Ortofon MC Verismo Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

Ortofon's Verismo is the latest in a line of state-of-the-art MCs from the Danish brand that have been tested in these pages. These include the MC A90 [HFN Sep '09], the Anna [HFN Oct '12], the Windfeld Ti [HFN Jan '18] and Anna Diamond [HFN Oct '19]. All are low-output (low coil count/low impedance), low-compliance MCs that offer fine tracking by dint of a relatively high downforce. The new Verismo continues this trend, holding on to the 75-80μm test tracks at 2.6g before letting go on the final +18dB groove modulation (315Hz lateral cut, re. 11.2μm). This is as good as you'll get from a low-compliance (11cu) MC designed for well-damped medium/high effective mass arms.

This exquisitely-constructed cartridge offers a modest but on-spec 229μV/1kHz output (re. 5cm/sec into 100ohm) with a good 0.3dB channel balance and acceptable 25dB separation. Where the Verismo really shines is both in its very flat frequency response (within ±1.5dB from 20Hz-20kHz), showing some additional low bass 'heft', and its fine lateral/vertical symmetry [black/red traces, Graph 1]. This ensures the Verismo creates a tonally balanced soundfield, in both width and depth. Also, the Replicant 100 stylus/diamond cantilever offers a 26° VTA and response that extends beyond 30kHz – and it's this that also helps 'shape' the pick-up's distortion vs. freq. [see Graph 2]. The Verismo's THD remains <1% up to 2.5kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) but then increases quite substantially with frequency reaching 8%/10kHz and over 20%/16kHz [Graph 2]. This is not an inferior generator, but a reflection of its very extended bandwidth able to render 2nd harmonics of signals beyond 15kHz. MCs with a poorer HF response only look to have lower treble distortion. PM


Freq. resp. curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) vs. vertical (L–R, red) vs. stereo (dashed)


Lateral (L+R, black), vertical (L–R, red), stereo (dashed) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harms) vs. freq. from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Generator type/weight Moving-coil / 9.5g
Recommended tracking force 25-27mN (26mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 225μV / 0.29dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 11cu / 13cu
Vertical tracking angle 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability 75μm / 75μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 0.7–25% / 0.3–22%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) +1.5 to –1.3dB / +1.2 to –1.4dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 25dB / 22dB
Price £5349

Ortofon A/S
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166