ortofon cartridges welcome.
Currently running a well over 1000 hour Cadenza Blue that still sounds superb after a couple of sides warm-up but will not last forever.
Comments on how the Quintet series compare or the Cadenza Red, Bronze, Black or .. Windfeld welcome.
Their competition too.

 

I ran a bodyless Rondo Blue ( range before Quintets) and it was perfect for my system. Good bottom end, tonality, colour, refinement without being bright.  Loved it, would have bought another but were discontinued and I couldn't find one. It had an excellent FG70 stylus. I had two Ortofon MC 30 Supremes prior to this and really liked those as well.

After much reading etc, bought a Quintet Bronze as was nearest equivalent.  Sounded really big, smooth, bassy  etc, but in my system it's top end was refined but a bit absent.  Moved it on.

I then demoed the Hana SL, which I bought, against a Quintet Black.  From memory, the QB was a bit leaner and more analytical but good.  Hana has been excellent.

 However, only a couple of weeks ago I put my old Rondo Blue back on, I was obviously bored. Really nice, bit more bass, instruments had more colour, tonality, a bit less HIFI perhaps but really enjoyable.  Made the Hana sound just a little " 50 Shades of Grey" in comparison.  Hana now back on and have got used to it again.

My Hana is getting towards the end of it's life so thought process starting again.

I have always been tempted by a Cadenza Red, but difficult to listen to one and it might be an expensive mistake.  I don't want something too lean and analytical.

I understand that the Cadenzas are a clear improvement on the Quintets with the  Red and particularly the Bronze being warmer than the other two, more so than the Blue.

Forgive the waffle.

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I have run a Rondo Red for a few years, and for an entry level MC it impresses with its smoothness, just gets on and plays the music, has detail but not too much, to make it sound bright.

Edited by greybeard
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Thanks for the info gents.:^
The Cadenza Blue has some great qualities but can sound a touch lean and 'mechanical' at times - this improves after a couple of LP sides.
The Cadenza Black is very tempting - the detail and resolution of the Blue but a touch smoother. 



 

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Personal choice, and I may have mentioned this before, but to my ears I find the Black just a little to analytical, everything feels too perfect (if that can be described as a problem !?), if you want to sit down and listen to Classical Music all day it is probably perfection embodied, you can sit there and point at instruments on the soundstage that you hear replicated between your pink flappy aural receptors. I back to backed a Cad Black with a Cad Bronze for a while and the Bronze was the sweet spot for me. I listen to pretty much everything else, apart from classical - so this is probably why. It felt like going from solid state back to tube, just that bit of warmth to bring the music back from sounding like it was engineered to sounding like it was created. Anyhoos, my ears are weird, and work differently to everyone else, so your mileage may vary ! 

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Getting to hear cartridges before buying is difficult at the best of times - thanks for your useful comments on the Black & Bronze Dave.:^

Keywood's review in World of the Blue & Bronze from a few years ago included comments from an Ortofon representative stating that the Bronze
was developed for a more 'romantic' sound & was more suited to solid state phono stages and amps than the 'cooler' Blue.
The Blue doesn't suit systems that are already on the bright & lean side in my experience. 
The warmer Bronze could be the one.



 

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Ohh, another club I can join!

went from a 2M Bronze to a Rohmann which I picked up lightly used for a good price. A whole different league, as it should be considering the price differential.

Interesting to read the comments on the latest models as the trade in deals are good if you stay within the Ortofon range. Maybe the Rohmann errs slightly towards the analytical, a bit more rhythmic enthusiasm and a touch of warmth could be a good direction based on current set up. Hopefully a little way off yet as prices up the range get a bit scary...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 07/01/2021 at 23:08, lostwin said:

Ohh, another club I can join!

went from a 2M Bronze to a Rohmann which I picked up lightly used for a good price. A whole different league, as it should be considering the price differential.

Interesting to read the comments on the latest models as the trade in deals are good if you stay within the Ortofon range. Maybe the Rohmann errs slightly towards the analytical, a bit more rhythmic enthusiasm and a touch of warmth could be a good direction based on current set up. Hopefully a little way off yet as prices up the range get a bit scary...

There is always another temptation beyond reach with MC cartridges...

 

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I had a Rondo Blue which was a lovely MC, then replaced it with a Quintet Black S which I feel is more revealing and currently use on my main system. I’ve also in the past had a couple 2M Blue MM which i highly recommend to anyone.

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In September 2017 I attended one of Ortofon’s cartridge Roadshows.  I wrote up my experience on another forum at the time.  As the range is still current, it might be of interest here too...

To make a start - it seems big task to cover all 7 in one gulp! - here is the methodology and the first two cartridges.

The scheme was to hear two different tracks on each cartridge. The exception was the very first, but the idea is to hear the track you just heard but this time on the next cartridge, followed by a new track that you'd hear on the following cartridge, and so on. So there was continuity between all seven.

The system was a Project 10 Signature turntable with a unipivot arm and removable head shell. There were seven cartridges all lined up in their own head shell ready to go! Moon pre and power amps. Dynaudio Contour 30 floorstanders. Phono stage was a Project 'reference' they said, but the nearest I found on their website is the RS - about £699.

First up was the 2M Red, now £95. The track was a Bryan Adams unplugged song, just him and his guitar. Sounded pretty decent, but a little "cupped hands" coloration. Especially voice and ambience/ acoustic sounded a bit shouty. Quite smooth though, if lacking a real 'live' feel.

Second was the Blue. We were reminded this is a stylus upgrade for the Red as well as a model in its own right. The same stylus as the Red, but not glued to the cantilever. So less mass I guess? The Bryan Adams song was more vibrant, better sense of the acoustic setting. Clearer voice too. Not massive but a worthwhile upgrade. Complete cartridge costs £185, a lot more than I remembered, but all have gone up recently.

The next track on the Blue was by The Doors. Not one I knew, nor quite my taste, but quite good rhythm apparent. No obvious surface noise on either so far, though these weren't necessarily all spanking new LPs.

In Part 2, two Quintet MC models.

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So, moving to MC cartridges, the guy doing all the demos connected a Step-up transformer for the next demonstration (an ST-7, I think, costing £450). This fed into the Project phono preamp. He explained there are MC preamps and other ways, but they wanted to show it this way. It also meant no changes to the system would be needed for the remaining 5 cartridges.

First MC was the Quintet Blue, £349, on the Doors LP from before. Some adjustments to arm and volume were necessary, but if anything this was played slightly quieter than before. A more live sound, definitely, and better detail. Not as dramatic as I'd perhaps anticipated, but they said the colour models - red, blue, bronze and black - all have a corresponding tonality. The Reds are the mellowest. The Blacks are the most detailed.

A big change of style next, to a Nils Frahm track of several piano and keyboard types, overdubbed. Interesting but not easy to compare with a 'straight' piano. Atmospheric though, if a bit diffuse

Switching to the Quintet Bronze, costing £515, was a big improvement. On reflection I wondered if the Blue had been a bit in need of a stylus clean! This was sounding more realistic now.

Next LP was a ten inch record made in Vienna. Apparently at a Project factory tour for dealers, the boss took everyone to a club with a jazz quartet (actually a trio plus a guest!), which was recorded live. They later acquired the record. A nice strong recording, but in particular I felt the brushed cymbals sounded quite dull and distant. Voice was quite present, but definitely not a stunning live sound as I'd anticipated.

In Part 3, we move up a level to the Cadenza range!

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For a significantly greater outlay, the Cadenza MC series is a taste of 'hi-end'. We began with the Bronze (£1499) at almost three times the price of the Quintet Bronze. It's both heavier and higher output than the previous model, so a bit of adjustment is duly made.

Same track, from the Vienna night club. Much clearer percussion this time, vocal noticeably more expressive and altogether a more engaging performance. Still not the finest recording, maybe, being a little close rather than trading on the venue's ambience. But I wasn't there, so what do I know?!

Next up and unannounced, but rather magical, a track from London Grammar. I've heard some their output, but don't own any albums. I gather this was from side two, possibly their first album, so lesser played. Beautiful and ethereal. I felt totally drawn into the music. For the first time today it was simply music playing, where the equipment seemed immaterial.

Next up was the Cadenza Black, the top of this range, for £1825. The first we'd heard with the famous Shibata stylus profile, said to most closely match the cutting head. On the same London Grammar track the music stood in greater relief, more three-dimensional. I'd felt the previous Cadenza Bronze had moved the game on substantially. But here the music seemed free of any of the normal constraints of being replayed, with an unimpeded freedom even at climaxes and great clarity during the subtlest passage. A bit like hearing a master tape I suppose.

Incidentally, the records were almost miraculously free of any extraneous clicks - it turns out they had been cleaned on a decent machine, but were otherwise regular pressings. The second album on the Black was the immortal track Take Five, from a Dave Brubeck, and not a 180 gram remaster either. It has rarely sounded so fresh yet not overblown. I think the volume was about spot on for me. Really excellent!

In Part 4, the MC Windfield.

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OK, so here is the climax of two hours listening. It is clearly at item of which Ortofon are very proud. It is named after their ex-Chief Engineer. And it costs a cool £3,100.

Now the transformer required makes more sense. This has half the output of the Cadenza Bronze we heard a few tracks ago!

Following the established pattern, we first hear the track we just enjoyed from the Cadenza Black. It does need a fair twist of the volume knob but Take Five has never sounded better (and I heard it not so long ago on an excellent VPI turntable). It pretty much gave very little indication of its age, as a recording But most of all, it didn't really sound like a record at all! That's about the highest compliment I can pay, I think.

To explain that last remark a bit further, though I've not heard much high end vinyl recently, even past glories like Koetsu pickups on Oracle decks never sounded this neutral. Exciting, rich, alluring, yes - all that and more. But not super accurate, just very enjoyable. This, however, was master tape clear and even-handed. Very impressive.

For the second track, we returned to The Doors for Riders on the Storm. This one really rocked, and again scarcely sounded of its age. In some ways I might have chosen something more recent, but it was pretty spectacular and the thunderstorm very realistic.

Offering the audience a chance to hear another genre, someone pointed to the LP propped against the wall - Orff 'Carmina Burana', the EMI recording by Andre Previn. (I have the original release) It apparently had been payed in the morning session but had a fault. Anyway, we had a blast of Side 2, and I'd happily have heard more. Then, at owner, Simon's suggestion, we had The Chain from Fleetwood Mac. And yes, that favourite bit that is played so often sounded pristine yet full of impact.

A fascinating session, and so revealing to hear seven different cartridges through a very good system. Thanks to Ortofon and Ceritech Audio of Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

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As a PS to the Roadshow, Dave Brown kindly confirmed the tracks played on the Ortofon tour:

2M Blue:
Ryan Adams. My Wrecking Ball from Ten Songs from Live at Carnegie Hall.
The Doors. Hyacinth House from La Woman. Double 45 LP (EKS-75011 Stereo)

Quintet Blue:
The Doors. Hyacinth House from La Woman. Double 45 LP (EKS-75011 Stereo)
Nils Frahm. Hammers from Spaces. (Erased Tapes Label, ERATP055LP)

Quintet Black:
Nils Frahm. Hammers from Spaces. (Erased Tapes Label, ERATP055LP)
The Billy Rubin Trio ft Lady S. Passenger from The Stereo Project. (more info here)

Cadenza Bronze:
The Billy Rubin Trio ft Lady S. Passenger from The Stereo Project. (more info here)
The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Take 5 from Take 5. (VNL12206LP)

Cadenza Black:
The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Take 5 from Take 5. (VNL12206LP)
London Grammar. If You Wait from If You Wait.

MC Windfeld:
London Grammar. If You Wait from If You Wait.

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