The Red is the base model in Ortofon's Rondo range, but it's still a sophisticated cartridge.

It's also relatively expensive. Its key distinguishing feature, which it shares with the Rondo range, is a body made from ground hardwood and resin - a sort of expensive MDF, which should offer many of the advantages of a hardwood body without the expense of making one.

A sophisticated cartridge

It has an aluminium cantilever and an elliptical stylus and produces half a millivolt, so a moving coil phono stage is a must in this instance.

Downforce is a substantial 2.3g and it will, therefore, work best in higher mass tonearms such as the SME. Pro-Ject supplies this cartridge on its Xperience turntable, however, which has a medium-mass carbon fibre tonearm.

On the turntable the Rondo Red is a snappy and sophisticated cartridge that has the dynamics of the Dynavector, but adds another degree of resolution thanks to its clean delivery.

Fine details

Its strengths lie in the bandwidth extremes; the treble is very fine and avoids tizziness while the bass is remarkably articulate and muscular. For instance it is the only cartridge that reveals that there are both fretless and double basses on Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombone.

It can do this because it reaches that bit further into the sound to pick out the fine details in both the voices and the instruments. It's a strong all-rounder and a firm Best Buy.