Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A quick look at the Ortofon MC A90 cartridge

If you're like me, you love the look of cartridges. Even the ones that are basically cubes (i.e. Koetsus or even my Zu Audio DL-103) can be made beautiful through the use of exotic materials. But this cartridge from Ortofon, the MC A90, is extremely unique in appearance and will undoubtedly be a big hit with audiophiles who don't like to run with the pack.

The A90 is $4200, which isn't chump change, but it is an attempt to further the state of the art. Released to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Ortofon, this cartridge employs a Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technique to reduce resonances in the body. Everything is built into the one-piece body including the magnet assembly, the terminal block and the wire guard.

Unfortunately, the A90 is limited to a production run of 400, and it's already out of production. But the technologies used in the A90 will probably appear in future Ortofon models.

I've been a fan of Ortofon ever since I strapped an X5-MC onto my AR ES-1 back in the late '80s and experienced high-end analog playback for the first time. I've heard plenty of Ortofons since then, and not one has been anything less than excellent (except for maybe the OM-5e they put on the cheaper Regas, which is still decent for its low price). I'm looking forward to hearing the A90 as soon as possible.

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