Koetsu Urushi Tsugaru vs. ZYX Airy R1000 3S


I'm looking for a new cartridge and these are two of the finalist that I'm considering. I'm familiar with the Koetsu, as I've heard the Urushi several times and used to own a Rosewood Signature model a couple of years ago.

I've read a lot of good things about the ZYX cartridges, unfortunately I've never had a chance to listen to any ZYX cartridge. The model Airy R1000 3S is the one that intrigues me. I'd love to try the UNIverse, but that's way out of my league. I'm not spending more than $2500 new. From what I've read, the 3S (silver) is warmer and smoother than the 3X (copper) version. Is this accurate?

Has anyone out there had a chance to audition/own these two cartridges? What are your impressions/listening bias?

I tend to prefer a warmer tonal presentation, than try to extract that last ounce of detail buried in the vinyl.

If you prefer warmer tones, the Koetsu will suit you better.
John, I have the Zyx cartridge that you reference. It's only got about 200 hours on it, so it still needs some time, but this is a keeper. Based on the recommendation of several friends who have heard the silver and copper, and the recommendation of Mehran I got the copper over the silver. FWIW.

I don't think the zyx s a cartridge that digs for detail, for the sake of detail. The detail is part of the presentation. If you really prefer things on the warm side the Koetsu might be a better choice.

Stop by for a listen... or of you have questions, you know how to get ahold of me.
Hey Nate,

I've read that the silver version is warmer than the copper version, would you agree?
What other cartridges have you compared it to? Have you ever heard a Urushi?

While I do lean towards the warmer presentation, I'm not looking for dark sound though. I do like detail, just not forced, in your face presentation. A relaxed, unforced, detail is what I meant to imply.


If you're really not into detail retrieval and dynamics then the Airy 2 might suit you even better than the Airy 3. It presents a seamless and harmonious whole that the Airy 3 cannot quite emulate.

I've had the copper and silver UNIverses side-by-side in my system. The silver was not warmer in the sense of having any upper bass or midrange hump. It was just slightly slower on leading edges. The silver slightly rounded off initial transients. The copper plays them straight. I haven't heard a silver Airy 2 or 3 so I can't be certain this characteristic translates to those models.

The Koetsus I've heard (Urushi and RSP) have been warmer and more rounded off than the silver UNIverse. Not my cup of tea, but if that's what you're after then I agree with Cmk.

What tonearm and phono stage? That could make a big difference in how any of these cartridges sound.

'Table is VPI HW-19 mk IV w/ SAMA and SDS, tonearm is a VPI JMW 10.5, phono stage is a BAT VK-P10SE w/ Super-PAK.
Current cartridge is a Lyra Helikon.

I have previously owned a Koetsu RSP, and enjoyed it, however I eventually wound up preferring and keeping my Lyra Helikon. The Helikon has been a favorite of mine, but is now starting to show it's age. I could be happy just buying another Helikon, but where's the fun in that? :-)

I've read a lot about the ZYX line, mostly here on AudiogoN, but have not had a chance to hear any of them.

I have heard the Urushi a couple of times, and thought it sounded a bit more transparent than the RSP.

I was just curious as to how the Airy 3 compared to the Urushi, from those that have had a chance to hear them both.

I wish I could play at the UNIverse/Titan level, but I'm still recovering from the phono stage upgrade, and also considering a turntable/arm upgrade in the future. That's why I'm looking in the <$2.5K cartridge price point.

Hopefully this is enough information.
As an aside Doug, it must be nice to be able to compare the silver and the copper UNIverse side-by-side in your own system.

Color me green. :-)

When it comes to cart choices, its very individual, one man's meat is another poison.

With a high end phono stage as what you have, matching with any of these carts is not a problem. I did a cart evaluation exercise before with my Herron VTPH-1mc looking at the Urushi, Jan Allaerts, and the Dyna XX2. With a good phono, the differences between these carts are really a matter of taste, not day and night kind of thing.

If carts are to be placed on a balance, on the one end the warm sounding carts, and on the other lean sound, then the Koetsus will be on the warm side. Clearaudio and probably the Helikon would be on the lean end. Dynavectors I would reckon to be somewhere in the middle, probably leaning to towards the warm side with an emphasis on dynamics. By far the most detailed cart I have heard would be the Jan Allaerts, not just detailed, but smooth as well.

All these fine variations in a well tuned system would just simply mean different tastes. You would be happy going with any of these carts, so long as at the end of the day, you enjoy what you are hearing. While the Koetsu may have a warm tinge, by no means does it imply a lack of resolution, it is there, just presented with a different emphasis from the other carts on offer.

Do note that the ZYX carts are light weight and therefore matching with the tonearm is more critical - IMO going with a heavier arm would be best.

In the end, I picked up a most under-rated Denon 103R and have been very happy since.

Good luck with your choice.

Everything Cmk offered was excellent. If you do opt for a ZYX make sure to get the optional silver headshell weight. As Cmk said, ZYX's are fairly light. Your arm and an unweighted ZYX would be too low in effective mass for optimum performance.
I have owned a Koetsu Rosewood and RWS. I now own a ZYX Airy 3 silver. It is in a total different league then the Koetsu I have owned.
I am delighted with the sound I am hearing. I have no need to upgrade, for the first time in over 10 years.
Although I haven't heard a Urishi in years(and only casually at that), I own the silver wired Airy 3 with the optional silver base to add mass. After about 100 hours break-in, I'm very happy with it, and think it would please you.
While I would characterize the Airy 3 as providing plenty of detail, it doesn't do it in a forced, etched fashion. Details don't thrust themselves upon you in a falsely magnified way, but rather float in space for you to gaze your mind's eye upon them as you chose to.
The tonal balance might not be as quite as warm as the Koetsu, but my gut is that it's probably a good thing, and will prove more natural and satisfying in the long run.
FWIW, I chose silver over copper because of Mehran's recommendation. He told me that silver would have a touch more warmth than the copper, which seemed more complementary to my particular system. I agree with the other comments that the sb weight is a good idea for use with most tonearms.
Overall, I'm very pleased w/performance of the Airy3, both vs. my prior cart, a Shelter 501, and on an absolute basis. email me if you'd like to discuss more offline. Cheers,
Well thanks for all the replies. It looks like the ZYX cartridges are highly recommended and I may have to give Mehran a call.

Not to throw a curve into the equation, but have any of you heard the Ortofon Jubilee? I ask because I was exchanging private e-mails with a 'reviewer' friend. He has reviewed a ZYX cartridge and gave it a very high recommendation. He's told me that his favorite cartridge for the last 6 months or so has been the Jubilee. Evidently he knows quite a few others who are loving it as well, on high end rigs too. VPI HR-X, SME 30's, etc.
Says it has the detail of the ZYX without the forwardness.
Also says it has better bass and dynamics.

He's owned many more cartridges than myself. ZYX Airy 3S SB, Koetsu Rosewood/Signautre/and Platinums, Urushi's, Lyra Titan, Van den Hul's, Shelter's, etc. So he has a lot of experience. I know it's still my ears/my system, but I'll never have a chance to audition them all.

The more I read the more confused I get. You know what they say, a little knowledge is dangerous, and right now I have very little knowledge. :-)

Maybe I should just get another Helikon. I know I like the Helikon. I'm just rambling now, excuse me.

Could you shed some light on the rest of your system? Type of music you listen to? Room layout? Any pics?

As anything is on the web, opinions posted by folks here, good intentioned as they are, are the cumulation of their musical journey thus far. Looking at the systems and seeing if they share similarities with what you have now, could help in determining if their suggestions will work in your system, ie it shows where they are coming from.

Cart reviews are difficult at best. Different system context especially different speakers - which would then mean a completely different tonal balance, affect the overall sound heard. Comments like "better bass and dynamics" have to read in the system context and the arm/cart setup as this has a major impact on the sound. AFAIK, the ZYX is very sensitive to minor changes in VTA/VTF, etc...so matching it with your arm is critical, ie your arm's ability to fine tune these parameters becomes even more important. A slight increase in VTF or a lowering of the VTA will give you more bass. Dynamics will be a factor of the cart's output and the phono stage's gain/S/N ratio.
John, sorry for not responding earlier... I have not heard to Urushi Tsugaru (are you aure that's a real cartridge??? or did you make it up???). I have heard the Rosewood signature Platinum a few times, but I don't know how they compare. I find the RSP to be too laidback for me. My experience is much smaller than that which you already have.

I can't comment on whether the silver Airy 3 is warmer than the copper since I have not been able to compare the two. I was planning to buy the silver, but when I spoke with Mehran about it, he asked about my listening preferences, and recommended the copper. I have not owned the Titan so I can't directly compare the two, but I have never owned a cartridge as good as the Airy 3x sb.

I wonder if Doug isn't right about his recommendation of the Airy 2 if you want a warmer cartridge. The Airy 3 is not bright, or etched, but it delivers an incredible level of detail without getting away from delivering music. Often times when this much detail is delivered, it is at the cost of the music.

This might not be a great analogy, but when I had my Krell pre-amp, it offered amazing levels of detail. When I replaced it with the Klyne, I did not get the same level of detail, but I did get a much more musical presentation. What were we talking about?!?
C'mon Nate, I'm not that creative. There are three versions of the Urushi:
Tsugaru (black)
Vermilion (red)
Wajima (gold)

Supposedly the Tsugaru is warmer sounding. I've never heard the RSP, but I know someone who has and says it's much better than the Urushi. The RSP is out of my league, just like the Titan and the UNIverse. I'm gonna give Pat a call over the weekend, and see what he thinks.

Cmk, sorry, no pics. My analog front end has been described previously. Preamp is BAT VK-51SE, amp is BAT VK-600SE, speakers are Verity Audio Parsifal Encore's. I/c's and speaker cables are Ridge Street Audio Poiema!!. Power cords from Shunyata/Nordost/Electraglide.

My favorite listening is jazz, mostly from the Davis/Coltrane/Rollins era. Some vocals from the likes of Norah Jones, Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, and some rock from Neil Young/Springsteen/Van Morrison type. Not much classical, no opera, country or rap, thank you.

Room is 24 X 14 X 8.5 , speakers out about 3 to 3.5 feet from the walls.

FWIW, after searching the archives here and at VA, there seems to be very little information about the Jubilee. Although the little info that is out there is all positive.
The Jubilee can be had for about half the price of the Koetsu or the ZYX, so it deserves further consideration. I don't have to go that cheap, but I don't feel compelled to spend more money either. If a cartridge is a great bargain, like your Denon 103 Cmk, then one doesn't have to spend more, right?

Detailed info on the Koetsus :
I've heard both the Tsugaru and the Wajima and there's really no difference. The Vermillion though is slightly different, but I can't exactly remember where it is - uses a different magnet or something.

Mmm...a very interesting selection of equipment you've got there. Although I've not heard the any of the Verity stuff before, having a look at their website gives you an idea of the kind of stuff they produce. Of course nothing beats an audition.

To further understand your audio journey, which carts have you used before? Also in your opinion, which is the weakest link now in your analogue playback?

The Jubilee is an interesting proposition. Ortofon aren't really into marketing so their products are just less well known, but not necessarily any worse than the competition. They've been in the business for years and stayed in business, so they must be doing something right. I've heard the KONTRAPUNKT b on an SME 10 and was quite impressed by what I heard. Pretty good bargain at the price.

OTOH, getting a Koetsu is like getting a piece of legend, stuff that dreams are made of. Irregardless of what others say about resolution and detail, Koetsus are the only cart which have that magical midrange others die for. Even till today are held in such high regard. A simple scan through VA users' systems will show that.

My Denon 103R is a poor man's Koetsu. It has some of the midrange magic, or less of the Koetsu signature sound, while maintaining a certain coherence through the freq range which makes it very musical. Very hard to beat at even 3x the price. Of course part of that sound I'm getting is from the Schroeder or rather, the combination just works.

To further understand your audio journey, which carts have you used before? Also in your opinion, which is the weakest link now in your analogue playback?

Alright Kenneth, let's see. I've owned a Dynavector 10X4 mk II, Grado Reference Platinum, Benz Glider, Sumiko BPS, Benz Ruby 2, Lyra Helikon and Koetsu Rosewood Signature.

The weakest link? Probably the 'table/arm combination.

I would like to address that eventually, but I feel that the cartridge is a more immediate concern. Also, because I'm lazy and selling/shipping the 'table/arm would be more difficult than just buying a new cart. Since I plan on just keeping the Helikon as a back up, there will be no selling/shipping issues at all.

I'd love to get like a Teres 320 table with a Graham Phantom or Wheaton Tri-Planar VII arm, but that seems like a dream right now.

Hi John

Ok, I've got some actual user feedback on the Jubilee. This user was using the Kb prior to the J and these are his comments :
"I am using the Jubilee now after the kont b. went dead after 2 years.

You are right that the Kont B. is noisier and very detail if you recall. It is awesome for very quiet record but will be unwelcome when the LP is less than prestine.
Kont B. is very good for the money though and I don't find it less refine.

For $xxx more, Jubilee is quieter (much less groove noise), is more organic or better believable texture. The human voice is warmer and details (although no more nor less than Kont b) become less striking or distracting (some would say). Maybe it is a tad smoother than Kont B.
Overall Kont B. may be most suitable for out and out rock record and Jubilee is more overall balance and could also shine in classical music."

This friend's system is very well balanced, and extremely detailed while sounding natural, as such, I do trust his comments implicitly.

Perhaps a good thing to do now is not to over spend, get a replacement cart, while planning for the next big jump with the TT/arm. For the arm, the budget bargain in high end is the Schroeder model 2.

Hi Kenneth,

Thanks for the review. The Jubilee hardly sounds like a runaway winner in that light.

Here is what my friend had to say about it (he's also a reviewer):

"The Urushi is a pretty large step down from the RSP.
I did not like the Titan at all. Everything from middle C up had a definite lack of harmonic content, while below middle C it sounded great.
The Zyx is fast and exciting, slightly forward, but this is a balance/system synergy thing that may work great in your system.
The Shelter 90x was very good, too, but after a while I felt it could be better (higher resolution, better soundstages).

The cartridge I have been using for the last 4 months, and I just ordered another one, is an Ortofon Jubilee. It has the detail of the Zyx without the forwardness, bass and dynamics comparable to a Clearaudio Insider Gold, and a very realistic midrange. Where it really excels is the way it keeps complex music clear and distinct, always letting me hear whatever instrument I want to, or just relax into the whole presentation.

Two other listeners, one with a SME30 and one with a VPI HRX (I have a Kuzma) heard the same things from the Jubilee. "

This is quite intriguing, especially since a new, sealed Jubilee can be had for around $1200. It may well be worth a shot.Sounds like it may be some middle ground between the smoothness of the Koetsu's and the detail of the ZYX's.

Thanks again for your input. I'll let you know which way I go.

BTW, I did some searching after reading about your Schroeder. It looks like a pretty impressive arm. I don't know why I never heard of it before ( I guess 'tables and cartridges get most of the press). Teres seems to recommend the Schroeder's VERY highly. They like them better than the Graham 2.2 or the Tri-Planar.
More food for thought......

One more thing, what's that spacer between your Denon cartridge and your Schroeder tonearm? It's not one of these, is it?

Well John, the price point you are looking at is the bargain range of high end carts. You can get very good stuff. I suppose lots of reviewers prefer to go straight for the top of the line stuff, and leave out these carts which maybe more value for money.

Again a similar thing about arms, folks tend to look at the best out there and ignore the entry level stuff, but let me assure you that entry level with Schroeder already has the magic of the more expensive arms, just perhaps a bit less resolution - and this only audible in very well setup systems.

The "spacer" you refer to is actually the mounting plate of the cart. For the Denon, a heavier plate is required in order to get this low compliance cart to have the appropriate arm/cart resonant frequency. The brass plate adds +6g to the effective mass of the arm.

Not meaning to throw another ball in the park, but the audio press have been very positive about the Sumiko Celebration. Not sure what the price is there, but it should be in the ball park.

Well, a follow up. After a long phone conversation with Pat Malone and a shorter one with Mehran, I decided to give the Zyx Airy R1000 3S SB a try. I received it on Wed. and after listening for a couple of days I have some initial impressions.

I'm VERY impressed. The tonal balance is very good, more detail than the Koetsu Rosewood Signauture I used to own, more musical than my Lyra Helikon. I won't bother going through the bass/mid/high checklist, as music is so involving that I haven't started analyzing it or breaking it apart. Soundstaging does deserve a special mention though, as it does soundstage VERY well. Spatial cues go well out beyond the speakers and rear wall. The one other thing that has been really impressive is that my LP's sound quieter, with less surface noise.

Kenneth, I really wish I could have tried a Sumiko Celebration and/or the Ortofon Jubilee, but when one is cyber-shopping, there are only so many options. One must just try to gather info and make a decision, which is what I tried to do. I am very happy with my new Zyx. That's not to say that it's better than the Jubilee or Celebration. It does sound terrific though.

That's enough for now. Thanks to all of you for your input and guidance.

One more thing, Mehran is a terrific guy to deal with, and I do highly recommend that anyone interested in things analog give him a call. He is not high pressure at all, just a plain, honest gentleman, who really cares about your (my) happiness first and foremost. If only all dealers could be so easy to work with, I might buy more new gear. :-)


John, I'm smiling! I continue to be more impressed with the Airy 3. You made a good choice... finally! : )

Glad to hear you made a choice, and even happier to hear you're enjoying it. The sonic characteristics you've heard from the Airy 3 are similar to what we've enjoyed with all the ZYX's we've tried. They're so well integrated musically that it's tough to remember to listen for audiophile characteristics - why would you want to?!

The cartridge will get substantially better as it breaks in, which will take something over 100 hours. You'll get even more detail. This might worry you at first but be patient. When it's fully broken in all the detail will be seamlessly integrated and all the HF grain will go away.

Enjoy the music!
I know this post is a little old but I have both a Koetsu Urushi Wajima & a Zyx Airy 3S & yes the Zyx is more detailed than the Urushi, but everything the Urushi does comes to life with passion, the Zyx sounds lean in comparison, the sound stage is somewhat smaller & the timbre of instruments is less apparent. I prefer the Urushi overall as it's definitely less fatiguing over long periods of listening. It depends what floats your boat, I listen to all types of music & don't believe that a Cartridge can tell the difference in what it's playing, I know people will choose a Cartridge due to the type of music they listen to, but if you listen to everything then that becomes a problem unless like me you have two arms on your T/table & yes I have used both Cartridges on both Arms. The Zyx is a nice Cartridge it's just not for me, I also have Transfiguration Temper V & also prefer the Urushi although for different reasons, it's less detailed than the Zyx but the Urushi has around the same detail but has more air & an organic feel to the sound & is just as Dynamic, I just sold a Benz Ruby 3H, this tried to be a Koetsu but was less Holographic sounding than any of the other Cartridges mentioned, very smooth though but a little too polite for my taste. The Koetsu sounds all Cartridges sounded best loaded at 100 Ohms with exception to the Ruby which was best loaded at 22Kohms. I have no Axe to grind regarding any piece of equipment, these are just my findings. So for me it's Urushi number 1, Airy, 2 & Temper 3.Oh and my system is all Tube.I deliberately put 2 Arms on my table so that I could make comparisons between Arm Cartridge combinations in my quest to find the Holy Grail as it were & I do listen to everything on the Urushi now with surprisingly good results, but then it is probably the most lively of Koetsu's. I may try a Dynavector XV1S next. Hope this will help whoever needs to know!!
Yve9258-Thanks for resurrecting the thread, and sharing your findings. I have had three Koetsu's. First, a std Red/Rosewood, then RSP, then the Jade. The best result I got was with the RSP on a Graham 2.2, feeding an Aesthetix IO. Certainly not a quiet phono section in stock form, but a nice match for the RSP. During that period, I also bought a Benz Ruby 3, and I agree, it was no RSP. Jumping ahead, my system had changed quite a bit. Instead of a CJ 16/ART pre/Aesthetix Phono, I had moved on to a Shindo Monbrison. I changed the Graham 2.2 to a Basis Vector, and FWIW, the table was a Basis 2500. I never quite got the Jade to perform to the level of the RSP. I am sure there are many reasons for this. The Graham perhaps a better match than the Vector. The fixed loading on the Monbrison not ideal for the Jade. I can't say for sure. The bottom line is, I no longer own a Koetsu, but feel I will once again. I do recognize them as one of the best, for my taste. What tonearm are you using for your Urushi ?
The 10.5 really likes Dyna and Benz cartridges. From what you say your audio preferences are , I think you'd be happy with the Benz...
Dear Yve, Be careful, there are a many here who take pleasure in dumping on Koetsu cartridges of all types, even the Urushi. Many of those who do so are ZYX-philes. (I actually like the ZYX UNiverse, too, and very much. It's just different from Urushi.) I have owned my Urushi for many years, and I agree with you on its virtues. I have been running mine in a Triplanar, but I lately have come to think that it may do even better in a tonearm with higher effective mass. Or I may just add some mass to the TP. What tonearm do you use? Thx.
C'mon Lewm, they are not ZYX-philes. It's all about system balance. Yes, the ZYX is more transparent and the Koetsu is more musical. In some systems the ZYX will sound better, in some the Koetsu will sound better. It depends on the whole system, room included. My system leans towards the side of warmth, so Koetsu's, Benz's, Transiguration's, etc sound dull and lifeless in my room. That does NOT mean that these are bad cartridges. I have been over to friend's houses where these same cartridges sounded much better than they do in my room.

It's the same reasoning that certain brands of well loved components, like Conrad Johnson, don't work in my room. I suppose I could add more reflective surfaces and/or brighter sounding speakers to liven up my room so one of these cartridges may sound better, but really, what is the point of that?

When will people understand that there is no absolute best anything? It's all about balance. Enjoy what works best for you. Everyone is welcome to share their expeiences, but we don't need to start labeling folks.
If you are looking for a cartridge to add warmth and musicality, Koetsu, Benz and Transfiguration are fine choices. If you are looking for a cartidge to add resolution and life, ZYX, Lyra and Dynavector are all fine options.

Dear John, There is not one word of your post with which I would disagree. For me to say that many who categorically do not like Koetsu cartridges happen to be ZYX-philes has no bearing on your summary statement, except that in your construct such persons might be said to own relatively warm sounding systems that benefit from the more clinical sound of the ZYX. (I would not want to go overboard with that seemingly negative descriptor for ZYX, as I am also very fond of the UNIverse, in a system that is nearly a carbon copy of my own.) I would only take issue with your lumping of the Transfiguration cartridges with Benz and Koetsu. IMO, Transfiguration cartridges as a group are among the most truly neutral I have ever heard, neither warm nor clinical. And oddly enough, I do not care for Benz cartridges, as a rule, although I have not heard any of their latest models. But I agree with your grouping the Benz "sound" with the Koetsu sound. Peace. Out.
Well FJN04, I'm using an Audiomods Mk4 with 6 grams of added mass on the headshell, also a Moerch DP-6 with 12" Blue Arm Tube, which is a perfect match for the Zyx, this Cartridge incidentally I haven't given up on, I can get rid of it's slightly shouty nature by increasing tracking force by a 0.03gram but then it's open airy nature is decreased, I shall be increasing the mass of this arm by around 3 grams to see if this improves matters, I have also had tracking issues with the Airy(due to mass). I have had a good results using the Koetsu on both Arms. I have owned all the usual top Arm with exception to the Triplanner, some are very overratted IMHO, I like the Graham 2.2 & have owned 3 of them, I really think , they are the best value used arm available, I have owned two different Phantoms & they are not a good match for some Cartridges, I think the 2.2 suits a higher range of cartridges, I don't think it's better than a phantom just more flexible, this is the reason I use the two arms I'm using. I may also try a Universe at some stage as it is obviously going to be an improvement on an Airy. I know the Koetsu is a touch on the Warm side but the Urushi is not at all lifeless. I don't dislike the Airy 3, I just find it less listenable over long periods, it's hardly a good match for most arms on the market, but then neither is the Koetsu, they both low compliance designes & therefore need an arm of higher mass than most.
I'm not particularly a "ZYX-phile" (unless I'm also an Ortofon A-90-, Transfiguration Orpheus- and Dynavector XV-1S-phile; and I'd probably "phile" others if I could but hear them) but I'll freely admit to being a Koetsu-phobe, which is a somewhat different beast. I've heard many models in many systems, from the $4K Black to the $14K Tiger Eye Platinum. To my ears they all exhibited the same intentional colorations, to one extent or another. Each one strove to sound like a Koetsu. None of them strove to efface itself and let music sound like itself, which would be my phile-osophy.

Agree with Lewm regarding Transfiguration. It would not occur to me to lump these inherently neutral cartridges with Koetsu or Benz. The Orpheus, A-90 and UNIverse are the three most neutral cartridges I've heard. (Well, there's one better but it's not released yet and if I mentioned it I'd be suspected of being a ZYX-phile, lol).
Hello Dougdeacon, I have just finished getting the Zyx sounding superb,but I still ain't getting rid of that Urushi. I have not yet aspired to the heights of those cartridges you mention, but I probably will investigate at least two of them. I have set up a couple of Orpheus's for other people & will stick my neck on the line here & say that it is probably the best cartridge that I have heard to date, but is discontinued. I am friends here in the UK with the Importer of Transfiguration, but I am too sworn to secrecy regarding certain happenings, I have tried various offereings from the Tranny Range & the Phoenix is no Temper which I agree is vary neutral, I personally think that the old Axia was more neutral, whereas the Phoenix is livelier, this may be down to it's silver coils, I don't know but I've owned the Mk1 & Mk2 & prefer the Temper V which I still own, this Cartridge is closer in Character to the Orpheus(not as detailed though) than the Phoenix, this may be down to it's Single ring magnet, which as I understand has disappeared from all their new designs. I am not in the trade now but I was & now prefer it that way as I now enjoy it as a hobby again. Yve is really Barry by the way!!
Perhaps I lumped the Transfiguration cartridges too quickly with the Benz and Koetsu brands. I've never own a Transfiguration and I have only heard the two Orpheus' in two friend's systems. I would say that while they did not seem as warm to me as Benz or Koetsu cartridges, I would not call the Orpheus neutral. At the very least, from what I heard, I would call them "polite". Very good micro-dynamics, not so good macro-dynamics. It did not have the speed, resolution or transparency that I look for in a cartridge.

Since I've never owned a Transfiguration cart, partially due to my listening experiences in friend's homes, nor have I listened to a Temper or Phoenix, I should not have lumped Transfiguration in with Benz or Koetsu. No hard feelings, that's why they make so many different flavors.

I am looking for the URL website of Koetsu ?

As far as I know, Koetsu does not have a website.
Haw we contact direct to Koetsu if their is not website ?

Thanks jmcgrogan !
I have no idea how to contact Koetsu directly. Maybe best chance is to ask your local dealer or your country's importer. Good luck.