best tonearm for Kondo IO-J cart.

i know not too many people have this cartrige , but whats the best arm to use with it? do i need high mass arm or low?
It's a fairly low compliance cart. (10 x 10 to -6cm/dyne) and so would normally require a high effective mass arm. However, since the cartridge itself weighs 11 gms (kind of high-ish, especially when you add the mounting hardware which is about 2 gms.) you could probably get away with a medium mass arm like an SME IV or V or any arm with an effective mass of 10/11 gms. or more.

It also has an EXTREMELY low output. Hope you have the budget for an expensive high gain phono preamp. You weren't thinking of using one of those dreadful (IMO) step up transformers I hope ;--)

Dear [email protected]: The Ikeda tonearms will be a very good match.

I agree with Nsgarch: the IO is a great cartridge and is a very very low output, it needs a Phonolinepreamp with a lot of clean gain and with out step-up transformers.

Regards and enjoy the music.
thanks Nsgarch, the step up im using is the Kondo an-S6cZ which i bought before i even got the cartrige (its pretty damn good). so any chance you know the effective mass of the simon yorke tonearm?
p.s. nice system you have there Nsgarch
Kondo's SFz Step-up is a GREAT match with the IO-j... I've heard this several times and if I had the funds this would be my last combo.
Dear [email protected]
well take a look at the Kuzma-Airline for the Kondo IO-J
but do use the Kondo-KSL-SFZ Step-Up Transformer,
the Kondo Phono M7 and the Kondo Tonarm wire .
I think music replayed via the Kondo analogue chain is
a thing of subtlety presence and enormous emotional power.

regards Karl-Heinz
basically im using the IO-J on a simon yorke (arm). not sure if they match 100% , how can i increase the mass of the yorke arm. & will it make an audible difference for the better?
Dear Kha: I have to disagree a little with you about the electronics to use with the IO.

A few years ago the Audio Note dealer, that's a very good friend of mine, and because an audio expo bring to it almost the best electronics audio items from Audio Note including the Ongaku.

Out of the expo in his audio rooms and in my system we try hard with the IO cartridge, Audio Note step up transformers, I can't remember if the preamp was the M7 or the M77, tonearms from: AN, Ikeda, Micro Seiki and SAEC, speakers: Jm Labs, AN, Maggies, Meridian,etc,, Preamps: AN, Cello, Klyne, Rowland and my self design, TT's: Micro Seiki, Denon, VPI and AN.

As good as is the IO cartridge with own AN electronics the quality sound was better ( especially at frequency extremes ) through the Cello and in my own design preamplifier.

With all the tonearms the IO was great but ( for my taste ) in the Ikeda and Micro Seiki the sound was more natural.

I have no doubt about the build quality of the AN step up transformer but even at that high quality level those AN step up transformer degraded the signal that pass through them and the quality sound reproduction.

Karl, you have to hear the IO cartridge with a good high gain active Phonolinepreamp: there is a difference for the better. Well at least that was my audio experience about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Kha: +++++ " I have no doubt about the build quality of the AN step up transformer but even at that high quality level those AN step up transformer degraded the signal that pass through them and the quality sound reproduction. " +++++

The problem is not on the building quality but in the way of operation an electrical problems that every step up transformer has, it does not matters the price range or quality build.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Raul,

well I ment the Kondo-KSL-SFZ as the Audio-Note AN-S2
is quite different then the KSL (Kondo-Silver-Line)
as the othe AN is copper.
I have right now both in my system the KSL stepup transformer is much better than the AN.
Raul you should try to hear the KONDO-KSL stuff
it is really amazing.

regard Karl-Heinz
Well, one of my audiophile friends uses his Kondo IO (Latest Generation) with the brand new Kondo KSL step up and he prefers this combination much more than without the KSL. His main Phono unit is the Boulder Phono. I think, taste may be different, but the latest KSL is really a good sounding one, or let>'s say, there is much worse out there ...
Btw. IO is normally in use with Kuzma Air Line.
there is no question that the IO-J sounds better 99% of the time with the kondo step up than without. the reason i put up this post was to see if my arm was right for my io-j . i use a simon yorke (table & arm),& my friend was just over to check the resonant frequency to see if they match & it was perfect. my bass was a bit shy compared to my CD player & i was worried but of course more bass is not always TRUE bass.
thanks for your input.
Dear Karl/Thomas: To let me try understand your statements that with the AN step up transformer everything is better I would like to ask you something:

all we know that in audio and in the same quality circumstances " less is more ", I believe in this sentence and I hope you do too. Less signal process/filters/stages means ( no question about ) a better quality sound reproduction: for we can use any external step up transformer ( like you Karl with the Klyne preamp ) we need ( at least ) two additional steps/filters that make a degradation to the signal: RCA/XLR connectors ( four of them ) and 0.5m-1.0m of cable to connect at the preamp, right?, please tell me how the step up transformer could improve a degraded signal when the best that any audio device ( almost impossible ) can do is " not degrade the signal " and never ever improve it with the original?

There are other subjects that tell us why we never will try to use step up transformers with phono cartridges that I already explain in other threads.
One of our targets is to preserve the signal integrity and the step up transformers always help to collapse it.

Both of you have great audio systems but in my humble opinion the use of step up transformers is the wrong road to follow.

Now, if you or your friends heard a better quality sound with the setp up transformers that could mean that you have severe problems around your analog chain.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Diamonddude18: I think that your Simon Yorke tonearm is up to the task, it is a medium effective mass tonearm.

Now, if you don't have any tracking problem and if you are satisfied with the tonal balance ( top to bottom ): bass, mid bass, mid range, highs, focus, detail, transparency, attacks, soundstage, pitc, etc, etc, then you have no worried about.

It is difficult to say which tonearm is best for a cartridge till you try it with several tonearms and find which really is the best: overall, because there is nothing perfect and almost always there are trade offs that we have to choice according our priorities.
The only way to know which of these tonearms or any other: Yorke, Ikeda, Airline, Phantom, Micro Seiki, etc etc, is the best match for the IO in your audio system and for your music sound priorities is trying each one in your audio system.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul, i was always told that usually the best way was to have a really good MM phono stage & use a great step-up for the extra gain. maybe i was misinformed.
Hi Raul,
well the Kondo IO-J was heard with the Kondo phono M7 and the Step-up Transformer KSL-SF-Z.
In this chain there was no Klyne as Phono preamp. I think here that the lesson the Kondo chain underlines is the interlocking nature of the whole musical attributes. And the design of the developer Hiroyasu Kondo.
Raul you know that also the Lamm LP2 has a buildin Step-up Transformer, and it sounds quite ok.

Dear Diamonddude18: Here it is what I posted in other thread about:

+++++ " 02-20-06: Rauliruegas
Dear friends: Here are some facts about why exist the SUTs for LO cartridges ( at least is my point of view ):

- In the fifthies appear the MC LO cartridges ( As a fact: Ortofon invented in 1948. ). In that time all the phonopreamps were designed for HO cartridges MM/MI/etc. No one was in the design of high gain PP because no body need it.

- Ortofon and latter other MC LO cartridges never ask to the PP designers/builders to manufacture a high gain PP for their MC LO cartridges. What I mean is that never exist a cooperation job between the MC LO builders and the PP manufacturers.

- What was the comercial attitude of almost all MC LO cartridges builders?: to put on sale their MC LO cartridges along with a SUTs ( designed for it self ) for those MC LO cartridges.

- I can remember from Ortofon when they design the MC10, MC 20, Mc 30, Mc 2000, Mc 3000 and MC 5000, cartridges at the same time they offer the respective SUT: T 10, T 20, T 30, T 5000.

- Like Ortofon everybody do the same: Denon, Audiocraft, Fidelity Research, Koetsu, Micro Seiki, Accuphase, Dynavector, Highphonic, Audio Technica, Entre, etc, etc.

- In the mid-time what does the PP designers ( SS or tube ) for the development of a high gain PP?: almost nothing, almost all take the easy " cheap road " ( wrong/worst one ): that the customers buy SUTs along with their PP if they want to handle a LO cartridge. Some of the PP designers/builders incorporate in their " high gain " PP internal SUTs, exactly like today ones.

- No body take the challenge to design a HG PP with out SUTs. There are some exceptions: Curl, Levinson, Pass, Klyne, Classé, D'angostino, etc, etc,

- So we all are suffering the " easy road/ wrong road " that almost all designers/builders take it more than 55 years ago.

- All those comercial attitude never take into account us: the audio customers and never take into account the QUALITY MUSIC/SOUND REPRODUCTION. They don't care about in those times and many of them don't care about today.

Fortunatelly, in the last few years, some PP builders finally take the challenge ( others like me designed our self ones ) and we have some very good HG PP, many of them at very high price.

This change of comercial attitude: Bravo!!!!!!, could tell us that the best about is coming because the developtment of HG PPs are really " starting ", it is not a mature industry.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul. " +++++


Unfortunatelly exist a lot of disinformation in this subject and in other audio subjects. The designers and top reviewers that know everything I post here prefer ( I think for comercial/business interest ) to stay in dead silence.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Karl: Thx, I understand that Kondo synergy but I'm sorry to disagree again, like I told you if the analog chain needs a step up transformer for the quality sound reproduction stay right on target this mean that there are severe problems around that analog chain and that the step up transformer comes to compensate for. But this could not " say " that the best " road " is the SUT, that's only means that in other stage than the SUT ( usually in the phonolinepreamp ) is a big problem.

Yes Karl I know about the Lamm one and I can asure you that with out it ( with a good stage design like own Lamm ) that Lamm could be a lot better and not only ok.

Regards and enjoy the music.