Read our DJ FAQ

The path to success often begins with a question. Find answers to the questions posed below through our web resources. Contact our support team for further assistance.

Find the cartridge that is right for you


1. Cartridges applications
2. Cartridges components
3. Concorde cartridge mounting dimensions
4. Styli interchangeability
5. Concorde versus OM model
6. The absolute best sounding DJ cartridge
7. Cartridges for DigitalVinylSystems
8. Digital to vinyl transcription

1. Which cartridge is best for my style of music?

Please see our DJ cartridges selector, which gives an explanation of each product range in our DJ line.

Basic DJ: Pro S , Pro, DJ S
Club: Night Club MkII, Gold, Elektro
Scratch: Scratch, Q Bert, Q.Bert Gold
Specialized: Digitrack, S-120 Digitrack Green

2. What are the main components of the cartridge?

a. The cartridge

A cartridge consists of three basic components: the stylus that traces the record groove, the cantilever, the part on which the stylus is mounted, and the generating system. The generating system converts the motion of stylus and the cantilever into electrical replicas of the sound, which can then be amplified and reproduced by the music system.

b. The stylus

The stylus is the only part of the cartridge to make contact with the record. A force must be exerted by the tonearm to keep the stylus in the groove while the record is spinning. This tracking force is low, usually between three and four grams. But because the stylus has a “footprint” of less than one millionth of a square inch of the record face, it exerts a tremendous pressure: 6,000 pounds per square inch. At such enormous pressure, any roughness or irregularity in the stylus would cause record damage. The stylus must also be very hard or it will wear out quickly. For these reasons, quality styli are precision made from the finest and hardest material known: pure diamond. Spherical stylus is for heavy back-cueing and scratching. Stays in the groove. Elliptical stylus is for lighter back-cueing and scratching. Best sound performance.

c. The cantilever

The purpose of the cantilever is to act as an intermediate between the stylus and the generating system. Compared to its size the stylus moves at tremendous speed while tracking the groove of the spinning record. In order that the cantilever may accurately transmit the rapid stylus movements, it should be lightweight so it can respond without inertia to the twists and turns of the groove. At the same time the cantilever should be rigid, because any bending, flexing or vibration would add distortion and sound coloration. The necessary compromise between lightweight and high strength requires great ingenuity in the design as well as the choice of the materials.

d.  The generating system

High fidelity Ortofon cartridges follow the law of electromagnetism, discovered by the Danish scientist H.C.Oersted. When material capable of conducting electricity (a copper coil) is set into motion perpendicular to a magnetic field - or when a magnet is moved near such conductive material – electrical current is generated in the circuit. The direction and speed of the movement determine the amplitude and frequency of the current. Thus the generating system of a cartridge converts the movement of the stylus and cantilever into an output signal.

3. Concorde cartridge mounting dimensions

Effective length: 51,5 mm
Height: 14,0 mm

4. I notice that all of Ortofon's cartridges have similar shaped styli - are they interchangeable?

Physically, each series of stylus, except for S-120, will fit on alternate cartridge bodies.  However, these combinations are not supported by Ortofon, as each cartridge series is designed with a synergistic combination in mind - that is, each stylus is made to compliment the magnet and coil configuration of each cartridge body.  For instance, using a DigiTrack stylus with a Scratch body will not provide the full benefit of either product, and might even provide undesired results, including (but not limited to) differences in output, unbalanced sound reproduction, etc.  

NB: In the case of the NightClub (mk1) and DJ series cartridges, it is perfectly alright to use the respective S (spherical) or E (elliptical) version stylus.  The cartridge bodies are designed to accommodate either of the respective series' stylus types.

5. Is there a difference between the OM and Concorde series of cartridge?

The sole difference between OM and Concorde cartridges is the housing and contacts found on the cartridge.  Whereas the OM range requires mounting onto an appropriate headshell, the Concorde range conveniently attaches directly to the tonearm.  There is no difference in sound between the two ranges, within the respective series of cartridge (ie OM Elektro versus Concorde Elektro, etc).

6. What is the absolute best sounding Ortofon cartridge for DJ purposes?

Currently, the Nightclub MKII boasts the best specifications and best sound from any DJ cartridge product, making it an ideal choice for mix DJs in any environment: studio, broadcast or club. The Nightclub MKII builds upon the success of the original Nightclub Cartridge, boasting numerous improvements. The Nightclub MKII improvements are two-fold: first, the re-engineered stylus and cartridge body are tuned to make the most of modern dance music. Secondly, the increased output voltage requires less gain from the preamps found on a conventional DJ mixer, providing cleaner sound reproduction and less susceptibility to feedback in live environments. The Nightclub MKII is available only with an elliptical stylus.

7. Can I use the S-120 and DigiTrack for conventional vinyl? 

The S-120 and DigiTrack can be used for both timecoded and conventional vinyl, and maintains excellent sound quality for the playback of conventional vinyl. These cartridges models have been specially engineered to make the most of timecoded vinyl playback, providing optimal output voltage for use with timecoded vinyl applications.  This optimized output voltage maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio of the audio being fed to the software, which results in better interpretation of the timecode signal.  Furthermore, a decrease in the reproduction of frequencies where vinyl wear & crackle occur helps to minimize errors in the interpretation of the timecode signal and helps timecoded vinyl discs last longer.

8. I'm interested in transferring my vinyl collection to a digital medium - which needle will give me the best sound reproduction for this task?

The Nightclub MkII provides optimal quality when transferring vinyl to PC, CD, or other digital storage media. The Nightclub MkII extracts every last detail from vinyl records before they are finally transcribed into the digital domain. The Nightclub MkII cartridge features Special Elliptical stylus.


Do you have a question for Ortofon?

We are ready to answer your questions and to help put you on the right path to information. So please feel free to e-mail us: