Cartridge Recommendation

I have been struggling the past 5 months to get a Miyajima Kansui to work in my system. Wonderful midrange but too polite up top and not lively enough.

Associated equipment is Technics SP-10/Dobbins plinth,
12" Reed 2A Cocobolo arm, Herron VTPH-2, very modified Cary SLI-80 amp and Tekton speakers. I will likely be moving to headphones soon as part of a move so the Cary/Tekton will be replaced by Stax SR-009 phones and a comparable headphone amp.

Budget is around $6,500.
I have an excellent ZYX 4D-G/SB cartridge barely broken in that is very detailed and musical. It's also very extended in the high frequencies. It is for sale here on Audiogon for a very attractive price if you're interested.

What is the gain of your phono stage? The Myajima cartridges have a low output of only 2 or 2.3 Mv. I would say that without gain of at least 70 db in your phono stage, you might have perceived weakness in dynamics. I have heard this cartride at RMAF in two systems the last two years and it has always been very dynamic. Are you adjusting for VTA? How about cartridge loading?
Phono stage has 68dB gain. I have tried all sra from having the headshell dead level to having the rear of the arm elevated 12mm higher than the headshell. Loading has been from 250 ohms to 700 ohms with about 5 settings in between.
What did you have before, and what did you think of the sound of that cartridge? Do you have any issues with other sources (CD, iPod, etc.)? I am wondering if you are certain that your issues lie entirely with the cartridge and not some other part of the system.

Also, if you are migrating to headphones, you might want to hold off on any changes until you get the phones. I have Stax 007 Omega II Mk.1 phones. These can be just a touch bright and a little thin in the upper bass/lower midrange. It might be the case that your current cartridge would work with that kind of balance. I have heard that the SR-009 is even brighter sounding than the 007. I use a Blue Hawaii Special Edition amp with my phones.
Dear jarret: Agree with Larryi: if you will move to headphones then it could be better to wait for before cartridge changes.

Btw, seems to me that your priorities are very " sensitive " because before the Kansui you owned the Ortofon A-90 and I assume that you did it for good reasons on quality performance that does not matched your analog source priorities and now the Kansui. Both very good cartridges so maybe the " problem " could be in the phono stage performance that can be different of what you want and if this is the case then headphones or not that unmatched priorities will continue. IMHO I think you need to evaluate where in your system could be a " trouble " about.

regards and enjoy the music,
Have you contacted Steve Dobbins? Presumably he sold you his Technics/plinth combo and the Reed arm. Perhaps he has some recommendations.
interesting post, I have a 4D-X and I was considering to get another cartridge.
How would you compare the A90 versus the miyamhima?

Don't know if this thread still matters to you, but I found the Kansui to be very sensitive to VTF and anti-skate on my Tri-planar. I had to drop VTF to around 2.16 before it really opened up on top, with minimal anti-skate (although more than zero--I had to get a lighter anti-skate weight from Tri Mai). I'm loading at 315 ohms. At even slightly higher tracking weight (like, .02 grams more) I found it sluggish on top. Now it sounds well-balanced, full, dynamic and detailed. It's an excellent cartridge. To me it sounds like an extremely refined SPU.

I also have an A90 on a different arm and table, and it, too, took a lot of patience to dial in. It sounds quite unlike the Kansui--leaner and less robust but more pristine and pure. They offer different but equally valid presentations, and are worth the effort to get right, IMO.
If you want the most lively cartridge, then buy a Decca (London) cartridge. Stunning dynamics and soundstage. My vintage 60s rebuilt Decca FFSS MkIV C4E in an old 70s Hadcock beats my Schroeder Model 2/Allaerts MC1b on my Platine Verdier. As I have a two arm set up, I can just swap from one to the other and the Decca just sounds alive.

I have the Triplanar with the Shilabe. Is the arm horizontal when the cartridge is playing? I am playing it with tracking force of 2.97gm and pretty high anti skating.

Koetsu RSP. It's a good match with the Technics. Actually it was designed on this turntable. With 16g effective tonearm mass the Reed should support the Koetsu. I found 1.95g. to be optimal tracking weight.
Jarrett, I agree with Raul. Your lack of top end could be anywhere in the analog chain. I can only tell you that for two RMAF shows I found the Myajima Shilabe and Kansui absolutely to die for in two very different systems. If anything, I found them to have fabulous dynanmics top to bottom of the frequency range. Do you have enough gain and loading options in your phono stage? The Myajimas have very low output and require a lot of gain. Is your arm set to correct VTA for this cartridge? I would have a conversation with Robin who distributes the cartridge.