Saying the word Bang & Olufsen on other forums and it will generate many negative opinions. I can't Help but think that some of the B&O bashers do it because they are a lot braver when hiding behind a few opinionated. I don’t know about the general quality of the rest of B&O equipment but I truly believe their moving-iron cartridges went in a different direction making them unique, easy on the soul, and perhaps best of the best at the time. I hope no one minds if I throw in a picture of what they looked like.
You know what they sound like. They are rather rare to find now. I got my first one in the late ‘60s and was so happy with it that I bought a second one 10 years later. You can see there are two models- the standard mount and one just for B&O turntables. The stylus fits either model and that is what I want. Unfortunately the SP15 has a permanent stylus.
The SP12 has the elliptical tip and the SP14 is spherical. They introduced to the world the 15-degree stylus angle, which became a standard for decades. The unique late ‘50s design has an interesting feature not share by others. Internally are four arms of the micro-cross beam close to the four coils. The movement in the plane of either 45'/45' groove modulation will induce twin opposing signals, a push-pull configuration. Like Isobaric loudspeakers, the configuration helps to reduce distortion. The stylus-can tapers to a thick transparent cover protecting the beam and allows the user to see the stylus as it is placed on a record.
I see replacement styluses have leapt to the $230 mark now. Sigh.
I just tested the coil resistance. One the standard mount it is 1556 & 1568-ohms. The proprietary mount is 1499 & 1504-ohms.
I’d say they are full range cartridges. Many cartridges are biased in the bass or the treble but this one sits on the neutral fence. They are quite capable of giving minimum accent to the sound. Looking at the information given and the square wave test, they are very high compliance cartridges with strong low frequency. The push-pull damping gives deep yet controlled bass. They perform strongly in the midrange vocals yet has a smooth highs that won’t get crushed on the ceiling. It is a charming cartridge with lots of detail.
I impressions I get is they sound deep and clear. With CD sound ingrained, these might not be the popular flavored teas. The bass is clean and full-bodied. Transient attacks are sharp. Separation is good and there is no tendency for the stereo image to wander. Without an accent on the highs noisy records are quiet. It has never had a problem with vertical or horizontal tracking as long as a lightweight tonearm is used.
I hope I can figure out how to get the specs. If I don’t then you will get two longer ones.