Ortofon SPU Synergy


has anyone else here tried the Ortofon SPU Synergy? Whats your impressions, which parameters do you aplly in setting up the sytsem? I use this wonderful cartridge for more than 2 weeks now.

Best regards

Wonderful catridge. I use it in my analog rig: Merrill-Scillia MS2 TT, Ortofon RS-212D arm, custom-built phono stage, Consonance Cyber 300B PSE monos, and Lamhorn speakers. As compared with the Ortofon Jubilee (another great cartridge), the SPU Synergy has more weight & solidity but does not have the air of the Jubilee. But it is a good match for the lighter sound of the Cyber/Lamhorn combo.
Now the Ortofon Windfeld is another league altogether. Absolutely the best cartridge I have used!
How much tracking force do you use? Do you use a step up transformer?

The Synergy is my favourite cartridge at the moment, even before my Kiseki Goldspot, Shelter 501 and Koetsu Rosewood. I think the SPU (also my SPU classic GME) are more able to grip you and make you forget about hifi, than a lot of other cartridges (e.g. most of the Benz, I had).
I was just looking at it...I use SPU GE and SPU Reference Gold. Both super cartridges! How does it compare to the GE?
I use the recommended 3gr tracking force.
I don't use a step up transformer. My phono stage has enough gain.
"I was just looking at it...I use SPU GE and SPU Reference Gold. Both super cartridges! How does it compare to the GE?"

The Synergy's basic sound has(fortunately) all the SPU atributes, it keeps the same rythmic goherency and concentration on the ebb and flow of music but it sound much more grainless and better focused, also more vivid and lively than it's cheaper sibling. I like it a lot.
Hi Ron
Sorry for interfering into this thread instead of starting a new one, but I am building a second phono set up (first is SMEV+Koetsu Urushi) arround a restored Thorens 124+12' arm to be decided+SPU and as I have discovered there are so many SPU...I need some experienced help to choose one of them. I am looking for a engaging, emotional, explicit, vivid and open presentation of music. Best regards (and excuses).David
Sorry, there is a mistake in the description of my "first" phono set up; the right one is: SME 20+SME V+Koetsu Urushi
Hey David,
Take a look at Art Dudley's Listening in this month's Stereophile. He has been rebuilding a Thorens 124 and is using an EMT 12" arm with the Synergy SPU. You may also want to checkout the octaveaudio-usa.com site regarding the Thorens Schopper rebuilds and information on the Ortofon arms and cartridges.
Thanks Ron!
I would describe the Reference the same way. It will be nice to hear the Synergy against it!
Hey David,

I have the same plans for the near future...getting a TD124 with a 12" arm, but I now have a 3012R on my Nouvelle Platine Verdier wich should be replace by a EMT 12" therefore the SME should be mounted on the TD124.

For the beginning a SPU classic will do a good job and it's a timeless classic, which makes you forget about hifi. Once I heard a set up of TD124, SPU classic, 3009 and Croft tube electronics on Harbeth speakes at the AAA-Forum (a exhibition mainly for vinyl playback) an this was the very best sound on show, even compared to "all out" installations costing significant more.

One thing to take into account is the right phono amplification, step up transformer. I use the Auditorium23 Hommage T1 and Audio Note Japan AN-S6c and tried a lot of others. The difference are not subtle. It needs a good matching trqansformer to really make the SPU "sing" On my former Gryphon Orestes phonostage I never liked the SPU classic as much as with a good step up over my Paragon 12a tube preamp.

Best regards

Hey Ron
I am a begginer in this "concept" and I have so many things to learn and work on...
-The 12' arm: Ortofon dynamic or static(?), EMT, SME 3012...
-The right SPU:From the information I have been able to analyse I feel very close to the Synergy.
-An now...phono preamplification: I was thinking to use my Cello RMC but I am also understanding transformers should be considered.
As you see, I need help in every direction. I live in Spain and retailers here are looking somewhere else so internet is going to be the way.
Hey David,

You know it is really hard to feel sorry for you living in Spain. Give Christine an email over at schopper.ch...they are located a little east of you over the Alps. I have found her to be really informative and helpful. She recommended the Ortofon Synergy SPU, T 100 step-up (BTW, Ron's Auditorium23 Hommage T1 would be stunning...Ken A. is located in Germany), and the AS 309s arm. You also have the advantageous pleasure of not having to pay the frieght in USD! Good luck from Texas.
Many thanks Unoear
I agree, even if retailers and distributors are definitely focused towards "modern" audio here, there is no reason to feel sorry... ;-) .I have been in Schopper.ch and they apparently have someone, a local phone number at least, representing them in Spain (!)
By the way, would you recommend instaling the arm in a TD124 "extended" arm board for 12" or in the still to be purchased from the specialist market large wooden massive plinth? ( I have seen both approachs).Regards.David
Has anyone compared the Synergy with a Shindo-modified SPU?
This would be interesting to know for me too.
I am progressing in my project. Now is turn to buy the Ortofon SPU cartridge, but I have been analysing the different info coming from articles, forums and brand papers and, apparently, there are specific SPU models for 9" and 12" arms; is this right?. If this is the case, which models are intented for 12" arms?
Regards, dgd
There is the shorter A headshell (especially for arms having the dedicated geometry such as Ortofon 309 or some models from EMT, the A shell is out of production but limited reissued for Japan) and the longer G headshell wich fits (at least from the size) to every regular tone arm 9" to 12".
if you want to be safe, buy the SME 3012 and you can use many cartridges on it.Or the Orotofn RMG 309(my favorite!)To go for the arm for "A" type SPU you have to be more dedicated or have two arms deck....then you can use any of the "G" type cartridges.
AND if you really want to use "A" cartridges, there is an adaptor(AP J1) for the "G" arm to use "A" cartridge.....simple!
The old classic SME 3012 is highly recommended for use with SPU G it is a synergetic combination. I have/had several arms and preferred the 3012 with a SPU G (classic or now Synergy) over all Kuzma arms I had (stogiS, stogi, stogi reference). But it has to be modified (bronze edge bearing, new inner cabling) as well as carefully set up to reach the possible level. also the synergy with my Nouvelle Platine Verdier might be a reason that I like this arm so much. Personally I do not like the adapter for use with A shell. i would stick with a G shell since Ortofon stopped to make the A shell and if you go for a A compatible arm you might have problems to find SPU A in the future.
Many, many thanks because your level of kindness & knowledge is the only way to compensate the lack of information coming from manufacturers...
The Ortofon arm which is available in this moment is the
AS 309S or the RS 309D ( by the way, any insight about static vs dynamic?)
-Are these models A or G?
-As many SPU models ( at least the ones I am interested in) carry a "G" somewhere in their names, should I understand them to be G?
-Is the SPU Synergy A or G?.
The actual Ortofon arms are shown mostly with a long "G" shell or a regular headshell attached. if you have a adjustable arm base and therefore can vary the distance between spindle and bearing center it might also be possible to use a shorter "A" shell in these arms. In Japan there is also the older model 309i available wich is made for use with the A shell....but also here it might be possible to use a longer G shell if you have a adjustable arm base.

by the way some people value dynamic balanced arms higher than static ones...but I dont know since I didnt had dynamic balanced armes so far...will test the EMT 997 soon.

the synergy I have is a G shell but in Japan it is also available as limited edition A shell...

if theres a G in the name its the long streamlined G shell...
Many thanks Ron
I will wait for someone to help me with the Ortofon arms issue.
I have been following your feelings about the Synergy, but as I am building a second and parallel set up I would like to get the closest to the, let's say, "original" SPU sound and I wonder if there is another SPU model better fitting in this approach than the "updated to the times"(maybe I am wrong) Synergy.
You will get the most "origninal" SPU sound with the SPU classic (with conical not elliptical diamond).

I have the classic but with elliptical stylus so I cant report on how the conical stylus sounds...but compared to my classic the synergy is not too far away rom the basic direction just more refined in every way with better resolution. But I guess the classic with conical stylus will have its own charme.
There is the SPU Classic GM E MKII E (nude elliptical) and SPU Classic GM MKII (nude spherical) but I am afraid I can not find any conical stylus in the SPU range.
the GM MK2 is the close cousin of the regular classic GM...the E means elliptical stylus....all SPU have "the sound" so you can not go wrong...for me the best is the old Reference Gold with the 100 replicant stylus or the Meister GM( also Royal GM)!But budget wise the Classic GM is the champion!
Yes the spherical stylus Is what I meant...its the simpelst stylus in the SPU range...therefore I would go for the classic GM MKII...the MKII just means the systems have a body made of grinded wood instead of the metal body of the version before.
Many thanks to my SPU pals ;-)
I was told by my retailer he could eventually get a Classic A...
Is A shell better than G shell provided I am going to need the adapter for the G geometry AS 309S Ortofon arm?
there is no sonic advantage of the "A" against "G"...in Japan it is a matter of bigger nostalgia(NOS) and in reality it is just the arm choice....if you have the old Ortofon/EMT arms, you either have the "A" or "G" version, so....Against the $$$ of the new AS 309S I would maybe look at the used market...you may get the older arms which are miles ahead of the new in the "classic sound"....my opinion.
I see one major advantage of the A...it might be easier to align this body shape than the G shell, since the G shell is very curved.
Is there any room for alignment if the arm is properly installed (only SME arms can move back and forth) and the SPU is also limited by the bayonet?
One of the reasons of going SPU with a dedicated arm is the straight forward installation of the system except for the VTA and VTF (!)
If you want to align you have to move the arm...if this is not possible theres no way to align the cartridge, the distance needle tip - bayonet is set...the system itself is mounted with screws in its outer body where it might be possible to turn the system in one way or another, but I would refuse to touch this joint.
This is what I thought, but as I did not quite understood your first comment: "...it might be easier to align this body shape..." leading me to think there was a possible alignment, I made the question from my disorientation.
The SPU G has a "stream lined" body which makes alignment, VTA...less easy than a regular cartridge with rectangular body shape. For instance, it is harder to tell if the body of the SPU G is parallel with the lines one the alignment tool than with a Denon DL103
MT,I now see your point.
I have always had less difficulties trying to find parallelism looking to the arm itself , but my Ortofon arm is going to be "S shape" because at last, thanks to you all,
an AS309S+SPU Classic GM MKII are coming!
Hi Agondgd,
how did the story go on for you?
May i get back to my question regarding SPU Synergy?
VTVU, did you try Windfeld on RS-212D? How was it? I have the cart but not the arm, entertaining the idea between the TA-110 and RS-212D, can't decide. There are not too many reviews on TA-110, specifically how it sounds sonically compared to RS-212D.
Enjoy the music.
I just bought a TA-110 about three months ago and can say it is one of the best arms I've ever heard. I have it on a Thorens 124. Like reviews have said, it holds it's own against the new high end of arms; Kusma, Tri Planer, B-44 Phantom. I have a Graham Phantom Supreme that is going on the block because I like the TA-110 better. The damping makes it a very neutral arm. Another benefit is it is family friendly (not unipivot). I've decided to stay away from the Ortofon Replicate 100 tip because it is very sensitive to VTA and I just don't fool with it; set and forget. I'm not going to reset VTA for 150, 180, 200 gram LPs! The A90 is going on the block as well (with only five hours on it). The elliptical on the SPU Synergy is much more forgiving one VTA and quieter in the grove. It can be argued that quiet in the grove makes a better listening experience; that depends on your tolerance for grove noise and the theory that the grove noise drowns out detail. I buy most of my LPs used as I have a preference for all tube recordings that are analogue from start to finish; especially in Classical.
Hey! Just one more thing on the TA-110 etc. . . . 9" vs. the 12" arms. 12" improves alignment across the LP but has the drawback of less stiffness and requires a larger footprint and larger counter weight or it placed further back. If you use a higher quality elliptical tip (vs. the super duper Replicant 100 et-all) this tangential alignment is not as critical and I believe you actually get a better reproduction out of the stiffer 9" arm. The Ortofon TA comes in 110-9" and 210-12". I opted for the 9".
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What cart are you running on your TA-110 9" arm.