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Ortofon Newsletter



HiFi Newsletter - 2010-06

Ortofon at the Munich Hi-End show 2010

The show is always a unique occasion to present new products and at the same time get the feel of the industry and the market. It was also very gratifying to get feedback from end-users, dealers and distributors, a feedback that confirmed the upward trend for Ortofon. The trend which is based on the performance and quality of the products, that is also supported by our growing sales numbers.

With the introduction of our new MC Series Vivo Red and Vivo Bluecartridges, we now have an even stronger and rejuvenated product range. 3 years ago we introduced the 2M Series, one year later the MC Windfeld, last year the Cadenza SeriesSPU 90th and MC A90. It is part of our strategy to actively develop new products. 

chn ortofon ceo

Christen H. Nielsen, CEO

At the Munich show the visitors got a preview of our new Ortofon Xpression High End cartridge with intergrated SME-type headshell connector. The Ortofon Xpression represents a combination of three elements that are distinctive of the Ortofon products: the cutting edge SLM (Selective Laser Melting) material technology firstly used in SPU 90th and MC A90, a modification of the MC A90 generator and the Ortofon designing tradition. By utilising these three elements we created a new product in order to support our customers of the SPU Series and Ortofon tonearms

We expect the product to be put on the market by the end of this year, and in one of the newsletters to come we will let you in on our design philosophy.


Ortofon Xpression


Ortofon MC 20 Super reintroduced

mc20superOrtofon has decided to provide the market with a limited number of our highly successful and much acclaimed classic cartridge that say the light of day 25 years ago. Built to the same exacting standards as it was when it was first introduced, the MC 20 Super was recognized as one of the first MC-cartridges that combined a relatively high compliance with a smooth yet extended frequency response.



The MC 20 Super that is mounted on the supplied headshell will allow correct alignment on the Ortofon tonearm series with a standard headshell connector. The MC 20 Super can also be used on most tonearms with a fixed headshell.

Technical data  
Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. 0,25 mV
Channel balance at 1 kHz < 1,0 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz > 25 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz > 15 dB
Frequency range at - 3dB 20-25.000 Hz
Frequency response 20-20.000 Hz ± 2 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force *) > 80 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral 15 µm/mN
Stylus type Nude FG-70
Stylus tip radius r/R 6/70 µm
Tracking force range 1,6-2,0 g (16-20 mN)
Tracking force, recommended 1,8 g (18 mN)
Tracking angle 20°
Internal impedance, DC resistance 5 Ohm
Recommended load impedance > 10 Ohm
Cartridge body material Aluminium
Cartridge colour Gold
Cartridge weight 9 g
Headshell weight  10g
*) Typical value  


Ortofon MC Vivo Red and Blue

MC Vivo Series features:

  • Standard low-output general purpose Moving Coil cartridge
  • Special 7-nines (99.9999% pure) copper wire manufactured in Japan
  • Low internal impedance makes the cartridges less sensitive to load and therefore ensures compatibility with the widest range of preamps and transformers
  • An special newly-developed polycarbonate based resin, Lexan DMX, in Piano Black is used for manufacturing of the bodies. This revolutionary material improves rigidity and damping properties and also has a very durable scratch resistant surface. Rigidity is an important performance characteristic as the plastic-body serves as basis for the generator.

Vivo Red

Vivo Blue

Technical data

Vivo Red

Vivo Blue
Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.

0,5 mV

0,5 mV
Channel balance at 1 kHz

< 1,5 dB

< 1,5 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz

> 23 dB

> 23 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz

> 15 dB

> 15 dB
Frequency range at - 3dB

20-25.000 Hz

20-25.000 Hz
Frequency response

20-20.000 Hz ± 2 dB

20-20.000 Hz ± 2 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force *)

> 65 µm

> 70 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral

13 µm/mN

13 µm/mN
Stylus type

Elliptical diamond

Nude elliptical diamond
Stylus tip radius

r/R 8/18 µm

r/R 8/18 µm

Tracking force range

1,6-2,0 g (16-20 mN)

1,6-2,0 g (16-20 mN)
Tracking force, recommended

1,8 g (18 mN)

1,8 g (18 mN)
Tracking angle


Internal impedance, DC resistance

6 Ohm

6 Ohm
Recommended load impedance

> 10 Ohm

> 10 Ohm
Cartridge body material

Lexan DMX

Lexan DMX

Cartridge colour


Cartridge weight

7 g

7 g
*) Typical value    


Bubble level

measure instrument

Ortofon introduces a new quality accessory for a very accurate mount level measurement. 

Bubble level is framed in a stable aluminum housing with a glass plate with a measuring grid. Three contact points and the housing size ensure stable positioning and clear indication of any sloping of any kind.



Leif Johannsen - a renowned scholar and a music fan 

In this Newsletter we complete the series about the leading Ortofon engineers and bring an article about the Ortofon Chief Officer of Acoustic and Technology since 2006, Leif Johannsen.



Leif Johannsen, 

CO Acoustics and Technology

Leif Johannsen’s CV entails numerous titles and ranks: a MSc in physics and a BSc in mathematics, a PhD in nuclear physics, a postdoc and researching position in Germany, an Associate professor at the Engineering College of Aarhus, as well as a number of memberships in Danish scientific societies and associations.

Leif holds 13 patents of which he is either the author or co-author. Four of the patents are granted, and the remaining nine are pending. Furthermore Leif has two patent pending for Ortofon including the "Magnetic assembly suitable for audio cartridges" and the "Suspension arrangement for cantilevers in audio cartridges".

A scientific background, acoustics and audio as favorite occupation and music as a hobby is a unique and rewarding combination, that generates a flow of creative ideas and makes the ideas come to life.

In the position of the Ortofon CO of Acoustics and Technology Leif Johannsen has succeeded the legendary Per Windfeld, who was the Ortofon Chief Engineer for more than 30 years. Mr. Windfeld retired in 2006, and at about the same time Leif Johannsen started working at Ortofon, then both engineers had a six months overlap to take-over the development projects of the time.

Thus the Ortofon technology baton has been passed on from Robert Gudmandsen and Per Windfeld to the next generation of engineers.

Leif Johannsen started his work at Ortofon by finalizing the 2M Bronze and the 2M Black cartridges of the 2M Series, of which the 2M Red and the 2M Blue were developed by Per Windfeld. “Some optimizations but no new technology were implemented for the 2M Bronze and Black,” as Leif put it. To honor Mr. Windfeld Leif decided to design his first high-end cartridge that would serve as a homage to Per Windfeld. 


MC Windfeld

Combining some of Mr. Windfeld's innovations was the first step in the development process. For example, the Wide Range Damping system and the Field Stabilizing Element were applied in the MC Windfeld.

The next step was to bring some changes to the design of a new high-end cartridge. Leif Johannsen made a small change in the armature to have the coils wound even more precisely resulting in an exceptional channel balance. The Replicant 100 stylus designed by Per Windfeld was used, but a better performance was achieved by polishing the surface a second time. 

PWRe-designing the body was one of the most important contributions of Leif Johannsen. The threaded “ears” that hold the mounting bolts were now a piece of the central body. To an extended degree the new mechanical construction of the body of the cartridge gave a lack of coloration. Leif also decided on a boron cantilever, seeing that boron is close to being the perfect material because of its low density, light weight, high rigidity and stiffness.   

The review followed soon thereafter: The Ortofon MC Windfeld phono cartridge is one of the finest phono cartridges ever to be made by Ortofon or anybody else.

Leif Johannsen set the bar high for himself in regard to future designs.


Celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Ortofon

Towards the end of 2008 Ortofon introduced a thoroughly new model designed by Leif Johannsen in cooperation with The Danish Technological Institute. The SPU 90th Anniversary was thought as a celebration of a significant milestone in the Ortofon history and was the result of a research incorporating the Ortofon technological heritage with the emergence of a new manufacturing technology called Rapid Manufacturing (RM). The RM technology allows manufacure parts in different materials directly from 3D file. 

“The RM technology has given us a bigger creative designing space, because we are no longer limited by a particular geometric shape. We do not produce tools which means that the production process is reduced to a few weeks where it before it took between four to six months. The time factor means that we can now try out our ideas, and it gives us an enormous amount of freedom, - commented Leif, who led the designing effort in cooperation with The Danish Technological Institute

spuA90What makes the SPU 90th Anniversary unique is that its body is a precision-made one piece frame, designed to allow a more perfect physical connection between the various subparts. The new frame is made using the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) process in which microparticles are laser-welded together to create a structure of great rigidity and immunity to unwanted vibrations. 

The use of the SLM manufacturing technique has been pioneered by Ortofon for the manufacturing of phono cartridges.


MC A90

Parallel to the SPU 90th Anniversary, Leif Johannsen designed the MC A90. Naturally the RM technology and the SLM manufacturing technique were applied.

mc a 90In the November 2009 issue of Stereophile, Michael Fremer recalled the first time he saw a demonstration of the damping characteristics of the SLM manufacturing. “After letting me marvel at and handle the gleaming aluminum shape of the MC A90, Leif Johannsen took me to a secluded area of the hall where the flooring was of hard linoleum. He held the body out in front of him and let it drop.  With a ping, it bounced about two feet up in the air. Then he took out a second cartridge body from his pocket. This one was layered like a cross section of stratified rock, but more neatly and uniformly. From chest height, he dropped the second body. Instead of bouncing with a distinct ping, it hit the floor with a nonresonant tick and stopped dead, without bouncing back so much as an inch. Now that was major.”

The RM technology has become a part of the Ortofon strategic business planning.


Music as a hobby

Leif Johannsen listens to audiophile records, normal records, favourite records - in short all kinds of music. He alternates between very intense listening sessions of an hour or so at a time, and then lots of casual listening. Leif says: "Sometimes it’s surprising how much you can catch from casual listening. Eventually I'll narrow my prototypes down to two, that measures and sound very similar. But if one sounds better and the other measures better, we’ll go with the one that sounds better even if we can't explain why. Audio design has come a long way, but there is still a lot we don’t know.”

Leif Johannsen lives in a country house outside of Aarhus, he is married and has four children.


Recent reviewsTA 100 front

The new TA-110 tonearm was tested in the June issue of UK magazine "Hi-Fi NEWS" and got the verdict: Highly recommended. 

In the newsletter to come 

    • The Ortofon designing philosophy
    • The story of the SPU
    • New products