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Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

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Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby dimucci » 18 Apr 2018 23:14

I am shortly to have on home trial a Rega RP10 with Apheta 2 package (£3698), but want to compare with the well-received Ortofon Quintet Black S (£679), which my dealer will also fit to try out. If bought separately, the Apheta comes out at £998, but works out at £200 cheaper with the package. Hence, the Ortofon is comparative in price and has come out better overall than the Apheta in one MC review I have seen and the RP10 sans Apheta is £2998. I would not spend £998 on a cartridge! A plus point for me also is that Ortofon do an exchange scheme for damaged cartridges.
Does anyone have experience of these two cartridges and their respective strengths and weaknesses? My own ears will of course ultimately decide, but I would be interested in other peoples' views.
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Re: Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby DSJR » 19 Apr 2018 09:54

The Apheta series is a wild and unfettered cartridge, tamed in series '2' form. rather than smothering the sonic details in the cause of 'refinement' as some so-called Top End pickups do, the Apheta will give it to you straight, sort-of in the way a Decca does. It'll mean a good phono stage with decent headroom at high frequencies (I gather many cheaper ones don't have this) and speakers that don't have crossover or tweeter problems (so many modern speakers, including some larger Rega models in the past, almost hurt ones ears with neutral sources all in the name of 'deeetail!'

The Ortofon you mention is the top model of their beer budget range, so shouldn't be too bad. As you appear to be a Welsh native (?), Rega are local compared to other people here, so you shouldn't have any worries with luck...
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Re: Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby Legrace » 19 Apr 2018 15:53

It is easy to imagine you would enjoy either one. But the package discount favors the Apheta 2 IMO.
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Re: Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby Toaster » 20 Apr 2018 15:17

Don't underestimate the Rega MCs. I haven't heard an Apheta 2 in familiar cirumstances, but I've just set up a Planar 6 with an Ania, and sound quality seems exceptional.
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Re: Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby readargos » 20 Apr 2018 21:21

My experience with lower-end Ortofon & Rega carts, as well as the wealth of published reviews out there, suggest the Rega carts are more dynamic, lively, and upfront, an overtly exciting sound that some people will hear (or some equipment render) as bright. The Ortofon Blacks go for a more refined, sophisticated, linear (smooth), slightly laid back, slightly cool sound, which some hear as polite (so maybe not the best for rockers). The Rega ethos is built on transmitting the maximum amount of energy captured in the grooves. The Ortofon ethos is built on neutrality (or their take on neutrality). They are both excellent, but will appeal to different sensibilities/systems.

There is an argument to be made for the Bronze in each respective Ortofon series. The Bronze tend to be warmer, and chunkier (meatier/palpable/flesh on bone) sounding, more upfront and dynamic, but probably not quite as dynamic as a comparably-priced Rega cartridge, and not quite as linear in frequency response as a comparable Ortofon Black. Some people who have owned both end up preferring the Bronze, especially in the 2M series. The Bronze kind of split the difference between the Rega sound and the Ortofon sound.
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Re: Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby DSJR » 21 Apr 2018 13:03

I genuinely don't mean to keep labouring the point, but 'vinyl reproduction' tends to soften high frequency dynamics, bloat up the bass and so many so-called 'Top End' stereo's tend to over-egg the high frequencies (in the speakers most often) to seemingly sound more 'detailed' to try to make up for this. Cheaper speakers can sound 'rough as a badger's backside' due to cheap tweeters and basic crossovers, so a cartridge with real high frequency life and sparkle (as there in the original recording) can sound ott and edgy, just as so many of us loathed 'digital' when it came along because at the time it challenged poor speaker design and some distortions in amplifiers (yes 80's and 90's Naim, I'm glaring at you!!).

I think Rega have cottoned on in recent years to how good and basically 'truthful' 'digital' can be to the recorded source (it is in my personal experience) and their MC range reflects the dynamics of the master recording very well I feel and their MC's do their best to minimise the losses vinyl introduces. Rega's current speakers have toned down their spitty-tweeter act really well and in fact it's their old fashioned squidgy-soft MM models now letting the side down in my book. the Ania is an all-round delight and although the Apheta 2 will be more of a challenge, I feel it'll be worth it. make sure the deck itself is properly sited (if a suitable wall is available away from a corner, their wall bracket is superb and you'll hear it in better bass quality/tunefulness - I accept modern Rega decks are better in the bass and 'free-er' all round in sonics than earlier RB-arm equipped models anyway).

Good luck whatever you do. Apologies folks, I don't like creamy 'chocolate' bass tones with refined sweet highs from vinyl as you don't hear it this way live and I assure you that most master recordings don't sound like that either ;)
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Re: Rega Apheta 2/Ortofon Black S comparison

Postby dimucci » 22 Apr 2018 09:59

Aha! Interesting related comments on this site
http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/p ... er.735036/
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