Ortofon MC A90 cartridge


I have had this cartridge for just over a month now and WOW.

The A90 IMO is as pure a cartridge that I have ever heard.

If you like your system you will absolutely luv this cartridge.

Thanks Mike L for giving me the tip - revealing and musical- absolutely. ruthless - never

Anyone else got one?

cheers
downunder
Posts like this are giving me the itch to buy one! Mike's posts got the itch going also! I could take back my wife and kids christmas presents and just order this :)

So both you and Mike are putting some high praise on this cartridge. Any comparison info for us? I see you have it in your Graham arm, Mike in his Tri...
let me throw another log on the fire, so to speak.

i do have a second A90 coming (hopefully) next week for the Dobbins Technics SP-10 Mk3 with the Reed arm. i did have my A90 on the Reed briefly 3 weeks ago and it did sound marvelous. we did not spend the time to really dial it in like on the 301 but none-the-less it was 'special' sounding and i want to hear what i heard again.

the A90 is a bit of a chameleon in terms of playing to the strength of the arm and tt it is on. it's neutrality is not coldness or reticence; more an honesty and clear window to the music in the context of the other gear. like Shane, i've not heard the A90 lose it's cool; it's tracked everything without stress and landed on the musical side of the equation when things get exciting.

i now have about 100--110 hours on my A90.

what more can i say....i bought another one. any other cartridge i seriously might consider for the Technics would be more dollars, likely up to twice as expensive.
Is it superior to the Ortofon M20FL Super? (KIdding, guys.) I own an MC7500 that I am very fond of as well and which has qualities similar to those you guys are describing. I never owned an Ortofon cartridge until I recently acquired these two, and I am developing great respect for the company and its products. So maybe I need to get an A90 too. But for $179, you cannot beat the M20FL Super, maybe not for anything less than $2000.
Lewm,
you are so right, in fact I would up the stakes to $3000 easily IMO.
I'm back with the M20FL super and it just seems to bring out details in "right" way no MC so far could do in my system.
Again let me mention Jubilee, Windfeld, Axia, Orpheus, Dynavector XX2 MkII, and Dorian, just to mention what comes to mind. (All pretty well regarded MCs in their own right)
And as always YMMV
Axel
Axel, I do agree with you, but I did not wish to start an argument. So I kept the number well below the cost of top-flight LOMC cartridges so as not to irritate anyone. Mike Lavigne, you really should try an M20FL Super, especially on your Garrard. I would love to hear your opinion, as I know you have sampled most of the best and most expensive cartridges in the context of your superb system.
Lew,

tomorrow i will have a used Ortofon Jubilee to play with for a little while. i'll install it on the Technics and see how it plays with the big (and bigger) boys.

Lew, i agree we don't want to start an arguement. one gets into the cost of diminishing returns of performance and who cares enough to justify it. it applies to just about anything one might want to talk about....and that process is an unwinnable endeaveor.
Mike,

I used to own a jubilee and while it did little wrong, more importantly it did little right for me in my system.

It is now being thoroughly enjoyed by an audio buddy with my old VPI HRX that I sold him.

It will be interesting how you feel it performs in your system.

BTW, the A90 sounds equally as good (maybe better) on my Exclusive P3 as it does on the raven AC3.

Funny, I also have another A90 reserved from the next shipment in early Feb, so I have some more time to play with my tables and see if my delight dimms any in that time.

cheers
Lew / Axel

I guess you are telling me I should take my Ortofon M20FL Super out of its Thakker box and have a listen to it. It is looking ignored and neglected at the moment.

I will do that over the Xmas period and report back.
JFrench

comparisons - hmmm - always difficult. My dyna XV-1 has been my reference for quite a while now.

In my system the A90 seems to have an uncanny ability to easily differentiate musical and recorded differences more from album to album. This is also the case even from track to track differences more than any other cartridge I have heard.
It always does this with control,poise and an eveness without any frequency spotlighting or other obvious downsides. The A90 is sounding more like my system and its voicing than a cartridge - which is what I luv.

That the A90 can sound absolutely wonderful on a current Raven AC3/Phantom combo, but equally well on a 30 year old Exlusive P3 DD table says something.

The dyna in comparison has a signature sound that you hear from album to album. Listening to the dyna in isolation you would not really think that.

I really think Ortofon are onto something special with their unique SLM manufacturing process to make the cartridge body.

Mike is buying another A90 and I am almost at the same decision point, so I guess you know how we feel :-)
Mike, I did not wish to play that game of value for money. I actually think that the M20FL Super is delightful in its own rite/right/wright (never knew which form was correct for this phrase). Just consider it as another cartridge, if you get a chance to listen to one. In fact, since I have two, one of which is still in its box, I would be willing to lend you one of mine. My first one sounded excellent right out of the box but got much better after 2-4 hours and a couple of tours of the Cardas test LP.

I know nothing about the Jubilee; that's another kettle of fish. I suspect that the MC7500 is superior to the Jubilee, but I have no data to support that idea.
Having used the Jubilee for couple of years before acquiring the A90, I can say emphatically that the latter is on a completely different performance plane.

The Jubilee does share some of the same ease (tracking prowess?) and throws a pretty big stable soundstage while balancing neutrality and robustness well.

But the Jubilee does not have anything like the open window clarity of the A90. The A90 throws a wider deeper stage and has far more life and transient quickness. The top end of the A90 kills the Jubilee.

As others have said, the A90 is a real chameleon, it's sound can change dramatically from record to record and track to track (the Jubilee does this to a lesser extent). The field of depth is greatly expanded - records recorded distantly from the mics sound further back, upfront recordings further forward. But it's the clarity/transparency I can't get over. It's the first really expensive cartridge i've owned, so maybe this is par for the course, but it's made my (relatively modest) system sound much more transparent than I thought it could.

If you want hear back into the recording and be put in touch with the musicians, this is a great cartridge.
The posts above summed it up well. This cartridge's clarity is amazing.

Hi MikeL - I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the A90/Reed combo. Steve has said good things about it, and I'm taking the leap on a Reed 2P. I'd be curious to hear your impressions as well. - Chris
Dear Downunder: I don't own the A-90 but I already heard it in my system, here is what I posted that time:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1200430667&openflup&1026&4#1026

Ortofon was in this cartridge market for so many years, I always admire their skills/knowledge about. Why their top LOMC cartridges were not " inside " the high-end community day by day " mouth "? is something that I can't explain due to Ortofon great cartridges quality performance.

I'm glad that with the A-90 things are improving in this regard as improving is their cartridge top performance.
The A-90 motor/stylus is similar of that of the Windfeld and the 7500 model but that A-90 new cartridge body makes a difference for the better making " dust " several top today LOMC cartridges, of course that each cartridge performance is system dependent and owner dependent but with the A-90 I think that any one that can hear it will concur on its very high quality performance.
No I don't go/run to buy it but I like it.

regards and enjoy the music,
Raul.
Raul,
I just read your post in the above link.Very Interesting and Informative.Thank you for taking the time and giving us insight to your experiences with cartridges.
I for one appreciate your efforts
Thank you
Chris,

last night i did install the used Ortofon Jubilee on the Technics/Reed and this morning jtinn (who is visiting me this weekend) and i dialed it in. i'd say that it's set-up level is 'fairly close', but not spot on perfect.

there is a significant chasm in many ways between the refinement of the Jubilee compared to the A90 or the Olympos. those two thoroughbreds leave the Jubilee in the dust in the ability to see into the recording and levels of realism and nuance. i'm not being negative on the Jubilee, as it is a very 'nice' cartridge to listen to, better behaved and with more balance overall than some other (un-named) cartridges in that 'around $2k' price range (the Jubilee is no longer made i understand). of course, everyone has their own perspective on the merits of 'well-behaved' and 'nice'....and even 'balanced'.

OTOH the Technics/Reed allow the Jubilee to likely have more overall energy and particularly more bass slam. the Reed really has a 'jump' factor, and the Jubilee sings and boggies on the Reed. we played 'Hey Nineteen' from 'Gaucho', a half speed MCA pressing. this had been a reference Lp earlier in the decade in jtinn's and my sessions. in many ways we preferred the Reed/Jubilee's take on the cut. those big fat bass whacks really hit us in the chest. the detail was lacking but in this case the tt/arm delivered the goods.

the Reed is the real deal....and i can't wait to be able to compare the Technics/Reed to the Garrard/Triplaner head to head both with A90's next week.
I too recently purchased the Ortofon mc a90 cartridge and as much as I liked my shelter 501 mkII, this is much more live sounding.

The shelter was a wonderful cartridge for the money but this cartridge is so much more revealing.

These won't be around for long because its an anniversary edition so give it a listen ASAP
Mikel,

Just re-reading your comments on the SP10/Jubilee, specifically:
OTOH the Technics/Reed allow the Jubilee to likely have more overall energy and particularly more bass slam. the Reed really has a 'jump' factor....."
Are you saying the SP10/Reed/Jubilee beats the Garrard/Triplanar/A90 in energy and bass slam?
If so, the mind boggles at how much better the SP10/Reed/A90 will sound, since the A90 displays significantly better bass tautness/density/speed and is far more lively than the Jubilee (at least in my TNT/Phantom II setup).
Mike, thanks for sharing your insights. I think Steve used a term like "jump factor" or something like that to describe the Reed as well. Looking forward to hearing about your further comparisons. I've been bowled over by the garrard/tri/a90 combo. If the Reed further improves on this, it will be something. Thanks again and enjoy the holidays.
Just a note regarding phono loading of the A90.

I initially had this set at 100 ohms but have now lowered to 47ohms. The difference can be startling - Al Di Meola's 'Alien chase on Arabian Desert' sounds awesomely huge and full of impact and atmospherics at 47ohms. Put the loading back to 100ohms and the sound becomes slightly bigger, but somewhat looser, less defined atmosphere and positioning/shape of instruments, less impact and excitement.

100 ohms can 'goose up' some recordings that lack air and atmosphere but mostly sounds less correct to me. YMMV.

Interestingly, Paul Seydor of TAS loads his Ortofon Windfeld (which uses essentially the same motor as the A90) at 40ohms.

System Details
Tobes, great pic of your A90! What camera/lenses did you use?
Jfrech,

The camera was just a Panasonic TZ7 (ZS3 in the US) point and shoot. I have no clues about photography...I take a bunch of shots and pick ones that look ok.

The pic on my webpage is a pretty low res reduction. The unreduced crop I posted in the pictures thread elsewhere shows more detail (but less context): Ortofon A90
This is essentially the classic ten times the internal impedance and it results in the flattest frequency response and thus the most neutral presentation. I also find no diminution of transient response or transparency. I agree that the raising the impedance to a hundred ohms--let alone running it unloaded--can produce some attractive artifacts, but artifacts they remain and most emphatically not accurate. They also become fatiguing after awhile.
Dear Tobes: I heard the A90 in my system loaded at 100 Ohms and I don't try it at 47 Ohms.

I can't say if at 47 Ohms or at 100 Ohms has the flatest frequency response, like Pseydor assume, because I don't measured it and I can't calculate either with out the cartridge inductance value.

What I can to know is that passing from 100 Ohms to 47 Ohms the SPL goes down almost 1db and this difference in SPL ( IMHO ) is the one that could makes that we hear " differences " other that a change in the frequency response due that the A90 internal resistance is so low ( 4 Ohms. ).

My thought is that the quality performance does not change but only the SPL. So to evaluate ( other than make the measurements in real time. ) what we are hearing we have to even the Phono stage/line stage output/volume at 47 Ohms and 100 Ohms.
We have to think that our ears/brain are extremely sensitive to tiny/small cganhes on SPL. Many times when we are hearing a recording with two different SPL: normally we like the one that has higher SPL.
In the other side, Pseydor say: " They also become fatiguing after awhile. ", this is correct because at 100 Ohms there is almost 1 db of higher SPL but not ( IMHO ) because is a quality differences other that the higher volume that can affect our perception " after awhile ".
Around 1 db on volume difference makes that the whole system performance change too.

Perhaps a little more important subject about is the input phono stage resistor quality where we are loading that cartridge.

Anyway, if that load impedance is the one value that works in your system that's fine because that value is the one that gives to you music enjoying.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Raul.
Paul, will you be reviewing the A90 at some stage? I'd like to hear your impressions given your enthusiastic review of the Windfeld.

Agree that the 47ohm loading should help prevent any tendency for a rising top octave. In my setup, I think the A90 sounds more transparent at 47ohms - more controlled/sharper transients as well. I can more easily hear how instruments are positioned. I wonder if this has something to do with the (slight) loading of the generator.
Raul, it's not just an SPL change that I'm hearing (see above) - and we are talking about a very small change in level (I think the difference would actually be closer to 0.4dB with the A90's 4ohm generator). In any case, generally there is a tendency to prefer the louder option in A-B comparisons.

I enlisted the help of my 10yo daughter to change input resistance while I listened - it's definitely more than just a level change occurring in my system. I can't duplicate the same 'sound' by adjusting level at the 100ohms setting.
However I agree this may be just a synergy interaction with my particular equipment/setup, as always YMMV.
Dear Tobes: Only to have clear what you posted: +++++" I enlisted the help of my 10yo daughter to change input resistance while I listened.... " +++++

Could I assume that you don't change the preamp volume selector ?

Atr the end the important subject is what you like my question is only to understand about and not to be in controversy or start a controversy.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Raul.
You are correct Raul, I was not adjusting the volume - but like I said this is a very slight volume change.

The details of the sound that I noted above remain consistent at the 47ohm setting - regardless of level - and are not available, to the same extent, at the 100ohm setting (regardless of level).

I do believe my system (phono amp?) may have some preference for lower phono loading of MC's - though the manufacturer of my phono, Plinius, suggest 47Kohms(!) as "a suitable all-round setting" for the M14. I used the Jubilee at 47ohms for a while, though with that cartridge it was less successful and sounded a bit too 'closed in' - so I reverted back to a more conventional 100ohms or even 470ohms.

I may be remembering this incorrectly, but I think it was Jonathan Carr who said some phono amps may prefer lower loading due to noise pickup at the phono input (Jonathan's own phono amp has a fixed high input resistance).

Who knows, it may be taming the HF peak, generator damping or noise pickup....or something else...in the end it's what works best to the individuals ears I suppose.
" the Reed is the real deal....and i can't wait to be able to compare the Technics/Reed to the Garrard/Triplaner head to head both with A90's next week "

this will be very interesting , please keep us posted on this battle .also like other said if you don't mind trying the A90 on the Reed arm and see how it does.

Thanks
Hi Tobes,
just let me chip in on these loading findings. The Windfeld and A90 having the same generator it might give *some* perspective, and *mostly* with regard to the phono-pre-amp in use.
Mine are ML 326S phono-modules (inside the 326S).
Now loading the Windfeld (same motor as A90, yes) in my system sounds best with 47k!!!
I have tried with any thing from 13ohm to 1kohm (13 ohm because it is my dealer's preferred setting!!!!)
Can you see already what is going on here?!
Anything in my system other then 47k sound either plain sat-on (13ohm to 460ohm), or un-natural ~compressed or ~over-tight" 1k ohm to 18kohm.
So in my case 47k ohm produces the most "natural" result!
When using my 30dB XF-1 SUT (with its 47ohm "natural" primary impedance) all sounds better yet, this is your setting --- are you sure do not have an internal SUT in that phono-pre of yours?
Long story short, I then switch to a MP-50 Nagaoka ($500, an "MI" cart) and sorry for me, it yet out-classes the Windfeld!
Good thing Ortofon came out with that A90, since in my system there are better alternatives to the Windfeld (M.F. praised...) for less money, and thanks to Raul I found some :-)
Greetings,
Axel
Hi Axel, yes it does seem that 'correct' loading is a very system dependent thing.

I know what you are saying regarding the 'sat on, compressed or over-tight' type sound. The Jubilee tended that way when loaded at 47ohms - though in some ways it sounded more correct. The A90 is a totally different animal and sounds very dynamic and alive at 47ohms (in my system). In fact after listening for a while at 47ohms it's hard to go back to the 100 ohm setting that I was very much enjoying previously.

There is nothing obnoxious going on at higher loadings, the Plinius phono is quite refined on top and my Harbeth speakers tend to the 'polite' side - so you'd think the extra 'air' at the higher loadings would be my preference. However with 47ohms the superior solidity and shape to performers and instruments, the transiernt certitude and greater soundspace awareness makes this an obvious winner for me. It sounds more natural and less overblown 'Hi-Fi'.

Clearly cartridge loading is something that can't be translated from system to system. If nothing else, this little discourse should encourage both A90 and Windfeld users to experiment with their loading.
Cheers, Tobes
Tobes & All,
I do agree in every respect with what you're saying, yet let me throw out one more curve ball.
The Windfeld I'm referring to is a new replacement of an earlier one that had issues also acknowledged by Ortofon (who replaced it for no charge), having "a VTA problem".
It was "riding" VERY low from the start and the body was not build / assembled up to scratch either.
So it could be explained that the two would've behaved quite differently.
The new item is now riding a lot higher and this *may* just be the way the first would have meant to be? (In fact I'm not so sure at all!)
A similar story with slightly different faults I had with a Jubilee, which also was replaced eventually after 2 attempts to correct the initial problems (body gapping and more and more skewing cantilever).
I mention these so as to explain why I think (by now), that there are rather more variations in these carts then one could wish for.
The MP-50 I mentioned by comparison is CLEARLY! a better tracker (then the Jubilees, or Windfelds in my system) and those two Ortos are *supposed* to be GREAT tracking carts!
There have been some very long threads on explaining mis-tracking, of difficult vinyl bands and not just IGD i.e. the inner bands only, and none of those Ortos did too well for me ever.
In fact, it seems this form of mild to more sever mis-tracking that makes these carts lack in ultimate "clarity" and I can no more easily explain it in terms of a lesser phono-pre performance. By now more then one MM or MI cart seems to disprove these ideas of insufficient rise time and the like.
It looks now that the A90 has finally got this sorted, reading the above reports about *superior clarity* --- very GOOD!
Now why only build 400!? Marketing? More then 400 ought be sold by now in any case...!
Using those carts mentioned in an SME V arm should NOT be the limiting factor AT ALL.
Just food for thought, and possibly an opportunity for some more learning.
Axel
Axel, A90 vs M20FL Super? Any comments?
Hey Tobes.

I use an Ortofon Windfeld and have recently purchased the A90 which is an absolute KILLER cartridge. I found using the Windfeld below 100ohms sort of killed the music and so far the A90 below 100ohms pretty much does the same.
I use a solid state based phono stage. Above 100ohms both cartridges 'warm up' slightly but I prefer the 100ohms setting IN MY SYSTEM!.

Just as a comparison for anyone wanting to know:

So far nothing compares to the A90 in my system.

Windfeld vs Airy 3 = Windfeld wins outright in all departments.

Windfeld vs Shelter 901 = 901 sounds livelier but 'false'

Shelter 901 vs Airy 3 = I prefer the 901 as is has far better weight and realism. 3D portrayal is far better with the 901.

901 vs Ortofon Rondo Bronze = 901 wins outright which goes to show a good cartridge is and will always be a good cartridge.

Koetsu Red Signature vs A90 = Koetsu sounds OLD!

Koetsu RS vs Windfeld = Koetsu sounds OLD!

I have all of the above cartridges and all these were compared in my system using my standard setup.
VPI HRX/ Kuzma 4 point Whest Audio MC REF V phonostage/ LAMM L2/ ATC 150 Active.

Lewm,
sorry I have no A90, only the Windfeld and the M20FL-super sounds more natural, has more detail yet, and also is a better tracker! (It's why it sounds better also, my take)
It's why I said, this A90 as it's assessed above is the next important step for Orto, no?

Windfeld compared to MP-50 -- the Windfeld sounds OLD (good way of putting it, thanks for the expression Robm1)
Axel
PS: To me there's no way to give these LOMCs the credit of "unsuitable" phono-pre performance if it can deliver the good stuff with all those MM / MI carts. Again, I think it is clearly a tracking issue, -- at least with my SME V arm.
Dear Axelwhal: Yes a " tracking issue " could be. I posted ( two years ago in that long MM/MI thread. ) this:

+++++ " IMHO I think that the MUSIC run so easily through a MM cartridge due ( between other facts ) to its very high compliance characteristic on almost any MM cartridge.

This very high compliance permit ( between other things like be less sensitive to out-center hole records. ) to these cartridges stay always in contact with the groove and never loose that groove contact not even on the grooves that were recorded at very high velocity, something that a low/medium cartridge compliance can’t achieve, due to this low/medium compliance characteristic the MC cartridges loose ( time to time and depending of the recorded velocity ) groove contact ( minute extremely minute loose contact, but exist. ) and the quality sound performance suffer about and we can hear it, the same pass with the MC cartridges when are playing the inner grooves on a record instead the very high compliance MM cartridges because has better tracking drive perform better than the MC ones at inner record grooves and here too we can hear it. " +++++

IMHO this along each cartridge suspension design are important factors on the tracking issue.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Raul.
Raul,

when you say.....

IMHO I think that the MUSIC run so easily through a MM cartridge due ( between other facts ) to its very high compliance characteristic on almost any MM cartridge.

This very high compliance permit ( between other things like be less sensitive to out-center hole records. ) to these cartridges stay always in contact with the groove and never loose that groove contact not even on the grooves that were recorded at very high velocity, something that a low/medium cartridge compliance can’t achieve, due to this low/medium compliance characteristic the MC cartridges loose ( time to time and depending of the recorded velocity ) groove contact ( minute extremely minute loose contact, but exist. ) and the quality sound performance suffer about and we can hear it, the same pass with the MC cartridges when are playing the inner grooves on a record instead the very high compliance MM cartridges because has better tracking drive perform better than the MC ones at inner record grooves and here too we can hear it. "

....i think it is very important that you add in bold type...."in my personal experience".

do better MC cartridges truely 'bounce' along the groove typically?

huummmmm. i guess one needs an open mind.

i do not question that this is what you have experienced; only that that experience might not be the universal perception. i have a hard time taking your perceptions as the final truth in this matter; although i respect your opinions and they cause me to be curious.

i admit to never listening to high compliance MM cartridges.....and have no opinion about them.

ultimately; listeners must discover the truth for themselves. i'd love to see a MM take a run at the Lyra Olympos (or any of the top level MC's) on the Rockport sometime. flat record, perfect speed, no arm tracking errors, any outside resonance effectively eliminated. just two cartridges and a groove.
Dear Mike: Yes you are right and agree: " in my personal experience ". No it is not a universal perception but only with some of the ones that already own/heard the MM/MI alternative.

I like the Olympos ( I heard it twice ) unfortunatelly I don't heard it yet in my system but I have a very clear idea about its quality performance. Well many of the Olympos characteristics and especially the " easy and natural flow " of the music is shared by the top MM/MIs where almost no other LOMC have.

I think that can/could be very interesting that you take the opportunity to hear one-two of those " humble and vintage " MM/MIs in your system.
This technology is better than what we can think before we hear it, it is a " new "/different analog source alternative and IMHO worth to try it, it is so ridiculous inexpensive .

Regards and enjoy the music,
Raul.
Axel & co

This thread is for anyone who has heard or bought a A90 or anyone who has interest in an A90
- not for MM lovers who have never heard the A90 and try to make this about MM vs MC. You 3 or 4 guys have your own 27 page MM lovers guide thread to discuss that.

Axel, that your ML phono/setup can only sound reasonable at 47k says more about your current setup than anything, as you are definately in the absolute minority favouring 47k.

If you read Fremer's review or Robm1 comments, who have actually heard both - the A90 is clearly in a different musical and sonic league compared to the Windfeld for only a little price premium.

perhaps Robm1 can elaborate on what differences he has heard - not for your benefit but for anyone interested in an A90.

A90 vs Nagaoka MP 50 - the MP 50 is a great cartridge and is well and truely as you say a giant killer - maybe up to 3k compared to some MC's - It certainly is better in every respect than a Miyabe Shilabe cart at $2800 which I have heard in my system.

In time I will also listen to the ortofon M20FL super and report.

The A90 however is comfortable better than the MP50 in my system.

Why only Ortofon sell limited Edition of 400. Frankly 400 top of the line cartridges are a LOT of cartridges for any top of line model and probably several years or more supply for other cartridge makers. Ortofon are back ordered by 6- 8 weeks, so clearly at the moment demand is outstripping their ability to manufacture and supply.

Quote from Ortofon -

"The production capacity for A 90 is limited as the Single Laser Mould is a very special process. The structures for A90 are produced by a Danish research Insitute, Teknologisk Institut Aarhus, their capacity is limited at the machine is one of 3 in all Europe.
They use it mostly for research purposes but we are a partner for them in their research for using this process for manufacturing "

Compared to other manufacturers top of the line cartridges Ortofon is actually cheap, so Ortofon should be praised for that alone.



cheers
Raul,

to avoid further cluttering this thread with non-A90 advice, please e-mail me (or post on my system page) MM/MI recommendations which are currently "reasonably" purchasable which might represent this superior performance you are touting.

thanks,
"The production capacity for A 90 is limited as the Single Laser Mould is a very special process. The structures for A90 are produced by a Danish research Insitute, Teknologisk Institut Aarhus, their capacity is limited at the machine is one of 3 in all Europe.
They use it mostly for research purposes but we are a partner for them in their research for using this process for manufacturing "

I wonder how high the A90 would have been priced if it was being marketed by one of the more 'esoteric' cartridge manufacturers?
This cartridge was still a stretch for me, but it sounds stellar and uniquely transparent IME. Thank goodness Ortofon didn't decide to put an inflated 'exclusive' sticker price on the A90 - otherwise I would have been denied access to this type of performance.
Downunder,
y.s: >> the A90 is clearly in a different musical and sonic league compared to the Windfeld for only a little price premium.<< and
>> The A90 however is comfortable better than the MP50 in my system.<<
Very good feedback thank you, as the MP-50 sounds clearly better then my Windfeld by some notable margin ---- yet the difference between the former STAR of their product line and the A90 must therefore be APPRECIABLY more the I have understood this to be the case. (In fact it well might rubbish that *former star*, obviously the case since now being discontinued, hm)
Having the same "motor" and only a different housing truly makes a case for how much the housing seems to contribute the sound! (JCarr had a lot to say on that subject and how right he seems to be)
Food for thought in deed, and thank you for suffering me mentioning any other name than A90 only.
Axel
Axel, the differences between the Windfeld and MCA90 may indeed be significant but your preference for the MP50 over the Windfeld and indeed other MM's over the Windfeld which you have repeatedly stated in other threads leads me to conclude that rather than all these MM's actually being innately superior to MC's it may well be that:

1. Your Windfeld in defective or

2. You are not realizing its or any other MC's full potential in your system.

Could either of these not be a possibility rather than just repeatedly stating the cartridge's imperfections vis a vis good MM's?

Apologies to Downunder going down the MM/MC path but at least I mentioned the MCA90. By the way I own neither the Windfeld nor the MC
A90 but would like an MCA90 when finances permit.
First off, I will put my two cents in on the A90. I have made a genuine run at listening to most of the better carts out there including a few MI/MM. In my opinion, the A90 is one of the three best carts I have heard in my rig and of the three, the most honest AND best value. IMHO of course. The other two carts in my top three are the Lyra Olympos and Koetsu Coralstone.
I will be visiting Mike Lavigne next month to try out a few new tricks for the 301. Since there seems to be a lot of interest in how the A90/Olympos compares to some of the MM/MI carts, I will bring a MP-50, Andante P-76 and M20FL Super and if Mike has the time and desire, we can do a comparison and share the results. My kind of fun.
Phaser,
1. this is a *new cart* a replacement for a defective one.
Well, maybe it again is defective?!
I sounds ~"MC wise" OK and not *bad* at all, but ultimately is not as good as some other NOS carts I mentioned. In the most simple of terms is does not track as good as the "others".
2. Again as I stated, I have tried just about EVERYTHING in the book, with every loading conceivable, including SUT usage also with no loading, primary-, and secondary- loading of MANY, many different values.

Now go try and explain to me what else is missing, if I use those NOS carts mentioned and I get superior results?
It can not be my phono-pre I say, since if it's not up to scratch it's like that all the way, and not just with MCs only, right? (I'm using the exact same gain settings for both 60dB)
Also you will find in more then one thread tracking issues discussed *no end*, and ALL are related to MCs!
So I think my case is not an exception here.
I am also REALLY very glad that something like the A90 seems to have finally sorted some / all of this, and therefore my interest.
Yet I am sceptical by now, and it will take a lot more for me just go out and buy this one. The last item was my Windfeld purchase based on all this *beautiful* hype ("worlds best cartrige" BS) so some stupid NOS cart sounds better?!
It is disappointing, and having taken that last *marvel* out of production just after ~ 1 year! is not going to make me go run for the next one right now, for sure.
Greetings,
Axel
Hi Vetterone

Nice to hear from another who has heard the A90 in their own rig. That it competes evenly with its more expensive peers says a lot.

If you were only to compare one MM at Mike's place - make it the MP-50 - selfish reasons for that choice as I am familar with the sound.

BTW - fantastic selection of vintage tables!!

I have been equally impressed with the build quality and performance of my newish 30 year old Exclusive P3 & P10.

cheers and enjoy.
Steve,

I will be visiting Mike Lavigne next month to try out a few new tricks for the 301.

i'm really looking forward to another visit and further Garrard tweaks. i'll try to get the 2nd A90 broken in prior to the visit so we can really compare things (like maybe an A90 on both the Triplaner and Reed and both mounted on the Garrard.....or both mounted on the Technics).

Since there seems to be a lot of interest in how the A90/Olympos compares to some of the MM/MI carts, I will bring a MP-50, Andante P-76 and M20FL Super and if Mike has the time and desire, we can do a comparison and share the results. My kind of fun.

i'm game for comparing all three if you want to (and if we are still having fun after the 1st and 2nd). the great part is that i get to watch you do multiple set-ups and continue my apprenticeship of "pivoted arm set-up 101".

btw, for those not aware Vetterone is Steve Dobbins who built wonderful plinths for both my Garrard 301 and my Technics SP-10 Mk3.
Hi,
This Ortofon A90 is a beautiful cartridge and perhaps the best so far that I have experienced. I don't own one, a long time audio dealer friend of mine likes it very much so.
Pardon me this is off the main topic. Downunder I have fond memories of the Pioneer Exclusive P3 along with the entire Exclusive line of other components.
Japanese HiFi back in the day was certainly cutting edge technology especially with their best turn tables.
I would like to finish off with I'm happy to see a resurgence of some of these vintage turn tables, tone arms and mm cartridges. Back to the future of HiFi?
Downunder, Phaser,
this does not strictly belong here as already mentioned. Yet as the Windfeld has the same motor as the A90 and 47ohm loading was mentioned as very good with the A90, I now gave that a try with Windfeld.
Voila! it happens to be THE best setting, and as things go --- the ONE I actually had not tried.
So thank you, and have a merry Xmas.
Axel
Do you guys think that the 47-ohm load would also be optimal for the MC7500, given the familial relationship among the MC7500, Windfield, and MCA90 cartridges? I like the MC7500 at 100 ohms very much. If I would critique it I would say that it is slightly "dry" sounding, gives lots of inner detail but maybe not so much in the way of "goosebumps". On the other hand, I came to it from years of listening to my Koetsu Urushi, so you could say I had been conditioned to a different sound that is anything but "dry". In comparison, the Colibri gives the best bit of both worlds, but it is finicky. I don't know how I ever lived without 3 turntables. (Meant as self-deprecation)
Axel, good news that you are getting better performance out of your Winfeld.

Lewm, not sure buy try the lower setting - you can always go back.

I have been using 100 ohms, so I may try my 50ohm setting now on my phono :-)

cheers