Ortofon SPU cartridges have maintained there production through years. There must be a reason to that. Is it only about the historical aspect ? Certainly not, but it is also true that the earliest Ortofon SPU-A and SPU-G are most desirable, most sought after because of there particular sound. These cartridges are rather robust and their dampers hold quite well in time, nether the less at one point you will have to retip them and this is the time were different options are available. You can of course send them back to Ortofon directly but they will moste of the time put a brand new SPU cartridge inside of your shell and you will loose the original material and spirit of the cartridge.
The historical way with vintage SPU ? : aluminium cantilevers and spherical or elliptical tips, but what if we could do even better while still keeping the original tips ?
Yes, we can rebuild your cartridge, wether it is an SPU-A or a SPU-G, as close as possible to the original characteristics with aluminium cantilever using either spherical (15µm,25µm or 65µm) or even elliptical diamond tips to be glued on the original cantilever or with a brand new one if needed. But what if we were able to keep these same tip geometry and use a different material for the cantilever ? Something stiffer, less resonant, something much better in mechanical aspects to a hollow aluminium tube ?
That is why we offer also to rebuild your Ortofon SPU with boron cantilevers using the exact same tip as used on these vintage SPU. This unique combination will allow you to keep the original geometries of the diamonds used originally and thus giving you the possibility to read your records with the same “perspective” as with the original mount but with a much better transmission of these informations to the generator of the cartridge.
How does it sounds ? Well it sounds as an original SPU but with much more dynamic, bandwidth and a better stereo balance/soundstage.
And what about the wires/headshell lead of your SPU ?
Well… early SPU cartridges use some mechanical contact with no solder, just the metal pins coming out of the cartridges used as springs to get in contact with the headshell pins, later one use, in fact…. springs looking like connectors, and later on some (very) standard leads (to stay polite). If keeping the original connectors is a priority for you, as an “original” historical artefact, or even a sound relevant item : we can understand. But with the later leads of very poor quality which have oxidized over time: we can offer so much better, wether it is solid core copper OHNO (99,99999%), silver (99,9999%) under cotton gauge or Acteon headshell leads.
SPU GT/GTE… and the step-ups inside ?
We like SPU GT and GTE, as well as the S-15T or SL-15T. We do think that having a step-up generator inside as close as possible to the generator is a brilliant idea as it will allow the low output voltage of the cartridge to be raised significantly and beneficently. But well it has still some physical limitations due to the space available and of course weight issues (in fact transformers fans are divided (mostly) in two clans : the one of thinks that the smaller the transformer, the better as it lowers capacitance, and the others who believe that the bigger it is : the better it is (no comment)).
In any case we have observed on several occasions that the lamination of these small step-up transformers are getting loose and thus can have these iron plates being disassembled leading to a degradation of the playback. We can of course correct this problem if needed.
What about reworking your SPU cartridge so that it could share some of the same attributes as the most modern cartridges available now and still keep it’s original swinging soul ?
And what if you wantedd to put your SPU on steroids, turn it into a muscle car-tridge ? First step would be to adopt a more modern diamond tip like a Line Contact or Micro Ridge on a boron cantilever. Of course we can do that, but what about the original Vertical Tracking Force (VTF) parameters ?
It would be quite unwise to use 3 to 5g of pressure with one of these tips as it would certainly damage your records as well as reduce the lifespan of these tips. This is why we developed a new damper specially designed for the Ortofon SPU and which allows a VTF range between 1.8g to 2.5g without changing the original compliance of the cartridge and which is also perfectly fit with these modern retips.
Coil issues ? Copper or Silver ?
Last but not least… we can also rebuild the coils of your SPU in either copper or why not silver…