Detail and tonal balance to the fore here
With results that are civilised but never less than musically convincing
Open lugs at the side for mounting
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The Ortofon Vivo Red is a new model from Europe's biggest name in cartridges, this is described by the company as a 'standard' low-output moving-coil design.
In as much as its basic technical characteristics are absolutely textbook for the breed, that seems about right! It features an elliptical stylus and an aluminium cantilever, mounted into a plastic body about which we have just one small complaint: it has the dreaded open lugs at the side for mounting, rather than full-enclosed holes.
Two features mark this model out. First, it uses very high-purity ('7 nines') copper in the winding wires, an Ortofon speciality for many years now. Second, its body is made of a newly developed polycarbonate resin which is claimed to give very low resonance.
Sound is typical Ortofon, in all the best ways: very evenly balanced tonally but without sacrificing life and energy. If there's a weakness, it would seem to be in handling the hottest cuts, which just occasionally leave the Vivo Red struggling a bit.
But then it's not marketed as a disco cartridge and, unless you have a lot of show-off audiophile discs in your collection, this is unlikely to be a limitation.
Its detail is first-rate, with good imaging, too and it's worth noting that both of those aspects are very consistent with level, which is by no means always the case.
The treble is very sweet and handles both high levels and subtle ambient traces very well, while bass is extended and punchy, but never over done.
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