I'm interested to see what others say as well. I would imagine the design upgrades of the ML are more than enough to impact the sound, but it would be interesting to hear from anyone with real world experience.
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The NZ forum I subscribe to have been comparing the SL and ML, the ML wins in terms of sonics apparently. I haven’t experienced the ML in my own system though. I have an SL here and it definitely likes cartridge loading above 2k ohms to open out the soundstage. It needs quite a few hours to run in. It’s a lovely warm sounding cartridge, and VTA is critical with the shibata stylus. However in my system (Garrard 401, The Wand tonearm) the Dynavector XX2 Mk2 is quite a bit more musical and transparent. My friend prefers the ML over the SL as it takes better to lower loading impedances such as found with typical MC stepup transformers.
@ndevamp Surprised about this comment:
I have an SL here and it definitely likes cartridge loading above 2k ohms to open out the soundstage.
I run my SL smack on the recommended 400 ohm and that sounds perfectly dialed in to me. 2K would sound incredibly shrill and overly zippy in my setup. I suspect your finding is an outlier but I'd be curious if others find loadings as high as yours work best. What gain are you using? 61dB for me.
It’s most likely system dependent, so I’m not totally surprised you like yours set at 400 ohms. On my system 390 ohms made it sound a little clamped down, probably with better focus and more neutral overall, but I couldn’t go back from 2.2k on my SS system. It just sounds more relaxed and open. 5.6k was a little too slow for my liking though.
I’ll give 390 ohms and 1k another go and see if I still prefer 2.2k. Also my SL is still running in so my preferences might change with time!
Overall preamp gain 57db.
I agree with Three Easy Payments. I have had both the Hana SL and the ML for about 6 months. I've had two SL's for a good 18 months or more, and the ML for 6 months.
I don't find that the additional $450 cost of the ML over the SL provides a notable improvement in the audio over the SL. In a blind test comparing the two on the same turntable and system, I hear little difference, certainly not a $450 difference. My system has 2 belt drive Rega turntables, 2 Direct Drive turntables, 4 Emotiva phono preamps, 2 restored 6L6G mono tube amps, and a pair of Frazier theater speakers. Volume is controlled with a high quality, simple stepped control pot, home built. I moved to the SL from a Denon 301 MKII. This was a worthwhile move up the ladder, but moving from the SL to the ML has not provided better audio commensurate with it's added cost. The ML is still a good sounding cartridge for the money, but I think the SL provides quality audio well above it's price point, making it the better value.
I have the SL, have had it for about 4 months now and I echo ndevamp's comment about it needing some time to run in before it really shines. I would say it sounded good right out of the box, but somewhere around 70-100 hours in is when it really opened up. I've tried loading at the recommended 400ohms, 1K, 30K and 47K ohms and am settled in at 1K at the moment but some of this to me is also music-dependent. I think you have made a good choice to go for the SL....I'd be very surprised if you aren't happy with it. Which Simaudio phonostage do you have? I recently purchased a Black Ice Audio (formerly Jolida) F-159, tube phonostage and the combination works really well.
I run the Jolida Black Ice Audio F-159 tube phonostage into a Rotel Preamp using the by-pass circuit which sends the signal out to the Rotel Power amp without going through any other circuits aside from an attenuator (volume control) and both Rotels are solid state. Works pretty nicely actually.....that Simaudio Moon 390 looks like a really nice unit also! Looks to be solid state, right?
@anovak The Moon 390 is an amazing unit. It’s a good solid state preamp, DAC/streamer, phono stage and headphone amp. While the phono stage is no slouch, I might get a better separate phono stage later on. I pair it with Moon 330A power amp and the pairing is quite good!
Interesting you avoid more number of circuits to keep the signal chain simple! How do you do that though on your Rotel preamp?
The Rotel has an option, "bypass," that will send the incoming signal only through the circuit that controls gain, or volume. Otherwise the signal is not changed in any way. So, I send the signal from my cartridge, to phonostage, to Rotel preamp, and out to the power amp essentially unfettered aside from the ability to control the volume of it sent to the power amp.
I'm running my Hana SL at 470 ohms through a Whest PS.30 RDT-SE at 55dB gain. I estimate about 50 hours of run in. That Shibata stylus does make you work for it (spot on 2.0 grams stylus force/1.8 grams antiskate). Once dialed in, the Hana gets it done for sure. Come Springtime I'll try 1.6k loading and report back.
Happy listening to all!
You’re all missing the key point.
The main difference between SL and ML is the stylus profile:
SL - Shibata
ML - MicroLine
MicroLine profile is better and life span of this profile is longer.
When you’re buying Moving Coil cartridge it is very important how long you can use it, it depends primarily on the stylus profile. Always buy an MC with the most advanced stylus profile like MicroLine, MicroRidge, Gyger, Replicant 100 ... etc
When your MC cartridge is worn, even if it was relatively cheap cartridge like Hana, you will pay at least half of the retail price again just for retip, even more if you will change the cantilever from aluminum to a better one.
Anyone can explain in details what Hana will do for you when your cartridge is worn? Can you ship it back for re-tip to Hana (aka Excel Sound) or they will replace your worn cartridge with a new one ? What is the price ?
Because when you will re-tip it with something else you will get different sound.
I have gone from the Hana ML to the SL on a Clearaudio Performance DC. I have what I consider a pretty revealing system downstream and I heard a clear difference. I really liked the SL but the ML improves everything the SL does well and makes it better. More refined, better detail, separation, and frequency extremes. Bass was clearly better. If your budget allows for it and your system is revealing enough you should hear a difference IMO, at least I did. To what degree will be the question, and it will be system dependent as will all things like this. It's hard with cartridges to demo both on the table you have, but luckily I was able to do that at my dealer before I pulled the trigger on the ML.
To me it's worth the extra $450 at buy in, or trade up (that's what I did).
I really liked the SL but the ML improves everything the SL does well and makes it better. More refined, better detail, separation, and frequency extremes. Bass was clearly better.
Exactly! This is what a refined stylus tip can make, Micro Line stylus is better and much more complicated than Shibata, so the improvement is obvious with any cartridge (MC or MM/MI).
@mekong56 Can you explain their policy regarding upgrade? What do they charge when Hana is worn and a customer willing to send it back for repair or upgrade with another model ? Do you know ?
I'm going off memory, but believe I was given a $300 or $350 credit towards the M when I traded up from the S. I thought that was pretty good, and I don't particularly like buying or selling used cartridges.
I have no idea how they handle a re-tip or repairs if they are needed. I have no personal experience with that.