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Ortofon Cadenza Black MC Cartridge

Ortofon Cadenza Black MC Cartridge

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 Cadenza Series of high-end Moving Coil (MC) cartridges was born out of the success of Ortofon's Kontrapunkt and MC Jubilee models. Though these models are amongst the most popular Ortofon has ever produced, the Danish cartridge masters still decided to develop a new range that was even more ambitious.

The name Cadenza comes from the Italian word for cadence, and refers to the section in a concert where the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time without a strict, regular pulse. A Cadenza can be written or improvised, but it's usually the most elaborate and virtuosic part the solo instrument plays during the whole piece. It therefore seemed fitting that such a capable and nuanced cartridge series should use the same name.

By carefully implementing cobalt-iron pole pieces,  using new improved winding processes on the armature, and employing an extruded aluminium housing - amongst other changes - the Cadenza Series is able to out-perform all those that came before it. Like other modern ranges, the Cadenza Series is structured in Ortofon's preferred colour-tier nomenclature; so there are Red, Blue, Bronze, Black and Mono (White) variants available to suit varying budgets and tastes.

As with all modern Ortofon ranges, the top cartridge in the Cadenza Series is the Black model. The Cadenza Black is a flagship-status cartridge that boasts a a pristine-cut Nude Shibata stylus with a boron cantilever. The effective mass of the stylus/cantilever system is extremely low due to the use of a very thin boron rod; this material is extremely stiff and even more lightweight than aluminium, making it a real premium component choice. The coil wire is the famous Ortofon Aucurum wire, which is a gold plated version of the popular 6NX copper wire.

The Black model also uses Ortofon's Wide Range Damping (WRD) system, effectively controlling the high- and low-frequency damping separately. WRD was originally developed in 1979 for the MC 20 MK II, but since that time it has been more commonly reserved only for Ortofon's super-high-end cartridges, such as the MC Windfeld. It works by clamping a small, heavy disc of exotic metal between two rubber absorbers with different properties. The result is superlative tracking ability (90µm with the Cadenza Black) with perfect damping across the whole frequency range and no distortion or resonance. Thanks to WRD, the Cadenza Black spans a very wide frequency range compared to other models in the Cadenza Series.

The Cadenza Black has been optimized for an amazing tonal neutrality, dynamics and purity of sound. It performs better than any other cartridge at this level in detail, consistency and sound staging.

Key Features:

  • Optimized for an amazing tonal neutrality, dynamics and purity of sound
  • The best of everything, true to the groove with resolution and accurate insight into each recording
  • Internal coils from the famous Ortofon Aucurum wire, which is a gold plated 6NX copper wire
  • Stainless steel aluminium cartridge body
  • Nude Shibata stylus profile with boron cantilever
Cadenza Black, Ortofon ST-80 SE, Unison Research Phono One, Hi-Fi Choice, March 2018

Hi-Fi Choice, March 2018

Comments of Note:
"The good news is that this system seems completely unfazed by what you throw at it."
"The speed and drive that this system musters is a source of constant joy."
"Where the appeal deepens is that the presentation itself is exceptionally natural and even handed regardless of what you choose to throw at it."

 Read the full review here.


Ortofon Cadenza Black, Hi-Fi World, April 2010

Hi-Fi World, April 2010

Reviewed By: Noel Keywood
Score: 5/5 Globes

Comments of Note: 
"...the Black uses many moving parts of the A90..." 
"Cantilever behaviour is controlled by Ortofon's wide range damping system, also used in the A90 and Cadenzas...this is responsible for the cartridge's peak-free treble. It set Ortofons apart from most rivals..." 
"...making the track sound full bodied and authoritative." 
" weighty and satisfyingly rhythmic..." 
"...CDs never did sound right and the Cadenza Black shows just how much was on the LP in the first place, and how a cartridge of its ability shades CD." 
"The Shibata stylus...In the Cadenza Black it shimmered with delicately wrought fine detail..." 
"...ability to deliver some of the finest treble I have ever heard from LP." 
"'s a cartridge of immense ability..." 
"...the Black offered a beautifully smooth, svelte and expansive sound stage. It has generous stage depth and always sounds relaxed and in control of proceedings." 
"If you are looking for an ultimately smooth and sophisticated sonic delivery from LP, Ortofon's new Cadenza Black is as good as it gets at what is a 'reasonable' price..." 
"...the Black is a lovely cartridge..."


Output Voltage (at 1kHz, 5cm/sec): 330μV
Channel Balance at 1kHz: < 0.8dB
Channel Separation at 1kHz: > 27dB
Channel Separation at 15kHz: > 20dB
Frequency Range (at -3dB): 20Hz - 60kHz
Frequency Response 20Hz - 20kHz: +1.5 / 0
Tracking Ability at 315Hz: Typically 90μm
Compliance, Dynamic, Lateral: 16μm / mN
Stylus Type: Nude Shibata
Cantilever: Boron
Stylus Tip Radius r / R: 6 / 50μm
Tracking Force Range: 2.0 - 2.5g (20 - 25mN)
Recommended Tracking Force: 2.3g (23mN)
Tracking Angle: 20º
Internal Impedance / DC Resistance:
Recommended Load Impedance: > 10Ω
Cartridge Body Material: Stainless Steel Aluminium
Cartridge Colour: Black / Black
Cartridge Weight: 10.7g





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