Whats your take on the Ortofon SPUs?

I have been playing around with the idea of getting one of the new production model SPU G cartridges but this is based on little more than the fact I think they look neat. In my head they would just be big full sounding carts that mesh well with older records, which is something I am looking for, but Im not sure how true this story i am telling myself is. ha

My main concern is that since there is no way to change alignment I would have issues and issues that I can't fix without remounting my arm and altering my EMT's setup, which is perfectly dialed in.

Anyone out there using any of these? I would love hear some opinions since I can't audition one these.
Congrats on a lovely looking system. I briefly had a Ortofon Silver Meister SPU mounted on a Garrard 401 with a 309D arm. This didn't work for me for the reason you mention, alignment. The customised Mint LP protractor I have is optimised for the 309D but the alignment for the SPU is , I suspect different. Initially, I used the Ortofon supplied paper protractor to align the 309D/SPU and the sound was rich and glorious. There is a lot of discussion/threads on the optimal Ortofon alignment and the differences between Ortofon Denmark and Ortofon Japan on the PS distance. As I couldn't simply switch head shells , I sold the SPU.
I use a Royal GM II on an SME M2-12R and had a Mono GM until I busted the cantilever. I'm a big fan of the Royal--it sounds rich like traditional SPUs and also, because it employs the Replicant 100 styus like the A90, detailed like modern MC carts.

Alignment is an issue, though, and inconsistent between SPUs, in my experience. The SME arm, fortunately, has a slide mount for altering P2S distance, which I find to be crucial. I have a Mint LP for the M2-12R; I'm able to adjust the arm so the stylus stays on arc. When switching to the Mono GM, though, I do to redo, which was a bit irksome. You'd think they'd be consistent.

I'm not sure I'd use SPUs if I couldn't make the adjustments afforded by the SME arm. But with that ability, I really enjoy them, and I'm planning to buy the new 95th Anniversary edition when it becomes available.
I should qualify my statement about getting the SPU stylus to stay on arc on the MintLP. (Too bad there's no edit feature....) I can get it to nail the null points pretty much exactly in the center of the (rather wide) Mint line, and it remains within the line for the entire arc, but it strays toward the edges at some points, which is inevitable without being able to rotate the SPU as one would a regular cartridge. Still, good alignment is achievable with the slide mount. Hope this helps.
The Ortofon SPU cartridges are very unique, in an old school way, in both design and sound. These cartridges are best used with tonearms of specific geometry and mass (compliance). If you are using an SPU-friendly tonearm you don't need a setup protractor because the overhang is fixed, and is slightly different for different SPU cartridges. All you need to adjust for is VTA (20° for most models) and azimuth.

If you are using a tonearm that isn't the right length for an SPU cartridge you can always use a "nude" SPU with standard 1/2" mounting. There are three models, corresponding to the SPU GM MkII, the GM E MkII and the Royal GM MkII. The nuded cartridges are very good but to my ears have a little less of the SPU sound than the models with integrated headshell.

Much of my personal record collection is late 50s to mid 60s jazz, classical and other recordings, in both mono and stereo. I think that the SPUs are the perfect match for these recordings, especially so for original mono LPs and late (~ post 1936) 78 recordings. But I have to add that most of my 70s rock collection sounds great on the SPU Meister Silver GM MkII.

*Disclaimer* I am an Ortofon dealer.
Thanks for the detailed replies! Glad one of you, Wrm, is actually using the same arm I have too.

I think I might just hold off until I have a dedicated arm for one before I get one. The idea of changing my setup around at this stage wouldn't be too fun and I do have a back up phono stage thats not getting any use...

How do you guys like that Mint Protractor? I have been using a Dr. Feickert for some time and it has been good but I cant help but thinking that there are others out there that are better.


A dedicated arm for SPUs is the way to go, IMO.

I like MintLPs. I have a few of them for various arms. In general, I prefer Wallytractors because the inscribed lines on the mirrored surface seem a bit more precise, and the mirroring is better, for reduced parallax, but you can't really get them anymore.

Ken Willis' Accutraks are also good. What I like about them is the lines are on the surface whereas the Mint's are beneath a layer of glass. But the Accutrak lines are even fatter than the Mint, which isn't much of an issue if you take the time to make sure the stylus comes down in the center, and they're not mirrored.
I use a short bodied SPU synergy on an Ortofon 309D, then with a TW accustic Raven one. I think folks think it wall be warm and fuzzy, because that is how it looks like it ought to sound. I find the modern SPU's are certainly on the warm side of neutral, but quite detailed and dynamic.

The TW allows adjustment of the effective arm length, that is really about all you need to do apart from checking Azimuth. You need to be clear if you need the short or long bodied SPU, I got it wrong and got a short bodied one, but you can get an adaptor to increase length to that of the long bodied type.

I love it, is it better then The Benz Micro LP I also use? Well no, but it is'nt far off and it is quite a bit cheaper.
I have a Royal Gm MkII and a couple of monos. I'm using them with a 12" arm on a Thorens TD-124. I also have a Benz Ruby Z set up on a separate turntable (Well Tempered). I love going back and forth--I fully enjoy both arrangements. Ultimately the Ruby is a bit better sounding, but it costs more than 1 1/2 times as much.
One key to getting the SPUs to sound their best is a high mass tonearm. They are quite low compliance cartridges. The longer arm I think does a lot to offset the lack of adjustment. I could easily live with the Royal full time (but I already had the Benz and I'm not getting rid of that).