KISEKI PURPLE NS your reviews....

Hello I plane to buy a KISEKI PURPLE NS... maybe...  but I read a lot of different opinions about this cartridge... sound quality, poor construction quality.... So i ask the question to those who really had one, what do you finally think about it ? Did you encounter any trouble ?
Many thanx

Showing 7 responses by edgewear

@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 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. 

Dear Nandric, I won’t skimp on a retip. The Lapis is a gorgeous sounding cartridge, even with the non-original boron cantilever and vdH stylus. It’s still a long way from needing one, but when that time comes I will definitely go for a diamond cantilever. Namiki produces these (again) combined with their best refined contact stylus. I have asked around and this retip should cost around €1000. Serious money, but probably worth it.

BTW: the Namiki assembly is not of the ’one piece’ variety (like Sony XL-88D), but neither was the original diamond cantilever/stylus of the Lapis, so this option should bring it very close to its original specs.

Touché. I don't see why an experienced retipper, having access to the same parts supplied by the same jewellery companies, couldn't perform the job in the same way as the person or company who designed and built it.

Dear Nandric, that is a shocking figure. My information came from Daniele Montebovi of cartridgelab in Rome, Italy. He did some excellent work for me on an old Dynavector Ultimo DV-30C and we developped an interesting email correspondence about exotic cartridges and diamond cantilevers, including the 'one piece' variety used in the XL-88D. That is now unobtainium, but he said he could restore it (as well as the regular XL-88 and other suitable cartridges) with the Namiki diamond cantilever for €1250. So my memory was a bit optimistic, but that's still a long way from $2500. If your quote is now the going price I will also need to reconsider.

There's an important difference between 'not skimping' and 'getting ripped off'. You have to draw the line somewhere...
Some vintage cartridges use materials no longer available, while retippers are obviously restricted to the use of currently available cantilever materials. In these cases they will have to use all their skill and imagination to decide what to use as an alternative in order to get as close to the original specs. Or perhaps improve on them. There's little doubt that the retipped cartridge will sound different to the original. The customer will have to decide if he likes the result, but the alternative is a worn out cartridge gathering dust in a closet. 

My argument is with the 'assumption' that only the original manufacturer is capable of restoring a cartridge with identical sound for cartridges currently in production. We have to assume that the materials they used in the original are still readily available. In such cases I don't see why a retip by an experienced third party couldn't produce the same results.

The manufacturer of the current Kiseki NS cartridges is likely confronted with the same problem of having to choose other materials than Kiseki used in the 80’s. This probably explains why folks who compared the originals to the NS have noticed a very different sound. If one is looking for the ’old school’ Kiseki sound, retipping an ’original’ is perhaps the better option. Especially considering the apparent QC issues with the current models. Just sayin’. 😱