Looks Good Enough to E.A.T. JO Nº 5 Moving Coil Cartridge

This revolutionary cartridge comes in two flavors: plain and peanut. When the stylus wears out instead of having the cartridge re-tipped, you eat it. It melts in your mouth, not in your hands. Best for “mint” LPs, etc.

Seriously though, E.A.T.’s new JO Nº 5 is the European Audio Team’s second cartridge and rather than being a “revolutionary” design, it’s one that makes use of well-known technology and parts and its built by Ortofon to E.A.T.’s specifications.

As many of you know, the E.A.T. brand belongs to Jozefina Lichtenegger, wife of Pro-Ject founder Heinz, who I’m told had a strong hand in this cartridge’s design. See review of E.A.T. B-Sharp turntable.

Ortofon’s Selective Laser body building techniques (SLM-melting using metal, SLS-sintering using Polymide plastic) allows the company to produce a wide range of body shapes. If you watch the interview I conducted at Munich High End 2018 with Leif Johannsen, Ortofon’s Chief of Acoustics and Technology, you’ll see him dump out onto a table a bag of possible SLS produced cartridge body shapes or more accurately, enclosures for the basic square Ortofon Quintet series body.

As with the Quintet line, which uses various combinations of styli, cantilevers, coils and magnet systems, OEM customers can do likewise. So, though the Nº5 is based on Ortofon’s Quintet Black, the Lichteneggers spent time auditioning various combinations of parts to determine the final sound of this cartridge, which is also affected by the shape and mass of the outer curvaceous body finished in delicious looking minty green.

You can say “looks don’t matter” but this is one cartridge that’s difficult to not want to just stare at!

More importantly, it’s a cartridge that makes it difficult to not want to just listen to. The JO Nº5 combines the richness and warmth of some other modestly priced MCs with a good deal of the detail and resolution produced by more expensive MCs with not a hint of the added edge, etch or grain that sometimes mars the performance of modestly priced MCs. Plus it’s a very good tracker, smoothly sailing through lateral 80µm peak track 13 on Ortofon’s test record.

While the Nº 5 is based on the Quintet Black’s body platform (hidden by the hard outer shell) it differs in many ways. The standard Black features a Boron cantilever and Shibata stylus. The Noº 5 uses an aluminum cantilever to which is affixed a “Fine Line” stylus. The coil windings of 4N copper are different, the rubber suspension alignment is different and the compliance is somewhat lower to make it more compatible with E.A.T. tonearms especially the C Note.

Like the Black, the Quintet’s output is .3mV and internal resistance is 5 ohms, with recommended loading at 20 ohms. E.A.T. claims each cartridge is hand-selected and that means some don’t make the cut. The price is 1395 in the attractive wooden box, or $1295 in a simpler cardboard box. There’s also a discount packaged with an E.A.T. turntable.

I played symphonies 3, 5,7 and 9 of Sir Simon Rattle’s Beethoven Symphony cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic (review coming up) and found the sound rich, enveloping, harmonically “colorful” and spatially involving (it was recorded digitially with a pair of M/S microphones). Enough bite to the brass, with particularly full-bodied French Horns and super-stable imaging. It's also the cartridge I used to listen to the female vocals double LP I just reviewed and found it fully satisfying. Whatever the Nº 5 didn't do, I didn't really miss. In other words the Nº 5 never sounded like Nº 2 (sorry I couldn't resist).

The Nº 5 manages to be both rich sounding and exciting. Never snooze-inducing or “soft”. Definitely a fuller, richer, “meatier” sound that I remember from the Quintet Black, which was also relatively “full bodied” for a $1000 MC cartridge. Here you pay a little more and you get more fullness without paying the price of sludgy bass or rhythmic constipation. Yes, you can get faster and leaner performance elsewhere and for that matter, warmer and softer too. I found the E.A.T. JO Nº5 to provide an ideal balance between the two. It certainly is no match for the super-costly “super cartridges” out there now, but considering the price, it leaves very little on the ‘table and it’s among the best looking transducers you can buy at any price!

Ortofan's picture

... which had a boron cantilever is discontinued and has been replaced by the Quintet Black S with a sapphire cantilever.

The aluminum cantilever and fine-line stylus would suggest that the JoNo5 is closer to a Quintet Bronze. The price of JoNo5 is also essentially identical to that of the Ortofon Cadenza Red, which also sports the combo of an aluminum cantilever and fine-line stylus. Could we please have a showdown between these two cartridges?

Anton D's picture

This, to me, is the quality/price sweet zone!


Fsonicsmith's picture

I recently ordered a Cadenza Bronze from my local dealer to be installed on a Reed 3P on a hot-rodded Thorens TD124. My dealer had never sold one or installed one and said, "Seems like a lot of money for a cartridge with an aluminum cantilever". Ouch, I thought. Well, I am here to say that having owned many cartridges with ruby, sapphire, and boron cantilevers, I will no longer pay any attention to such things. The Cadenza Bronze has been praised but also criticized for being a bit warm and less detailed then the Cadenza Black. I have not had the pleasure to do direct comparisons, but the Cadenza Bronze retrieves skads of detail and has remarkable bottom end. It is also the quietest cartridge I have heard when it comes to clicks and pops which is unexpected given my 12" arm and replicant stylus supposedly demanding perfect alignment. The aluminum cantilever on the Bronze is not a simple MM-style tube. It is conical and looked at under a USB scope at 250x magnification, it is a piece of engineering marvel. My only slight misgiving is that I needed to lower my tonearm as low as it would go in order to come close to 92 degrees SRA. It seems that when the recommended 2.5 VTF is applied, the stylus wants to dig in at closer to 98 degrees or so when the arm is parallel to the platter, at least on my sample.

PAR's picture

You are not the first person that I have seen a posting from regarding the need to lower their pickup arm to an unusual degree to achieve correct SRA with a replicant stylus. This is because the correct setting of 92 degrees is not in relation to the vertical axis through the stylus but to the leading edge of the stylus as per the image from Ortofon.


There is a quick cheat to get you in the ball park. The base of the Cadenza series is angled. think of it being parallel to the record surface from the rear to roughly where the "C" in the Cadenza wording on the body is. It then tilts upwards to the front. So start by aligning the rear of the bottom of cartridge body parallel to the record. Then listen and make whatever small adjustments are necessary to arm height for best result. Ortofon are generally pretty accurate in their manufacture making this starting point feasible.

Michael Fremer's picture
rascal7's picture

I see a lot of space between the cartridge in the head shell. Is this intentional or some sort of an allusion?

theboogeydown's picture

" super-costly “super cartridges”

Stringreen's picture

Ortofon has 3 "dimples" on the top of their cartridges which act as "TipToes" between the cartridge and tonearm to reduce resonance. I have an Ortofon Winfield which has this and presume other Ortofons do as well.

rascal7's picture

I forgot the cartridge was sourced from Ortofon. I had a Cadenza Bronze and Black which had those same raised areas.

Michael Fremer's picture
Is that I took that photo with my iPhone X with no adapter lens or tripod. Just snap
Anton D's picture

That arm reminds me of the old Sony PS X800 tonearm.

Is it mounted on a Dynavector? No, this one looks to have an octagonal cross section. Interesting!

(The cartridge color is eerily similar to the frame of a vintage Bianchi...they called it “celeste.”


mobileholmes's picture

Looks like a cartridge with broad appeal. It's difficult to point out the strengths and weaknesses of a product without it scaring off people who think they are going to find the magical product that will be all things to all records (like the time I told a customer that the 5watt I was selling wasn't very good for heavy metal, something he didn't listen to, but really bugged him, because he really needed 5w amp that did Metallica justice). Nice that it has a pretty body, but not as easy to set up as the ugly rectangles.

bosone2789's picture

Sounds intriguing! The fusion of Ortofon's proven technology with E.A.T.'s touch, and the unique twist of an edible stylus – a feast for both audio enthusiasts and, apparently, taste buds! | Arlington Drywall Contractors