Which file is Hana SL and Which File is Ortofon Quintet Black "S"?

File 1 is the Hana SL. File 2 is the Ortofon Quintet Black "S".

Many of the commenters heard what I heard. Some heard the opposite! I have no explanation. However both importers felt that the review's assessment of the two cartridges' sonics was accurate. We will be doing more of these in the future.

AnalogJ's picture


Chris F's picture


If you poke at them a little in an audio editor you will see that 1 has less roll off by something like 3dB which is very audible. Subjectively it also has the better transient performance which I hear in the bass and drum solo.

I don't understand how this can be the Hana when it is described as the "warmer" and slower of the two.

Both files are pretty close (0.2dB difference) to the same volume so I don't think there is a perceptual skew happening there.

Bernd's picture

I wanted to make sure that I have listened properly and thus just repeated the comparison. It was clear to me that file 2 sounded better, as I found the voice to be more natural sounding, bass a bit more precise, and cymbals more detailed. As I just saw, unfortunately, my taste is relatively more expensive, as I would have chosen the Ortofon cartridge...

mraudioguru's picture

...I currently have a Hana SL (and an EH) in my stable of cartridges. I picked File 1. It really is a terrific little cart!

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

I picked file 2 as well. I am just wondering did the higher output of the Hana (0.5mV )expose the surface noise more than the Ortofon (0.3mV).

Any previous moving coil cartridge I ever had the surface noise was higher than my current Dynavector 17D3 (0.3mV) which controls surface noise much better than anything I have used previously.

I have to say a very entertaining experience. I think it is better to just stick with two comparisons, otherwise it becomes complicated. Great to see so many take part!

James, Dublin, Ieland

Bernd's picture

Hello James - I don't think that the output level is a particularly relevant influence. Higher output means that all signals are going to be amplified more, so I don't see any reason why surface noise should become relatively more prominent. In my experience, it has more to do with how the tip of the stylus is designed.

Smokeyjoec's picture

My shelters have .5mV and have no surface noise. I've hade tgev501 mkii, the 7000 and now the harmony. Quite as came be..

Smokeyjoec's picture

I picked File 1 but could not live with it due to the surface noise. It would drive me batty, due to my hearing condition. Hopefully more expensive Hana cartridges have much less surface noise while still sound musical. For file 2, people that picked like more audiophile type sound, it's there choice really. When I helped my friend get into this hobby, I told him since he went to a lot of concerts to stop reading the Internet forums and use his judgement on components based on what he heard in live performances. Michael, by A/B like you are doing will help a lot of people out. Keep up the good work!

Ortofan's picture

... exacerbated by the inherent design of moving-coil cartridges.
You might be better off with a moving-iron/fixed-coil type cartridge.

Watch this video starting at about 19:00 ...

Ace Trading's picture
jtsnead's picture

I like file 1 which I think is the Ortofon it makes me wonder what you think of the newer S version versus the original with the boron cantilever if the S is brighter (in simplier terms), also if boron or gem type cantilevers have a brighter overall balance compare to aluminum

Mile High Music's picture

I preferred File 2 and am really surprised it's the Ortofon...so good information to consider...thanks!

nagysaudio's picture

Being an Ortofon 2M Black fanboy, I voted file 1. May have to check out the Hanas. Although I tend to prefer MM over MC.

Corsair's picture

Fun experiment! I picked file one because I thought it sounded more natural. I listened again after the reveal. I still prefer file one, but this time the cymbals pushed out a little more at me on file two. The ortofon sounds unnaturally "clinical." There might be more detail to be had in that ortofon with better headphones and a phono preamp instead of my cheap dac, however, I probably wouldn't be willing to spend the extra $250 over the hana to find out! Thanks for your time and energy, Michael.

roffmaj1's picture

Out of curiosity, I listened to the same track on Tidal. Assuming the Tidal track is correct, it seems you have the channels opposite for both files. Not that a corporate digital music site can't get it wrong ... still might want to check your files. Regardless, love the review, the comparison, and most of all, that Analogue sound! Thanks as always ...

dbouch's picture

chose # 2. got a certain je ne sais quoi sense of "being in the room" more from the second file. this was eye opening and fun. thanks and please.... more!

off topic: after all these years in the digital domain i got a nostalgic pang from hearing the tape print through at the top. should have been stored tails out:)

chindian63's picture

Had picked File 1 listening through headphones. Listened the the files again but this time through my system. Still prefer File 1. Will have to check out the Hana cart.
Thanks for the reviews. Looking forward to more!

Rudy's picture

File 1, definitely. It matches what I've heard of this cart elsewhere, and that is a good thing. We heard a comparison of a Hana vs. the relatively new $2K Clearaudio moving magnet flagship cart (the Charisma v2) at AXPONA in 2017. I don't want to say the Hana "walked all over the Clearaudio," but it was clearly a lot more musical and natural, for a lot less money. It is one of those instances where maybe the Hana is not one of those 100% purely accurate cartridges, but the music just flowed out of it so naturally that we wanted to keep listening. The Clearaudio was just too bright and analytical. The Hana may be in the running when I replace the Dynavector in the future, provided the Hana can track some of the wicked hot vinyl I own.

Steelhead's picture

Well Rudy just throw on the Telarc 1812 and if the Hana can track the cannon shots, your all set.

Still vivid in memory when I had a black widow tonearm and the ort lm or om 30 and it came out of that like a cruise missile. My Shure V15 sailed through and my Fidelity Research carts could make it but did not like it.

Rudy's picture

I miss my V15VMR. Bought it new when the only stylus available was the HE (Hyper Elliptical). I am using a Dynavector XX2 MkII and while it sounds nice, it's like anything else--it still can't track like that V15VMR ever did. (It is better than others I tried, but still, no replacing that V15...especially that overrated 2M Black turd I briefly owned.) The only cart I have heard in recent years that comes close is a DS Audio optical cart. The one thing it shares with the Shure is the extremely low tip mass. It's not so much the "1812 cannon" tracking I'm concerned about, but the ability to play high frequency sibilants without distorting and destroying my records. I have older hot cut 12 inch singles played with elliptical carts over the years and they have varying degrees of groove burn as a result. Records I purchased new and played with the V15 still play like new today.

Ortofan's picture

... a micro-line stylus, such as the VM540ML or VM740ML.

Rudy's picture

I have never heard any of AT's moving coil carts. I am actually quite curious to hear the AT33PTG/II, as it has the ML stylus. Yet my Dynavector has a very similar stylus (MicroRidge), so I doubt I would gain much, unless the tip mass and/or compliance is better suited to tracking. Yet in the grand scheme of things, it is not all that expensive (about 1/4 the price of the Dynavector XX2) to try, and I could sell it off and not lose much if I didn't care for it. I know of a deal on a barely used OC9/III that also might be worth a peek, but I don't know if the sound is on part with the AT33 series.

So many choices, so little time (and money)! ;)

calaf's picture

my first impression is that File 1 was louder than File 2. After repeated hearings I convinced myself that File 1 had more treble extension and hence sounded louder to my hears. Based on what Michael wrote I was then sure that File 1 was the Quintet and File 2 the Hana. Go figure...

nagysaudio's picture

Had a chance to play with both cartridges in this test. IMO, 2M Black sounds better than both.

2slow4u's picture

Something does not convince me. What I hear is the exact opposite of what the reviewer gear! It seems to me that Hana sounds more open and lively than Ortofon!

The Good Captain's picture

I'm glad I didn't cheat and read the titles first. I preferred File 2 and having just bought an Ortofon I was hoping I had made the right purchase.

MF got it spot on IMHO

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

I know this is an old topic, but just for future reference about why the Hana sounded brighter than the Ortofon:
I tried out both the Hana SH and the Ortofon Quintet Black S, and the measurements I could make showed that the Ortofon had the typical small peak that started around 7 kHz and peaked around 11 kHz or so, whereas the Hana had a much bigger rise that started around 6 kHz and just kept rising to the end of the audible spectrum (I can't say if it peaked somewhere above 20 kHz).
When I had those to on loan I also found the Hana brighter than the Ortofon, and this peak would explain it. I didn't change settings for Ohm or ppf, but it might be possible to alter the frequency response by doing so.

BJ's picture

I was actually really surprised people thought 1 was the Ortofon and 2 was the Hana. It just seemed so clear. I massively preferred the Ortofon within the first couple of seconds and did not care for the Hana - surprised by how much. given I've been considering buying it. It felt like the Hana has a midrange bulge that was artificial.

Somehow it felt like this test was more clear than some of the files done back in 2013 with the nine cartridge test, where to me the files sounded more similar.

ManyRekids's picture

Hello Michael, I recently installed the Hana SL in an older Linn LP12 and for the last few weeks I have been tweaking it to get the most out of it. Getting cymbals to ring was a challenge, done. Now I notice a bit of distortion at certain frequencies in the mid range. Do you think it is possible that what I am hearing is the cartridge being tossed about by the groove and so mistracking? And could adding some mass, a gram or two, to the headshell be a fix? It’s such a light cartridge... I read a lot about this cartridge arm combination, because the Hana SL was a splurge, and couldn’t find any complaints. I appreciate your thoughts on this, stay safe. Alex