Would you use an Ortofon A90 on a Jelco tonearm?

i sold my ART9 cartridge and now looking for an upgrade. I like Ortofon carts. I have been able to locate a low mileage A90 and a Per  windfeld cartridge that I could afford. I don't have a top quality tonearm though. Would you put an A90 on a tonearm like Jelco 750d ? Or would you spend additional $1000 on a better tonearm and get a less exotic cart like the windfeld ?
Pani, What happened? You were a major avid fan of the ART9.

As to your present question, from what I hear about the Jelco, it would be an OK match with the A90.  The thing to do is to decide what you want in a cartridge, the A90 or the Windfield.  The A90 was a darling of reviewers but now seems to have lost its luster for some reason.  Also, there is some issue with re-tipping an A90 to its original specification. So if you are buying used, that is a consideration to be investigated.  It is not at all obvious to me that either Ortofon would be a significant upgrade to the ART9.  Different sounding, yes. Probably drier and more on the clinical side.  I have an MC7500, the grandfather to the Windfield and eventually the A90.  The MC7500 has that Ortofon family sound, very accurate, not much embellishment.
Lewm, the ART-9 did well for me for about 2 years. Just looking for something even better in terms of resolution and refinement. How would you describe the sonic difference between your MC 7500, windfeld and A90 ?
I have a per windfeld that I was thinking about selling if your interested. I am second owner. The first guy bought it as a demo from a dealer without the original packaging. Estimated to have about 300 hours on it. 
I would definitely put it on a jelco if compliance was a match on the vinyl engine calculator. They are good arms. 
Great cartridge too, I am only thinking of selling it because it doesn't work well on any of my arms. It's heavy with high compliance which is a bit limiting. 
I can't find an effective mass for the jelco. I hate it when they don't give you that crucial spec!  
I have a Jelco 750D, amongst others. It's a good budget arm, but it is not good enough for an A90. I would definitely spend more on a better arm and get the Windfeld.
Pani, In response to your direct question, I have not heard the A90 or Windfield in my own system, which is the only way I would make a judgement.  However, from what I read about the A90, good and neutral, I would guess that it has most of the same flavor as my MC7500.  What puzzles me a bit is why Ortofon did not persist with or further develop the rather novel body shape and construction of the A90, which was held to be revolutionarily low in resonance when it was introduced.  The MC7500 is also built like a tank, out of titanium I think, but conventional in shape.  The styli shapes are the same, or nearly so, so far as I know.
@lewm the A90 has a replicant 100 stylus. After it wears out could I not get it retipped with a micro ridge stylus by some retipping companies ? Am I going to lose sonically ?

Hi Pani, As ''involved party'' I am reluctant to react at your post.

However I am well informed about ''retips'' because Axel Schurholz

is my good friend such that I know what their problem is. First of

all all cart producers get their cantilever/styli combo's from their

supplier. Except Van den Hul who also owns an retip service nobody

else does retip work. Anyway not the ''stylus only'' retip. This work

can only be done by specialist with long experience. So there are

only few which are willing to do this work. Retipping the whole

cantilever/stylus combo is much easier to do because the new

combo is ''simply'' glued on the se called ''joint pipe'' on which the

coils and suspension are (also) fastened. The problem by retip

services is the availability of ''parts''. In particular boron cantilevers

and micro ridge styli. So in your case you need to search for a

retip service which offers both. Axel was not able to get other

than Shibata styli , had more work than he could manage, so I

investigated for him in Japan by two big jewel companies there.

Neither ever answered my questions while J. Carr whom I

asked for help warned me that those comapny are not, say,

very helpful with styli.

Because Axel retired I searched for one other retip service and

found ''Expert stylus'' in UK. They do ''stylus alone'' retip with

their own stylus called '' Paratrace'' which is similar to micro ridge.

This work is done by their engineer with 40 years experience.

Fantastic work for only 180 GBP. My Nakamichi MC 1000 with

beryllium cantilever got a new stylus by them. I bought this cart

despite the broken stylus and posted to Expert stylus as

an trial . Elsewhere I mentiond my carts and their ''ranking'' in the

 context of Inna's new thread about MM carts.

Pani I would think you can get it retipped with a different style of tip no problem.  The replicant 100 may probably just be Ortofon's name for one of the existing shapes.  Marketing!!  I got a Lyra Delos retipped by an aftermarket service and it worked great. And I mean an actual tip put on the existing cantilever.  I would never go with a different cantilever unless I had to ie it was broken off.
I'm not sure if its aloud or not but I figured I would mention that I just listed the Per Windfeld.  Check it out if you like, its a great price.  If its not aloud, moderators just remove this last statement. 
pani, I've not checked recently but I believe Soundsmith offers both stylus and stylus/cantilever replacements.  The latter are less expensive for reasons nandric explained.
Dear @pani : Ask you somenthing like this: would I send my " Ferrari " to fix it at Ford or GM?

In the case of top LOMC cartridges it's just a mistake to send the cartridge to and after market re-tippers.

When we send the cartridge to the original manufacturer we have several advantages: first is that it signature quality sound level does not changes, second is that the cartridge manufacturer not only fix the cartridge but if exist any additional " problem " , that re-tippers can't detect, they will fixed, if at the time we send the cartridge to the manufacturer exist any kind of up-date ( unknow for us. ) they will do it free of charge ( this happens with any manufacturer not only Ortofon but Lyra or van  den Hul. )

No re-tipper can knows all the why's that the cartridge designers took in count for the whole cartridge design. It was the  designer whom made the cartridge voicing till he was satisfied with.
When the cartridge is sended to the manufacturer they check the overall design and that the cartridge meets the specific specifications for that model. Re-tippers can't do it and not because theirs knowledge levels that allmost all have but because they do not know critical information only the designers have.

When we send a top cartridge to re-tippers what we recieve is a different cartridge.

So it's up to each one of us.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

I don't think that Soundsmith does but I believe Andy does.  Could be wrong about Soundsmith though.
I have a Winfield and like it a lot.  The cartridge is very flat...just tells the truth.  The caution is that it is VERY sensitive to setup.  I've had many cartridges...none even approached the sensitivity of the Winfield...especially as to the azimuth adjustment.  I have it on a VPI 3D with the 2nd pivot...just by changing the azimuth the most minute adjustment on the screw, the soundstage width and depth open up dramatically.  If your arm doesn't have all adjustments that can easily be manipulated, I would probably look at a Benz LP or similar.
I found the Benz sound to be a little fat for my system and liking.   Tried 2 of them one was the gold and the other the reference. Reference was supposed to be quite good 
Windfeld is very very good but not a match for either of my 2 arms. I'm sticking with a vdh colibri and a Lyra helikon. 
Dear @analogluvr : """  I would think you can get it retipped with a different style of tip no problem.  The replicant 100 may probably just be Ortofon's name for one of the existing shapes.  Marketing!! """

Marketing?, you are wrong the Replicant 100 is not only marketing but something special, some says that's a Gyger variant and could be. 
The patent by Gyger comes from the 80's end and the Replicant 100 comes from around those years when appeared for the first time in the MC 3000.

Note that I said a variant but not similar, is an Ortofon exclusive for what I understand.

Yes, as @stringreen  posted very sensitive to tiny changes in VTA/SRA and very sensitive because its very special shape.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

I hope that nobody among us owns a Ferrari. The poor person

need to post his Ferrari to Italy for the new tires. According to

our Mexican oracle that is. He also thinks that Van den Hul and

Ortofon own their own jewel company where those remarcable

styli are produced. Alas. Even van den Hul get those styli from

Gyger for whom he designed 3 styli: Gyger I, II and ''S''.

He obvously stipulated by Gyger the right to use his own name

by for those which he sells. Similar contract he made with the ''old

Benz'' for the carts parts. Benz is a real cartridge manufacturer

and produce all parts except cantilevers and styli. Speaking

about ''ignorance level''.

Soundsmith does do retipping, although it's more expensive than replacing the cantilever/stylus assembly.

sturgus, Your statement is not clear to me. Do you mean that

replacing the stylus only in the existing cantilever is more expensive

then the whole cantilever/ stylus combo? This would be strange

because boron cantilever+ stylus cost about 500 euro in Europe

while stylus ''solo'' cost about 200 euro.

stringreen, Yes , retipping the stylus is much more dificult to do

then cantilever/stylus combo. Finding the right stylus which will

fit in the hole of the existing cantilever is very time consuming .

Then the stylus need to be oriented with the hard side towards

the groove and then glued at the right angle. But the cantilever/

stylus combo is much more expensive then stylus anlone. BTW

I am talking about boron cantilever with whatever ''exotic stylus''.

Aluminum cantilever with  elliptical stylus is about 100 euro .

Axel Schurholz who is a good friend of my explained this to me

as the reason why he refuse to do this jobe.


Soundsmith does offer an A90 retip using what Peter told me is the Ortofon Replicant 100 stylus. He has them in stock. It is a stylus-only retip, affixing the diamond to the original A90 cantilever. Peter does it personally. I don't recall the cost--around $500, I believe. I had him do mine and it sounds as good as new.

Before Soundsmith, on the same cartridge, I had Orotofon perform their full rebuild/retip at $1,800 (yes, I've logged many hours on this cart) and Peter's sounds just as good. The only difference is that I now keep the arm parallel rather than significantly raised in the back, so he might have changed the SRA from factory. I don't mind that change.
@Nandric — I always enjoy your answers. You state above:

"Yes, retipping the stylus is much more difficult to do than cantilever/stylus combo. Finding the right stylus which will fit in the hole of the existing cantilever is very time consuming."

What about my old Koetsu Rosewood Longbody? The stylus is gone — but the cantilever is straight, not a scratch, perfect. I want to keep the boron cantilever. I just want a nice diamond on it.

But there's NO HOLE. There's a flat-spot on the cantilever, and the stone just sits on it. Obviously an adhesive is used to keep it there. And preferrably the stone should have a flattish bottom.

That's how Sugano did it, and the Zen Master knew the essence of Zen is simplicity. And it worked.

So your argument about the poor retipper wasting his waning years searching for the right size hole (a more proper pursuit for a younger man), and having to charge extra for it, does not apply.

According to your description, attaching a stylus to my Koetsu should be much easier (and cheaper) than trying a hundred stones until one fits the hole.

It should also be much easier (and cheaper) than fitting an entire cantilever/stylus combo into the junction pipe.

Please tell me who will do this very easy and cheap stylus retip, without charging extra for reasons that don't apply. 

Now that we hav the retip question almost sorted, would you install an A-90 on a Jelco 750D tonearm ?

Bimasta, you overlooked that the statements you ascribe to me

are made by Axel Schurholz with more then 40 years experience

as retipper. Not to complicate the story I deed not mention the

problem with glue. All those ''lost styli'' are lost because the glue

is solved by stylus cleaners. Gluing the stylus at the under side

of the stylus (aka without hole in the cantilever) should be even

more difficult but for your remark to apply this kind of retip should

be the rule not exception. The most cantilevers have a hole in

which the stylus is glued (''exotic styli'') or ''pressure fitted'' as by

(some) aluminum cantilevers. As J. Carr mentioned in the

''cantilevers thread'' this is the advantage of aluminum cantilevers.

Your way of reasoning is called ''induction''. From the fact that my

girl is a hooker one can't deduce that all girls are hooker.

Addition. I forget to comment on Bimasta's sarcastic remark

about my contributions. The solution is very easy but you obviously

overlooked this possibility also. You only need to skip my


Huge apologies Nandric! I love your contributions, and your sly worldly humor. I meant it when I wrote "I always enjoy your answers," I always look for them, knowing both that I'll learn something and have fun reading it. What did I say that caused you to think I was being sarcastic? Please point it out to me, and I'll have that part of my brain removed.
Dear @pani : First Ortofon is not the only alternative for you. van den Hul Colibri is an exceptional performer and Shelter 9000 or its Accord are really good.

I like Ortofon a lot and I fall in love with when owned the MC 2000, from there I owned and listen almost all the top Ortofon cartridges. As fact the 7500 that owns lewm I was the original owner.

Now, Jelco is a good tonearm but top cartridges deserves top tonearms that been very well damped, with top internal wire quality, user friendly and with all the facilities for the cartridge set up parameters.

My advise is to change the Jelco too.

Btw and about the re-tipping subject no one can make at first rate quality the re-tipping as the original manufacturer.
@wrm57 talking of Soundsmith:  """  The only difference is that I now keep the arm parallel rather than significantly raised in the back, so he might have changed the SRA from factory. """::

the true Replicant 100 cartridge stylus just never changed in its shape for the owners needs to make a new SRA set up. Ortofon is very clear about.
In the other side wrm57 losted the opportunity that with the Ortofon retipping puts his sample with Ortofon up-dates that only Ortofon knows ! ! ! 

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

I forgot to mention that I also own an MC2000, re-tipped by Axel under the auspices of a person who lives in Europe and who then sold it to me.  The seller is near and dear to our hearts.  I need to drag the MC2000 out of storage and give it another go.
Which sut, headamp or phono stage do you use with MC2000, Lew ?
And which tonearm ? My ortofon MC200 is here in the box.
I'm running an MC-A90 on a Denon DP500M which I think uses a Jelco tone arm. It works excellent. Almost no rumble (excess woofer shake), and it sounds very, very good...

Bimasta, Your first two sentences are contradictory in the sense

that praise and critical remarks don't mix well. In my reading

you wrote: ''I enjoy your post but what you write make no sense''.

You ''argument'' was : ''my Koetsu has no hole in its cantilever

so searching for styli which will fit in the cantilevers holes make

no sense''. I called your reasoning ''induction'' and illustrated this

kind of reasoning by: ''my girl is a hooker so all girls are hooker''.

This is exactly the same ''argument'' as your Koetsu whithout hole.

You other , ''simplicity argument'' , is that gluing the stylus  at the

under side of the canilever (aka ''without hole'') is easy and should

be cheaper. I assume that you do this kind of retipping by yourself 

so you know what is involved. Well what is involved is first additional

treatment of the styli by cutting them ''shorter'' for the purpose. Then

the glue need to be used on both sides ; the stylus and the

cantilever such that we get an ''elastic connection'' between them.

Alas. As J. Carr mentioned in the same thread about cantilevers

materials the drawback by ''exotic materialls'' is that glue must be

used for them. The glue between the stylus and the cantilever

is not such a good thing because of the needed rigidity between

the involved parts. I am not sure if in this context or connection

a hole with stylus glued IN is worst  then the whole stylus surface

glued at the under side of the cantilever. Speaking about ''simplicity''.

I thought that Einstein meant something totally different (grin).

Hi Pani,

I have listened to an A90 in my system on a Jelco 750D with a TTW VTA collar mod for several years. The A90 is sensitive enough to pick up the tonearms character. I listened with two other arms in addition to the Jelco and could easily hear a difference with each arm. The MC A90 is easy to adjust due to its easily visible stylus and cantilever.

The combination of the A90 and Jelco was really good but not the best in my system.  The Jelco had good bass control and very quiet presentation but was not as extended and airy on the top as compared to the other arms.  I liked the A90 on my Audiomods Series V the best, although the bass was more solid on the Jelco.  
I think getting the A90 with the right headshell for the Jelco would be the right thing to try.  
Chakster, I run the MC2000 directly into my modified Atma-sphere MP1, in balanced mode.  The stock MP1 could probably handle the tiny voltage output of the MC2000, but my modifications to the MP1 included adding a bipolar transistor to the dual-differential cascode that comprises the input stage of the phono section.  This makes the MP1 quieter with very low output cartridges and increases gain by quite a lot, maybe too much gain. Even with the MC2000, I cannot get the volume control past about 10 o'clock, where 7 o'clock is "off".

However, because the MC2000 was originally conceived in parallel with the MC2000 SUT, I am curious to know how the pair would sound together, compared to my current set-up.  Perhaps Raul has done this experiment and would care to comment.
@lewm thanks, but what's your tonearm choice for this high compliance MC? 
Dear @herndonb : Jelco builds tonearms to some different audio companies and makes it under the specifications of those companies.

In the other side the one in your Denon looks more like a Technics  one than a Jelco.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
The compliance of the A90 is not really an issue if you are using the fluid damping on the Jelco; I’ve used a couple of modified Ortofon MC 20 Supers (retipped with microridge styli and boron and sapphire cantilevers) which have a similar compliance and they perform better than the heavily modified Denon 103R’s which I was using before which, in theory, should be a better match with the arm. The fluid damping makes the 750 Series extremely versatile and very capable with all but the most highly compliant cartridges.

The Jelco can (and should) be upgraded IMO in a couple of areas if you are going to something like the A90 for a relatively marginal outlay, the cost of which probably bring it closer in performance to some of the big name arms than many would like to admit.

Those are:

1) the mounting collar. The standard Jelco mounting collar is actually quite sloppy. Sloppy enough that a proper azimuth adjustment cannot really be achieved with it. Ammonite Acoustics in the UK manufactures an upgraded collar for the 750 Series which eliminates this problem and runs about $75 U.S. as I recall, possibly less. With the Replicant stylus, which requires very careful adjustment of azimuth (I ran an OCL from Peter Lederman on an ebony bodied 103R for a number of years and the OCL is very similar to the Replicant and was probably the fussiest cartridge I have ever set up and extremely critical of very good adjustment of azimuth), I would consider this as an absolute necessity.

2) the headshell. While the stock Jelco headshell is good, I was shocked at how much better my Ortofons performed with a Yamamota HS-4 carbon fiber headshell. The jump in performance was pretty dramatic. Available on Ebay for around $100 U.S.

Do those 2 upgrades on the Jelco and it will hit massively above your invested price point and certainly not embarass itself with the A90 if you can pick it up at a decent price.

  I was shocked at how much better my Ortofons performed with a Yamamota HS-4 carbon fiber headshell. The jump in performance was pretty dramatic. 

Geace HS-6 Carbon Headshell is what i like. Another one is Sony HS-160 Carbon Clad Headshell.

I saw cracked Yamamoto (around the bayonet), but it was his ebony wood shell. 

I was shocked at how much better my Ortofons performed with a Yamamota HS-4 carbon fiber headshell. The jump in performance was pretty dramatic. 

My 'go-to' headshell also hdm 😎
Until people actually hear the effects this shell can 
make on every arm and every cartridge I own...there simply is no comprehension....

I also have a DP-500M. Based on what I’ve read regarding the TT, it’s manufactured in China by Hanpin to Denon’s specifications. A few months ago I changed out the stock tone arm to a Jelco 750SA. I have always enjoyed the way it looked and performed but felt the tone arm was the weak link. The best way for me to describe the change is, it’s now warmer and much more detailed. Plus, it now can handle any cartridge in my very small stable and keeps up with my other, a Technics SL-1210MKII w/Jelco 750SA just fine. Here is a link to see what it looks like.


 I find the compliance matching to be of the greatest importance as far as arm cartridge  synergy. Unfortunately it seems that many people do not pay that much attention to that. 
Yes, I would put an A-90 on a Jelco SA-750 tonearm. It IS a top quality tonearm, not to say that better do not exist, but $1K isn't likely to get you one.
@sqlsavior i can't agree that no other tonearm under 1k can compete with Jelco. Let me just mention a few decent tonearms withing this budget: Sony PUA-7 stand alone version, Lustre GST-801. Both are amazing for MC cartridges (and for MM too). 

Sony PUA-7 with vta on the fly and unique super smooth armlift is one of the best (IMO), oustanding build quality. It's in the same price category as Jelco, but much better. In term of usability this is my favorite tonearm after Reed 3P.  
Analogluvr, The compliance to effective mass match is not very restricting as I see it. Based on the equation, the resonant frequency is inversely proportional to the square-root of the product of mass X compliance.  Because we take the square-root of the product, that allows for a fairly wide range of values.  If you want the Fr to be in the range of 8 to 12Hz, the inverse of the product of mass times compliance can range between 1/64 and 1/144, or more than 2-fold. So, I worry about it, but only a little bit.
 I just find that you often read of ridiculous  statements like my Denon 103 sounds great on my Infiniti black widow. Well not to say it doesn't sound acceptable but it would sound a heck of a lot better on a fr64.  So I agree that there may be outliers based on arms with resonant damping properties but you cannot cheat physics. And it seems too many folks involved with analogue play back pay zero attention To these basic parameters.
Used a MC Anna on a Jelco SA750D at a CES Show some years ago - this was a OK combination.  Turntable was a GrooveMaster DC (VPI Super Plater MAXON DC Motor with our own Motor Controller)     

The Jelco arm is unbeatable at the asking price - and Jelco makes arms for among others Ortofon, however perhaps a bit more "substantial" in build the their stock offerings.

Currently running a Ortofon MC Anna in a SME310 on a GrooveMaster Vintage Direct DP80 Professional - excellent combination too.  

Good Listening

Just in case you land on this thread, Jelco introduced the 850/950 which are a significant improvement over the 750 alluded to above.
 Just for the heck of it, I re- read most of these posts from more than a year ago. It was interesting to see the prevailing arguments about re-tipping versus not retipping as they were hashed over back then. Nothing has changed. But one thing I found interesting is that no one asked the OP about the effective mass of the Jelco tonearm with which he is concerned. However he mentioned that he was aggravated because the manufacturer did not publish a specification. Perhaps this is because the effective mass is a moving target that will be dependent upon the weight of the cartridge and the weight of the head shell and screws. And since many of us fiddle with aftermarket headshell s, that adds yet another indeterminate value to the equation for effective  mass. So in the end , It’s a crapshoot. Best we can do is know what ball park we are in. For example, a tone arm is heavy or medium or light in mass. But I think that’s good enough. Sounds like the jelco would be in the medium to heavy category. And if it’s like other moving coil cartridges, the A90 is likely low in compliance. So the match is probably acceptable. These days, we have the newer Jelco tonearms to choose among, and those are probably superior to the model 750.