It is either a 9tt or a 9Gss. It the top plate is silver it is a 9tt, gold then 9Gss. They probably label the cartridges differently for different markets. Certainly without a cantilever it does not do you much good.
You are correct, this was the first series of cartridges Ikeda designed for his new company Ikeda Sound Lab, after the demise of Fidelity Research. As far as I know it is the only cantileverless MC in the history of audio.
The design matched the shape of the Ikeda headshell and came in a range of different colours. The top models had an integrated headshell (similar to the earlier Fidelity Research FR7 series), called the Supremo and the Musa. The gold coloured version was the top of the ’normal’ range, called Rex. The version with the Kanji character seems to have been a variation of that, perhaps aimed at the domestic market. But this is somewhat unclear. There were also versions made for the Jeff Rowland and Cello brands (in gold and silver colour respectively).
Either way, you have one of the best cartridges ever designed. So if it is still up to spec and the stylus is okay you are in for something truly special. Enjoy!
Nice score! Sounds like it is a better deal than the TT itself might have been. Enjoy it until it can no longer be used as I have never seen one for sale. I know there are a few Ikeda users on here can possibly say more.
Great stuff, I usually get broken Grado carts on any TT I buy! 😂😂😂
Just look at ALL Ikeda cartridges here, hope you will find yours. The J.R. is just OEM for US market, normally overpriced compared to genuine Ikeda for Japanese market. BTW only cantilever-less design is worth the attention, some of them are very rare, this is what Ikeda-San assembled by himself, new Ikeda cartridges are no longer made by the master (RIP).
I was lucky to buy Ikeda 9 III on dedicated headshell for my FR64s tonearm with B-60.
And later purchased Ikeda IT-345 tonearm, it was the old arm, not the new CR-1.
No time to compare those beauties, probably next year.
@edgewear Thanks for the information! It certainly is appreciated. So as I read this the gold body cantileverless cartridges that Ikeda built were upper tier offerings, irregardless of what they were named?
The Kanji labeled cart was likely a domestic product, and probably a forerunner of the Rex in terms of branding, but looks to be the same architecture?
This cartridge sounds lovely, the owner who had this did not play it much. He was much more a digital guy, and had this table with about 150 audiophile pressing records total.
Ikeda Sound Labs no longer rebuilds these cartridges, so its going to be in the realm of the retipper. I wonder if those who rebuild London Decca would be a good choice for servicing it in the future. I also considered VAS as it is a domestic company to me. At the moment I am just gathering information, and trying to line up a future plan for whenever this is going to be required.
So I just hooked this up to prove things are working.
This table and cartridge are glorious!
Some of the best analog I have ever heard. I hooked it up to the Miyajima SUT and the Graham Slee phono stage. I had to use a pair of QED interconnects scavenged from my audio box between the SUT and the phono stage, and a pair of unshielded VH Audio interconnects between the table and SUT. Not a spec of noise.
Once the cartridge hit the record it was utter magic. This table and cart are not going ANYWHERE.
However I find no reference to an Ikeda 9 anywhere on the net. Is this the first Ikeda cartridge?
All IKEDA cartridges are here and you can check specs and prices for each of them. There are so many variations of the 9 model as you can see, the latest are far superior to the old (first 9) and much more expensive.
You can send your cart to Expert Stylus in UK as our Nandric did as far as i know.
I have seen that list, however the images for the Ikeda 9 show one with an integrated head shell. I cannot tell if the one I have is an original 9 or a domestic version of the Rex. The kanji character on the side should be a distinctive marking, but no cartridge on that site shows a cartridge with that marking. To be honest the gold coloring is all i got to showwhere in the product line this cartridge sits
I think your sample with the Japanese character was called Rex Kiwami. The fact that it doesn’t show up on the Japanese catalogue chakster provided might suggest the Kiwami was the export version of the Rex and not the other way around.
Apart from the integrated headshell types, all 9 models look identical except for the colour of the body. But as the catalogue indicates, there were large price differences, with the 9C variations being much cheaper than the others. The specs are all in the same ballpark, but recommended VTF differs greatly between models. The Rex has the lowest VTF, which suggests a differently tuned suspension and/or compliance (if that makes any sense at all with a cartridge without cantilever).
The current Ikeda 9 series still looks pretty much the same, but these are very different cartridges. Although Ikeda San was still alive when they first appeared on the market, there are doubts if he was involved in the design (he was well into his 80’s by then). By most accounts the new models don’t compare favorably to the ’old’ ones, to put it mildly.
One more case in point to illustrate that new isn’t always better, in contrast to what manufacturers and reviewers keep telling us.....
If you go into any higher end audio salon in Tokyo you will find ikeda cartridges for sale off the shelf. They tend to be expensive even there. Among the many models there are several in the 9 series. Are you folks saying these modern post-ikeda-San products are inferior? Nandric is a big fan.
I sent a photo of the cartridge with the kanji label to my son who lives in Tokyo and is a scholar in Japanese. Here is his response: "I think it says “Tsuji” which is just a family name. I can tell you it
has no functional meaning in terms of what the cartridge can do. It’s
also so roughly written (like a signature) that I’m not 100% sure that
it it is the character for “Tsuji”'. I hope that helps someone.