SPU cartridges - opinions?

I've decided to add some additional vintage gear, and just received a fully restored Garrard 301 oil bearing motor. I've done the usual Internet searching on logical tonearm and cartridge pairings for the 'table, and Ortofon SPU carts get mentioned very frequently. I've exchanged some e-mails with a handful of experienced people, but I wanted to reach out to a broader audience of SPU users to get more opinions.

There are so many SPU variants it's bewildering to me. I believe I'm going to go for a G-type headshell, so that narrows it down a bit. But what are some thoughts about spherical versus elliptical styli, the performance of "Classic" models (like the GM) versus "Anniversary" models, etc.? Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
try to search for the title...there is already lots of info in the archives...
It may be a good idea to call a Shindo dealer, since their
preamps are so compatible w/ SPU's. They have dealers in MA,CO,NYC,OH, and CA.. Of course, there are quite a few Ortofon dealers beyond just Shindo dealers, so it should be fairly easy to get some feedback that way. I too hope this thread takes off. I follow Audiogon quite close, and frankly I have not seen much in the way of describing their basic sound character. Certainly not in any recent threads anyway. I know Ortofon makes a cartridge called a Royal N spu, that mounts on a standard type headshell. As you may know, the others do need a different type headshell, so choosing a different type arm would be necessary. Hope this helps !

Kipdent, here are some archives I found on SPU's. I searched
the words "spu sound", and 2 or three threads did pop up.

01-21-09: Prcinka
The SPU sound is rare combination of warm,detail and musicality. If it tracks bad, you have bad arm for it....My SPU's (I have seven of these) are on Orotofn RMG309 or FR64 and all is good....
Prcinka (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-21-09: Grimace
Wow. I see the VTF is really high. That seems counterintuitive. Any problems with vinyl wear runing that much weight?
Grimace (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-21-09: Prcinka
Hi, if that would be the case, we would not have any vinyl from 60 ties left...all would be worn out on these "heavy" cartridges.....
Prcinka (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-22-09: Downunder
I have two SPU's classic E and Royal and they are great for Vocal's, Small Jazz, small intimate band's ands similar.
I find both track very well (Ortofon AS-309S) buit they don't do rock n roll, electronic ect as well as current MC's.

Great 2nd cartridge.
I run an SPU Royal GM II on a second arm, an SME M2-12R. I think it's wonderful, with an excellent bass foundation, full and rich midrange, and a surprising amount of HF detail and nuance. I say surprising because most of the descriptions of SPUs I read before I took the plunge spoke only about a fat midrange and little else. Perhaps that was true of earlier generations. The Royal GM II is the current TOL and features the Replicant 100 stylus (similar to the A90). It provides the full sonic package and yet retains that classic SPU midrange luxury. It won't provide the sense of air and all the ambient room and stage cues of the best modern MCs, but it's easy to connect with emotionally while still pleasing my analytic ears well enough. In fact, I find myself listening to it most of the time, certatinly more than I expected to when I bought it. Mostly I spin jazz with some folk, bluegrass, and classic rock, and it likes them all. It's a lovely cartridge.
Have to agree with Wrm57, I have an 85th Anniversary Urushi G-body. Fantastic on voice, jazz etc. Really musical. It does have the reputation of resonance, but you use that to the advantage of the music. Complicated orchestral isn't ideal, but not disappointing at all.
Thank you everyone--this feedback is very helpful! Please keep the comments coming.

Any specific users of both spherical and elliptical SPU styli models who could comment on the differences?

Thanks again--

I also have a Mono GM, which has a spherical stylus profile. I've hardly used it, though, because I like the Royal GM II so much--even on mono records. The Replicant stylus digs out much more detail, and my phono stage has a mono switch that sums the channels, so it's a worthy trade off for mono records.

In general, I think you'd find that the more sophisticated stylus profiles will deliver more detail while retaining much of the SPU magic. And, IMO, SPUs need the extra detail because of their bias towards midrange warmth. I'd be far less satisfied with less detail in mine. But if you're really after a vintage sound, spherical might do the trick. I haven't done a comparison with stereo SPUs.

BTW, mine is installed on an idler, too, a Nantais Reference Lenco. In fact, when I was debating whether to add the capacity for a second arm, Jean declared that the main reason to have a second arm would be "to experience the glories of SPUs." I'm very glad I took his advice. Idlers and SPUs are a sweet match!
all the different generations of SPU's have their own sound signature, that is why so many "old" cartridges are actually prized more in Japan, the land of these....if the Japanese would not keep the demand for these cartridges, we would have lost them as we have lost all the Grrards,Lencos, EMT's etc....Have fun, buy many and listen to yourself!
Thanks again to everyone who replied--the feedback is very helpful.

Right now I'm leaning towards finding an SPU-G 90th Anniversary model and after listening to it, I may try adding a spherical-stylus SPU in the future.

Again, thanks everyone!