Previous issues of the Ortofon HiFi Newsletter
HiFi Newsletter - 2010-06
Ortofon at the Munich Hi-End show 2010
Ortofon MC 20 Super reintroduced
Ortofon 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.
Ortofon MC Vivo Red and Blue
MC Vivo Series features:
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 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.
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.
Re-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.
What 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.
In 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.
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