home products services news reviews pre-owned payment testimony gallery links contact us

Product Information

  A90
  Ortofon > Cartridge

The A90 not only celebrates the past 90 years of Ortofon, first and foremost it also makes history by significantly raising the standards by which sound reproduction is measured, making it a celebration of sound itself.

This impeccably crafted cartridge carries with it the culmination of decades of research in the field of analogue sound reproduction along with the worldís best engineering, materials, and manufacturing techniques.

Combined with the inspiration of the very best ears and minds in contemporary analogue technology, the A90 stands as a true contender for the best moving coil pickup of all time.

Ortofon is proud to launch the MC A90, a world class moving coil cartridge to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Ortofon’s technical leadership in the audio industry. This impeccably crafted design cartridge carries with it the culmination of decades of research in the field of analogue sound reproduction along with the world’s best engineering, materials, and manufacturing techniques. Combined with the inspiration of the very best ears and minds in contemporary analogue technology, the A90 stands as a true contender for the best moving coil pickup of all-time.

Revolutionary manufacturing process

At the heart of the new A90 lies a revolutionary customized SLM (Selective Laser Melting) manufacturing procedure in which micro particles are laser-welded together, layer by layer. This high technology and high precision process eschews traditional techniques to provide increased rigidity and body density resulting in the further reduction of unwanted resonances while still maintaining exact figures for cartridge mass. SLM manufacturing also enables the consolidation of components to allow for a design devoid of unnecessary material. In this instance, all of the essential components are built directly into the one-piece body, including the magnetic system (including the moving parts), the terminal block, and the silicone rubber wire guard. The design was kept strictly to only the crucial parts, creating a unique, distinctive aesthetic which is as functional as it is attractive.

Not only a celebration of history...

The A90 not only celebrates the past 90 years of Ortofon, first and foremost it also makes history by significantly raising the standards by which sound reproduction are measured, making it a celebration of sound itself. Those who choose to adopt the A90 will experience the lifelike, open sound, with exceedingly clear midrange for a presentation that is unparalleled. The A90 remains extremely musical while paying close attention to micro dynamic detail, with its delicate, but also analytical nature. Lovers of music will take note of a truly organic and encapsulating experience which transcends the limits of recording and undeniably blurs the distinction between what is live and what is recorded.

The magnet configuration that graces the A90 takes its inspiration from the acclaimed MC Windfeld, known throughout the world for its remarkably neutral and honest character. This superb generator system is not only lighter and more compact, but via the Field Stabilising Element (FSE) can ensure that the force field remains stable regardless of movement of the armature. The FSE consists of a small cylinder of silver plated copper placed inside of the magnetic system. FSE sonically has substantial benefits especially by reducing dynamic distortion and intermodulation to an absolute minimum. FSE plays a tremendous part in the A90’s remarkable dynamics, ensuring that every detail will be delivered with striking accuracy and plenty of space between each instrument in a recording. This simply results in more drama and greater breadth, height and depth of the sound and stereo image.

Wide Range Damping system

Adding to the list of important components is Ortofon’s patented Wide Range Damping (WRD) system. In this system, a small, heavy platinum disc is sandwiched between two rubber absorbers, both with different properties. This not only makes sure that exceptional tracking performance is maintained, but also ensures perfect damping through the entire frequency spectrum. Because of this, distortion and resonance are virtually eliminated entirely. The WRD system, which was originally introduced in the MC 20 Mk II in 1979 and was also used in the MC Windfeld and many of Ortofon’s other top-tier cartridges, is one significant reason why the MC A90, while achieving the most linear frequency response and the highest upper frequency limit ever, at the same time tracks a fantastic 100 μm at a vertical tracking force of 2.3 grams.

The finest diamond ever created

Another precursor for linear sound reproduction, expansive frequency range and remarkable tracking performance is the diamond which graces the A90’s boron cantilever – the unique Ortofon Replicant 100. This ultra-fine and now extra polished diamond first was introduced on the famous MC-3000 MkII and MC-5000 cartridges, and has also been used on the revered MC Windfeld. The Replicant 100 is incredibly thin and light, yet has an extraordinarily large contact surface despite a minimal radius of rounding. When correctly aligned, the Replicant 100 will track even the most demanding of groove modulations and will read musical information from the groove with a level of accuracy that is unparalleled by any other needle in existence.

Extremely high end materials benefit new coil technology

Using expensive Aucurum coils of gold-plated, 6NX oxygen free copper allows for zero-loss transmission of the diamonds movements via its boron cantilever. This combination, which has also been employed for use in the by now legendary MC Windfeld, combines low moving mass with an extremely high degree of rigidity.

Of course, a specially designed armature had to be created to achieve extreme precision in each coil turn in many layers. This enables the A90 to achieve a higher degree of channel separation, while simultaneously offering lower distortion and better channel balance. A low output impedance of 4 ohm and a medium output voltage of 0.3 mV makes the Ortofon MC A90 a perfect partner for most step-up transformers as well as active MC pre-amps. With optimal weight and compliance to suit the vast majority of modern medium-mass tonearms, the A90 is easily compatible with a seemingly endless array of modern contemporary high end turntable equipment.

TECHNICAL DATA
Output voltage at 1000 Hz,
5cm/sec.
270 µV
Channel balance at 1 kHz < 0.2 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz > 28 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz > 22 dB
Frequency range at - 3dB 10 - 80,000 Hz
Frequency response 20 - 20,000 Hz +/- 1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at
recommended tracking force
100 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral 16 µm/mN
Stylus type Special polished Nude Ortofon
Replicant 100 on Boron Cantilever
Stylus tip radius r/R 5/100 µm
Tracking force range 2.0 - 2.5 g (20-25 mN)
Tracking force, recommended 2.3 g (23 mN)
Tracking angle 23°
Internal impedance, DC resistance 4 Ohm
Recommended load impedance > 10 Ohm
Cartridge body material SLM Stainless Steel
Cartridge colour Black

Profile of Ortofon

Ortofon was founded in 1918 by two Danish engineers, Axel Petersen and Arnold Poulsen. These two pioneers had one very clear objective in mind - to put sound onto film, and with this, they established the Electrical Fonofilms Company A/S, which later on was renamed Ortofon A/S. A few years later, in the Palace Theatre, Copenhagen, they were able to present the first fully-synchronized sound films and in so doing, created a world sensation.

Ortofon was also the first company to produce an outdoor sound film recording. The founders took out several patents and issued licences to film companies the world over for their "System Petersen og Poulsen", which is even to this day the basis for film with optical sound.

Until the second world war, Ortofon's growth was based entirely on the sound film. However, during the war and immediately afterwards, production was re-organized to include record cutting and reproducing equipment. The first Moving Coil cutterhead was produced as early as 1945, and the Moving Coil principle was then further developed to enable production of, first, mono cartridges and, later, also stereo cartridges.

During this busy period of growth, equipment was also being developed for broadcasting networks and recording studios. It was not until later that the Company decided to specialize solely in the development and production of cartridges. Unique experience at both ends of the recording sequence results in unsurpassed performence from every Ortofon cartridge.

Manufacturer's website

Return to cartridge index page.