Like most products by New York-based company Soundsmith, the OTELLO is a Moving Iron cartridge. This type of cartridge operates differently to conventional moving magnet and other moving coil models. This technology brings out the precision, articulation and dynamic range in MC cartridges with the output level of an MM cartridge. Moving iron technology is also used in Grado cartridges
The Otello has replaced the famous and now discontinued Soundsmith SMMC3. In this most recent model, the wooden body has been replaced by an acrylic one, which although less natural delivers the same high quality results.
Despite being Soundsmith's entry-level cartridge, the Otello has been crafted with the same care and precision as the brand’s higher end models. It has been built entirely by hand in the company’s Peekskill workshops by an experienced technician. They are tested throughout the production stage. If the results are not satisfactory, the cartridge is destroyed! This highly efficient method is usually reserved for products 3 or 4 times the price of the Otello, but for Peter Lederman this is the only way to ensure that his audiophile customers are getting a perfect end product.
The elliptical stylus is selected and tested, then attached to an aluminium cantilever. The weight is purposefully reduced to allow for the control of the moving parts inside the grooves. The coil connected to the magnetic circuit delivers an output level of over 2mV. The 47 KOhm Load, combined with a low capacitance, enable compatibility with phono stages built into amplifiers. Its total weight of 6.3g and high compliance (22) mean that it is compatible with the majority of low to medium mass tonearms.
From the opening bars we were impressed by the definition and nuance this Soundsmith Otello cartridge is capable of. Reproduction is precise and delicate, without a hint of colouration and unnecessary artifice. The textures are very natural, and female vocals in particular have remarkable presence. The dynamic range and transients are powerful without being too showy or bold. The levels of surface noise are by far among the lowest we’ve ever heard. The Otello cartridge is a revelation, and does full justice to the Soundsmith name. Highly recommended! Franck
Principle: MI (MM)
MM resistance: 47 kohms
Capacitive load: 100-200 pF
Compliance: 22 mm/mN
Channel separation: >24 dB
Channel separation: <1.8 dB
Stylus: Elliptical, 6x17mm
Frequency response: 20-20 000 Hz (+/- 2.5dB)
Tracking force: 1.4g