I bought this cart as a replacement for my Audio Technica 440MLa (a highly regarded cart in budget audiophile circles and a great cart in its own right) that was faintly humming on my Rega P3-24 TT. Speaking of the Rega the Ortofon was more than likely designed for the brand where the carts shape is nearly identical to the headshell of the Rega. This Ortofon is probably the best moving magnet cartridge I've heard so far. Very smooth sounding on anything I've thrown at it. The first thing I played was the Mobile Fidelity pressing of Frank Sinatra and Sextet Live in Paris and it was just beautiful sounding out of the box. It sounds smoother and smoother as it has broken in. The Shibata stylus digs very deep into the groove and the detail retrieval is astonishing. The AT 440 is grainy and glarey sounding in comparison where the Ortofon seems to be glare and etch free. I did have to back off on the cartridge output on my Bellari V-530 phono preamp as it was causing quite a bit of distortion from 1/2 to full output (I have it set at just under 1/2 output). A great record for testing for me is U2's "New Years Day" 45 rpm 12" maxi single. It is a very hot pressing and on the right equipment will seem to leap off the grooves. The Ortofon didn't disappoint in that area and added an extra smoothnes to it. The track just seemed so alive, I could close my eyes and almost hear Bono in the room with me. James Taylor also took on a 3D quality, as did Joni Mitchell, unnoticeable on lesser carts. The 12" 45 rpm pressing of Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" took on an urgency that is missing on the CD that the Ortofon brought out. I really can't find any negatives about the cart except that it pales next to a good moving coil cart but not by much.
At the end of the day this cart is worth every penny put into it and I agree with The Absolute Sound in that this is more than likely the spiritual heir to the venerable (and very much missed) Shure V15 series cart. If you can afford it, get it!