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Ortofon Newsletter



HiFi Newsletter - 2010-09

The Ortofon design philosophy

Today our company is the leading cartridge manufacturer and supplier of cartridges. This is the result of significant designing experience and great technological know-how. Research and development is done with the company's own engineers supported by a strong network of acoustic know-how and industrial design in Denmark. 

Ortofon has always been a part of the great Scandinavian designing tradition that emphasizes on minimalism, functionality and innovative shapes. The design is an active component in the product development process at Ortofon, which means that all the products are passed through a defined designing phase. Before releasing them, we evaluate all our products according to our design parameters.

chn Ortofon ceo

        Christen H. Nielsen, CEO

Over time many of our products have been distinguished by their design. The prime example is the Ortofon Concorde which embodies the Ortofon designing values: minimalism, focus on shapes and user friendliness. It is essencial with a few but important features, the harmony in shapes, colors and the overall impression. Minimalism, however, does not equal a boring design. Unusual shapes can be employed only if they are harmonic and simple, and the Concorde and the 2M Series are prime examples of this concept.

A new cartridge design must be user tested, and we prefer a few and essential features over many and complicated ones. Our goal is to create an intuitive understanding of the product use: it should be visible and understandable how to use the product, e.g. the Concorde tip can be placed exactly on the record not being hidden under a headshell.

The Concorde cartride is our icon similar to the Coca Cola bottle for the Coke Company. We introduced this cartridge in 1979 and shortly thereafter recieved the Danish Industrial Design Prize. For years the product was on permanent display at the Danish Design Center in Copenhagen www.ddc.dk. Since then we have sold almost two mio. cartridges with the Concorde design. A further recognition of its industrial standard character is the several me-too products with a similar design from our industry colleagues.


The SPU Collector Box


SPU collector box closedThis year we decided to give our SPU fans around the world an opportunity to get a collection of the four most famous SPUs, each of them being a very special collector's item.

These four cartridges represent the diversity of technical solutions and materials, and reflect the continuous technological development throughout the past 50 years. The fact that Ortofon has kept the SPU in production for half a century says a lot about the enduring rightness of its design.

These 4 cartridges are made exactly as the original models, and are as genuine as the original production units. All materials and techniques have been preserved during the manufacturing process.



SPU Classic


SPU Gold Reference


SPU 85


SPU 90th Anniversary 











Nude Spherical



Aluminum-Magnesium alloy 


Gold plated Aluminium 

Ortofon Replicant 100

99,99999% Copper


Aluminum-Magnesium alloy 



Nude elliptical

Gold + Copper


Hida Beech + Urushi



Nude elliptical

Copper + Silver


Wood powder +

Phenolic resin



The SPU Classic: The SPU from 1959 led the way for the next 50 years of high-end cartridge design. In the early sixties the SPU range comprised three models: E (elliptical), G (standard G-shell) and T (with or without transformer). Over time the SPU in the G-housing prevailed and gradually became the now popular SPU Classic. The SPU Classic embodies the essence of the original Moving Coils known for their dynamic and powerful sound reproduction. Equipped with a Nude spherical stylus the SPU Classic has sound that is both rich and silky.

SPU collector boxThe SPU Gold Reference from 1989 was made in 335 units. The major features of the SPU Gold Reference include an Ortofon Replicant 100 stylus, 99.9999% pure copper armature windings and lead, and a slightly modified damping system, the improvements that have made it possible to reduce the tracking force and obtain a more linear frequency response. Sonically, the Gold Reference is a genuine SPU.   

The SPU 85th from 2003 was made in 500 units. The SPU 85th is characterized by an outstanding kind of housing made of Japanese Hida beechwood, famous for its strength and hardness.  For the exclusive surface treatment the 6000 years old Japanese Urushi lacquer method was chosen in order to achieve a hard, resistant and beautiful multilayer surface in a dark maroon color. In order to influence sound from the motor system, a new wire concept for the armature windings called “AUCURUM” was developed.


The SPU 90th Anniversary from 2008 was made in 500 units. What makes the SPU 90th unique is the combination of the following four things: a completely new patent-pending magnetic system, the inclusion of the renowned Field Stabilizing Element (FSE) system, the direct connection between the generator system and the wooden housing that ensures an extremely high internal damping, and finally, the use of the revolutionary Selective Laser Melting manufacturing technique. The SPU 90th Anniversary provides a reproduction of sound that is unsurpassed in its neutrality, detail and dynamic range.

The SPU Collector Box is complete with a book encompassing the history of Ortofon, the history of SPU and description of the products. 


Where to buy

This SPU collector box is true collector's item limited in 100 units. We expect to sell these 100 SPU collector boxes in a short space of time. The street price of the SPU Collector Box is estimated to be € 10.000 depending on the local VAT. Deliveries will start November 1st.


Box no. 001


SPU collector box If you are an Ortofon Newsletter subscriber you can get the opportunity to obtain the SPU Collector Box no. 001 of 100. We are inviting everybody interested in obtaining the box no. 001 to contact us. With a deposit you enter the competition to win the SPU box no.001!

October 29th we will draw a winner amongst those who buy via direct contact to Ortofon. The deposit of € 200 will serve as an entry for the draw and will be converted into a discount of € 500 for all participants of the competition who will buy the SPU Collector box. Should you regret and withdraw from the competition, the deposit (bank's fees excl.) will be returned immediately upon request. 


The Ortofon TA-110

TA-110Ortofon is expanding the range of quality tonearms. Built upon the TA-100 and two areas of Ortofon's technological know-how, this tonearm has gone to the next level by reducing unwanted vibrations in the tonearm. 

Ortofon's material know-how is the first area of the Ortofon technology that was applied when developing the TA-110. As a specialist in technical rubber, Ortofon used one of its special rubber compounds when creating the specially shaped rubber with high vibration dampening properties.

The rubber pieces are produced at the Ortofon technical rubber facilities in Nakskov.

TA 110 rubber insertThe second area of Ortofon technology is the extensive knowledge of vibration properties and characteristics. Ortofon has acquired this know-how via the developement of Bone conductors for the hearing aid industry. By using this knowledge and the related computer programs that simulated vibration in different shapes and materials, Ortofon came up with an optimized TA-110. The TA-110 is a product with great benefits for the discerning analogue user.

The TA-110 was given a precision machined slit in the middle of the aluminium tube. A piece of Ortofon's special vibration damping rubber was inserted into the slit. An armtube without slit and rubber damper is symmetrical in a vertical and lateral plane with respect to vibrations. The slit breaks this symmetry, and mounting the rubber insert gives the desired damping.  

The effect of the rubber damping properties is evident from the Vibration Measurement chart below. The armtube was mounted on the Brüel & Kjær Mini Shaker 4810, which was fed with a wideband pink noise signal. The vibration level was measured with a miniature Brüel & Kjær Accelerometer 4374 and a spectrum analyzer set to 1/3-octave resolution.

When taking the measurement uncertainty into consideration, the two armtubes show almost equal vibration levels, apart from the interval 1kHz to 4kHz (upper midrange/lower treble). As it is well known from the Fletcher-Munson curves, this is the interval where the ear is most sensitive, and this interval is also very important for a high quality music reproduction.


vibration measurement


The TA-100 armtube is a lot less stressed than a conventional armtube.

TA-110 will be an ideal combination with MC WindfeldMC A90 and the new Ortofon Xpression.  


Technical data: 

  • Effective mass without headshell 3.5 g
  • Mass of supplied headshell 15.5 g
  • Effective armlength (distance between the stylus and pivot point): 231.0 mm
  • Length (Distance between the pivot point and turntable center): 213.0 mm
  • Offset angle: 23.9 degrees
  • Overhang: 18.0 mm
  • Tracking force adjusting range (direct reading): 0-3 g
  • Height adjustment range: 35-55 mm
  • Diameter of the armbase mounting hole: 19-20 mm
  • Diameter of the center shaft of tonearm: 18.0 mm
  • Inner null point: 66 mm
  • Outer null point: 120.9 mm
  • Optional counterweight for heavier cartridge between 26 and 38 g is available
  • Standard counterweight for cartridges between 18 and 28 g included
  • One set of cables 6NX-TSW-1010 included


Recent reviews

MC A90MC A90 in STEREO October 2010

The MC A90 is a MC cartridge of a dream class. It offers the sophisticated listener a maximum in precision and pureness and on top of that a fascinating aura of energy, radiation power and magical musicality.


Ortofon MC Rondo Red in Absolute Sound October 2010MC Rondo Red

The Rondo Red sonic signature is smooth and warm, somewhat restrained, and never flashy. The overall balance is very pleasant, and sure to please those who find moving-coils to be overly bright sounding.


In the newsletter to come 

    • The Ortofon designing philosophy - part two
    • The new high-end cartridge MC Xpression
    • New products
    • Reviews