Tobes - thanks for the update. That is very interesting, wonder what the price is?
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A95 also on my shortlist - met with Louis from Ortofon at this past weeks CES from his description its a very neutral cartridge as was it's predecessor the A90, which I have owned. His description matched very well with what we heard in their display room. The Anna is a more "meaty" sounding cartridge.
I wonder if there will be a trade in/up program. I have an A90 with approx. 1500hrs so it is almost time for a re-tip. If such a program exist, i would take advantage of it. If not, i would likely go the re-tip route for the A90.
I also wonder if i could reap greater sonic benefits upgrading my Phantom II to III status than going from an A90 to 95.
Ortofon offers trade-in/up value of 25% MSRP on their cartridges -- such a paltry amount is not tempting in the face of reasonable-rate 3rd party re-tippers and Ortofon's own rebuild program (which runs around 50% of MSRP). In light of that, I doubt there will be any great trade-in offers put on the table for A90 to A95, unless they're facilitated specifically by your dealer. If you want to keep the A90 then rebuild it, otherwise I'd try to sell it as-is (more than 25% MSRP but well short of 50%) for a buyer intending to do a re-tip or Ortofon rebuild.
A complete Ortofon rebuild of an A90 is 2000euro or at today's exchange rate, $2333.00usd. A Soundsmith retip is likely to be around $500.00.
Since i am now retired i will likely go the Soundsmith option but i will still discuss a trade up value with my dealer so that i can be re-assured that it is indeed a paltry amount. Likely will be as you've just stated.
Smoffat, rebuilding the A90 would almost certainly require a cantilever replacement as well as a new stylus, which would cost $1,200 or more. And in the end, you wouldn't have a cartridge that sounds like an Ortofon A90.
I have used Peter for retipping work and he does a great job. Like most cartridges, and more so for high end/high $$$ cartridges, the A90 sound is very dependent on the specific design and performance of each and every component. Soundsmith's components are of good quality but are generic and not designed for any specific cartridge.
*Disclaimer* I am an Ortofon dealer
The rebuild of the A90 by Ortofon is complete. Little more than the SLM body and connectors are reused. In essence, you end up with a brand new A90, furnished with a new serial number. I had mine done a year ago; it turned out better than the original, to my ears, and well worth the price, especially considering what a new, competitive cartidge would cost.