Kiseki and Lyra Cartridge Dealers in Japan and Taiwan


Good day all!
Do you know any good phono cartridge dealers in Taipei, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka or any major cities in Japan and Taiwan?
I'm thinking of getting a Kiseki Purple Heart or Lyra Kleos while I'm there in Sept. if it's worth the savings.
Regards,
CD
cdd
If what you're looking for is to save money then look on eBay. That's where I got my Koetsu, huge discount. Otherwise you can go find a dealer in-country, but being a dealer will probably find it hard getting the discount. The practical advantage of going there is being able to see and hear the cartridges. If you aren't doing that then just save yourself the time and trouble and eBay.
The point I'm trying to say is worth the savings while I'm there on vacation. Even 3 hundred dollars less from Australian dealers still not worth the risk for me either. 



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I wholeheartedly second trying 2juki on eBay.  He's a very reputable seller with great prices, generally among the lowest you'll find anywhere, as well as excellent customer service.  I've bought numerous tonearms, cartridges and headshells fom him throught the years and have never had the slightest complaint.
Why not go directly to Kiseki and Lyra, aren’t they not from Tokyo?
juki is "very reputable seller" of grey market cartridges on ebay, none of his cartridges are supported by any original manufacturer or dealer. Some of his cartridges have fake serial numbers (like my ex Zyx). So you’re on your own when it comes to service such as factory retip or factory exchange. This is all you need to know before you’re buying anything from greay market dealers like 2juki on ebay. Up to you, some buyers are happy with grey market cartridges, most of them always claiming that soundsmith or andy kim or anyone can make their cartridges better than the original when it comes to retip/refurbishing, which is a total BS in my opinion.

You will find official dealers of Lyra in Tokyo for sure, maybe you have to ask J.Carr directly on this forum ? I'm sure he will let you know where to buy his Lyra in Japan officially.
By reputable I meant that 2juki has excellent customer service, as mentioned, and will make thing right with no fuss if the product received is not as described.  I can vouch for that myself, as can many of my friends and it'll only take a minute or two of googling to confirm it on a plethora of audio forums.

In 30+ years I've only once made use of a cartridge manufacturer's factory retip service, something I will likely never do again.  Hence I'm more than fine with grey imports (be it cartridges or most other things) and with putting the considerable amount of money saved towards other things or letting it remain in the bank.
Seller kron here on Audiogon has Kiseki Blue carts at a significant discount. You might ask if he can get the purple. 
In general, just walking around to the high end audio stores in Tokyo, you will find neither Koetsu nor Lyra cartridges for sale, on open display.  Whereas most good stores display dozens of other cartridges from a wide variety of well known brands that you can just buy, on the spot.  Off the top of my head, I would say the price differential between Tokyo and the US, for cartridges that are readily available in both locales, is from ~5% to 30%, cheaper in Japan. My hunch is that Lyra deliberately prevents local sale (i.e., in Tokyo or possibly throughout Japan), except perhaps by special order.  (I've never tried, so don't know.). Ten years ago, I was able to buy a Koetsu Urushi from a dealer in Tokyo, but I had to pay in advance and wait two weeks for delivery.  Also, I needed an interpreter in the person of my son, who lives in Tokyo and is fluent in Japanese; his help was essential, as the salespersons could speak virtually no English. The cost savings was vast, compared to US prices, which speaks to the up-charge incurred by the US distributor. 

Kiseki is another matter.  Although I always thought that Kiseki was a progenitor to Koetsu, designed by the elder Sugano-san before he formed Koetsu, I don't know what the situation is right now with respect to the revival of Kiseki.  I was in Tokyo in May, and although I did not spend a whole lot of time roaming in Akihabara (the electronics section of Tokyo and the electronics capitol of the world, IMO), I did not see Kiseki cartridges on sale.  On the other hand, I wasn't looking especially for Kiseki. You'd probably be better off in Hong Kong or using one of the Asian vendors on eBay.
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Ok. I stand corrected in my understanding of the history.
Now where can one get a good deal on Kiseki?
By reputable I meant that 2juki has excellent customer service, as mentioned, and will make thing right with no fuss if the product received is not as described. I can vouch for that myself, as can many of my friends and it'll only take a minute or two of googling to confirm it on a plethora of audio forums.

I can confirm myself that serial number on my $3500 Zyx Airy III was fake, this number does not exist (i have checked with manufacturer), the manual was blank without any serial number at all. You never know what you're buying and the seller change serial numbers. This is a bad sign, also none of the manufacturer will help him or a buyer with any issue, never. 


In 30+ years I've only once made use of a cartridge manufacturer's factory retip service, something I will likely never do again. Hence I'm more than fine with grey imports (be it cartridges or most other things) and with putting the considerable amount of money saved towards other things or letting it remain in the bank.

If it's a cartridge then you can only retip of refurbish it by someone else, but the manufacturers actually change the old cartridge to a new one for their customers (special price), and this is what you can't do with grey market cartridge. 

I will never buy a grey market cartridge after my own experience with juki and Zyx. 

I can not speak about all cartridges he's selling, but some cartridges are special and it's not a good idea to let someone else work on it (recantilever or retip it) as it will affect the sound signature. 

I can undestand why some people are buying grey market cartridges, the only reason is to save money. In my opinion it is better to buy a demo unit from official distributor or used sample from another audiophile, those carts are under warranty and can be upgraded by the manufacturer easily. Also some of the distributors can offer a nice discount even on brand new cartridges, some of them are aware of juki and his grey market stuff, but they can do much more than a chinese grey market dealer, at least they can speak english to discuss any issue.   

 

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Thanks, V.  I am not in the market just now for any new/used cartridge.  My plate is full, for the moment.  What I would look for, if looking, is an original Purple Heart, from the good old days.  It's remarkable how much Kiseki's look like Koetsu's, which I guess fueled or fuels the idea that Sugano had a hand in both types.  I did know that he worked for Supex originally but had forgotten that little tidbit.  I never did like the original Supex cartridge very much; back then I felt without a doubt that my TOTL Grado outperformed it by a long shot.
Chakster, We've been over this ground before.  Assuming the ZYX cartridge you purchased from 2J was a "real" ZYX, what would he have to gain by faking the serial number?  That would seem like a lose/lose proposition for him.  In many if not most cases, at least in the US, the US distributors of high end audio goods will not want to honor the warranty on products purchased outside the US. Period.  So there's nothing to be gained by faking the SN; the warranty for a US purchaser of a new cartridge bought from 2J probably would not be honored, within the US, in any case.  Perhaps things are different in Russia.  Also, with whom did you inquire about the SN of your ZYX?  Did you contact the factory in Japan or what? Thanks.


Ooops!  I just thought of a reason why 2J might change the serial numbers:  To protect his source of ZYX cartridges.  This was already described by Viridian.
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A faked serial # would be to protect his sources of the cartridges that he’s redistributing as gray-market goods. Presumably his suppliers would be breaking their distribution and/or dealer agreements with Zyx. Obviously you’re not getting warranty support either way. And possibly you can’t get re-tip/exchange/rebuild services on these units, either - which is the real loss. How often does the actual warranty on a cartridge actually come into play? They more likely meet accidental end or a natural death.

I agree that 2juki is most likely providing otherwise genuine products on the gray market, rather than counterfeits. Could still be worth it if the discount is steep enough. The markup from distributor to dealer to consumer is ridiculous considering they’re often just dropping an 8 oz package in the post. These very markups, the low-volume nature at higher price points, and the ease of shipping small cartridges, is the reason these gray market loopholes keep cropping up.
In my opinion it is better to buy a demo unit from official distributor or used sample from another audiophile, those carts are under warranty and can be upgraded by the manufacturer easily.
I think it's better to do both, if you want to do both.  I've bought new units, second hand units, vintage units, demo units and review units and have been equally happy with either.


The markup from distributor to dealer to consumer is ridiculous considering they’re often just dropping an 8 oz package in the post.
Indeed.  Hence almost all of my new cartridges have come from 2juki over the last seven or eight years.
By now I have owned so many cartridges that my memory is failing me.  (Plus, my memory is failing me anyway.) If I recall correctly, the Supex first hit the US market in the mid-1970s.  At that time, I think I was listening to a Grado TLZ.  As you intimated, the Supex was the first MC cartridge to come to the US, or very close to it. One needed a "pre-preamp" in order to step up the gain, because SUTs were not yet readily available.  I think that was the Mark Levinson JC-1. ("JC" being John Curl.)  My neighbor bought both a Supex and a JC-1, and I remember not being tempted to give up my Grado in order to make the leap.  The Supex seemed to homogenize complex musical passages.  But there are so many other possible explanations for what I heard that I would never insist that my observation was accurate.  And maybe the first version was just a Supex SD900, without the "Super E+".
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Kiseki is invented by Dutchman Van den Dungen. Better known
as owner&designer of Prima Luna amps. Kiseki was meant as
revenge against (old) Sugano-san who wanted payment in
advance but then forget to deliver... Back then Van den Dungen
was Koetsu importer. He still owns an HI-FI shop in Holland 
(www. durob.nl) . The Kiseki parts which were still by Durob
were used for the new Kisseki's : the Blue, the Purple Heart, etc.
As long as those parts are available. Some reviewer called
the first Blue ''Koetsu killer'' without knowing that this was exactly
Van den Dungen intention. All the bodies were designed in Holland
but it still unknown who in Japan produced them . My guess,
based on his friendship with Kondo san is Kondo san. Kondo
also designed two SUT's (silver and copper)  for Van den
Dungen. I deed try to get the ''silver kind'' in Holland but, alas,
without success. Those who know what an Kondo SUT cost
will gladly buy an ''Kiseki SUT''.