Installed for a friend quite a few years ago. First 2 samples were somewhat defective. The third sample was acceptable. That says a lot about the consistency of the build. Didn’t quite warm up to the sound and he finally sold it. The originals were better than the NS. I own a few of the originals.
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I have the Kiseki Blue NS and it's the best cartridge I own. Sound quality can't be touched by any of my other cartridges, however they are mostly in the $500 - $1000 range. Closest thing I have to compare it to is my Van Den Hul MC TWO, a HOMC cart that cost about the same as retail price for the Blue. The Blue is more detailed from top to bottom and has a somewhat lush sound that I really enjoy. No issues with build quality. I bought mine at a significant discount from a seller in Japan here on Audigon.
It might be helpful to know what you currently have so that others can give a point of reference. I imagine that compared to the carts I have the Purple might seem like nirvana, but to someone with a $10K cart it might be "meh".
Sonics are like any good cart at it's price point,subjectively it may even compete with costlier models?
Any product can have bad production runs, and if you get one, your impression is- "this thing is a piece of S#%T!! Meanwhile, another person has the same product and, perfect-no issues.
That said, I went thru 2 Kiseki Blue. 1st one stylus fell off. 2nd, the right channel developed a weird distorted signal. That one happened with the one year warranty conveniently running out. I haven't read any reports of mass QC with the Blue, but after that experience,-nice sounding cart,but..It's a piece of S#%T
Generally speaking, you should be covered in the event you get a wonky piece, just report it immediately to the dealer. The distributor is fair, so you should covered.
Can't recommend the brand, after my experience.
What are the odds? 2 out of the 3 cartridges had problems out of the box. I am referring to the Purplehart NS. The third sample worked properly but the sonics were mediocre at best. Was the third sample also somewhat defective? I can’t say. It was working fine. Tracked fine. Just sounded tipped up. As far as the problem goes, the dealer my friend got it from took care of the situation. I’m sure it’s a know problem else why would they take it back without any questions.......twice!
if you are lucky you might get a good working sample but if you buy one cartridge and have to mount it 3 times and mail 2 back for exchange I’m really sorry. It’s jist a waste of time. YMMV
Nobody knows who made the original Kiseki's. The mysterious
Mr. Fokadu is invented by Van den Dungen who wanted revenge
against the old Sugano san. Van den Dungen was then Koetsu
importer and was confronted with curious business practice
of Sugano. He wanted payment in advance but deed no feel
obliged to deliver ''the goods''. As one reviewer mentioned without
knowing the reasons: (the blue)'' Kiseki is Koetsus killer''.
This was exactly the intention of Van den Dungen. By such lack
of information ''one'' is allowed to speculate. My is that Kondo-san
made those Kiseki's. He was good friend of Van den Dungen both
sharing the same obsession for tube amps. What is more
Kondo san made 3 SUT's for Van den Dungen. The ''silver kind''
is my secret info; the same as Kondo's for an fraction of the
price. Even the imaginary Mr. Fokadu is no more so the new
Kiseki's are made by someone else but with Benz parts.
This may explain like by Van den Hul carts that so many are
offered as second hand. I owned all Kiseki kinds except Lapis
Lazuli. This include the rare ''black heart''. The ''poor man''
Lazuli. The same generator but without diamond cantilever
and expensive jewel stone. BTW the latest made Kiseki.
@nandric, the story of ’getting back at Sugano’ is well known and not disclaimed by van den Dungen, so probably holds some truth. Your speculation that the original Kiseki’s were built by Kondo is an interesting ’theory’, which almost sounds too good to be true. There is some visual resemblance with Kondo’s IO carts, so who knows? It would certainly add to the ’mystique’....
Do you know the specs of the original Black Heart? I have the Lapis with vdH tip on boron (alas not the original diamond cantilever). That means it’s now a Black Heart in a (very) fancy dress. The limited info available suggests the Lapis has an internal impedance of 6 ohms, much lower than the original Blue, Purple Heart and Agate models.
BTW: I have considered the option of having a Namiki diamond cantilever / micro ridge stylus installed, which would bring the Lapis close to its original form. Any thoughts?
Dear edgewear, Probably in order to add to the ''mystique'' of
the Lapis Lazuli there are no published technical specs. But
considering the fact(?) that ''black heart'' has the same generator
while there are specs for the ''black heart'' we may deduce to
''the same specs''. Your guess reg. 6ohms is correct. The stylus
is line contact and VTF 1,-2.2 g.
The best repair service is by Dominic at Northwest Analogue in
UK but I never got any reaction from them. So I use ''Expert stylus''
UK instead. BTW there is also an silver version of the SUT with
both low and high impedances : MCT -1 S improved. Very difficult
to find but ''one newer knows''.
Dear Nandric, thanks for your confirmation on impedance. Compared to my other cartridges I would guess the Lapis has an output around 0.4 mV.
As my sample had been previously retipped I had to figure out VTF and settled on 1.85 grams. The vdHul tip is obviously different from the original and probably not 'polished by human hair', as van den Dungen's attempt at 'marketing humour' suggested.
More than 3000$ for a cartridge with so many problems ? It's a joke !
A few year ago I was naive, I thought that when I will rich enough I will buy high end cartridges and get top quality items with top sound. Now I'm rich enough and when i buy a new cartridge I tighten the buttocks... Is the stylus straight ? How is the tracking ability ? Is it the good diamond ? Is the right and left channel are equal ? Is it really new ?
At those high prices we should have zero problem and get a FULL TESTED cartridge and we could buy them with eyes closed in total confidence.
As we say in my country, manufacturers and seller are a "basket of crabs" you don't know wich one will pinch you. Cartridge are small things, so it's not easy to see what's inside. But now I've got my own microscopes and when I look inside a high end cartridge I'm always surprised by the poor job quality of some expensive cartridges, they look like a kid DIY job. I Think that someone is making big money on those things , and I think that just out of the manufacture those cartridge are not expensive at all when we see what's inside.
You're right, personally i don't mind if it looks like a DIY inside IF IT WORKS FINE. In fact most of the cartridges are handmade by its designer. But if i will notice any problem with a NEW cartridge i want to be able to return for full refund. I will give a chance to replace defective sample with a perfect one, but if i will notice any problem again then i will never deal with this brand. Price tag is another story, but i don't mind to buy used samples from honest sellers, because they are proved to work fine (it's a perfect test) !