Terry as you know Madake is top of the line and totally different:
"Instead of using a metal to fashion the cartridge's cantilever (aluminum, boron, etc) or a crystalline solid such as sapphire, ruby or diamond, the Madake actually uses BAMBOO. Madake is famously grown on one mountain in Kyoto, the site of a famous temple, and the source of the material used to make the cantilever of the Madake stereo phono cartridge."
How many cartridges with BAMBOO CANTILEVER exists in the history of Hi-End Audio ?
And the specifications of Miyajima Madake MC:
Impedance: About 16 ohms (About 0.23mV output)
Frequency range: (-3dB) 20 Hz to 32 kHz
Tracking force: 2.5 g
Stylus Shape: Shibata (diamond needle)
Compliance (10Hz): around 9×10-6cm/dyne
Appropriate temperature: 20-30 Celsius (most suitable 25 C)
Weight: about 9.7g
Body: African Blackwood
Stefano Bertoncello visited Miyajima-Lab in 2009 and reported this in his blog:
"There I met Miyajima-san and his beautiful, well sounding audio system, and... his daughter, an handsome and skilled young artisan whose little, good hands were the responsible for hand-assemblying of ALL the MC cartridges which I saw in a batch under her hands."
full article with pictures here:
I think I've been on that "mountain" in Kyoto, which is actually a hill, the climbing of which is very strenuous exercise, even though there are steps all the way to the top. On the top, there is a shrine and monks doing their thing. It was more a mystical experience than a musical one. I share the doubts that bamboo on that hill would be any different from bamboo on some other nearby hill that is subjected to the same weather. But then, I'm an agnostic in all things. If folks are selling their Kansui's in order to obtain the new model, I may be a buyer of a Kansui.
There shouldn't be any crazy marketing tricks as US distributor sell Miyajima cartridges on trial and accept return for full refund! Can you imagine, i wish European distributors could do the same, but they are not. Also retipping by Miyajima-San in Japan via US distributor cost just $1100 (for Kansui) as far as i know (when the cartridge cost $3600 new).
However Madake cost $5895 in USA. Awaiting Fremers review.
The Hyperion, Soundsmiths moving-iron phono cartridge with cactus needle cantilever.
"Superior cantilever designs, Ledermann explained, have traditionally been tapereda technique thats difficult to accomplish with aluminum and even more difficult with extremely hard and durable materials such as boron, ruby, and diamond. Cactus needles, however, are naturally tapered, stiff, and durable, while their stacked fibers provide natural dampening."
"The Hyperion moving-iron phono cartridge ($7000) is available with Soundsmiths CL or OCL styli, has a recommended tracking force of 1.8 to 2.2 grams, an output of 0.3mV, and is compatible with MC phono preamps. It is also available in a linear-tracking version, the Hyperion LT. Soundsmith guarantees the Hyperion for 10 years, and Peter Ledermann will retip the cartridge for free if it wears out within that time."
This is probably the latest (July 2015) article about Miyajima Kansui from Koetsu Rosewood user:
"The Koetsu Rosewood paints a beautiful sound picture with magical emphasis on harmonic information and nuances revealed."
"The Miyajima presents a more “solid” sound, surprisingly, with much more low-end power – and “stereo image” definition achieved without excess brightness. Voices and instruments are clearly located in space."
Any other Koetsu Rosewood Signature users here ? These cartridges are in the same league ? Very interesting.
The Madake is up with the best of the best, of any cartridge I have ever heard.
I might agree about the fru-fru bit of any particular bamboos, but, I can say that I cannot deny it.
Bamboo is a plant, as as such, is highly influenced by its growing environment. Many centuries of working with bamboo would, necessarily, make one very familiar with it's subtle qualities.
Then, someone discovers that Bamboo makes a very good cantilever.
Then, in consideration of of the qualities of what makes a great cantilever, bamboo which exhibits these characteristics the most, is selected.
Enter, the Madake....
The Dynavector XV-1s, which was my reference cartridge for a while, the XV-1t, the Koetsu Signature Rosewood Platinum, Linn Akiva, and Kandid, SME A95, Benz Ebony LP, Miyajima Shilabe.
I do not know the Kansui.
So, not that many cartridges, a somewhat modest list, but the Madake really impressed me.
I injured myself yesterday, and am heading in to surgery later this morning, so, I am bowing out of this thread for now.
If you have a chance to listen to a Madake, I hope you enjoy it. It is a really nice cartridge.
Interesting thread. My initial experience borrowing the Waza (good but not quite all it could be, clearly an early design) led me to buy a Shilabe, then a couple of years later, a Kansui.
The Kansui is superb. I've owned some pretty high-end cartridges including the Audio Note Io2 and Koetsu Rosewood Signature, and the Kansui for me came out on top by quite a margin. Indeed I sold the Io2 (and the Kondo S6 SUT I used with it) when I bought the Kansui, which I use with Hashimoto HM7s - far more organic and musical. (The Io is great in many ways too, but a bit more hifi).
One thing to note is that like the Shilabe, the Kansui likes a heavy tonearm - in theory it's more compliant, but only a shade. I'm having great results with the Ikeda arm and also with an Ortofon RMG Limited (a very well appointed top spec version of the Japanese reissue of the vintage RMG). Had good results too with my previous Fidelity Research FR64S.
I'd love to hear the Madake but I'm a bit skeptical of the back story - I'm in no rush to trade in the Kansui.
It shares a stable with quite a few other cartridge including two from Miyajima - Zero 0.7 tip and Premium 78 mono - an SPU GM Mono MkII for early mono, an Ortofon SPU Royal, and an Ikeda 9TT.
All have their moment but I'd put the cheaper Kansui above the 9TT even in the Ikeda arm and headshell.