: 45 years ago during post-graduate studies, this struggling student took a job working Friday nights/Saturday mornings at one of the Encel-owned hifi stores. The hours were long, pay was crap and his manager at the time a dullard. He received no favours then and returns none now. In fact, I didn't last long—about a year and a half—but the experience did give me insight into what good after-sales service should entail.

Ortofon find their mojo in Melbourne. Richmond is home to the Tigers, a football side under Aussie rules who haven't held the premiership cup for more than 20 years. No farther than a mongrel punt kick away from their grounds are Interdyn, new Australian/New Zealand distributors for Danish cartridge doyen Ortofon. For the elucidation of anyone who might be about to drop $79 to $12'000 on an Ortofon cartridge and really ought to care about what service to expect should a cantilever bend or break, rest easy. This firm have been around since before Gilligan came ashore on the island. From memory, Interdyn changes brands as often as that oaf Donald Trump votes green.

Without argument, founder Alex Encel [above] is the father of Australian hifi. These days, generational change is afoot. There are more shorts, shirts and man buns at Interdyn than suits. Happy days. Alex was always hip. He's still a cool dude. But the place now has a youthful vibe evinced by an embrace of the Net and the power of social media. Neither registered an eye glint back in the 1960s when the Encel retail store in Bridge Road/Richmond did nice volumes of Radford valve amps and Thorens 124 turntables. Interdyn have handled Rotel and Polk for at least 40 years. They were the long-term Luxman and Loewe distributor for as long as they cared to be; and measured per capita, sold more Sonus faber speakers than any other supplier in the world. Whilst Ortofon enjoyed stable distribution Down Under with just two suppliers in 30 years—first Qualifi, then Speakerbits—with Interdyn they now have secured a professional outfit that's fully cashed up and ready to play out the 33.3 revolution which is now enjoying a spin around the world. Qualifi are a vast audio outfit. They dropped Ortofon because they weren't in a position to foresee the vinyl revival. Speakerbits, a much loved refurbisher and service provider, were less than happy to lose Ortofon, I'm guessing. When I put this pointed question to Sam Encel, he winced and said: "In this market, you must be aggressive."

Conveniently, Interdyn also import Pro-ject turntables, a fact that's clearly not lost on director Alex Encel. "Ortofon are a natural partner for Pro-ject. But we would also like to work with the importers of Thorens, Rega, Linn, Music Hall and others." Warming up to a favourite topic, the younger Sam Encel bemoaned the lack of cooperation and promotion by the hifi industry at large. "We should get together to form an association and promote to the 99.999% of buyers we don't attract now," he said. Which is easier said than done given how Australian suppliers generally think backwards and are right-leaning arch conservatives. It's a group with a collective identity that's defined more by what they don't do for each other rather than anything that could vaguely pass as constructive.

When Sam Encel [above left] talks about "getting together" with suppliers and retailers to "mutually promote" the joys of audio and music to more than the sub 1% of rusted-on hifi buffs, it's time to take a deep breath and think of Judas. Amen. Like every other part of the planet it so tenuously inhabits, the hifi industry of Australia, it has to be said, is all about self-preservation. It lost sight of the audio consumer, real or potential, when 1984's digital revolution ushered in by the CD begat a siege-mentality mind set. Its response to the Net and social media was to build higher walls. We did have an association. I was its CEO for a couple of years before resigning.  What I learnt was, the industry does indeed need a professional body. What it doesn't need are self-interested retailers and suppliers on its executive board. CD changed everything. In the new digital era, suppliers and stores crashed and burnt. They took out with them the surety which hifi consumers once had in the continuation of service and supply of spare parts. What more can you expect of cash-upped backyarders who snare brands at overseas shows with big initial orders only to claim surprise when bone fide retailers won't deal with them? So, they sell consumer direct, providing warranties as hollow as their operations. While Ortofon have been well handled, many brands have not. As a consumer these days, all you can be sure of is that brands will change hands, to perhaps move house more often than a civilized person changes undergarments. Worse, some marques disappear from the market for years, leaving behind justifiably irate consumers with unfixable very expensive hifi gear.

Ortofon's move to an established aggressive importer with an unblemished 50-years record of customer service ought to be a template for others to follow. But don't hold your breath. Interdyn's analogue specialist Leigh Fischer [above] eats, sleeps and dreams of analogue. He's a likeable younger dude with a long black pony tail who, by working in trendy Richmond, seems to only wear black. I swear I've seen his likeness on a Neil Young album. When I arrived, Leigh had these cartridges set up beautifully: 2M Red - $169; 2M Blue - $329; 2M Bronze - $579; Quintet Blue - $669; Quintet Black - $1'299; Cadenza Bronze - $2'999. He'd thoughtfully prepared three turntables and associated running gear so I could have a brief listen from entry to upper tier Ortofons. The main system displaying a gorgeous Ortofon Cadenza Bronze moving coil running in a Pro-ject Audio Xtension 9 Evolution table was driven by, wait for it, Devialet 800 monos. Interdyn promised a loan of a Devialet 200 for a review in these pages, should the prerequisite pieces fall into place.

Pro-ject supplied the Audio Phono Box RS and Polk the RTiA9 speakers. We also sampled an Ortofon Quintet Blue on a Project Audio 2 Xperience disc spinner; and an Ortofon 2M Red/Blue swapping between 2m Bronze and Black stylus assemblies using Project's RPM3 carbon turntable. The latter was a revelation. As you'd expect, the Cadenza is a top-of-the-pile moving coil bearing all the trademarks of Ortofon's post-original SPU. These include a refined sound from top to bottom, scads of subliminal detail and a midrange you could walk into. Musical? Yes, so totally involving, it leaves one wondering why you would spend any more on a cartridge. Whilst I can't comment in detail on all the cartridges we heard that day, it's worth pointing out that the cheaper Quintet Blue and 2M Blue had me gob-smacked with their level of detail retrieval, refinement, even tonal balance and sumptuous musicality. You've got to hand it to Ortofon. The Danish cartridge company survived the digital storm when too many other fine cartridge brands foundered and sank without trace. Personally I wouldn't be without an Ortofon because this Danish brand's SPU cartridge ignited my audio passion. I currently have an original SPU at Garrott Bros where electronics engineer Kerry Williams will fit a new cantilever and Garrott elliptical stylus.

Taking into account its relatively sane pricing—leaving aside what a 95A model would cost—my brief audition of a number of their vast range leaves me filled with a reasonable amount of optimism that we can continue to enjoy vinyl without being blackmailed by the disappearing band of cartridge manufacturers. Here's to a long productive life for Ortofon and a nod to their new professionally minded Australian/New Zealand distributor, Interdyn. Cheers.