Koetsu Jade v SPU classic v FR 7 fz cartidges

Greetings to all !
I am hoping to get some advice concerning my analogue set up.
I use a Brinkmann La Grange turntable with a FR 66s tone arm.
I bought the FR 66 as a high mass "match" for my Koetsu Jade cartridge which has just been fully rebuilt by Koetsu with diamond cantilever.
The rest of the system is Allnic H 3000 phono stage , Allnic L 5000 line stage, Aklnic A 6000 monoblocks and Quad 2905 speakers / Audiophysic Rhea 2 subwoofers (pair).
I listen to a lot of choral classical music and for this the midrange needs to be really " organic" and free from any harshness or glassiness and , very importantly, the cartridge needs to track demanding loud and complex passages properly.
In this latter regard I am not 100% convinced by the Koetsu. It has been professionally installed in the FR 66 using proper alignment tools and is mounted in an Orsonic headshell. Yet to my ears it gets " nervous" in certain demanding passages of music .
I have tried increasing the VTF to 2.5 grams (the maximum recommended is apparently 2.2 gm ?) and this does seem to improve things but I assume that this will have som negative effects given it is some way over the " limit".
I just bought a " standard" SPU Classic (with spherical stylus) in the integrated headshell and, tracking this at 4 gm, I was instantly bowled over by the " organic" midrange in the type of music referred to above.
After a series of "A/B" comparisons with the Koetsu I am struggling to say I really prefer the Koetsu to listen to in my system , although it clearly has greater frequency extremes, transparency and detail than the basic SPU ( it costs over ten times as much !!)
I was wondering if anybody out there has had similar experiences with Koetsu stone bodied cartridges ?
I am now thinking of going for one of the FR 7 cartridges ( fz version) and again would welcome any comments on this and how it might compare to the Koetsu / SPU ?
With kind regards,
I suggest you try mounting the Koetsu in a different headshell to the Orsonic.
I have found that the design of the Orsonic headshells (most of them in the marketplace are cheap fakes) is structurally inadequate to hold a cartridge securely during demanding musical passages.
With a really fine rigid headshell...I believe you will find the Koetsu will lose its nervousness...
Hi I also use FR-66s with Koetsu Stone Bodies and also own FR-7fz but in my Set up I have no problem running even trough most demanding classic tracks and my max VTF with Koetsu is 1.80gr.
Any SPU is absolutely mediocre compared to those in general Performance. It is a midrange pusher and here it shines but from overall Performance it is no comparison. A 7fz is a total different chapter, when you can get one, do it.
Just a question:
When you turn the VTF knob, do you need some force, do you hear clicks when you pass the 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 signs?
I totally agree with Halcro on the headshell issue. Try the top of the line SAEC ceramic headshell.
Howard, you need to try an FR headshell - you can find them on eBay. The Koetsu is too heavy and too low in compliance for an Orsonic.

You can occasionally find an FR-7f or fz on eBay but they are rare and go for $2500+. Well worth the effort if you can find one.

I disagree with Syntax on the Ortofon SPU's - they are marvelous cartridges on the right arm and for the right music - namely classical and orchestral. The FR-64 and 66 were MADE for these cartridges. I don't think your experience is a fluke. I'd try a newer one like the Synergy or the 95th Anniversary one which is an A90 electrical design with an elliptical stylus and the SPU body. In an FR-66 it will compete with anything out there.
Halcro, do you mean those fake Orsonic headshells from Juki?
How can you say which one is fake or not ?

Howardalex, for me it's hard to imagine that someone prefer classic spherical SPU, i've bough Schick tonearm especially for SPU and sold the cartridge quickly here on agon (for the lack of details and not involving presentation at all). Hard to believe that Koetsu can't cream the SPU Classic. Only limited edition SPU SPIRIT that i owned did the majic to my ears, but in the right set-up on Schick where Classic SPU tracks everything very well, the SPU SPIRIT (elliptical, ltd unit , with rare 8N copper coils) was a poor tracker even with 4g on some records. So i returned it to Japan, funny that they listed same cartridge (SPU Serial number 500 or 500) now for sale. I think it was deffected unit.
Howardlex, the SPU was and still is a great cartridge at any price. Many are influenced by price and hype but what you hear in your system is accurate ime.

I have a Windfield which is quite good. I just came from a Benz LPS...the Ortofon is less colored and still has all the good stuff I heard from the Benz. My Ortofon took lots of time to break in and required careful setup. I loaded it with various settings but 1000 ohms really made it sing. Very musical.
From Benz to Ortofon SPU ? I'm sure you're talking about elliptical or ortofon replicant SPU, not conical Classic SPU ... No? With a SUT? Just curious.

It makes me wonder when less detailed and darker presentation described as more "musical", but this is just my opinion about conical spu classic mk2.
It doesn't much matter whether the Orsonic is a fake or real. The design indicates little appreciation for structural mechanics or the job of a proper headshell.

Whilst I have used many good headshells in the FR Series tonearms....there is a definite affinity with their own headshells particularly the S3 of which I have five...👅

The FR-7f is a fine cartridge.
It's limitation unfortunately is its conical stylus which sadly leaves some critical groove information undisclosed.
Change the stylus to a Line Contact however....and there are very few modern uber $ cartridges which can play on the same field....😎🎼
I have tried the Orsonic 101, Ikeda, Audiotechnica Technihard, Audiocraft and the original FR headshell in my FR64S with a variety of cartridges including Koetsu, Dynavector Nova 13, Ikeda, FR1mk3, Victor X1 and many others.

With the Koetsu the Orsonic is my preferred choice - smoother and more transparent in the top end than any of the others. Only "downside" is a slightly fat bottom end, but the bottom end is tuneful (timing is not impaired). By comparison the Ikeda & Technihard headshells are more emphatic, tighter, but slightly less resolving. Optimum can be cartridge dependent.

The other suggestion I have for getting the best out of the FR arm is to use a combination of Static and Dynamic balancing for setting the tracking force. I set the VTF Knob to 0.5g and then adjust the counterweight to bring the tracking force up to the required level. This improves speed, resolution and soundstage of all cartridges I have used with the arm. In my experience using Dynamic Balancing ( the VTF Dial) for setting the total tracking force on the FR sucks all the life out of the cartridge.

Comparing the structural rigidity of the Orsonic to conventional headshells is nebulous really. One is a set of torsion bars, the other a flat plate. Both have resonances, just a different set.
As far as the FR S3 headshell goes, it is a symphony of resonance, topped off with a massive bolt and cartridge bedplate that induces electrical distortion in the cartridge. Even Boeing ensure that metal lumps next to sensitive electronics should be minimised - steel has magnetic interaction, aluminium induces hysteresis distortion.
Hi Syntax,
Thanks for the reply .
Yes the VTF dial does click when I change its settings...
I just ordered an FR 7 fz and it arrives next week - should be interesting !!
Best regards
Thanks for the reply - I will follow that advice and look for something other than the orsonic (which is a genuine item in this case !)
Kind regards
Hi Debingaman,
I do actually have an original FR headshell that came with the FR 66 but was advised that it would be a struggle to get the Koetsu Jade to fit it (!)
I will take a closer look at it ...
Best regards
Hi Chakster,
actually it's just the basic SPU ( " Ortofon Classic GM mik Ii ") which I believe has the spherical stylus (there is an " E" version of this cartridge, denoting elyptical, but I went for the spherical !)
I don't use any SUT - just the gain/ impedance settings on the Allnic phono stage, which seems to work ok.
Kind regards
As an owner of an FR64S and of two Orsonic 101 headshells (but alas no FR headshells), I have been following this interesting discussion. I have every reason to believe that my two Orsonics are OEM, but I cannot say I have much experience with them, as of yet. Sometimes the fit between tonearm A and headshell X can affect sonics, if the mating is not perfect. The headshell may wiggle in such a case, which is very bad for transduction. Is there any indication that the fit between an FR tonearm and the Orsonic headshell could contribute to problems cited by Halcro and Syntax?

Howardalex, The H3000 has built-in SUTs for low output cartridges, so those are the SUTs you are using. Forgive me for my pedantry, if this was implicit in your response.
Thanks Lewm,
The connection between the Orsonic and the FR 66 arm seems very secure so I don't believe there is an issue there.
Re SUT - that's just my ignorance showing through !!
Subjectively, I thought my Orsonic 101 and my FR64S fit pretty snugly, too. But I have yet to audition the combo.

Someone else asked an interesting question: How do you tell the difference between a "real" Orsonic and a "fake" one? One of mine is known to be OEM, because I got it from a friend who owned it for 30 years, at least. The other I think I bought used off eBay; there is no discernible difference between the two, so I assume the eBay purchase is OEM too. Is it just a matter of materials used in construction?
The old FR headshells are worthless. I am stunned that some
members recommend them. Everything else is better. I am also
stunned by the performance of the FR-7fz cart. Unbelievable
cart but I have no idea why in the sense of technical reasons.
This cart is more as 30 years old. I also own the regular FR-7
which is nearly as good. Is there no MC carts improvement at
all since ? For the context I need to mention my: Magic diamond,
Kiseki Gold and silver spot,LP S(the 16,5 g. one), the Koetsu rosewood reference,
the Shiraz EMT and some other new carts. Those FR-7 series carts can be got for +/-$1000 . They are such a bargains like the FR-64 s tonearm.

Nandric - to answer your question I use the heavy Orsonic 101B ( with the slots for cartridge mounting ). Here is my Orsonic....
Nandric, the stamped FR headshells are not so hot, but the RS-121 is a cast, gusseted headshell that is a work of art. That one came with the FR-64fx and FR-66fx.

Anything that looks like the SME 3009 is stiffer than an Orsonic, however, which vibrates freely in azimuth like a tuning fork. The only thing worse is a unipivot tonearm which rocks uncontrollably in azimuth with any cartridge with compliance less than 10u/NM.

I'm just sayin' !
Dear Dover, I know that your country produces some very
good wine but my question was put in the other thread:
the MM thread. BTW the 'heavy Orsonic' is 16g .
Dear Dcbingamm, I am really glad to hear that at least
something on those FR fx arms is superior as opposed to
the FR-64/66s tonearms. But who is buying an tonearm
because of the headshell?
I had come to believe that the "B" in AV101B, stands for Black, as opposed to Silver color.
I did A/B test on my system with SPU classic, Denon 103R, and Ortofon MC20.
I could not tell the clear winner. However, SPU classic costs close to $1000, while MC20 and 103R cost about $300~350. It may be hard to find a new MC20, but a good used one can be found at around $200.
I used the Budgie Cinemag SUT for the test.
I have not heard to the other cartridges.