Koetsu Urushi Cartridges - Differences?

I have figured out that I want to upgrade my cartridge, at some point, to the Koetsu Urushi.
However, there are three different Koetsu Urushi cartridges available:

The Black, The Gold,and The Vermillion.
(Sounds like a spaghetti western movie, huh?!)

Does anybody know if these sound different from each other?

I appears that Koetsu decided to make three different versions of the exact same cartridge for some reason. (I have heard a rumor that the Vermillion sounds slightly better, but that is unconfirmed.) It seems odd that this is the only cartridge in the entire Koetsu line that offers this option.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for any input you can offer.
A further question regarding Kurt_tank's post...I have heard that the older models of Koetsu cartridges are sought out by audiophiles. Are these actually better performers, having superior construction and fidelity , or is this just part of the audiophile mystique? Comments, please?
The urushi is made from a rosewood body and coated with a lacquer derived from tree sap. It is an ancient japanese art form and is also used to decorate pens, etc.

Sonically, all three urushi's are identical, differing only in the type of lacquer used.
Gold-gold with gold flakes(the most expensive to produce)
Black- black lacquer base with gold flakes(my favorite)
Red-solid red lacquer

The urushi is sonically at the top of the non-platinum magnet Koetsu's (black,rosewood,rosewood signiture). You can at some latter date have a urushi rebuilt with the innards of any of the platinum magnet models however the output drops from 0.6 to 0.2mv thus your phono stage has to be up to the challange.

I have never heard an old koetsu so I can't comment.
Kurt_tank, this link should help answer your question:


Fatparrot, the rosewood body is said to sound sweeter with age. That is why many prefer a re-build to a new one. Here is another link that covers re-building:


Hopefully this helps some.

Hi Kurt!!

Just thought I would let you know that your 'old' Michell Gyro SE with SME V arm has found a loving, caring, home here in Michigan. I also have been considering a Koetsu Urushi for my setup. My Benz Glider is great, but some mysterious force is calling me to try the Urushi. One member recommended a person on E-Bay called 2juki. I e-mailed him back in Jan 04, he never replied....but that does not mean he is a good source. As soon as I recover from my knee replacement, I intend to make the plunge.
The older Koetsu done by Sugano Sr., the old man, used Alnico magnet, and the new ones use either Platinum or Neodymium magnet. My personal preference is the Alnico magnet.
Having tried on many cartridges before -- Benz Ace, Glider, ZYX,HelikonSL, Koetsu Rosewood Sig.Platinum and Miyabi, I have to admit that Urushi is one of the most musical cartirdges and it is really value for money within the family group of Koetsu cartridges. Even having better and more expensive cartridges around, Urushi has never failed me sonically and also in term of its musicality. It is very well matched with Graham 2.2 arm.
As a former Koetsu owner(4 diff models over 10 yrs),I now know why my pal was SO interested in buying my Urushi.He has retipped,and has two of them.To him,a very experienced audiophile,the Koetsu line is like the ROLEX product.You get a fabulous product,that stands the test of time.I LOVED all of mine.Wish I had a two arm table!!Good luck.
I had the Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum in my system and a friend mounted the Urushi in my system one weekend for comparison.
The RSP was far superior in my system to the Urushi (but the Urushi was quite beautiful sounding).
The RSP had more detail and more magic.