Ortofon Celebrates 100 Years

Ortofon celebrated its 100th anniversary September 28th and 29th, inviting approximately 60 of its sales and technology partners from around the world to a hotel in Maribo, Denmark and to its factory in nearby Nakskov.

AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer was invited to observe the celebration and to participate by presenting to the guests and company executives a ½ hour PowerPoint presentation outlining where the vinyl record and analog playback gear market has been for the past 30 or so years, and to where he thought it was headed in the future. (Above photo from a 2009 factory tour).

Following the morning lectures, the group headed by bus to the Ortofon factory for lunch and an all-afternoon tour, which you can experience in the video below.

A previous, private tour in 2009 showed more of the factory, particularly its rubber production department where the company produces elastomers used for cartridge suspensions and other uses within the audio industry and outside of it in the medical field. Most likely the large crowd, divided into four groups, was too large for such an “in-close” factory experience.

On Saturday the group bussed and then ferried to the island of FEMø where we enjoyed a 9 kilometer bicycle ride around the sparsely populated island (121 residents), with the local doctor acting as our tour guide.

The morning’s lectures will be the subject of a future video and AnalogPlanet story, though it will not include the editor’s PowerPoint presentation: he forgot to turn on his video camera. It will be recorded and presented here in the future.

Danish engineers, Axel Petersen (1887-1971) and Arnold Poulsen (1889-1952) founded the the Electrical Phono Film Company on October 9th, 1918 to develop synchronized sound systems for motion pictures. In 1948 Ortofon developed the first moving coil cartridge, though the late Joe Grado also claims credit for its invention.

Since then Ortofon has developed and manufactured more than 300 different cartridge models and today, under the leadership of CEO Christen H. Nielsen it is the world’s leading cartridge manufacturer. The forward thinking Mr. Nielsen is also exploring other areas where the company can put to use its core competencies in micro-mechanics, elastomer development and production and other “future proof” manufacturing opportunities. For now Ortofon’s line of “Century” phono cartridges developed by a team headed by Chief Officer of Acoustics and Technology Leif Johannsen has produced the MC Century, which, in a world of a cluster of previously unimaginable high performance cartridges, the editor considers the finest sounding phono cartridge he’s yet heard.

Anton D's picture

I grabbed one of the anniversary Concordes just for kicks.

It slowed my saving up for a closer to reference cartridge, but I am having paralysis. Xpression? A95? Winfeld? Audio Technical ART1000? Once I get there for the budget, I won’t know what to do!

Their 15k 100th anniversary cartridge would kill it in the 5K range.

Wimbo's picture

good and interesting video Mike.
Once again, well done.

Anton D's picture

Ordered an MC A95 today.

Mike, and Stereophile in general, thanks for this kind of coverage. Ortofon is the kind of company I am very happy to spend my money on.

I am so old, I still have an old old Ortofon step up transformer from the 70s (it was round like a battery) and I think the cartridge I used was an M20 FL Super. It is still in one of my cartridge boxes somewhere....time to get organized.

Anyway, thank you again for the great coverage.

RobbieGong's picture

I am seriously contemplating pulling the trigger on one of these as an upgrade over my beloved Cadenz Black. Would appreciate your thoughts as a user / owner on the A95, its sound in your sytem etc. Many thanks.

Anton D's picture

When I receive it I will post here and look for you!

RobbieGong's picture

Very much appreciated and thanks for replying. A cart of this calibre in particualr will require meticualous set up as you'll know anyway.
Have read that they have a long break in (maybe up 100hrs).
Either way, I'm really looking forward to your thoughts from the offset.
All the best

audiof001's picture

Ha! I'm so old that i just had the my Ortofon MC 20 from 1978 repaired... the cantilever collapsed back in 1982. I held onto it all these years and found someone who only charged me $100 to fix it. I didn't have an Ortofon head amp, mine was a db systems.

TC's picture

Michael, what was the closing music on the video?
Thanks for the great tour!