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Thread: New Ortofon SPU #1

  1. #11
    Join Date: Jun 2016

    Location: Queensland Australia

    Posts: 61
    I'm Hugo.

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    So what is an SPU? What makes it different from any other cartridge?

  2. #12
    Join Date: Nov 2016

    Location: UK London

    Posts: 182
    I'm Chris.

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    Having no experience whatsoever of these type of headshell/cartridges, what does SPU mean ?
    Turntable : Project 2 Xperience Tone Arm & Cartridge : Project 9c Ortofon 2M Blue Phono Stage : Arkless 640P Digital Source :Primare CD21 Integrated Amp : Primare I30 Speakers : ProAc 110 Headphones : Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

    Revox A77 MK IV 2 track 15 & 7 1/2 IPS
    TEAC A-3300SX 4 track 7 1/2 & 3 3/4 IPS
    Akai 4000DS MkII

  3. #13
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 35,725
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cas View Post
    what does SPU mean ?
    Stereo pick-up!

  4. #14
    Join Date: Jul 2011

    Location: Northamptonish

    Posts: 1,594
    I'm Peter.

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    Originally, it stood for Stereo PickUp ... one of the early moving coil cartridges at the dawn of stereo replay.
    Inside the headshell, essentially they are no different to a normal moving coil pickup, although they have a relatively low output and low impedance, so need careful matching with a suitable phonostage.

  5. #15
    Join Date: Jun 2016

    Location: Queensland Australia

    Posts: 61
    I'm Hugo.

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    Do they exist purely for nostalgia's sake? Is there anything inherent in their design that causes them to sound any different to other MCs?

  6. #16
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,083
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1200reasons View Post
    Do they exist purely for nostalgia's sake? Is there anything inherent in their design that causes them to sound any different to other MCs?
    Quality coils, a range of tip options depending how much you want to spend, fairly short cantilever and stiff suspension/low compliance ... so no, not really markedly different from some other cartridges around (the basic design goes back to the 1950s).

    They do fall into a particular 'style' of presentation that Miyajima, Ikeda and others strive to emulate, and not a million miles from what Koetsu try to do too (though I generally prefer SPUs to Koetsus). They are known for their richness and punchiness, while the higher end ones with fancy tips and/or exotic coils also have exceptional resolution and really well articulated/fleshed out bass.

    I run an SPU Royal N as a day to day cartridge alongside a Miyjima Madake, the Madake is a bit 'more' in all departments (like the Shilabe and Kansui that came before it) but I certainly don't feel short-changed listening to the SPU, it does everything I want it to do, and it does it very well. It's more of a character thing ... compared to some other cartridges they have a lot of life and excitement about them as well as a rich sense of tone colour - you either like that or you don't. Some prefer a more neutral, less fullsome/leaner, more 'hif' presentation (I think of my old Lyra Helicon when I write that) - personally I couldn't go back to that but whatever floats your boat.

    Nothing nostalgic about them ... I just think that's how vinyl is supposed to sound!
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  7. #17
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,083
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drSM View Post
    Would anyone know or have an opinion about how different the new SPU s are from the early SL15 ?

    SL15 is basically a variant of the SPU design made to have higher compliance, as was fashionable for quite a while (during which time the original SPU nearly died out). Works well on lighter tonearms at lower tracking weights than an SPU.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  8. #18
    Join Date: Jul 2016

    Location: Welsh Borders

    Posts: 246
    I'm Gary.

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    SPUs are a cartridge that interest me, but I have always been put off by the high tracking weights involved. Does anyone have a feel for how much additional pressure is exerted on the vinyl groove at 4gms VTF versus 2? Given the infinitessimally small contact patch that the pressure passes through, I would think it is quite high. I remember hearing many years ago a story (quite possibly apocryphal) to the effect that when playing a record, the vinyl momentarily reaches a molten state as it passes under the needle, and then solidifies soon after, and another that the groove wall remains susceptible to deformation by pressure for up to 24 hours after playing a record. Is there any evidence that using SPUs - or any other high VTF cartridges - cause higher levels of vinyl deterioration?
    IB

  9. #19
    Join Date: Oct 2015

    Location: KL, Malaysia

    Posts: 192
    I'm shahrin.

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    Thank you Tom
    I am looking into the SL15 that lurks in my old S15T
    Thorens td124 mk2 / Graham 1.5 / V15 III, Thorens td124 mk2 / 3012 S2 / SL15Q
    Marantz CD63, Squeezebox Touch, EDO applet, Gieseler Klein DAC
    Sanyo Plus Series C55, Nakamichi PA 7, NS1000M

  10. #20
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: belgrade serbia

    Posts: 635
    I'm gordan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drSM View Post
    Thank you Tom
    I am looking into the SL15 that lurks in my old S15T
    send it to thomas schick if you really want to know what it is capable of. no one deals with them with such an understanding of the original design.

    SPU is by far the most successful line of products in history of vinyl reproduction aimed devices. no one else has a 7 decade long production with extremely coherent sound that's easy to recognize, from 60s to 2000s. beautiful devices, just beautiful.

    i also don't think the line of contemporary products is that confusing as long as one is aware of different models for japanese and global market, as well as anniversary editions.
    Gordan.
    Speakers: Oris Swing MkII
    Amps: Thomas Mayer 300b/ Hiraga La Maison de L'Audiophile 20
    Preamp: Silver AVC by eng. Ferenc Lazar
    Phono Preamp: Shishido LCR by Solaja Audio
    Deck: Garrard 301 with Fidelity Research FR64fx
    Cartridges: SPU Spirit/ Koetsu Black revisited by eng. Salai/ Miyajima Shilabe
    Step Up Transformers: Tango MCT 999/ Ortofon T-5000/ Lumiere SUT
    Digital: Shigaclone by eng. Ferenc Lazar with Lampizator Amber II
    Wires: of sufficient length

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