New cartridge time...Ortofon Cadenza Black or Soundsmith Aida?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Muriel Heslop, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Muriel Heslop

    Muriel Heslop Night is young and the music's high Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    Greetings fellow enthusiasts!

    I need to order a new cartridge asap to replace my Hana EH and would appreciate any comments from those familiar with either the Ortofon Cadenza Black or Soundsmith Aida.These two have caught my attention based on reading some reviews and are in the price range I am leaning towards.

    It will be going on an Acoustic Solid brand turntable/tone arm.Solid Machine is the model.Phono pre-amp is Mcintosh MP1100 with a Mcintosh MA6600 integrated amp and listening through Martin Logan Impression speakers.

    Any thoughts on which one might be a better fit with my existing components?I am also open to alternate suggestions if one knows of something else I should be considering.Would like to get this as right as possible.

    Thanks very much in advance.
     
  2. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    I have the Cadenza Black and I have used it with the MA6600. Turntable is a Clearaudio Ovation with the Magnify tonearm through a Musical Surroundings Nova II.
    I have also installed it on the Transrotor Apollon 40/80 with a Dynavector 507 MkII arm through the Ypsilon VPS-100. One of these days, whenever I get some free time, I want to install it on the Technics 1200G, I have heard that it is also a great match with the Technics.
    The Cadenza is a great cartridge. First, it tracks really well. Second, she is dealing with noise much better than a lot of other cartridges that I have tried.
    I listen to mostly classical and jazz with a some rock on the side, and the Cadenza excels in how it portrays instruments that are considered difficult to reproduce, like the violin and the piano. It’s sound is very open, clear with a lot of air.
    Overall, it is a really good cartridge, worth every penny of its price and then some.
     
    Muriel Heslop likes this.
  3. David Fischer

    David Fischer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My vote would be the Cadenza Black. The Soundsmith is a bit too dry sounding for my tastes. The Ortofon is so clean and rhythmic, yet still musical - an all around great performer. Everyone will have their own tastes though.
     
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  4. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Mid South
    I've owned the Cadenza Bronze and Black, but having heard them all I think the best bang for the buck in the Cadenza line is the Blue. You could buy a lot of records with the money saved.
     
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    i have the cadenza blue and am glad i do. best cartridge i have heard and not a spec of an urge to upgrade. its strengths are dynamics, transparency and a superb midrange. build quality is perfect.
     
  6. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I run a Cadenza Black on an Origin Live Illustrious tonearm mounted on an Avid Diva SP II turntable. Works brilliantly feeding a Lehmann Silvercube phono preamp. The setup is part of my main system.

    I also run a Soundsmith Aida Mono on a Technics SL1200G feeding a Trichord Diablo phono preamp. The setup is part of a separate and dedicated mono sytem.

    Both cartridges sound wonderful. I have, literally, no complaints. It’s just music, music, music.

    Moving from one system to the other simply accommodates stereo or mono LPs as needed. There is no decrease in sound quality. Natural instrument timbres are startlingly accurate, presence and power are instantaneous. Neither cartridge has any unusal preamp loading requirements.

    I heard the Aida stereo cartridge about a year ago at a demo. Fantastic and as good as my Cadenza Black. Basically, between the two cartridges there’s no bad choice and either one will do equally brilliantly on your Acoustic Solid tonearm and turntable. If your Mac phono preamp is up to the task, you’ll be happy whichever cartridge you choose.
     
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  7. padreken

    padreken Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego
    FWIW, I’m approaching the 50 hour mark with my new Aida (bear in mind this is the earlier model, not the new ES aluminum body model). The former version still available from several sellers, I got mine from Music Direct. Initially I thought it too bright, but after speaking with Mr. Ledermann and implementing his suggestions re: VTF and azimuth I’m thrilled with what I’m hearing right now, and this cart is a great value at its close out pricing. Never heard the Cadenza Black, but I was very impressed with the Bronze at several shows.
     
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  8. Muriel Heslop

    Muriel Heslop Night is young and the music's high Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    Thank you to all who replied.Most helpful and now the Ortofon Cadenza Blue is also on my consideration list.

    I was leaning towards the Soundsmith Aida due to the fact Soundsmith will rebuild it down the road for $350 but just can't decide.Also,I see that due to the mark 11 version of the Aida being released,the earlier version can be had at a considerable discount but have no idea what the sound difference would be between the two versions.

    ARGH.....decisions,decisions!!
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  9. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I've heard the Cadenza Black and was very impressed. Well out of my budget so I'll never own one. At this price level it's probably going to be down to splitting hairs, personal preferences, and system matching.
     
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  10. Muriel Heslop

    Muriel Heslop Night is young and the music's high Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    Well after much thought and consideration,I decided to order the Ortofon Cadenza Black.Should have it by the end of next week and will update my thoughts on how it sounds here.

    I do thank all of you who posted...,most helpful!
     
  11. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Mid South
    Congratulations and good listening!
     
    Muriel Heslop likes this.
  12. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Great choice.
     
    Muriel Heslop likes this.
  13. Steve4578

    Steve4578 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Both are great sounding carts (I own the Aida). Keep in mind that you are comparing a LO cart (the Cadenza) with a HO Aida.
     
  14. Goggen

    Goggen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oslo
    So how are you doing with the Cadenza black?

    I’ve just played it for a couple of hours now, and I’m very pleased so far. Which settings did you end up with (db gain and ohm)?
     
  15. intensemojo

    intensemojo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Not affiliated

    VPI Direct was selling OEM (no box meant for turnkey tables) Cadenza Bronzes yesterday for $1500
     

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