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Thread: A short history of early Ortofon pickups

  1. #21
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 73,900
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Hi Barry,

    I love this website, too and can see where you got some of your Ortofon pics :

    http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/ortodeccatan.html

    M3D also featured!

    They don't make 'em like they used to....

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  2. #22
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 16,444
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Hi Barry,

    I love this website, too and can see where you got some of your Ortofon pics :

    http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/ortodeccatan.html

    M3D also featured!

    They don't make 'em like they used to....

    Marco.
    Yes, so do I. In fact I would frequently visit this site long before I joined AOS.

    I like the look of it, the layout and range of advice and opinion. Of particular interest to me are the pages on the TD124 (no surprise there) and on the setting up of both decks and cartridges. Good pages too on plinth design and the page on record cleaning is also good.

    Like most web sites that express subjective opinions, one has to be aware that this is the view of the author and not receive it without question. I think his page on 'Bullet plugs' is the most unbelievable tosh written - but then, that is just my opinion.

    Barry

  3. #23
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: belgrade serbia

    Posts: 563
    I'm gordan.

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    marco, have you tried SL15 into your auditorium SUT?

    not sure if 25 compliance is correct for SL15 - according to a cartridge/tonearm matching chart i'm using, it seems like it needs extremely light arm and it would suit my stogi with 12.5g eff. mass.

    i wouldn't bother that much if i wouldn't have one borrowed for test - waiting to be mounted in arm for a few weeks now

  4. #24
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 16,444
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anubisgrau View Post
    marco, have you tried SL15 into your auditorium SUT?

    not sure if 25 compliance is correct for SL15 - according to a cartridge/tonearm matching chart i'm using, it seems like it needs extremely light arm and it would suit my stogi with 12.5g eff. mass.

    i wouldn't bother that much if i wouldn't have one borrowed for test - waiting to be mounted in arm for a few weeks now
    Hello 'anubisgrau',

    The compliance of 25cu that I quoted for the SL15E, was taken from both the 1971 edition of the HiFi Year Book as well as from the data sheet that came with my sample of the SL15E. I also have an Ortofon SL15E/II and I think the complance figure for that is 25cu as well.

    I use both in either an SME 3009, 3009(imp) or 3012 which have effective masses of 12.5g, 9.5g and 14g respectively. Assuming a cartridge mass of 5g, this places the LF resonance at 7.6Hz, 8.4Hz and 7.3Hz respectively; strictly speaking a little too low, but I have had no problems.

    Not sure if the Auditorium 23 is best matched to the 2 Ohm coil resistance of the SL15. The transformers in the A23 are designed for a source resistance of 40 Ohm; perfectly matching the Denon DL103.

    Would be interested to hear of the results with the SL15 mounted in your Stogi arm.

    Regards
    Barry

  5. #25
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: New York, USA

    Posts: 4

    Default SPU age and value identification

    Hi guys.

    I'm new to this forum, but I'm trying to learn some general information about dating SPUs and I hope you can help me establish some facts.

    I know that the most valuable SPU A is from 1963-64 and is identified by silver weights, as opposed to the brass ones we usually see. I had a chance to listen to one such SPU recently and I can verify that there was a definite noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

    Other than that, I find that SPUs will go for radically different prices on the used market, regardless of condition, and I'm wondering on what grounds people judge the desirability of an SPU A.

    I know that sometimes in the serial number you can extract a date code, but does the placement of the date move around within the serial number?

    The Japanese advertise SPUs as being from either the "Herman" era, or the "Odionikusu" (maybe Audionics?) era. I know that some of the certificates say Herman International on the bottom. I'm guessing that this could have been the Japanese distributor or something? If anyone is familiar with this terminology, do you know what dates of manufacture this indicates, and which is generally more desirable?

    I hope we can start to establish some of these usefull facts, as I can't find any information about this in English anywhere.

    Thanks very much!
    Devon.

  6. #26
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,638
    I'm Neil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevonOjas View Post
    Hi guys.

    I'm new to this forum, but I'm trying to learn some general information about dating SPUs and I hope you can help me establish some facts.

    I know that the most valuable SPU A is from 1963-64 and is identified by silver weights, as opposed to the brass ones we usually see. I had a chance to listen to one such SPU recently and I can verify that there was a definite noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

    Other than that, I find that SPUs will go for radically different prices on the used market, regardless of condition, and I'm wondering on what grounds people judge the desirability of an SPU A.

    I know that sometimes in the serial number you can extract a date code, but does the placement of the date move around within the serial number?

    The Japanese advertise SPUs as being from either the "Herman" era, or the "Odionikusu" (maybe Audionics?) era. I know that some of the certificates say Herman International on the bottom. I'm guessing that this could have been the Japanese distributor or something? If anyone is familiar with this terminology, do you know what dates of manufacture this indicates, and which is generally more desirable?

    I hope we can start to establish some of these usefull facts, as I can't find any information about this in English anywhere.

    Thanks very much!
    Welcome to the forum. I am sure your questions can be answered.

    Would you mind putting a post in the welcome section of the forum. Introduce yourself, tell us a wee bit about the music you like and the system you use. We also use first names on AOS as it makes for a more friendly forum


    Regards D S D L
    Regards Neil

    System 1: AMG Giro turntable, AMG 9W2 tonearm, Air Tight PC3 cartridge, Passlabs Xono phonostage, AMG Reference armcable. Accuphase DP57 CD player, Marantz SA7 SACD player, Sony HAP Z1es Digital File Player + Audioquest Jitter Bug, Veracity Mystra DAC + Dell Laptop + iFi i power + JKenny JKSPIDIF, Wireworld Starlight USB + Audioquest Jitter Bug, for computer audio, Audio Valve RKV2 headphone amp, headphones Grado GS 1000, Balanced Audio Technology VK300se integrated amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. Cabling: Signal - Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, Atlas Mavros, Speaker - QED Genesis Silver Spiral. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, TCI. Mark Grant distribution blocks, Equipment tables Target Audio B series.

    System 2: Loricraft Garrard 401 turntable + SME 5 tonearm + VDH MC10 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Modified Technics 1200 turntable + Triplannar 7 tonearm + VDH Frog Gold cartridge + Paul Hynes SR7 PSU, SME Model 20 turntable + Graham Phantom tonearm + Ortofon MC5200 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Balanced Audio Technology VK10se phonostage, Moon Andromeda CD player, Esoteric P5 SACD transport and P 5 DAC, Toshiba 9500 DVD Audio player, AMR DP777 DAC + HP laptop + iFi i power + Wireworld Starlight USB - for computer audio, Kenwood 8300 tuner, Revox B760 tuner, Magnum Dynalab signal sleuth, Leak Troughline tuner + EAR Stereo decoder, Revox B77 mk 2 & Revox A77 mk3 reel to reel recorders, Balanced Audio Technology VK52se pre-amplifier, Music Reference RM200 mk1 power-amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers. Cabling: Signal/Speaker - Atlas Mavros. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, TCI. Mains distribution blocks Mark Grant and Russ Andrews, Equipment tables Clear Light Audio.

  7. #27
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 16,444
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevonOjas View Post
    Hi guys.

    I'm new to this forum, but I'm trying to learn some general information about dating SPUs and I hope you can help me establish some facts.

    I know that the most valuable SPU A is from 1963-64 and is identified by silver weights, as opposed to the brass ones we usually see. I had a chance to listen to one such SPU recently and I can verify that there was a definite noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

    Other than that, I find that SPUs will go for radically different prices on the used market, regardless of condition, and I'm wondering on what grounds people judge the desirability of an SPU A.

    I know that sometimes in the serial number you can extract a date code, but does the placement of the date move around within the serial number?

    The Japanese advertise SPUs as being from either the "Herman" era, or the "Odionikusu" (maybe Audionics?) era. I know that some of the certificates say Herman International on the bottom. I'm guessing that this could have been the Japanese distributor or something? If anyone is familiar with this terminology, do you know what dates of manufacture this indicates, and which is generally more desirable?

    I hope we can start to establish some of these usefull facts, as I can't find any information about this in English anywhere.

    Thanks very much!
    As author of the 'A Short History .....', I might be able to help you, however I need you to pose you question a little more clearly. I don't, for example, know what you mean when you refer to silver and brass 'weights'(?)

    If you can tell me exactly what you need to know, I'll see if I can help.

    Regards
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  8. #28
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: New York, USA

    Posts: 4

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    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for the reply.

    As for the weights reference: If you look at an SPU A from the bottom you can see the weights that give the cartridge its precise weights between the cartridge and the shell. Most of them are brass in color, but a friend of mine in Japan recently showed me an example of an SPU A that has silver color weights. He told me that if you can find these silver weights it means that the cart is from 1962-1963, and these are the most desirable (valuable) SPUs in Japan. If you turn over an SPU A you should be able to clearly see the weights.

    Anyway, what I'm trying to get at here is, if you randomly find an SPU, what is it you look for to determine the value.

    There are several different cases over the years. The current production (least valuable on the second hand market) is the only case that has gray flocking on the inside of the case. Previous cases had red flocking inside, and some were red leather on the outside, while some had a white case with red graphics.

    The badge on the top has also changed a number of times. There are several different logos, and sometimes the sticker was just a sticker, and sometimes it was a raised badge.

    Japanese commonly refer to SPU as being from either the "Herman" or "Audionics" era. I am familar with the "Herman International" logo on some of the paperwork, but I'm unaware with what this indicates.

    What can we learn about the period of manufacture from the serial number?

    I guess these are the indicators that I can think of, but I don't want to limit us to these categories either. All I'm really trying to learn is how to visually gage the age and desirability of SPUs.

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Devon
    Devon.

  9. #29
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 73,900
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Hi Devon,

    Where in the world are you from, my friend?

    I asked earlier but you seem to have missed it. We like to know such info here as it makes for a closer, more personal interaction between members, just like what would happen if you were meeting a new neighbour in real life for the first time...

    We're very keen that AoS is portrayed as a community of real people and not a 'faceless' Internet message board. I trust you understand

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  10. #30
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 16,444
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Hi Devon,

    Thanks for your last post. I think the detail you require is outside of my experience. I'll try and do some research and see if I can answer your questions, but until then the following observations might be of help.

    The early samples are the most sought after, especially by the Japanese. They would have been supplied in a red 'leather' finish box with red velvet-topped foam lining. The Ortofon logo would be in script lettering.

    The stylus rake angle would have been 15 degree (+/- 5 degree)

    Early versions would have been fitted into the Type A headshell (squarer looking than the later Type G shell). I believe that the Type A shells had the contacts arranged in the Neumann 'diamond' configuration and would only mate with the early Ortofon arms, such as the RMA 229 fitted to early EMT turntables.

    If you are looking for an SPU-A, rather than later variants such as the SPU-G etc., beware that the SL15 design, which superceded the SPU, was for a time also available fitted into Type A shells: SL15A and the SL15EA.

    New versions of the SPU are now made for Ortofon by Nagaoka and will have a stylus rake angle of 20 degree. The logo has Ortofon written in lower case san serif lettering and the cartridges come in red boxes with grey coloured foam lining. The plate on the underside of the cartridge is now coloured black, whereas the original Danish built samples had agrey coloured plate.

    Trust this is of some help.

    Regards
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

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