A Briefing on Ortofon Moving Coil Cartridges
Nothing demonstrates more convincingly Ortofon´s commitment to be the world´s last cartridge manufacturer than the ongoing development of new state-of-the-art models, and Ortofon will continue to refine upon the level of sound quality attainable from analogue recordings. Since 1948 Ortofon has introduced about 100 different moving coil models, and more are to follow. Contrary to other types of phono catridges, the moving coil principle is not suited for mass production. Each of the four coils contains between 11 an 24 turns of wire, depending on model, and has to be wound by hand under a microscope. The wire itself is much thinner than a human hair. The high degree of craftsmanship involved is one of the "secrets" behind Ortofon's reputation.Details on the Ortofon MC Windfeld
Ortofon is launching the MC Windfeld, a newly developed moving coil cartridge using state-of-the-art technology. This highly advanced design, which is the world’s most hi-tech analogue cartridge, may be seen as a tribute to Ortofon’s departing engineer Per Windfeld, who has for more than 30 years been a feature of the high-end culture as the head of development behind amazing cartridges such as the Ortofon MC 20, Concorde, Rohmann, Jubilee, Kontrapunkt, etc.Behind the Ortofon MC Windfeld
Historically, Ortofon has always followed its own path with regard to the mechanical design of the cartridge housing, because mechanical rigidity and total freedom from resonance in the audible range is a precondition for optimal sound quality. In the MC Windfeld, Ortofon continues to build on the structure of the Kontrapunkt range, in which the cartridge housing’s contact with the pick-up arm takes place through three hard, well-defined points, i.e. a kind of spikes. This means that the mechanical integration of the cartridge and the pick-up arm are always absolutely perfect. We have reinforced the construction by allowing one central structure, made in a special alloy, to reach from the 2.5 mm threaded holes at the top all the way down around the motor system at the bottom. This makes the MC Windfeld Ortofon’s strongest and most resonance-free cartridge yet, with a direct mechanical connection between the motor and the tonearm. What this means for the dynamics, resolution and richness of detail in the sound simply has to be experienced. But the Ortofon MC Windfeld is also unique in cosmetic terms: the parts of the cartridge housing are produced with matt and polished black surfaces. The underside facing the record is covered by a new shield, which reinforces the mechanical structure. Per Windfeld’s characteristic initials in gold, which decorate the sides of the cartridge housing, stand as a signal to the outside world that this technologically advanced cartridge is Ortofon’s finest, most accurate and in our own opinion also best-sounding design. We recommend a thorough listening test using the best equipment, and invite serious audiophiles to pay tribute to Per Windfeld with this serious candidate for “the world’s best cartridge”.
The magnet system combines Per Windfeld’s designs for the much-admired Kontrapunkt series and the MC Jubilee. It is based on an extremely strong, compact neodymium magnet, which makes the generator system both compact and through its minimal dimensions also lighter. A so-called Field Stabilising Element, a small cylinder of conductive material strategically placed inside the magnet system, guarantees that the force field remains stable regardless of the movement of the armature. FSE improves the channel separation, while at the same time minimising dynamic distortion and intermodulation. The result: fantastic dynamics and even more elbow room between the musicians. You simply experience more drama and greater breadth, height and depth in the sound scenario between the high-end system’s loudspeakers!
One of the important components is the patented WRD system (Wide Range Damping), in which a small, heavy disc of exotic metal is clamped between two rubber absorbers with different properties. This makes sure that the tracking performance is maintained simultaneously with the perfect damping in the whole frequency range, with the effect that distortion and resonance are avoided.
The WRD system, which was originally introduced in the MC 20 Mk II in 1979 and was also used in the MC Jubilee and many of Ortofon’s other top-class cartridges, is one contributory reason why the MC Windfeld, 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 2.6 grams. The Windfeld's Stylus and Coils
Another precondition for linear reproduction with a wide frequency range and optimal tracking performance is a diamond, the shape of which is as close as possible to the original cutting needle. To achieve this, the Ortofon MC Windfeld uses an ultra-fine polished version of the unique Ortofon Replicant Stylus 100. This diamond, which is already known from products such as the MC 3000 Mk II and MC 5000, is incredibly small and light, but has an extraordinarily large vertical contact surface despite its minimal radius of rounding. Correctly fitted at a vertical angle of 23 degrees, an Ortofon Replicant Stylus 100 will read the musical information in the grooves of a record with a greater degree of accuracy than any other kind of needle.
Zero-loss transmission of the diamond’s movements to the expensive Aucurum coils of gold-plated, 99.999999% oxygen-free, monocrystalline copper is achieved in the Ortofon MC Windfeld via a cantilever in boron (just as in the MC Jubilee), which combines a low moving mass with a very high degree of mechanical rigidity.
A special design of armature makes it possible to position the coil turns extremely precisely in several layers. This technology achieves higher channel separation, 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 Windfeld a perfect partner for most step-up transformers as well as active MC pre-amps. Ortofon MC Windfeld Technical DataOutput Voltage at 1000 Hz 5cm/sec.: .3mv
Channel Balance at 1kHz: < 0.2dB
Channel Separation at 1kHz: > 28dB
Channel Separation at 15kHz: > 22dB
Frequency Range at -3dB: 10-80,000Hz
Frequency response FIM distortion at recommended: 20-20,000Hz +/- 1dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended Tracking Force: 100 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral: 16µm/mN
Stylus Type: Nude Ortofon Replicant 100, Special Polished
Stylus Tip Radius: r/R 5/100 µm
Tracking Force Range: 2.3-2.8 g (23-28 mN)
Tracking Force Recommended: 2.6 g (26mN)
Tracking Angle: 23°
Internal Impedance, DC Resistance: 4 Ohm
Recommended Load Impedance: >10 Ohm
Cartridge Body Material: Stainless Steel/Special Alloy
Cartridge Color: Black/Black
Cartridge Weight: 13 grams
Details on Ortofon Cartridge and Stylus Installation and Maintenance
A Brief History of Ortofon
"HFi News Ortofon MC Windfeld by Andrew Harrison, December 2007
"A development of previous successes such as the Jubilee the MC Windfeld builds on its predecessors with well-thought internal improvements. It’s a very accurate tracker of records, with stunning, honest bass, pure clean treble and superb soundstaging. A stand-out cartridge for getting the best out of vinyl, it’d be a first choice for transcription"
User Manual Ortofon MC Windfeld