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Thread: Ortofon SPU's for playing Stereo, Mono and 78's

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2013

    Location: Isle of Wight, UK

    Posts: 41
    I'm David.

    Default Ortofon SPU's for playing Stereo, Mono and 78's

    Hi, I have a reasonably large collection of 78's and older mono LP's that I hardly listen to because, having room only for a single tonearm/turntable, I need to change cartridges and adjust the arm each time I want to hear them. I'm ideally looking for a simple solution to allow me to play all three with minimal set-up each time I change and wondered whether anyone has used SPU's for this purpose? I know that I will need to alter tracking force each time but assume (perhaps naively) that everything else on the turntable/arm should remain unchanged? The turntable will be a Garrard 401, arm will be a Fidelity Research FR64fx. I have a SUT that can be switched between 20dB, 26dB, 32dB gain so I think it will work with most SPU's including the mono ones with their higher output. Is there anything I've missed? What do people think, am I mad or will this work? Are there any other cartridge ranges that would allow me to do this at a reasonable cost, i.e. around the cost of the SPU's? I should say that I've deliberately ignored which SPU to choose for stereo (the mono and 78 ones are essentially self selecting) and also the need for adjustable equalisation - I have a Jazz Club but might try a Rek-O-Kut equaliser in a tape loop instead. Many thanks for your help and comments.

    David Whistance

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,462
    I'm openingabottleofwine.


    Hello David,

    I sympathise with your dilemma, and whilst I don't have your problem, suggest the following.

    Use only Ortofon SPUs, one with say a 65um radius stylus for the 78s, and another with a 15um radius stylus for the 'mono' records and the rest.

    Now there will be several Members who will tell you that in order to hear mono records at their best you should use a cartridge designed to have a single coil that responds only to lateral cut records, and in that respect they are right. But you have said that you don't have the means or are unwilling to have several cartridges to play everything optimally. So I suggest the two SPU option; there ought to be no need to alter the overhang, VTF or VTA when changing cartridges, and if your preamp has a 'mono' switch (along with offering the correct equalisation for 78 rpm recordings - and there are several, company-specific curves to choose from), use that. Failing that, the balance between the the two channels of a stereo cartridge ought to be sufficiently good so as to cancel out any vertical signal when playing a mono record.

    Tom (montesquieu) of this parish has a lot of experience in these matters, and I'm sure if he reads your post will be able to offer his advice.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?


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