Well, maybe a little cussing first to set the tone.
The older SPU's are now well sought after, many will end up in collections at now over inflated prices probably in the Far-East where they are worshipped. I've heard a few older SPU's and even those with the built in transformers and I must say that progress was most welcome. Too overblown for my liking.
Now the current crop available. Firstly demand will be low as an SME/Universal fit is required and most audiophiles have long moved on. Alas a few die-hards remain especially in the Land of the Rising Yen.
Ortofon SPU Royal N
The Royal N is the only model that can be used on any tone-arm and the sound is one of pure dynamics but without the top end extremes normally associated with. Yes, there is a ever so slight trade of in the bass but its not an everything equating to nothing sound like the 103. This animal hunts/tracks at 3 grams so boy it digs deep and with the fantastic Nude Ortofon Replicant 100 stylus it just seems to garnish info in a different way from those groove walls. The freq' range at -3db is 20-60,000 HZ (the lesser SPU's in the range only hit 18,000 - 40,000) and tracking is where she excels in spades.
Ortofon Spu Classic (Hot-Rodded)
Well this has been tweaked by the great late Australian Garrott Brothers and has a Weinz Paroc stylus (on their famed modified Decca's they were known as Garrott Micro-Scanner) This has the more traditional Spu sound being big, warm, musical and euphonic but the tweak has given the cartridge the ability to track better and so aid detail resolution. She was tested by Mr Per Windfeld (Chief Designer of Ortofon) and he was impressed with the tweak and its measurements. Yeah, she plays small combo jazz my preferred software with gusto at relaxed listening levels.
As you may have noticed from my previous 103 post I'm a transducer lover and life wouldn't be complete without these 2 SPU's in my stable. They do something to soothe the savage beast that I crave at times.
If you can demo one give it a go, especially the Royal N of which I am slightly biased naturally.
All the above IMHO
Regards all and increase the peace...
p.s. Let me know if you want know more.
Turntable: Original Bill Firebaugh Well Tempered Classic: Tweaked Technics SL1210 [Don't knock it till you've heard it and perfect for getting drunk on good wine and playing tunes]
Amplification: Esoteric Audio Research 100 Watt 509 Valve Monoblocks with Mullard valves: Jean Hiraga Lectron JH50: Pioneer SA 810 60's/70's valve integarated.
Phonostage: Esoteric Audio Research 834P with volume pot:Mullard Military Spec' valves and silver power lead.
Speakers: Quad ESL57: Mag Audio Danish Full Range Ribbons. [Apogee Stylee] Rauna Leira MK2 concrete speakers made and designed by OPUS 3 recordings.