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Events Archive

Ortofon Cartridge Event 8th April 2017

The plan was hatched several months previously with the ever accommodating and enthusiastic Kieran (pictured above), from Ortofon UK importer, Henley Designs. The idea was to do back to back Ortofon cartridge comparisons to show just how much difference they made to the sound of a system. We believe this could well have been one of the first demonstration of its kind (in the UK at least, if not even further afield) and it did present a few logistical challenges so that changes could be made sufficiently quickly and precisely.

To facilitate this we brought together two identical turntables and phono stages and a myriad of headshells prefitted with cartridges.

Just some of the cartridge models used are pictured above, these included the 2M Red, 2M Blue, Quintet Blue, Quintet Black, Cadenza Blue, Cadenza Black and A95.

Looking like some kind of hi end DJ setup, we had two Pro-Ject Signature 10 turntables running from a UniBox Linear power supply. Phono duties were handled by a pair of the Pro-ject Phono Box RS, switching was via the Audion Select passive pre and the amplification by the Audion Silver Night 300B Special Edition.

The speakers used were the very revealing Avantgarde Uno XD, which were very well suited to showing improvements whilst also being very enjoyable to listen to (and for providing good coverage of a wide range of seating positions).


Kieran brought along a selection of music which enabled back to back comparisons whilst also changing the music regularly so no one got bored, for anyone interested, the tracks included:


Nirvana - On a Plain (from MTV Unplugged in New York)

Ryan Adams - My Wrecking Ball (from Live at the Carnegie Hall)

Nils Frahm - Hammers (from Spaces)

London Grammar - Nightcall (from If You Wait)

Herbie Hancock 'Wiggle Waggle' (Mr Scruff Remix) (from If by Various Artists)

Which was played out with the first side of Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon and also Kraftwerk Tour De France


The event seemed to be a great success, every one I spoke to seemed to enjoy the event and found it useful and illuminating. I’d concur with this, whilst I was familiar with most of the cartridges used, doing a back to back comparison of such a range of performance and price levels over the space of an hour and a half was fascinating and was a graphic reminder that you really do get what you pay for, as each step up made the music more enjoyable and accessible.


I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came along, as well as to Kieran for giving up a lot of his time and really going the extra mile to make sure the event was both possible and successful.


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