The state of the art Ortofon Xpression cartridge represents the perfect combination of three distinct characteristics pioneered by Ortofon:
- Use of the cutting edge SLM materials, a technology pioneered on the MC A90 and SPU 90th Anniversary models.
- Modification of the all-new generator system introduced with the MC A90 and the MC Windfeld models.
- Ortofon's design tradition.
The Xpression cartridge bridges the gap between SPU-type cartridges and High-End cartridges like the MC A90 and the MC Windfeld, which are designed for headshell mounting. The result is a high-performance moving coil cartridge with the convenience of a standard headshell connector. This method of connection 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 a proper match with SME-mount type tonearms (e.g. SME, Grace, Fidelity Research, SAEC and Micro Seiki brands), while 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 Ortofon TA-110 tonearm.
- Superb sonic balance, powerful dynamics and fluid body
- Cartridge length and height identical to SPU
- SME mount type
- Internal coils from the famous Ortofon Aucurum wire, which is a gold plated 6NX copper wire
- SLM Stainless Steel and Special Proprietary TPE Compound body
- Nude Ortofon Replicant 100 (Special Polished Version) stylus profile with Boron cantilever
Hi-Fi World, July 2012 - 5 Globes
Output Voltage (at 1kHz, 5cm/sec): 0.3mV Channel Balance at 1kHz: < 0.2dB Channel Separation at 1kHz: > 28dB Channel Separation at 15kHz: > 22dB Frequency Range (at -3dB): 10Hz - 60kHz 20Hz - 20kHz FIM Distortion: +0.5 / -1.5dB Tracking Ability at 315Hz: Typically 90μm Compliance, Dynamic, Lateral: 11μm / mN Stylus Type: Nude Ortofon Replicant 100
Special Polished Version
Cantilever: Boron Stylus Tip Radius r / R: 5 / 100μm Tracking Force Range: 2.3 - 2.8g (23 - 28mN) Recommended Tracking Force: 2.6g (26mN) Tracking Angle: 23º Internal Impedance / DC Resistance: 4Ω Recommended Load Impedance: > 10Ω Cartridge Body Material: SLM Stainless Steel And
Special Proprietary TPE Compound
Cartridge Colour: Black / Black Cartridge Weight: 13.0g
A distinctive and elegant design:
The presentation of the Ortofon Xpression is a continuation of the new paradigm in engineering and manufacturing, introduced by the MC A90. Total freedom from resonance in the audible frequency range is a precondition for optimal sound quality, and the design of the Xpression has been dictated by this requirement from the very beginning.
An engineering feature adding to the damping capability of the Xpression cartridge is the recently developed Selective Laser Melting (SLM) 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 our patented WRD system, we are confident that 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 is the use of ultra-high-purity silver for internal wiring between the generator and 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
The magnet system is based on the designs used in such acclaimed cartridges as the MC Windfeld and the MC A90. It 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 (FSE), 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 seen in the Xpression's fantastic dynamics and even more elbow room between the musicians.
You simply experience more drama and greater breadth, height and depth in the sound scenario!
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.
Diamond and Coil Technology:
The Xpression features a Boron Cantilever and Ortofon's Replicant 100 diamond, found also in the MC A90 and the MC Windfeld cartridges, providing more responsive and transparent sound reproduction.
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, which has also been employed for use in the MC A90 and the legendary MC Windfeld, 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 4Ω and a medium output voltage of 0.3mV make the Ortofon Xpression a perfect partner for most step-up transformers as well as active MC pre-amps.
The Xpression ships with a newly engineered stylus guard which is designed to be easily replaced and removed without risking contact to the fragile stylus assembly.
The new stylus guard design offers a safe and effective functionality. To avoid accidental damage to the stylus or cantilever please mount the enclosed stylus guard onto the cartridge whenever the cartridge is not in use.
This also includes whenever the cartridge is being mounted or removed from the headshell. As illustrated by the below animation, the stylus guard is simple removed by taking hold of the sides using the thumb and forefinger, and pulling straight along the orientation of the cartridge. Affixing the stylus guard is of course accomplished by doing the reverse, but still using a straight movement.