Forget about Koetsu, send it to soundsmith for an (inexpensive) evaluation...
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I own and like a Koetsu Urushi. I bought two of them in Tokyo direct from a local dealer (one extra for a friend). Neither had a cantilever ("stylus shaft" in your parlance) that was "straight", by which I presume you mean parallel to the sides of the cartridge body. One was so far askew that I sent it back for an exchange. The replacement was done right. I think their quality control is not so great, but they have good intentions. Problem is whether you can get yours fixed by them without your having a local representation in Tokyo. (I went through my Tokyo dealer when I made my exchange.)
After spending almost $4,000 for two repairs, they are telling me the turn table was set up wrong and offering no help or responsibility. I had the table set up by a pro tech at the best shop in Portland Oregon. Melvin in Singapore is more than happy to take the money, but can even admit there could ever be the posibility a flaw in the workmanship of the sacred Koetsu company. Big waste of time and money. My advise is stay stateside with repairs, rather than waste time with Koetsu.
Do the following:
- Open your Window
- Grab the Koetsu
- Throw it out
- Close the Window
- Feel good
- Make yourself a nice cup of Tea, open Audiogon and look for
When you have an Audiophile in your area, you really hate, deep from the
heart, give it to him as a Present.
But he has to listen to it day by day for minimum 2 years :-)
I would recommend a Shure M95ED. The M95ED cartridge has the added bonus of the Side-Guard Stylus Protection System which responds to accidental side thrusts on the stylus by withdrawing the entire shank and tip safely into the stylus housing before damage can occur.
If you want something a little better try the GRADO DJ-200. This is a DJ cartridge based on the Prestige series and stylus replacement is $120/pr.
If you want to go more European, the latest buzz is the Tonar Baktrak DJ Mix phono cartridge, conventional mounting version of their famous Tonar Banana DJ Disco phono cartridge.
Any of these should be robust, sound good and stylus replacement is a modest cost and DIY.
I bought one of the original Koetsu Rosewood cartridges. I got it for $50, because they thought the cantilever was off. I can't be sure of this, but is it possible that Koetsu uses a method of fine-tuning the cartridge, which can result in what looks like an off-center cantilever? Mine played beautifully(I don't think it had ever been used, based on their [Audible Difference] microscope.).
Hi fellow audio enthusiasts.I have enjoyed reading the contributions of other Audiogon members about their experiences with the Koetsu URUSHI cartridge. My own Koetsu Urushi black had a straight cantilever and it remained so for 8 years until a need for a rebuild just recently. My Koetsu Urushi black was away for 6 weeks.Upon return it still sports a straight cantilever and it sounds even better than before. My turntable is the Goldmund Studio with Goldmund T3b arm meticulously set up by myself;my speciality. I make my own belts for the arm.This is a formidable combination sonically.