Frequently Asked Questions about:
1.1. Stylus and record care
To maintain optimal sound reproduction and to minimize wear on your record as well as on your stylus, we recommend the following procedure before and after each playback:
Remove dust carefully from record surfaces by using a fine antistatic brush or cloth before every use. Ortofon do not recommend the use of solvents of any kind for cleaning of either record surface or stylus. If necessary, records may be washed in lukewarm demineralized water with a dash of sulphonic soap. The detergents should be allergy- & environment al friendly, without perfume or as little as possible: a few drops to a few liters of waters, no lather.
The use of solvents on the stylus and cantilever may damage stylus cement; interior parts of the cartridge can be affected seriously by the intrusion of solvents. The Ortofon warranty service will not be valid in cases where such treatment has caused malfunction of your cartridge.
For cleaning the stylus, use carbon fiber brush a few times along the cantilever in the direction of the stylus, whenever you play a new record or change sides. This will take all normal dust and most of the slick release agent from new records. Remove dust from the stylus tip using a suitable small brush, such as one of the Ortofon types with the packing, which should be guided carefully along the cantilever in the direction of the stylus tip. Following this treatment there will normally be no need for further stylus cleaning.
Please remember to remove dust from the diamond tip before and after playback of each record.
In order to keep electrical contacts clean and to lubricate the knurled nut on the tonearm, Ortofon recommends occasionally a light spray of contact cleaner like DeoxIT ®Gold G-Series into the tonearm socket.
1.2. Stylus lifetime
With proper care we find that up to 1000 hours is possible without degradation of performance. The stylus does begin to exhibit changes after 1.000 hours, but the stylus life as a whole is expected to top 2.000 hours.
Proper care comprises the following:
1. Cleaning of record by means of carbon fibre brush before and after every use. Cleaning of record by using record cleaning machine once in a while.
2. Cleaning of stylus by means of a fine antistatic brush. Please remember to remove dust from the diamond tip before and after playback of each record.
3. Proper adjustment of antiskating, azimuth and tracking force
Concerning PRO systems used for "scratching" and "back cuing", we have experienced stylus lifetime to be substantially less because of their unique application. As a consequence DJ`s will have to consider about 500 hours at the most.
1.3. Stylus types
Please download "Everything you need to know about stylus types"
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2. General cartridge mounting
2.1. Leads connections
All Ortofon cartridges have a colour coding of the terminals, indicating red and green for right channel respectively hot and ground terminal. White and blue for left channel respectively hot and ground terminal.
Green terminal will always be used for grounding the cartridge housings or motor-system, whenever connected inside the cartridge.
We recommend to connect lead wires to the cartridge and head-shell before mounting the cartridge on the head-shell.
Remember correct orientation of the leads because of cartridge terminal pin dimensions of 1,2mm and headshell pins normally only 1,0mm
Connector pins 2M Series and OM Series principal drawing
Connector pins MC and SPU N Series principal drawing
2.2. Stylus position to record centre, overhang and alignment
For alignment of overhang please follow record player instructions. Where no instructions or cartridge alignment protractor available, we recommend 16 mm as a general position of the stylus in front of the spindle centre for having almost zero tracking error on two stylus positions, one at about 30mm inwards from the starting groove and again near the end of playing.
2.3. Azimuth, vertical alignment
Azimuth adjustment or vertical alignment of the cartridge is very important for optimal channel separation.
The checking is easily done by lowering the cartridge onto a thin mirror placed on the record surface and examining whether the reflection lines up square with the cartridge, when viewed from the front. During this test tonearm must still be parallel to the record surface. If not obtainable because of mirror thickness, remove record and work directly on the mat. If alignment is still incorrect and not adjustable because of fixed headshell, the only solution is to resort to packing on one side of the head-shell.
2.4. Tonearm level, vertical tracking angle
Cartridges are constructed so that cantilever angle corresponds to the 20 deg. record cutting angle, when the cartridge is loaded with recommended tracking force and the cartridge base is parallel with the tonearm and this again is parallel to the record surface.
2.5. Phono preamp settings
For Moving Magnet cartridges both resistive load (47 Kohm) and the capacitive load (typically a few hundred pF) are important.
Resistive loading for Moving Magnets is the same as load impedance for Moving Coils.
For Moving Coil cartridges is only the resistive loading vital (unless the capacitive load is unrealistically high), and it is not more important than that we can just specify Recommended load impedance interval e.g. 10-200 Ohm for Rondo Series or >10 Ohm for MC Vivo. The reason for the Moving Coil is so "insensitive" is that it has a low internal/generator resistance, which makes the MC cartridge more "immune" to what we load it with.
The sound character is influenced by the input/load impedance. The lower the load impedance, the higher the current and the more dynamic the sound will be.
2.6. Anti-skating, bias compensation adjustment
Correct bias or anti-skating adjustment is important in order to achieve optimal tracking ability and thereby minimum record wear and distortion. A number of players have a device which, related to the tracking force, will give an anti-clockwise force needed to the tonearm. Correct bias has to compensate for the inwards directed torque on the tonearm caused by the friction between stylus and groove. But this again is influenced by stylus type and amplitudes in the record.
A simple recommendation for a rather precise bias: if you hear distortion in say right channel when using recommended tracking force, increase the biasscale and vice versa. This is for normal cartridge use. But when working like the DJ´s, where the record is turned forwards and backwards, bias has to be reduced otherwise stylus will easily jump in the groove.
2.7. Tonearm/cartridge combination
When choosing either MC or MM cartridges for your record player, total mass of tonearm including cartridge and headshell has to be taken into account in relation to the mechanical compliance (elasticity) of the cartridge cantilever system.
Meaning that high mass of the combination needs low mechanical compliance, otherwise record warps can easily provoke tonearm vibrations at frequencies around 4 to 6 Hz, that will bring degradation of performance. At least 8 Hz is advisable.
To choose the right cartridge for your turntable/tonearm please visit our Replacement cartridges for Turntables/tonearms selector
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3.1. Contact problems
One channel missing can arise for several reasons. For cartridges mounted in head-shells check cable shoes for not being short circuited or wires inside the insulation being disconnected from the cable shoe.
It is our experience that dirt is the main reason for missing contact in systems using the SME-type tonearm connection. Dirt or some sort of oxidation, if contacts are not gold-plated or if gold plated contacts have been exposed to abrasive cleaning, can happen on all contacts involved and especially when systems are often taken in and out as the case will be for DJ`s.
For cleaning contacts we recommend to use the well known contact spray WD-40. This will also be very helpful for lubricating the union, not on the SME-type tonearm, which very often is tightened unnecessary hard because of sluggish function.
Correct tracking force is very important for optimum performance as well as for reduction of wear in the record caused by mistracking. Tracking force should rather be too high than too low to overcome high amplitudes in the record and should be adjusted together with the anti-skating.
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