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Article Index
Ortofon Cadenza Blue & Bronze (MC)
SOUND QUALITY
CONCLUSION
MEASURED PERFORMANCE
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MEASURED PERFORMANCE

Frequency response of the Cadenza Blue, seen in our graph, is flat up to 12kHz. Tip mass resonance causes a lift in output on outer and middle grooves (green trace), but by a mild +2dB up to 16kHz - well controlled by moving coil standards. Tracing loss on inner grooves attenuates this, resulting in a net flat response, as the red trace shows. A loss of -2dB or so at 16kHz from this phenomenon is relatively mild, pointing to a well shaped tip able to trace short mechanical wavelengths, so detail retrieval should be good. The treble peak will be just noticeable on material with extended treble. Otherwise, the almost ruler flat midband will ensure the Blue has the expected clear and balanced midband of a moving coil cartridge.


Tracking was good at 300Hz although the Blue could not clear torture tracks that other cartridges - including Ortofons - can clear, so it tracks well but isn’t a match for the best in this respect. Midband tracking at 1kHz was also mediocre, if adequate at 18cms/sec. Distortion levels were higher than expected, largely because Vertical Tracking Angle was a high 27 degrees, again unusual for Ortofon who usually get VTA absolutely right. An output of 0.48mV at 3.54cms/sec rms is low but healthy enough for a quality moving coil, where output often suffers as coil turns / tip mass are reduced.


Frequency response of the more expensive Bronze  is flatter and smoother than the Blue, reaching right up to 20kHz within 2dB limits. There’s no peaking above 10kHz, just a gentle plateau lift. Tracing loss at 20kHz is about 1dB less than the Blue so the tip looks even better, as expected. It’s a great performance by any standard; few cartridges measure as well as this - especially top end MCs surprisingly. The Bronze has a little less output in the upper midband, around 6kHz, than the Blue and this may help explain its less forward sound.


Whilst the Blue managed 18cms/sec at 1kHz – not brilliant – the Bronze cleared 20cms/sec with ease. Top Ortofons can clear 25cms/sec so why the small shortfall in tracking I do not know. The Bronze had a very high vertical tracking angle of around 31 degrees, again unusual for Ortofons. Generator alignment was better than the Blue and separation satisfactory at 29dB. Output was 14% less than the Blue, measuring 0.41mV at 3.54cms/sec rms, but still high enough to avoid obvious hiss with modern phono stages.


Both cartridges measure very well, if not quite at the top rung. However, since budget Ortofon MCs can measure better and not sound especially distinguished, at this level other factors weigh in. The Bronze obviously has a smoother response and less high frequency energy than the Blue, helping explain its different sound. NK



FREQUENCY RESPONSE, CADENZA BLUE

ortofon-cadenza-blue-fr1

Green - outer grooves.  Red - inner grooves.

BLUE

Tracking force 2.5gms

Weight 10.4gms

Vertical tracking angle 27degrees

Frequency response 25Hz - 12kHz

Channel separation 29dB

Tracking ability (300Hz)

lateral 65µm

vertical 45µm

lateral (1kHz) 18cms/sec.

Distortion (45µm)

lateral 2.8%

vertical 3.5%

Output (5cms/sec rms) 0.68mV



FREQUENCY RESPONSE, CADENZA BRONZE

ortofon-cadenza-bronze-fr1

Green - outer grooves.  Red - inner grooves.

BRONZE

Tracking force 2.5gms

Weight 10.4gms

Vertical tracking angle 31degrees

Frequency response 25Hz - 20kHz

Channel separation 29dB

Tracking ability (300Hz)

lateral 65µm

vertical 45µm

lateral (1kHz) 20cms/sec.

Distortion (45µm)

lateral 2.8%

vertical 6%

Output (5cms/sec rms) 0.57mV




 

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