You might want to call Brian at the Analog Romm in San Jose, Calif. He knows Koetsu very well. They have a web site with phone numbers.
There is a review somewhere of one of the Blue Stone Koetsu's. I recently had it emailed to me. I think it is online. The reviewer compared the Urushi, Tiger Eye and something blue. But I forget. He then mentioned how the Coral Stone is something special and better than all.
I would hate to break a diamond cantilever and Koetsu's have a reputation for losing cantilevers. I have that personal experience and so does the review I am mentioning. If you can afford it then go for it.
I once was a fan of Koetsu...however, I tend to think of them as audio candy rather than a cartridge I would own. If I were you, I would listen to the Koetsu of your choice compared with the top examples of Dyna, Benz, etc. I know it is a difficult search, but may very well save you money and disappointment in the long run.
Andromedaaudio, Thanks for that review. I am a long time happy owner of an Urushi, and I have had to absorb a lot of snide remarks from those who think Koetsu's are passe'. However, the review sucks. He seems to have reviewed a platinum version of the Urushi Vermillon, based on his statement that the output of his sample was given as 0.2mV. All the "normal" Urushi variants have an output of ~0.6mV. Moreover, I once inquired direct to my Japanese dealer about upgrading my Tsugaru to Platinum status and was told that it was not possible, after he consulted the factory in Tokyo. (IOW, this was not done thru the US importer.) Nor have I ever seen an Urushi Platinum for sale new, so this is all puzzling to me. Therefore I don't know what to make of his comments on the Vermillon. When he gets to the other two cartridges, his comments jump around to many other different stone-bodied Koetsu's, to the point where it is sometimes not obvious which one he is really talking about. Plus, the comments about the colors of the various stones are kind of silly and irrelevant, IMO. And finally, he never tells us what tonearm he used, let alone anything about his downstream electronics and speakers. Perhaps regular readers of Dagogo are expected to know this stuff. Still in all, I am now very curious about the Azule Platinum, not to say "salivating".
The more expensive ones have a more refined sound. The lack of higher frequencies are not important, because the soft bass ability will be compensated with the improved midrange influence from the stone bodies.
The earthy feeling and sound of the Coralstone is special, it is a trip back into the History and I always did like the Blue Lace most with a Martini in my Hand - or some more - when listening to it. The longer I listened to it, the more I saw the "Gestalt" of tones.
I've owned an Onyx Platinum for a couple of years now and in my experience the Koetsu's are overpriced and agree with stringreen's comment about them being "eye candy".
I'm now an Ortofon a90 user and it's superior in every area. The Koetsu doesn't even come close to what an a90 can do.
...I now await a barrage of complaints from Koetsu owners (who haven't heard the a90, of course!).
Dear Sprog, What tonearm? No surprise that you like the A90 better than your Koetsu. Apparently many others would prefer it as well. Koetsu is not my religion, but I hope you will pardon me if I say I still enjoy my Urushi and will continue to do so. (Never heard a stone-bodied Koetsu.)
I certainly would not be among those who would trash you or the A90. In fact, I own and enjoy several different cartridges and have had some thoughts about acquiring an A90 myself. But I heard an A90 in direct comparison to the new Allnic Puritas cartridge, both on the same turntable and in the same brand of tonearm. (Two arms mounted on the same tt.) I have to say that the A90 was very fine, but the Puritas was a shade less mechanical, more "musical". I hate when folks use that word as a descriptor of audio gear, but there it is.
I agree Lewm, I enjoy the Koetsu but it just isn't close to what an a90 can do. I've also heard many cartridges and it's in a different league altogether from anything else - and particularly the Koetsu which I have to say, again, is seriously overpriced, but reviewers (who get paid by manufacturers for their reviews - oh yes they do) say is the "best thing ever" in the cartridge-world.
You're paying probably double what it's worth just for the name, which has all kinds of "mystical" nonsense spoken about it.
An a90 needs a good time to bed-in to sound it's best after installation, so did you have a couple of weeks at least to listen to the Allnic and a90 for comparison?
Suffice to say that I agree with you on cost. The Koetsu stone-bodied cartridge prices are particularly ridiculous, but so too are the prices of many many other "high end" MC cartridges. I purchased my Urushi in Tokyo for, lets say, much less than the US price. This year, too, I got involved in the thread here on vintage MM and MI cartridges, and I have bought several samples to audition. A select few of those are shockingly good, regardless of the fact that they are also relatively cheap. Of course, this is coming from someone who is declasse' enough to enjoy the Urushi.
I heard the A90 vs Puritas, each in a Reed tonearm, at RMAF, in several listening sessions over 2 days. (I kept going back to that room, because I enjoyed the presentation so much.) I assume that both were up and running for 8 to 10 hours per day for at least a few days before I got there. Dunno whether that constitutes adequate break-in for an A90, or indeed whether both had been in use prior to the show.
I found the a90 needs a good 100+ hours.
Listening in your own system is the only way to really tell how good something sounds - from my experience - and that's not possible with cartridges, of course,
unless you have friends who have what you're thinking of buying ....and they like you ;)
I'm a serious a90 convert. It's so instantly "dead-right" right out of the box even though it takes time to settle in fully. By "dead right" I mean it's just so obviously "there" (what??).
Oh dear ...words words words...
Ears know nothing about words, that's why I like mine so much.
Well, honestly, can't decide. They are both great ones. What amazes me all the time is that they are so much better than the wood bodies, it is hard to believe. A total different chapter from sonics. And both demand a serious metal Arm which has excellent energy transfer. When such one is used, they really come to life. When the System can do it, they sound like the real thing, not only with voices, with older classical records they create a holographic soundstage which is really unique. By far the best I ever listened to in the last 15 years. I compared them to the Lyras because I thought, the Lyras have probably a better detail but side by side they showed me that nothing is missing. Good as they are, but both, Blue Lace and Coralstone serve easily the same information AND more. Seriously a more of "being part of the recording", in a way, a superior view into the room (Vienna Sofiensaal for example)...in a way, I can FEEL the Ambience. Staggering.
Did not go for Diamond Cantilever, in a way I do not trust them, maybe others think different, but I prefer in a way "elastic" cantilever. Otherwise I use my cantileverless Ikeda System.
Thank you Syntax for your valuable opinion.
It is possible that I have auditioned Koetsu cartridges with not perfect setup as I was never impressed as much as you.
I have auditioned Koetsu at TW Raven AC and Black Night with SME V and Graham Phantom II and results were medicore to good and with DaVinci Virtu on the same table and results were goog to good plus.
I have also on havd Origin Live Enterprise C 12" tonearm that seems to be the heaviest one with stable dual pivot bearing but not tried Koetsu with them.
For my Koetsu has their own stron points like texture, bloom impresion of reall events at listening places, but at the same time I feel that leading edges are a bit rounded, attack not fast enougs and overall presentation a bit not neutral (house sound).
I wish I will find a good setup for Koetsu as it has nice lone life span, nice blasck background and low noise. Niece cart to own. Hovewer I am a person with only one cart installed and need something more universal.
It is possible that I have auditioned Koetsu cartridges with not perfect setup ...
Indeed, that is really difficult based on the body which hides the view. You need an alignment System with a dimple that you know when it is done correctly. I have such alignment and even with that one I needed some time ...
Anyway, all I can say, these 2 Koetsus are so different to all other Koetsus I ever listened to that I think, that the Designer made probably some changes and did not communicate that. They are also VERY powerful in their gain, rated with 0.3mV, but I use much lower gain in my preamp than I do usually with carts of such output. Both they have a tremendous punch in the reproduction without any softness.
Diamond cantilever - yes, I think it is most definitely worth it. For those interested in the basis of my opinion, I am using the DC rosewood body with
- trans-fi air bearing tonearm, heroically regulated air supply
- NAS Mentor, machined Al / plywood plinth, new Wave Mechanic and motor
- Sowter transformers with nude Vishay loading resistors
- homebrew cost-no-object electronics
- multiple new generation Quad ESL's with reworked high cost electronics
- 80 KHz ultrasonic record cleaner
I was advised that the DC would harden the sound. I can't comment on a standard KRSP, but the DC makes the music uniquely smooth and elegant. My taste in music is "classical", by which I mean serious music, especially from the Renaissance. Polyphony is especially hard to get right - my system does it, and the DC is an important element thereof. The main difference between my system and live (acoustic) performance is slightly inferior leading and trailing edges - and that is the current research topic (turntable).
DC Fragility? Perhaps, but I have not, as yet, had an issue with that. Just make sure that if you use a coin as a standard weight for your stylus gauge, you use a silver coin, not one of the modern steel ones, as the platinum magnet is unexpectedly strong.