Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
It’s one thing to be a whizz at electronics, and another to do turntables. They’re a completely different sort of challenge. McIntosh obviously wanted to do something a bit different in a crowded marketplace, and has come up with a combination of user friendliness and ‘millionaire chintz’. Vinyl rookies will appreciate the pre-aligned cartridge already mounted in a prefitted arm.
Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 13, 2020
hfnoutstandingMobile Fidelity, champion of audiophile vinyl, has now wrapped up an EISA Award for its flagship UltraDeck – does the more affordable StudioDeck give much away?

It might seem that we played this one in reverse, reviewing Mobile Fidelity's dearer UltraDeck turntable first [HFN Jul '19], before working backward. A buzz in the underground, however, suggested that MoFi's less-costly, entry-level StudioDeck might be something of a 'sweet spot' candidate, so what could have been an anti-climax is anything but.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 04, 2019
hfnoutstandingMobile Fidelity, champion of audiophile vinyl, has succumbed to the lure of producing its own turntables, like record labels of the past: enter the MoFi UltraDeck

Back in the early days of audio, numerous record labels had electronics divisions, or vice versa. You would see the logos of EMI, Philips, RCA, Decca, JVC and others on both LPs sleeves and hardware. The logic was that they originated the material and could also control the entire chain, from artist to listener. So, who better to introduce its own turntables than Mobile Fidelity, for decades the most prolific source of audiophile LPs? Now you can spin its platters on, well, its platters.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 04, 2022
hfnoutstandingWith a range of affordable turntables and a trio of MM pick-ups already in its catalogue, the launch of a premium MC has been long-anticipated from this supremo of the vinyl LP

One thought dominated my recent rediscovery of the old Decca (now London) cartridges: there was much to be said for record labels also manufacturing playback equipment. As had Decca, EMI, RCA, and a few others in the past, Mobile Fidelity, aka MoFi, has continued to demonstrate this synergy through its portfolio of turntables [HFN Jul '19 and Jan '20], phono stages [HFN Mar '20] and three MM cartridges. The UltraGold is the first MoFi MC, and at £1499, it raises the brand's price point.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Sep 06, 2011
Cost effective and not without its charm Enjoying a renaissance within the audio industry in recent years, Nagaoka now describes itself as a specialist processor for a range of hard-to-cut materials including jewels, ceramics, tungsten carbide and magnets. This portfolio clearly builds on its heritage as a manufacturer of the diamond styli fitted to its range of cartridges. The MP-100 is the entry level model of the range. With this model you get a ‘superfine’ conical diamond tip attached via an alloy cantilever to a samarium cobalt magnet hinting at the other strings to the company’s bow.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
A classic Japanese brand stages a welcome return with a competitive design It’s easy to forget that movingcoils were once the minority cartridge choice (not least because the best of them were low-output types needing complicated step-ups). For most hi-fi enthusiasts, moving-magnets ruled. In between MMs and MCs were other types: variluctance, movingflux – with Nagaoka providing, with its ‘Moving Permalloy’, one of the more successful alternatives to straight MM operation. Common to all, or nearly all, non-MCs was a higher output that would work with the standard 47kohm phono input then prevalent.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Aug 15, 2010
Few would argue that the Oracle Delphi looks drop dead gorgeous. With its sleek, futuristic lines and gleaming precision-turned parts there’s something about its design that makes even disinterested passers-by pause to take a second look. Did I say futuristic? What’s remarkable about the design is that the first incarnation of the Oracle, looking not dissimilar to this latest Delphi Mk VI model, first went on sale in 1979 – the year that Thatcher arrived at Downing Street, The Village People topped the singles chart with ‘YMCA’ and the Christmas No 1 was Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’. Hailing from Quebec in Canada, designer Marcel Riendeau’s Oracle Audio Technologies created shock waves among the audio fraternity on the other side of the Atlantic with his ultramodern record player.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
The more affordable Paris V incorporates technology from the latest Delphi In 2009 Jacques Riendeau, brother of Oracle founder Marcel, recommenced work as chief designer in the re-formed Quebec company Oracle. The first result was the Delphi MkVI. Work from this was fed into the new Paris MkV turntable. Revisions to the Paris suspension aimed for better lateral stability: a ‘semi-floating’ subchassis is supported not on metal springs but on two fibreglass rods which terminate in Sorbothane rings.
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Apr 04, 2009
Like manual gearboxes, film cameras and mechanical wristwatches, turntables are intrinsically ‘retro’. Any or all might argue that, say, a manual gearbox gives a driver more control over the car, but let’s admit it: part of us simply revels in supporting the anachronistic. And no turntable I’ve seen in years better embodies a resistance to the evolution of high-end record spinners than Origin Live’s Resolution Mk 2. Everything about this deck reminded me of some turntable of yore, as did the Encounter arm.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Apr 04, 2009
As with so many of the audio industry’s small, specialist companies, Origin Live is the life blood of an enthusiast who designs products based largely on empiricism. Audio hobbyists of longstanding will be familiar with the Origin Live marque and the leader of this Southampton troupe: founder and designer Mark Baker. Over the years Origin Live has developed turntables, tonearms, amplifiers, loudspeakers, cables, and support stands. Says Mark Baker, this wide experience gives a holistic design approach which translates into products that are designed for system synergy.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
Ortofon's flagship moving magnet design offers superior spacial performance No strangers to the pages of HFN, Denmark’s Ortofon company remains one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of cartridges both for hi-fi and DJ use. Its best moving-magnets currently are the 2Ms, a four-strong series with interchangeable styli topped by this 2M Black, sporting a Nude Shibata stylus. It might appear that they all use the same body shell, with distinctive angular contours and internal generators with neodymium magnets, however the two best – the £280 2M Bronze with a Nude Fine Line stylus and this 2M Black model – are formed from a more rigid Noryl plastic/glass compound as well as employing better ‘engines’ featuring split pole pins with silver-plated copper wire. The 5mm-deep tapped fixing holes in the top of the body allow rigid bonding to an arm’s headshell.
Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2021
hfnoutstandingThe most popular range of MMs on the planet – Ortofon's 2M series – has just got a new chief. All hail the Black LVB 250, anointed by none other than Beethoven himself

One body and 'motor', but different styli or cantilevers: I'm not sure which of the latter two choices is more important if a manufacturer wants to create a range from a primary design with an upgrade path. Ortofon has no such doubts and is taking no chances with the 2M Black LVB 250. While it looks like the circa-£95 2M Red I have been using for years as my reference entry-level MM cartridge, save for the colour, this new flagship for the 2M moving-magnet family comes in at a heady £829. That, however, accounts for the top-of-the-range 2M magnet and coils, new suspension and cantilever.

Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Mar 15, 2010
It’s tough at the top. About 20 years ago, Ortofon started telling us that its aim was to survive by continuing to gain an increasing share of a fast-shrinking market, until the point would come when it would be the only cartridge-maker left standing. This hasn’t happened, of course. There was a period when the numbers could be kept up only by pandering to the needs of DJs, whose destructive tendencies (fortunately) tended to help sales once you’d gained their loyalty; but eventually the shrinking hi-fi market stabilised.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Sep 30, 2009
Heralding Ortofon’s 90th anniversary no less, the MC A90 is the company’s brand new flagship moving-coil cartridge. When we first learned a few months ago about its development and imminent launch, you’d never seen such a scrabble in our editorial office to ensure that Hi-Fi News secured first dibbs on the first sample to arrive at Henley Designs in Oxfordshire, Ortofon’s UK distributor. It turns out we did better than getting the first in this country. What you’re looking at here is the first sample to leave Ortofon’s Danish factory.
Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 31, 2019
hfnoutstandingWith its sintered titanium body, rare earth magnets, exquisite stylus and now a diamond cantilever, Ortofon's latest MC Anna is the very model of a high-tech flagship moving-coil

On the face of it, all that separates this new flagship pick-up from Ortofon's original MC Anna [HFN Oct '12] is the exchange of the latter's rigid boron cantilever for an even more rigid 'diamond' rod. The line-contact Replicant 100 diamond stylus, the 'wide-range armature damping' system (WRD), the sintered titanium body and rare earth alloy magnet are all, ostensibly, unchanged. Nevertheless, this 'Diamond' MC Anna is no mere blinged-up clone.

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