Ortofon RS-309D opinions

A friend of mine offered me this arm for my TW Acoustic Raven One , I eventually 'll use it with the BenzLP

What do you think about this arm and the Benz combo

Thank in advance for opinions/suggestions

Dear Curio: I never try it in my system but I now very well Ortofon and its build quality and know how on the tonearm/cartridge subject.

I don't see any single issue why not buy it and matched with your Benz LP ( in any TT, including your Raven. ). This Ortofon tonearm has the advantage that it is a removable headshell design and this permit that you can match ( trhough different headshells. ) in precise way your cartridge or any other in the future.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hello Raul,

First my compliment for your knowlege in Vinyl Art , I follow your posts here since long time

Well , I asked around about the Ortofon RS309D and I got similar opinions but also the Jelco 750L (12" inches arm) sounds at the same Ortofon level but costing much less money.
Now I'm investigating about another 12" inches contender .. the Morch DP6 .. more expencve than the cheapo Jelco but less expencive than the Ortofon RS-309D
Do you know the Morch DP6 Raul?
In your experience is comparable to Graham Phantom or Triplanar?
Many say the sound of a 12" inches arm is totally different and not comparable also with best 9" inches arms..
Unfortunately I never heard a Morch DP6 12" or 9"
Dear Curio: The Jelco is a good tonearm too ( Jelco build/design tonearms for other companies:OEM. ) but the Ortofon have an additional advantage: it is a dunamically balanced design and this permit to run a cartridge in both ways with a satic or dinamyc balanced tonearm mechanism.

I own the DP6 but the standard one not the 12", it is a good unipivot tonearm but for a unipivot I'm to " reserved " about 12" design.

There is no real advantage between 12" and 9-10" tonearms each design with the right matched cartridge can give you what you are looking for.

I own your Benz LP and I prefer the Ortofon or Jelco than the Morch for that cartridge.

Btw, this one ( I own it. ) is a very good choice too:


Regards and enjoy the music,
Thank Raul .. very interesting suggestions.
About the Audio-Technica AT-1503 IIIa the problem on the Raven One could be the arm rest.
Oh! I forgot to mention the Ikeda IT407 CR-1 16" .. Raul!
I guess it could be another good choice .. isnt' it?
Today is still available for $3200
The Ortofon RS 309D has a better tracking ability for warp LPs. It has a VTA adjustment on the fly. If you opt to SPU carts, no need to change the counterweight unlike the 309'S'
The RS-309D has smoother bearings than the Jelco branded arms
Dear Curio: Yes the Ikeda is very good too and an option for you.

Ldorio is right the bearing on the Ortofon is a little better than the one on Jelco but is dificult to say its performance differences with your cartridge if you don't have both bis a bis to compare.

The Ortofon and the AT IMHO are " save " choices.

About the AT, there is an item ( from Micro Seiki ) to mount the arm rest in any TT ( including the Raven. ), maybe you can ask about with the tonearm seller. Anyway if you decide for the AT I can send you a picture on the item because if you can't find it some one can build for you, is very simple.

The VTA on the fly that comes in the Ortofon design ( Analog_soul point out. ) is an advantage because no one of the other tonearms name it here have it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
For the first time ever, I have used the precise combination you are asking about Curio, a moment to savor.
I used the Raven one initially with the basic Jelco arm supplied by the UK distributor. A good combination it was too. Way better then the Origin Live Resolutuion and Illustrious I was using before.
I E-mailed Thomas at TW regarding a final arm choice. He replied in detail, saying he used an Ortofon 309D on his Raven One and felt it gave 95% of the performance of the Phantom at less than half the price, his words not mine. I bought the 309D from the distributor, that he was using on his One. It was clearly a big step up from the Jelco. It is well built, tracks well and improved on all aspects of record reproduction.
At the time I was using a Zyx Airy 3, which I found frankly disappointing. Yes it was neutral, detailed and tracked well, but it was lifeless. The UK distributor of Benz was selling the LP at £500 off, at £1500. I realise this is much cheaper than the US. At that price it is a wonderful. All the detail and transparency of the Zyx, but so much more life, dynamics. I remember the first LP I listened to was Art Blakey's " Moanin", the last one I had played with the Zyx. I jumped out of my chair at the first Saxophone entry, it had so much more life, so crisp.
The LP shares duties now with a Koetsu Onyx I bought cheap and had retipped. Koetsu are not fashionable I know, but it sounds great too, with that magic Koetsu midrange. Arm cartridge compliance is'nt supposed to match with the Koetsu, it sounds fine to me.
So I say, go for a 309D, the deck and arm are the last ones I will be using.
An aside, if you ever want a retip, go to the UK company, the Expert Stylus company. They have been in the business over 20 years and provide a very good, cheap service, of high quality. Yes I know purists will say a retipped Koetsu is no longer a Koetsu, but it sounds OK to me.
Wow David! .. thanks alot for your post .. super helpful
Thank to your post we know the Ortofon RS309D is a very good choice for Raven One and BenzLP combo.

Now dear Raul ..the doubt about the choice between Ortofon RS309D and Ikeda IT-407 CR1 .. pratically I pay the two arm the same price .. which one to buy?
Dear Curio: I wish to have the 309D on hand for I can be precise on that tonearm choice.

Both tonearms are really good but there are at least tree " factors " that like me on the Ortofon over the Ikeda: VTA on the fly, counterweight at the stylus cartridge level for better cartridge tracking and the Ortofon support/knowledge/skills.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Uhmm.. really three interesting points .. Raul
Thanks , I 'll think about
Ldorio is an Ortofon North America employee.

His comments must include that disclosure for the comments to be taken seriously.
I have also wondered about the relationship between the Ortofon arms and the Jelco's. Can the bearings be that different really? Are these arms essentially a unipivot?
David12, I find it interesting that the Raven/Jelco outperformed the Origin Live arms...thats quite something considering that the Raven's arm was the MOST basic of Jelco's offerng.
I'm so interested in these Jelco arms that I'm ready to take a plunge, but the effective mass is staggering?
I've been using one for about 6 months Curio. It beats all the other arms I have which include an SME V, Origin Live Conqueror (Mk3), and Linn Ekos 2. By "beats" I mean it extracts more detail and sounds so much more "alive" than the others. From my experience with it (and the other arms)I say it's a truly great arm and at a bargain price.

I use it with an Ortofon A90 by the way, so it's easy to hear how good it is with that cartridge :).

I'm new to posting here at Audiogon although I've been reading for a while, so hello to all!
Hello Sprog,

Thanks for your opinion and welcome here on Audiogon.

I listened the Ortofon RS309D - A90 combo at Top Audio show in Milano and I agree it is a fantastic combination.
The probem is eventually with the Benz LP and unfortunately no one here owns this duo.
It would be interesting to have opinions about a Jelco 750L 12" inches with Benz LP , a cheaper combination.
Curio, I have an Ortofon AS 309S arm on my Raven One (its the 12 inch arm),and a Dynavector cartridge, and use a Synergistic Research Tricon Analog tonearm cable going to the new Fosgate phono stage and Joule Electra LA-150 Mk 2 preamp. The combo is wonderful, great sound, extremely low noise. I'd imagine the Ortofon arm is just below arms like the Graham and Triplanar (its what I could afford at the time when I also bought the Raven One from Jeff at Highwater Sound). I plan to eventually get a Graham arm, but for now I'm one happy camper. Sorry I cant offer you any feedback on the Ortofon arm with the Benz cart. As long as the arm mass provides the proper compliance with the Benz cart, I dont see how you could go wrong.--Mrmitch
What are you RS309D folks using as alignment protractors? I seriously considered buying one but was put off by its unusual geometry. I'm a big fan of arc protractors like Wallytractor and MintLP, which are apparently inappropriate for this arm.
I have the AS309-S and I had the same questions. Ortofon were happy to give an explanation - see below.

I ended up using the alignment gauge that came with the tonearm, as it was a bit difficult to get Mint to make one. Now that I have re-read this, I might try my SPU with pivot to spindle of 314mm.
Anyway, the arm sounds great and clearly more than one way to align cartridges with this or any tonearm.

BTW, I use Mint tractor for my other tonearms.

There are two schools of thought concerning this arm – the figures that are suggested by Ortofon Japan ’s engineers, versus the suggestions by our chief of cartridge engineering (in Denmark ).

The recommendation from the Japanese engineers is:
Mounting distance = 311mm
Eff. Armlength = 326mm
which gives overhang 15mm)
Cartridge parallel to headset, i.e. offset angle like the arm itself (19 deg)

Denmark’s recommendation is:
Mounting dist = 316,6mm
Eff. Armlength = 329mm
Off.set. angle = 16.5 deg

Denmark’s rec. gives Baerwald alignment.
As you see the cartridge need a slight twist with respect to headshell.The stated eff. armlength is easily achieved with Ortofon headshells and most cartridges.

Using a SPU (in G-housing) gives an eff armlength of 329mm
Off.set angle is of course determined by the arm itself, i.e. 19 deg.
A mounting distance of 314mm will then give the best result.

Best wishes,

Louis @ Ortofon
I'm using a Mint with a 309-d which is set at Denmark's recommendations (316.6) for a 309s, in Downunder's message. The cartridge is twisted in the headshell so the offset is correct.

Has anyone noticed the downforce adjustment is useless and you have to set it to zero and move the counterweight to adjust the tracking force...?
Thanks, Downunder. Interesting. As you say, more than one way to skin a cat. Maybe the Japanese Ortofon method is better, who knows.
After my message, I changed the pivot to spindle distance from 311mm to 314mm for my SPU Royal. So effective length is now 329mm.

On my SPU, I prefer the sound of the 329mm effective length. Sounds more pure and clearer. I am not going back to the Japanese 326mm for SPU.

I will next try my technics EPC100C mk4 at effective length 320mm. This will be interesting.

Sprog, I havde a 309-D and the tracking force adjustment knob works just fine for me. I do not have to move the counterweight to adjust the tracking force, just the knob.

You may want to check with Ortofon because the knob should work or it would not be on the arm.
Thanks Dmgrant1. It does work, but tiny movements make huge differences to the VTF, and they're not consistent - ie I can set it to 2g and then try to set it to 2.1 but it's impossible, a tiny movement up (or down) can add 1g to the VTF! Also, when set at, say, 2g it will fluctuate wildly over time. The only way to keep it fixed is to set it to zero and use the counterweight (which then has it's own problems - setting it to give a certain VTF, and then make small changes - is really really difficult because of it's weight).

I've heard that this is a known issue, but I wondered if anyone here at audiogon had come across it and if they know of a possible fix. You must be lucky to have one that's okay...
Sprog, OK, I know what you are talking about now. Mine does the same thing. A tiny movement makes a big difference. I just barely moved the knob and got it to within 0.1 of the tracking force I wanted and left it at that. Sounds good to me, so I didn't mess with it any further. Other than that I really like the tonearm, its fit and finish and look.
Ortofon makes the RS-309D and the RS-309S , the latest is less expencive but I'm told by someone in Ortofon at the latest Top Audio Show in Milano it's the same arm.
Further the 309S has the classical counterweight screwed on the arm and maybe it's easiest to keep the correct VTF.

My cent!
Yes Dmgrant1. Now check your VTF and move the arm back and forth from the armrest (let it rest in it) to the gauge you're using several times (I'm assuming you have accurate stylus force guage). Is the tracking force fluctuating wildly?

If set at 2g mine goes from that to 2.5 to 1.5 an everywhere in-between Useless...

So I have to set it to zero and use the counterweight, which as I've said is really tricky to set and then makes it impossible to check how it sounds at minute differences in VTF.

Anyway .. it's still an absolutely superb arm in my opinion.

If anyone at Ortofon sees this - your adjuster needs fixing... ;)
Wow Sprog.

Did not know that. I will try that tomorrow on my set-up and report back my findings on this thread.

I have one of those digital scales, supposedly pretty accurate. But, heck, it beats the Shure "balance beam."
I find getting the weight correct as recommended in the instructions, quite easy. Set the VTF to zero, balance the arm with the counterweight. I do agree small movements make a big difference, then fine tune uusing the VTF knob. I agree you need digital scales too, the scale is too crude for the necessary fine adjustment
I was wondering if anyone had compared the SME V12 or SME 312s 12" arms to the RS-309D?

The effective mass of the Ortofon RS-309D bothers me. Compared to the SME, wouldn't it's heavy mass make it like driving a nail into your records with a brick? Isn't the whole Ikeada/heavy arm school of thought for Ortofon SPUs and super non-complient MCs and not modern designs like the Ortofon Wingfeld?

Buy a headshell that allows for azimuth adjustment.