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Ortofon 'Anniversary' MC A90--wow!!

i've had the new Ortofon MC A90 in my system for about three weeks. i've put about 25 hours on it. i think it may be overall as good a cartridge as i have heard in my system. it's what i would call a 'truth sayer'. it's not going to 'warm over' or 'round' anything, it's not going to 'bloom' where the pressing does not.....but it does have a huge soundstage and fills the room. it has wonderful tone, super clarity, it's both micro and macro dynamic, and it has this organic body and ease that is very involving. the top end is very open and extended but with no edge or etch. the bottom is full and meaty, but not dull or boomey. it's quick and can handle the most challenging passages without breaking a sweat.

some cartridges have that 'magical' ability to rise above the parts and convey the music in a special way; the A90 is one of those. but it does so while remaining very true, neutral and exciting to listen to. the music comes alive and you want to listen. it's very lively and my feet are tapping, my shoulders are relaxed and i'm smiling. it communicates.

right now it's playing thru my dart phono stage and it loves it.....a great combination. later i'll try it on the Allnic H3000. the A90 is mounted on my 'Dobbins' Plinth'd Garrard 301/Triplaner. once it gets a few more hours on it i will also try it on my Rockport as well as my Dobbins Technics SP-10 Mk3/Reed arm.

this is my first Ortofon, so i can't compare it others. there are a few design highlights which Ortofon touts as significant and have been previously used in the Winfield; (my quotes are from an Ortofon white paper).

"the Field Stabilising Element (FSE) can ensure that the force field remains stable regardless of movement of the armature. The FSE consists of a small cylinder of silver plated copper placed inside of the magnetic system."

"Wide Range Damping (WRD) system. In this system, a small, heavy platinum disc is sandwiched between two rubber absorbers, both with different properties."

"the A90’s boron cantilever – the unique Ortofon Replicant 100. This ultra-fine and now extra polished diamond first was introduced on the famous MC-3000 MkII and MC-5000 cartridges, and has also been used on the revered MC Windfeld."

my A90 is serial number #008, and there will only be 400 of these made.

i purchased mine from Jonathan Tinn of Chambers Audio.

the very big deal here is that it 'only' lists for $4200 retail. that's lots of money; but today the price of admission for the top level of cartridge performance is $10k+ list price.

it's built in a whole different way than any other cartridge.

"At the heart of the new A90 lies a revolutionary customized SLM (Selective Laser Melting) manufacturing procedure in which micro particles are laser-welded together, layer by layer."

it's made of solid stainless steel.

"all of the essential components are built directly into the onepiece
body, including the magnetic system (including the moving parts), the terminal block, and the silicone rubber wire guard."

i wonder if other smaller companies that now build cartridges will be able to take the same high tech approach to building a cartridge.

it weighs 8 grams, has .270mv output, and it's tracking force range is 2.0--2.5 grams.....i'm currently tracking it at 2.3 grams until i get more hours on it. i'm running it level but have not really played with VTA much.

i was at RMAF and attended Fremer's set-up seminar on the first day. Mikey has had the A90 and there is a review on it in the November Stereophile. i asked him what he thought about it and he called it a 'game-changer' and got excited when he said it. they were handing the Nov Stereophile out at RMAF so i did read the review. it's 'over-the-top' but i can understand why.

so far; based on my experience, i agree with him.

Edits: 10/11/09 10/11/09

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Topic - Ortofon 'Anniversary' MC A90--wow!! - mikel 09:07:26 10/11/09 (13)


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