Ortofon Quintet moving coil phono cartridges represent great value, high performance and outstanding vinyl reproduction.
This week on The Audio Affair Blog, we’re all about Ortofon. Having taken a look at the superb 2M range of Moving Magnet pickup cartridges, today we look at the Quintet range of Moving Coil cartridges.
Let’s take a look at the quintet range, and examine the benefits of stepping up to a Moving Coil phono cartridge…
The Moving Coil advantage
Yes, it’s true, Moving Coil phono cartridges are more expensive, and arguably more delicate than their Moving Magnet brethren. There are, however, some significant advantages to the Moving Coil pickup.
Ortofon was the first to market a Moving Coil phono cartridge, way back in the 1940s. As the name suggests, in a Moving Coil cartridge, the stylus is directly connected to the motor coils, with the magnets being fixed in position.
This arrangement leads to greatly reduced mass, compared to a conventional Moving Magnet cartridge, which in turn leads to increased transient response. Many Audiophiles consider the Moving Coil phono cartridge to be the ultimate transducer, thanks to its combination of detail and transparency.
Ortofon Quintet Red
The Ortofon Quintet Red (£225) represents the “entry level” Ortofon Quintet cartridge; an excellent first step into the exotic world of Moving Coil cartridges at a very reasonable price. The Red designation follows Ortofon’s convention, denoting this to be an elliptical tipped stylus model.
Ortofon Quintet Blue
The Ortofon Quintet Blue (£325) is the next step up in the range, offering a number of key upgrades over the Quintet Red. The copper coil windings of the red are now replaced for pure silver windings, whilst the stylus tip changes to a nude elliptical stylus.
The design changes offered in the Quintet Blue reduce stylus mass and transducer accuracy yet further, qualities which have made it an award-winning cartridge. Hi-Fi Choice awarded it full marks in their group-test, stating that, “it presents all the detail in the track with real dynamism.”
Hi-Fi News awarded the Ortofon Quintet Blue an “Outstanding Product” award, stating that, “you’ll be very hard-pressed to find a better alternative that’s as well balanced across the board as the [Ortofon Quintet] blue”
Ortofon Quintet Bronze
The Ortofon Quintet Bronze (£499) brings the best of the “classical” stylus tip designs to the Quintet range; Ortofon buffs will immediately know that the “Bronze” designation denotes a “Nude Fine Line” stylus tip.
A Fine Line stylus brings benefits of greater detail and reduced record wear, thanks to how closely it follows the shape of the record groove, itself being a close approximation in shape to that of the master cutting lathe’s stylus.
Hi-Fi World were moved enough to say that the Ortofon Quintet Bronze reproduced, “tonal colours [which] were well displayed… with a certain correctness about the pacing of the music that left me feeling that I had better understanding… of the orchestra, and therefore of the music itself.”
Ortofon Quintet Black
The Ortofon Quintet Black (£649) represents the pinnacle of Ortofon’s Quintet range; utilising Ortofon’s proprietary “Aucurum” gold plated copper wire for the coil windings, and a “Nude Shibata” stylus. The Shibata stylus shape offers the pinnacle in stylus geometry and offers high-frequency playback, detail and accuracy, previously unattainable.
As one would expect from a flagship product, it has received numerous awards and accolades: Hi-Fi World awarded the Quintet Black its prestigious “Cartridge of The Year” award, stating that “The Ortofon Black undoubtedly possesses the sonic class and all-round ability of some cartridges costing significantly more”