The Ortofon Exclusives series of our highest-performing Moving Coil cartridges has now been expanded to include the brand new MC A MONO cartridge
The MC A Mono is a TRUE MONO cartridge for play-back of MONO recordings.
If you play a MONO record with a stereo cartridge you will not achieve the same signal in the two channels due to imperfections such as crosstalk, noise, phase errors, tracking error, antiskating and distortion. This difference between the channels will result in an unstable and partially fuzzy image. A mono switch, to some extent, can improve this.
Playing MONO record with a TRUE MONO cartridge will have none of the aforementioned problems, as this cartridge only produces one signal, which afterwards is directed to both channels in the system. This will provide a much more forceful and stable image with a fuller sound.
Another significant advantage of using a TRUE MONO cartridge to play MONO records is the absence of response to vertical movement. This means that a TRUE MONO cartridge is essentially impervious to the pinching effect which comes into action when the stylus is pushed vertically upward in very narrow grooves. In addition, the response to dust, dirt and wear will be reduced substantially as the vertical component will not be heard. The final result will be a much more clean and noiseless reproduction of the MONO record. These effects simply cannot be achieved merely by the use of a mono switch.
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Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. – 0.2 mV
Frequency response – 20 Hz-20 kHz +2 dB/- 1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force – 90 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral – 13 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 – 7 Ohm
Recommended load impedance – > 10 Ohm
Coil wire material – Aucurum
Cartridge body material – SLM Titanium
Cartridge colour – Silver
Cartridge weight – 6 gram
Please read about stylus lifetime and our recommendations for stylus care on our FAQ https://www.ortofon.com/support/support-hifi/faq-installation.
The housing of the cartridge is made in Titanium with the Selective Laser Melting manufacturing technique (SLM). The SLM technique was pioneered by Ortofon for manufacturing of the MC A90 and the SPU A90 cartridges, and was refined in subsequent Exclusive Series models.
The SLM process welds fine particles of Titanium together, layer-by-layer, to construct a single piece body devoid of extraneous material. This technique allows for precise control of the density of the body material, allowing for extremely high internal damping. The final result provides freedom over vibrations within the cartridge body material.
The use of Titanium has provided a further improvement to the internal damping capabilities as well as to the overall rigidity of the structure.
Using Ortofon’s Aucurum coils of gold-plated, 6NX oxygen free copper allows for zero-loss transmission of the diamond’s movements via its boron cantilever. This combination combines low moving mass with an extremely high degree of rigidity.
A specially designed armature is used to achieve extreme precision in each coil turn in all layers. This enables the MC A MONO to achieve a higher degree of channel separation, while simultaneously offering lower distortion and better channel balance. The armature is made in a metal alloy which is much less magnetic than normal iron, which boosts the dynamic capability of the cartridge.
Coil wire protection has been constructed from our special high damping proprietary TPE (Thermo-Plastic Elastomer) material, which enhances the total damping properties of the cartridge.
The magnet system is based on an extremely strong, compact neodymium magnet, which makes the generator system both compact and lighter through its minimal dimensions. Inspired by the elements of MC A95 design, the MC A MONO makes use of a specially designed armature comprised of a metal alloy which is much less magnetic than normal iron. This provides noteworthy benefit to the dynamic capabilities of the cartridge since the armature has almost no influence on the magnetic field during movement. When combined with the Aucurum coils, it delivers perfect reproduction of the cantilever movements without compromise.
Any trace of remaining magnetic influences that would create distortion is prevented by the use of a Field Stabilizing Element (FSE). Ortofon’s FSE, 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 minimizing dynamic distortion and intermodulation.
Adding to the list of important components is Ortofon’s Wide Range Damping (WRD) system. In this system, a small, heavy platinum disc is sandwiched between two rubber absorbers, both with different properties. This ensures not only an exceptional tracking performance, but also creates a 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 then was also consequently used in the entire Exclusives series cartridges, is one significant reason why the MC A MONO, while achieving the most linear frequency response and the highest upper frequency limit ever, at the same time tracks a fantastic 90 μm at a vertical tracking force of 2.3 grams.
One of the preconditions 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 stylus. As in the entire Exclusives series cartridges, the MC A MONO makes use of Ortofon’s Replicant 100 diamond, known for its thin and light profile and extraordinarily large contact surface.
Since the Replicant 100 is closest to the shape of the cutting stylus, it can trace with accuracy unparalleled by any other needle in existence. Special polishing of the diamond along with the use of a Boron cantilever offer remarkable transparency, speed, and responsiveness beyond that of any other combination.
The stylus guard provided for the MC A MONO is designed to be easily replaced and removed without risking contact to the fragile stylus assembly.
To avoid accidental damage to the stylus or cantilever please mount the enclosed stylus guard onto the cartridge whenever the cartridge is not in use. The stylus guard should also be attached during mounting or removal of the cartridge.
As illustrated by the below drawing, the stylus guard is easily removed by grasping the sides using the thumb and forefinger, tilting down and pulling straight along the orientation of the cartridge. Affixing the stylus guard is of course accomplished by the reverse movement: hold the stylus guard obliquely, push it into place, and tilt it up as indicated by the arrows
In order to attain maximum channel separation, it may be possible to adjust the azimuth. Should the cartridge not be perfectly perpendicular to the record’s surface, the tonearm or headshell may require to be tilted a few degrees. Correct azimuth is established by observing the reflected image of the 2 parallel cartridge front lines. The cartridge’s front lines must form a straight line with the reflected lines. A flat mirror may also be used to facilitate this process.
There are 4 sets of screws included for mounting the cartridge to your tonearm. It is of great importance to choose the correct length of screws when mounting the cartridge. Using too long screws may stop the screws inside the cartridge resulting in insufficient mounting in the headshell. The choice of screw length depends on the thickness of the headshell, and a maximum of 2.5 mm free screw length under the headshell. Mount the cartridge loosely to the headshell during this procedure.
With a complex stylus shape like the Replicant 100, there must be special attention paid to positioning the diamond in the groove.
The Stylus Rake Angle (SRA – see figure) is very important to the performance of the Replicant 100 stylus, and the long contact surface (the sharp edge) of the diamond should be almost perpendicular to the record surface when viewed from the side. The angle between the record surface and the cantilever is close to 23 degrees when SRA is 90 degrees.
A perfect starting point is to set the tonearm parallel to the record surface and to use the recommended tracking force. The contact surface will be close to perpendicular to the record surface with this setting. The SRA can now gradually and carefully be changed be adjusting VTF and, if necessary, the tonearm height. The target should be an SRA around 92 degrees, determined by the listening experience. In other words, the point of the stylus should point slightly towards the tonearm base.
With optimal weight and compliance to suit the vast majority of modern tonearms, the MC A MONO is easily compatible with a seemingly endless array of modern contemporary high-end turntable equipment. Low internal impedance makes the MC A MONO less sensitive to load and therefore ensures compatibility with the Ortofon ST-80 SE transformer, as well as with the widest range of preamps and transformers.
By combining the utilization of the SLM process, our patented WRD system and zero-resonance spikes, we are confident that the perfect mechanical integration of this cartridge with your tonearm will result in a significant and breathtaking increase in dynamics, resolution and richness in detail.