Purchased new NOS in November, and have used it intermittently with other cartridges. Estimated 30-50 hours tops, see close-up picture to confirm condition. It's a unique SPU in real wood and Urushi lacquer.
I found the SPU 85 to be my favorite of the SPU's I've had over the years. I kept it over the 90th Anniversary model and a vintage SPU Meister which had been my keepers. I'm switching out my tonearm and won't be able to use it any longer.
Please read Art Dudley's review for more info.
Here is Ortofon's description:
“In 2003 Ortofon celebrated its 85 year anniversary by launching this SPU cartridge only produced in a limited number of 500 units. An idea was to create an outstanding kind of housing made of Japanese Hida Beech wood, famous for its strength and hardness. For the exclusive surface treatment the 6000 years old Japanese Urushi lacquer method was chosen in order to achieving a hard, resistant and beautiful multilayer surface in dark maroon colour.
Additionally in order to influence sound from the motor system, Ortofon has succeeded in developing a new wire concept for the armature windings called “AUCURUM”. The basic material here is specially developed composite consisting of a very pure copper and gold, creating high conductivity and environmental resistivity.
The expectations about influence on sound reproduction from this very beautiful anniversary design (yet with all the previous classic elements preserved in the motor system) now had to be examined by the Ortofon Listening Panel. SPU 85 prototypes were made to be compared to SPU systems mounted in standard metal housing with the same motor system.
The Ortofon Listening Panel proclaimed: Very charming, open, dynamic, straightforward and present intermediate tone range between 200 and 1500 Hz typical for the SPU sound.
The wooden housing first of all seems to have strong influence especially in the range from say 4000 Hz and up, resulting in a very pleasant integration with intermediate frequency range compared to the metal housing. The musical integrity obviously tends to be improved by the lower Q for resonance in the wooden housing compared to the metal.
SPU 85 is an integrated phono cartridge with standard Ortofon/SME connector. Its high mass permits only mounting in heavier type tonearms.
To obtain all benefits of SPU 85 superb performance capabilities, it is important that the tonearms with which it is used be as rigid as possible with a minimum of resonance. It must be correctly mounted and adjusted. Mount the SPU 85 on your tonearm and balance. Set tracking force between 3-4 grams, e.g. 3,5 grams. After setting tracking force, adjust antiskating.”
Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. 0,4 mV
Channel balance at 1 kHz < 1,5 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz > 23 dB
Frequency range at - 3dB 20-30.000 Hz
Frequency response 20-20.000 Hz +2 dB/-1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz lateral 80 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral 8 µm/mN
Stylus type Nude ellipticall
Stylus tip radius r/R 8/18 µm
Tracking force range 3,0 - 4,0 g (30 - 40 mN)
Tracking force, recommended 3,5 g
Tracking angle 20°
Internal impedance, DC resistance per channel 3,5 Ohm
Recommended load impedance 50 - 100 Ohm
Cartridge body material Hida Beech wood + Urushi
Cartridge colour Dark maroon
Cartridge weight 30 g
Thanks for looking.