The second article from Anthony Ingrassia. He lets us know what his views are on this cartridge…
The Quintet Blue, much like the rest of Ortofon’s colour coded series of cartridges is one step up from entry level in the Quintet line.
It has a unique body design that lends itself well to set up and calibrating the cartridge properly, and a threaded body is always an appreciated “feature”.
The Quintet Blue is a .5mv Moving Coil cartridge that weighs in at 9g, on the PLX this took the additional tone arm sub-weight to be installed in order to balance the cart properly.
This cart will also need a decent pre-amp and system to show its true prowess in my opinion, on the Insight the Quintet Blue’s sweet spot fell on a gain of 55 at 100 ohms, and all in all, the total play time came out to about 70 hours, with most of the critical listening happening after about 45 hours, I have to admit it was hard to move on from this cartridge.
The Quintet Blue has a neutral sound, exceptionally smooth and musical without being too warm and or analytical, this balancing act is by far one of its best traits. Across varied genres the Quintet Blue was very dynamic, had a nice soundstage with an extraordinarily strong dimensional presentation.
Music not only filled the space left, right and centre with detail and texture, but it also had distinguishable depth with better pressings.
That being said, the Quintet Blue also did a more than acceptable job breathing life into more “well loved” albums by maintaining its extremely low noise floor and tonal control.
I’ve used the 80’s harshness as an example before, and the Quintet Blue polishes off the edges really well.
The standout qualities of the Quintet Blue really shine on more “Audiophile” pressings.
Jazz and Blues albums have strong emotion, instruments and vocals find homes in just the right space while grabbing the finer details in and around the musicians.
Again, one of those experiences where you listen to something you are remarkably familiar with and can pick out a new sound, or depth and separation, that you cannot recall hearing before, it is not always obvious, but you know there is something more to it with the Quintet.
The bass also presents itself tight, full and deep, giving an authentic sound, not muddy or overwhelming, it just sits there unobtrusively as it should, giving more texture and feel to the music.
Playing a bit of classic rock such as Cheap Trick and Boston or production heavy albums from the Gorillaz hip hop sound to Donald Fagen’s amazing instrumental compositions, the Quintet Blue hung strong, rock continued to have the power you would expect behind it without the sound getting all muddy in the middle.
The same strength carries over to the electronic heavy baseline induced music from the Gorillaz with force and clarity.
The Nightfly was an audible treat with its perfect vocal and instrumental placement, tone, space and clarity. This was an ongoing trend from album to album, the Quintet Blue continually delivered what you would expect from the music with “UMPH”.
In comparison to the 2M Blue I recently sampled, the Quintet is much more refined, as it should be, while I felt the more analytical 2M Blue was not really for me, the Quintet Blue has found its place in my list of favourites, it presents a very “real” audio experience with amazing balance, space and clarity with just enough warmth to rub off some of the analytical edge.
In its price pool it is worthy of consideration, even with the lack of a user replaceable stylus, the initial cost of about $525 and a 30% trade in discount bringing the cost down to around $360, makes it a more than an attractive price for a quality MC cartridge.
If your system can support the Moving Coil Quintet Blue, it is an easy recommendation to toss on your list if you are in the market or thinking of your first foray into MC cartridges.
As always, if you have any additional questions feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.