There is Ikeda 9C Mk3. I have this. Very nice. After this, Ikeda started calling them 9R. And started making them as integrated headshell carts. The final one was called 9R MUSA in a wooden body integrated headshell. The new Ikeda compnay is using the 9R model number but all of these have cantilevers.
It seems there was a wide range of different requirements for each member of the original Ikeda 9 family. I own Ikeda 9 Rex, but I'm not sure if this is the R version ddriveman is referring to.
The Rex supposedly was one of the top models in the range and according to the spec sheet the recommended VTF is 1.5 gram. I prefer it slightly higher at 1.75 gram, where tracking capability does seem to improve a little. But more importantly bass notes go deeper, are more solid and more tuneful. The soundstage also seems to blow up like a balloon, both in width and depth. A remarkable effect!
Calling it low compliance is an optimistic description, it's actually more like a no compliance cart. So alignment and SRA really need to be spot on. That's impossible to accomplish visually, so you just have to trust your ears. Feickert+ software (or something similar) would probably be very helpful here. I don't have access to it, so patience and a little luck are my only companions.
You will also need to limit yourself to perfectly flat discs, or it will jump all over the place. Definitely not a cart for everyday use, but when serendipity is in the house, there is nothing quite like it.
I meant ’different versions’ of the 9 series, assuming Mr. Ikeda administered equal treatment to ’each member’ of his family.
But I have always wondered why there’s such a wide range of recommended VTF within this ’family’ (ranging from 1,5 to 2,5 grams) when they supposedly all share the same construction.
When I inspect the Rex up close it looks like the stylus is glued to a brace or bridge (for want of a better term) around which the coils seem to be wound. There’s no visible suspension (but that may be hidden from sight) and obviously no cantilever, so I don’t understand where any compliance could be derived from. Sorry for my hopeless description.
The available information on the 9 series is very limited and I do not know which was the last and/or best, although I do remember reading somewhere that the 9 Musa (the one with the integrated wooden headshell) was indeed the final version before Ikeda the man retired and Ikeda the company returned to more conventional cartridges. I don’t know if Ikeda the man was still responsible for the design of the current 9 series, or if these belong to someone else’s ’family’ with the same name.....
I’m sure you will have noticed by now that I do not know any more than you do. So I share your hope that other ’members’ of this forum can shed some more light on the ’family history’ of these carts and on their sonic ’pecking order’.
I did some more searching on the web and found that vinyl engine lists no fewer than 14 different 'variations' on the cantilever-less 'theme'.
In alphabetic order: 9B, than 9C, 9C II, 9C III, 9C IV and 9C V, 9CU, 9EM, 9EM PL, 9 Musa, 9 Omega, 9R, 9 Rex and 9 Supremo. In some cases prices are mentioned and the 9B was the cheapest (and probably earliest) at $495 and the 9 Musa the dearest (and possibly latest) at $3440. Unfortunately no release dates are provided. Another source suggests that the 9 Supremo at $2950 was the last one, discontinued in 2014. VTF indeed ranged from 1,5 gram (Omega, Rex and Supremo) to 2,5 gram (9EM, 9EM PL and 9R).
This does draw a more 'complete' picture of the entire 'family', but unfortunately doesn't answer the questions which 'family member' was the most talented, Ikeda's 'prodigal son'......
So input from anyone who actually compared some of these would still be most welcome.
@nandric Well, extraordinary tastes maybe, but alas not extraordinary means. Which has prompted me to investigate in those 'old' designs that are no longer 'relevant' vis à vis the current 'breakthroughs' in high end cartridge design. Or so the reviewers want us to believe. They can write all they want, but I have the distinct impression that these current 'top' MC's, sold at increasingly 'silly prices', are not 'vastly superior' to some of these 'oldies'. This opinion will surely be dismissed as 'a bit of nostalgia for the old folks', but I suspect this monetary trend has nothing to do with sonic superiority, it's just superior snobbery. You see it everywhere, so why not in audio?
Recently we reached a new 'low' with the 100th Anniversary model from Ortofon (which used to be a company of restraint and moderation in pricing) at >$10k. Let's all join the birthday 'party'! At about the same time Transfiguration announced a new Proteus with diamond cantilever with a $6000 price hike over the regular Proteus (around $4k). This 'audiofool market' is economically insignificant, but otherwise they would send in the FBI to investigate illegal pricing arrangements.
It's quite obscene but sort of amusing as well. I guess it's a matter of time before a $20k cartridge will 'hit' the streets... Which brand will have the audacity to go first? Or will they go 'all together now'? And what will be their sales pitches? I can hardly wait.
In the meantime I enjoy travelling through the 'Land of Old MC's', which seems to carry the same flag as the 'Land of the Rising Sun'. Some of my best discoveries so far: - the Ikeda designed FR-7 family, which have been much discussed here and are utterly wonderful. This includes the marvelous MC-702, which was the last 'member' of this family, albeit with a different name. - the Ikeda designed original 9 series, or the similar (?) ones issued by Jeff Rowland and Cello. More obscure and more temperamental in use, but equally musical. - the Takeda designed Miyabi's or similar (?) ones issued by Mark Levinson, Cello, Red Rose and Krell. One of those carts that makes you forget you're listening to electro-acoustic devices and not musical instruments. - the Matsudeira designed Entré EC-30 and Audiocraft AC-03. Both fantastic systems and I would really like to know how these compare with the current Matsudeira designed My Sonic Labs or Air Tights systems. Anyone?
I'm sure there's plenty more treasures to dig up in that mysterious ol' place. Who wants to share their own discoveries?
During my recent visit to Tokyo, I saw at least seven or eight different Ikeda cartridges for sale as new at Yodibashi camera, the massive supermarket for electronics in the Akihabara section of Tokyo. I had heard of none of these cartridges before (except in posts by nandric), and now I am reading about them again on this thread. They were all in the $2000 and up price range, by the way.
Dear Lew, What a waste of opportunity. You offered to me to buy for me those titanium screws while I am looking for Ikeda 9 REX for a long time. I should ask for Ikeda instead of those screws. I would of course transfer $2 000 to you in advance in order not to compromise our friendship . Do you have the intention to visit your son also next year(grin)?
Dear chakster, MY THREAD is not meant for your obsession with this totally unknow Luxman TT. Even an blind person can see that this thread is about cartridges not TT's (grin).
Totally unknown? Maybe unknown to you, but @syntax link displayed Luxman platter with rare Ikeda cartridge and FR-64s tonearm i believe? You canrtridge can play music without cantilever, but not without turntable, so we are not off topic here.