Anyone familiar with Ikeda 9 series (cantileverless kind) MC cartridges?


Impressed by the series FR-7 kinds , more in particular the FR-7 fz, I wanted to try some of the

9 C(?) kinds. I was able to buy the 9 C, mk2 but was not able to find much info about other

versions.  There are later versions so I am interested in their possible  ''added values''.

48f03962 30db 4aad a0a9 eab5c5d5ce40nandric
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.

Thanks dear ddriveman, My only problem with 9C,mk 2 is the

(very) low compliance. I can hardly  get 50 microns ''pure''

with tracking capability test records. Speculating or rather deducing

from VTF 2 g by R versions in comparison with 2.5 g for my 9C,2

I assume that R versions have higher compliance (?).

BTW I recently purchased Ikeda 9 TT with aluminum cantilever.

Nice but not equal to the cantileverless kinds.

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.


Hi edgewear, Do you mean by your first sentence different

versions of the 9 series or different treatment of ''each member''

of the family? I am searching for the  9 REX for a long time but

in hope to get a better ''rider'' than my 9C, 2. Your denial of

even my ''very low compliance'' does not look very promising.

I don't understand difference in VTF without compliance .

Is the thought that the last version is the best wrong?

If this make sense than the question is which one is the

latest? (grin). My both FR-64 are adjusted according to Bearwald

so I can't use those with headshell. BTW I don't like any

Ikeda headshell.  Deed you ever ty some other version?

Dear Nandric,

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’.




AFAIK, the Ikeda 9 started with the 9C series (From Mk1 to Mk 3) then moved to 9R and then 9REX came and then 9MUSA.

Dear ddriveman, The nomenclature of the most cartridges make

no sense. Think of AT and ZYX kinds. The FR-7 series is not

simple but series 9 is curious. Takeda san with his Miyabi

demonstrated that ''simple is better''. If my assumption that

the ''latest is the best'' is correct than 9 MUSA is the one to

look for. But I hope that this ''variant'' is without headshell.  

Thanks for putting  them in the right order.  We should start

a thread about MC kinds like Rauls MM thread (grin).

I do miss J. Carr's contributions . He could probably answer

our questions.

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.


Thanks dear edgewear , While I considered this 9 C kinds

as ''exotic'' among the MC kinds I am actually stunned by the

lack of interest by the so called '' connoisseurs''. We see many

MC carts for +10 K prices while those ''precious'' can be get

for ''only'' about $2000. So, ''obviously'', you , my beloved

ddriveman and I have extraordinary tastes (grin).

@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?


I tried a few

here is a pic from one .... (rare I think)

http://666kb.com/i/dujejv5k0u1pumolu.jpg

Post removed 

Dear syntax, I am sure you tried many but what about this ''9

series''? Your sample looks certainly ''exotic''  but deed it

sound as such? You don't need to spare your Serbian friend

if you have some critical remarks; I am used to (grin).

Saburo, I need to check for you by my comrade Don (Griffiths)

but he informed me that ''Needle clinic'' (?) can fix those

9 series cartridges. Anyway this retipper can provide a new

stylus. Considering the fact(?) that all those ''members'' of

the series have the same construction your ''Rowland'' sample

should be ''the same''.


@syntax 

here is a pic from one .... (rare I think)
http://666kb.com/i/dujejv5k0u1pumolu.jpg 

Is that Luxman PD-444 platter? 

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).

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)?

@nandric 

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. 

Dear chakster, Your ''argument'' also apply for tonearms, amps,

pre-amps, phono-pres , speakers and even ''resonators''.

However all of those have their own forums (grin). BTW I hope

syntax will first answer MY question.

... you forgot the cables and records after all

No dear chakster I forget coma after ''resonators''  then even

silver cables would be included.

@saburo , His name is Andy and his firm ''[email protected]''

As far as I know he can change the stylus for other issues you

should contact him.