The Cadenza Series of high-end Moving Coil (MC) cartridges was born out of the success of Ortofon’s Kontrapunkt and MC Jubilee models.
Though these models are amongst the most popular Ortofon has ever produced, the Danish cartridge masters still decided to develop a new range that was even more ambitious.
The name Cadenza comes from the Italian word for cadence, and refers to the section in a concert where the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time without a strict, regular pulse. A Cadenza can be written or improvised, but it’s usually the most elaborate and virtuosic part the solo instrument plays during the whole piece. It therefore seemed fitting that such a capable and nuanced cartridge series should use the same name.
By carefully implementing cobalt-iron pole pieces, using new improved winding processes on the armature, and employing an extruded aluminium housing – amongst other changes – the Cadenza Series is able to out-perform all those that came before it. Like other modern ranges, the Cadenza Series is structured in Ortofon’s preferred colour-tier nomenclature; so there are Red, Blue, Bronze, Black and Mono (White) variants available to suit varying budgets and tastes.
As with all modern Ortofon ranges, the top cartridge in the Cadenza Series is the Black model. The Cadenza Black is a flagship-status cartridge that boasts a a pristine-cut Nude Shibata stylus with a boron cantilever. The effective mass of the stylus/cantilever system is extremely low due to the use of a very thin boron rod; this material is extremely stiff and even more lightweight than aluminium, making it a real premium component choice. The coil wire is the famous Ortofon Aucurum wire, which is a gold plated version of the popular 6NX copper wire.
The Black model also uses Ortofon’s Wide Range Damping (WRD) system, effectively controlling the high- and low-frequency damping separately. WRD was originally developed in 1979 for the MC 20 MK II, but since that time it has been more commonly reserved only for Ortofon’s super-high-end cartridges, such as the MC Windfeld. It works by clamping a small, heavy disc of exotic metal between two rubber absorbers with different properties. The result is superlative tracking ability (90µm with the Cadenza Black) with perfect damping across the whole frequency range and no distortion or resonance. Thanks to WRD, the Cadenza Black spans a very wide frequency range compared to other models in the Cadenza Series.
The Cadenza Black has been optimized for an amazing tonal neutrality, dynamics and purity of sound. It performs better than any other cartridge at this level in detail, consistency and sound staging.