The state of the art product, the Ortofon Xpression represents a combination of three elements very characteristic for Ortofon:
- The cutting edge SLM materials technology pioneered by MC A90 and SPU 90th Anniversary
- Modification of the generator system introduced with the MC A90 and the MC Windfeld
- Ortofon design tradition
Utilizing these three elements Ortofon created a new product in order to support Their customers of SPU cartridges and Ortofon tonearms. The Xpression cartridge bridges the gap between SPU-type cartridges and High-End cartridges like the MC A90 and the MC Windfeld designed for headshell mounting. The result is a high-performance moving coil cartridge with the convenience of a standard headshell connector, which provides a simple and elegant method of directly connecting the generator and tonearm via the Xpression’s one-piece body. Since the cartridge length is identical to that of an SPU, the Xpression can easily be fitted onto tonearms without additional concern for proper alignment. The cartridge height is likewise identical to the SPU height, which makes further VTA adjustments unnecessary.
The length of the cartridge ensures proper match with the SME-mount type tonearms, e.g. SME, Grace, Fidelity Research, SAEC and Micro Seiki brands. Additionally, the mass and compliance properties of the Xpression ensure that a proper match will be achieved with any SPU-compatible arm. The Xpression can ideally be combined with the new Ortofon TA-110 tonearm.
The presentation of the Ortofon Xpression is a continuation of the new paradigm in engineering and manufacturing introduced by the MC A90. Because total freedom from resonance in the audible frequency range is a precondition for optimal sound quality, the design of the Xpression has been dictated by the complete elimination of unwanted resonance. An engineering feature adding to the damping capability of the Xpression cartridge is the recently developed Selective Laser Melting process in which fine particles of stainless steel are welded together, layer-by-layer, to construct a single piece body devoid of unnecessary material. Using this technique the density of the body can be precisely controlled, allowing for extremely high internal damping. The final result provides absolute freedom from resonances existing in the cartridge body material and allows for the Xpression to be perfectly matched with an extremely wide array of different tonearms. Because of the nature of SLM-based construction, each cartridge body is cosmetically unique and will show small dimples or lines under close examination.
By combining the utilization of this SLM process and Ortofon's patented WRD system, the perfect mechanical integration of this cartridge with your tonearm will result in a significant and breathtaking increase in dynamics, staging, resolution and richness. Also helping to achieve the Xpression’s accuracy and sonic purity the ultrahigh purity silver is used for the internal wiring between generator and standard headshell connector. The Xpression, although derived from the materials and techniques employed with the A90 cartridge, finds a superb sonic balance between the literal precision of the A90 and the powerful dynamics and fluid body of its SPU predecessors. Finally, the bottom cover has been constructed from a special proprietary TPE (Thermo-Plastic Elastomer) material, which provides extremely high damping. Also included is an easy-to-grab finger lift as well as a simple to use stylus guard.
When combined with Ortofon’s world-class knowledge in analogue sound reproduction, the Xpression will undoubtedly provide sound which is literally unsurpassed and simply has to be experienced. Of course, aesthetically, the Xpression has a distinctive, elegant design which makes no compromises.
The magnet system is based on the designs used in such acclaimed cartridges as the MC Windfeld and the MC A90. 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.
Ortofon’s Field Stabilizing Element, 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. The result is the fantastic dynamics and even more elbow room between the musicians.
Adding to the list of important components is Ortofon’s patented 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 was also used in the MC A90, the MC Windfeld and many of Ortofon’s other top tier cartridges, is one significant reason why the Xpression, while achieving the most linear frequency response and a high upper frequency limit, at the same time tracks a fantastic 90 μm at a vertical tracking force of 2.6 grams.
The finest diamond in the world
Another precondition 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 needle. To achieve this, the Ortofon Xpression uses an ultra-fine and extra polished version of the unique Ortofon Replicant Stylus 100. This diamond, which is already known from products such as the famous MC Windfeld and the MC A90 cartridges, is incredibly small and light, but has an extraordinarily large vertical contact surface despite its minimal radius of rounding. Correctly fitted at a vertical angle of 23 degrees, an Ortofon Replicant Stylus 100 will read the musical information in the grooves of a record with a greater degree of accuracy than any other kind of needle.
Extremely high end materials benefit new coil technology
Using expensive Aucurum coils of gold-plated, 6NX oxygen free copper allows for zero-loss transmission of the diamonds movements via its boron cantilever. This combination combines low moving mass with an extremely high degree of rigidity. The specially designed armature, created for the MC Windfeld and the MC A90, achieves an extreme precision in each coil turn in all layers. This enables the Xpression to obtain a higher degree of channel separation, while simultaneously offering lower distortion and better channel balance. A low output impedance of 4 ohm and a medium output voltage of 0.3 mV make the Ortofon Xpression a perfect partner for most step-up transformers as well as active MC pre-amps.
- Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. 0,3 mV
- Channel balance at 1 kHz < 0,2 dB
- Channel separation at 1 kHz > 28 dB
- Channel separation at 15 kHz > 22 dB
- Frequency range at - 3dB 10-60.000 Hz
- Frequency response FIM distortion at recommended 20 Hz-20.000 Hz + 0.5/- 1.5 dB
- Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force 90 µm
- Compliance, dynamic, lateral 11 µm/mN
- Stylus type Special polished Nude Ortofon Replicant 100 on Boron Cantilever
- Stylus tip radius r/R 5/100 µm
- Tracking force range 2,3-2,8 g (23-28 mN)
- Tracking force, recommended 2,6 g (26 mN)
- Tracking angle 23°
- Internal impedance, DC resistance 4 Ohm
- Recommended load impedance > 10 Ohm
- Cartridge body material SLM stainless steel and special proprietary TPE compound
- Cartridge colour Black
- Cartridge weight 28 gram