Choice of Koetsu cartridges?

You guys recently helped with my choice of a Benz cartridge and I am more than happy with my Benz LP, the best sound I have heard in my vinyl system. I am planning to collect a small number of cartridges to use over the years. I have a Zyx Airy 3 as a spare. It's nice, but not a patch on the Benz for speed and dynamics particularly.
The other cartridge I loved was the Koetsu Rosewood signature, that I used exclusively for 3 years. I would like to move up a step in the Koetsu range, but which? Whatever I get, will be second hand, so it will depend on what appears on the Gon.
My vinyl system:
TW Accustic Raven one/Ortofon 309D
K&K phono stage
Viva Solista integrated amp
Acoustic Zen Adagio, but due for an upgrade ? Daedalus DA1 or Art Deco 8 signature.

I enjoy most genres of music, classical, opera in particular, Blues, Jazz, Singer songwriters, not much heavy rock.

You seem to have 2 choices, change the coil material or the body, or both, but that gets out of my price range, even 2nd hand. That is a crude simpification I know.
So choices would be:
Rosewood Signature Platinum
Various Urushis, all slightly different in output, magnets, coil windings, confusing in itself.
Onyx, as far as I know, the cheapest of the stone bodied Koetsu's
Anyone any opinions on this? I am looking for more of the Koetsu sound, plus better speed and across the frequency range neutrality, but without losing that undoubted Koetsu midrange magic, thanks.
I have much experience with many carts...If someone told me I had to buy a current Koetsu, I would try one of the platinum Koetsu's. I have not tried them. I have tried the Urushi series, I did not like them. I have a koetsu rosewood sig and it is very good. I just received an Onyx signature (not platinum, sugano sr.), no comment yet. I have had better luck with older Sugano Sr. cartridges then the sons efforts...

You know everyone conjur's up in there mind about this magical midrange Koetsu's have. I have now had several koetsu's, I currently have 3 and Im not convinced that the midrange is magical...See, vinyl alone, has a magical midrange. I have carts from many manufactures, and their midrange is just as good as koetsu's, some better.

Try to not limit yourself to a certain manufacture, You will be shocked by how different and I feel better alot of companies are. Benz and Koetsu are no where near the top of my list. Also your arm will have a tremendous part in how well a cartridge performs in your system.

Look for good deals to come up on Audiogon, where you wont loose much money or any if its not your cup of tea. Be careful though, even people with exceptional feedback misrepresent cartridges and hours, either out of ignorance or purpose.

Manufactures to think about....VDH, Shelter and Dynavector

I feel dynavector has the most natural midrange in Hi fi,

VDH, has the most exciting cartridges I have ever experienced, just absolute screamers!

Shelter, i feel is the biggest bang for the buck. A 90x will compete with anything out there. Its not the best but it will compete. I have not heard the 9000 or the harmony. But these two are my most wanted at the moment. But thats because I have had alot of the rest.

I am not trying to confuse you, just open you up.

Kindest regards
For my ears, the days of Koetsu has come and gone. The Benz LP, and new Dyna XV are far better.
Dear David: I can't say better than Rudolff.

Due to what you own right now IMHO I think it is time to the XV-1s

Regards and enjoy the music.
Koetsu midrange magic

"Magic", huh? Well, that isn't what I would call it. ;-)

I agree with Rudolff and Raul on this one and also recommend the XV-1s. That cartrige will play all of the genres you enjoy, and will also play rock, very well indeed. The xv-1s has a very nice tone without ever over coloring in order to hide the warts.

The only issue I have with Shelter is that their cartridges need a very good tonearm matching to handle the amount of energy fed back by the cartridges.
The Koetsu cartridges do have a lush mid-range that is intoxicating. They also are very quiet, with a deep, dark black background that is fantastic. The treble is slightly (and I do mean slightly) rolled off, especially on the non-platinum cartridges, and the bass response is definitely rolled off, (a bit on the platinum versions, and even more on the non-platinum ones), and a bit loose (i.e. not tight). If you want to try out a Koetsu, (without breaking the bank), go with the Urushi (Red) Vermillion (the 0.4mv output version), although I will warn you, that they tend to be slightly less output than they are rated. This cartridge will give you a good taste of what Koetsu is all about. (And if you like it, you can then step up to one of the stone bodied cartridges, like the Jade Platinum.)

Now, with that being said, and as a Koetsu fan myself, I agree that the Dynavector XV-1S is the cartridge to get. It has better bass response than most (all?) of the Koetsu cartridges, and it is also more neutral sounding than the Koetsu cartridges. The treble response is both well extended and highly refined. The mid-range, while not Koetsu lush, is definitely intoxicating in its own way. There is a tonality that the XV-1S has that works great from the deepest bass response to the highest treble, and it both highly refined and it has deep dark black backgrounds. I can honestly state that I have not heard a cartridge better than the XV-1S, (maybe some as good, but none better).

In comparison, the Shelter 90X, as suggested by Rudolff, has a fine bass response, (the best I've ever heard actually), a slightly warm, (but fairly neutral) mid-range, and a good treble extension, (about the equal of the Koetsu Urushi). But the treble response does not sound nearly as refined as the high-end Koetsu cartridges, or the Dynavector. In addition, the Shelter does not have the really deep, dark black backgrounds of the Dynavector or the Koetsu line. (The 90X had a pretty good low noise background, better than my Benz Micro Glider 2, but just not as good as either the Koetsu line or the Dynavector, and it was this attribute that led me to the Dynavector actually.) Still, if bass response is your thing, (although I doubt it is yours, in looking at your musical tastes), than the Shelter could be a fine choice. (For the money, I agree, it is a bargain.)

FYI, as a reference so you know my experience, I use a Basis 2001 TT, with a Vector M3 tone arm with XLR terminated cables, (going into an Ayre K-1xe preamp, with the phono boards), and my past cartridges include:
Benz Micro Glider 2 (Owned for 6 months)
Koetsu Black (Owned for a year)
Koetsu Rosewood Signature (Owned for a year)
Shelter 90X (Owned for a year & a half)
Dynavector XV-1S (Owned for a couple of years)

(In addition, my friend, whose system I know well and listen to often, has owned the Koetsu Urushi, Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, ZYX Universe, EMT (Brinkmann), and the Dynavector XV-1S, (which I glad bought from him for a good price!) :-)

My two cents worth.
Good Luck in your search!
David 12,

I also agree with all the above. Regarding Koetsu "magic", Rudolff said it perfectly, "...vinyl alone, has a magical midrange." Why gild the lily?

If you point a gun at my head I'll say get a stone body, the higher the better. A Jade Platinum has less of that Koetsu "magic" than any wood body, though still too much for my ears. The Onyx Platinum has less, it's almost tolerable - but I might still ask you to just pull the trigger.

I'm unfamiliar with your arm, but assuming a reasonable match the Dynavector XV-1S, Transfiguration Orpheus and ZYX UNIverse all play the genuine midrange magic that's already carved into the grooves, along with speed and neutrality no Koetsu can match. The XV-1S will provide more bass oomph and big dynamics. The UNIverse will provide clearer, faster, more extended highs and more low level/harmonic information. The Orpheus kind of falls in between them. They're all exceptional cartridges that honestly try to play what's in the groove without coloration.
The Ortofon 309D is pretty hard to find, the company do'nt promote it, but it is a very fine unit with 12" effective length. I bought it on the advice of the TW designer, thomas, who uses it himself. Effective mass is about 14gms. I checked compatability on the tonearm cartridge matching site and most of the suggestions match.
I am sort of getting the advice I was expecting, Dynavector XV 1S. The Universe I am not so keen on, I was pretty underwhelmed by the Airy 3, despite it's good reputation. I know the Univers is a big step up.
I am not ignoring the counsel of those wiser than me, but humour me. If I was to make the choice of a Koetsu, which would you go for?
If I was to make the choice of a Koetsu, which would you go for?

Koetsu Black
Dear David: So, you not have anymore the Koetsu Rosewood that you like it so much.

IN this case and according to your priorities I will go for the KRSP and/or the XV-1s. If you like the LP ( that I own too ) I think that you will be in love with the Dyna.

All in all things are about music sound priorities/preferences. All the other ( non Koetsu ) cartridges name here ( and others out there ) are very good too and that's why the people's recomendation.

I don't know if your electronics accept MM cartridges because the MM alternative is very good too and wotrh to try it.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I am a VDH and Dynavector dealer but if I really wanted to spend the money I would get the Urushi Sky Blue for my own use. As it is I will probably get a used Black.
David, as a koetsu jade owner I thought I would chime in. The dyna xvs-1 is an excelent cartdridge as the multiple posts above have stated. If your looking to upgrade from the rosewood signature I would recomend one of the platinum models, a stone body if you can afford it.
Try different loadings 100, 500, 1000, the higher loading helps open up the sound at the frequency extremes.
As an aside, the 309D is a nice match for the low compliance Koetsu's
Good luck
Thanks everyone for your advice, as usual, helpful and to the point
Urushi Vermillion has very refined and magical midrange, a little shy in the frequency extremes. Allaerts is refined and magical from top to bottom, even the MKII.Same dynamics on both. Personal experience. Best.
For the Ortofon 309D I would consider an SPU - I recently heard it on a friend's Raven AC with Ortofon 309D and really liked the combination. Very different from the Da Vinci/ZYX Universe or the Schroeder Reference/XV1 my friend runs as well, but the Ortofon combination is very nice in its own right.
One of the platinums.