My kiseki Blackheart nightmare.


First, I want to disclose I’m not a dealer or in any other way affiliated with any company related to audio. I’m just a life long Audiophile that has traveled many roads good and bad. I highly recommend when buying a delicate component like a phono cartridge buy from a dealer that will standby you so when issues like I had with the Kiseki Blackheart arise, so they will be there for you like mine was.
I purchased my Blackheart after owning the Purpleheart for approximately 6 months without any issues. I liked the performance so much the Audiophile in me decided I needed to see what the new Blackheart was all about. After receiving my first Blackheart about 5 hours into the break-in period I started hearing a tinkling noise in the left channel. I check all my settings and they were fine. Even checked phono stage. Called my dealer and he advised me to bring my table in to see if we could replicate the noise. I did and the issue was the same; thank god they heard it. My dealer called the distributor and they wanted it sent to them so they could test it. It took over 2 weeks after they received it to confirm the cartridge was defective. They immediately sent a replacement (Blackheart) cartridge. I was very positive the issue was with just that cartridge. Unfortunately the same issue again. Dealer notified the distributor again they advised I try one more Blackheart. I unwilling accepted the idea not having any confidence a third one would not have the same issue. After receiving the new cartridge the issue was still present and it also was returned. I’m not sure if it was just a bad batch of Purplehearts that were defective, but at $4200. this type of quality control is un acceptable. Thank god my dealer was there for me it could have been much worse. I’ve since moved on the a Hana UmamI Red; which smokes the Blackheart in every way. And yes, the Hana has no issues.
hiendmmoe
Ouch. As the dealer did their job well, mentioning them by name would add legitimacy to the compliant.
The Hana Umami Red is a beautifully sounding cartridge. I upgraded from Hana ML and since then did not felt the need to look elsewhere.

And Kudos to your dealer for outstanding customer service. I get the same exemplary customer service from my dealer (Colin@Gestalt Audio, TN).
also, very nice to know you like the Hana so much , perhaps a short review ?
There seems to be a disturbing incidence of Kiseki issue reports over the last few years. Not a LOT in absolute number to be sure (countered by the fact these must be very low volume sales numbers), but seemingly more than the other major cartridge brands have faced. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a complaint about Hana quality control. Glad you've gotten to a happy place, OP!
Every product, brand, can have their moments.

I went thru 2 Kiseki Blue. 1st one stylus came off cantilever. 2nd which covered the 1st- right channel goes futzy JUST after the one year warranty.

I Had that one looked at by a legit third party retipper, who concluded it left the factory with issue. S.O.L.

What am I using now? A 3rd Kiseki Blue! Both acquired way south  of MSRP, thankfully.

Nice sounding cart otherwise. Not worth the MSRP, though. Plenty of fine sounding carts for less.
The dealer that stood by my side was HI FI sound in Minneapolis Minnesota.
I can’t recommend them enough. If your looking first class service oriented dealer in the Twin cities area Hi Fi sound should be at the top of your list. 
Hana made by Excel Sound Inc - one of the biggest Japanese OEM since the 70's that returned to cartridge manufacturing after a long break.

I wish you good luck finding out who Kiseki's manufacturer is :)  


Your story had a happy ending, so I would hardly call it a "nightmare"; but it was certainly an inconvenience. 
Any idea what caused the tinkle?
Post removed 
@lewm , probably a bad prostate gland.
@mijostyn:

"Ah don't care who y'ar. That rot thar's funny." (nod to Larry the Cable Guy)
@mijostyn: 
looking at how many post you have seems like you have nothing better to do than spend your day trolling and posting juvenile comments like yours above.
@lewn: I suspect the suspension in the coils has something to do with. It’s funny how all had the same issue in the left channel.


@hiendmmoe 
It's called a sense of humor.
  @mijostyn 👍  I get it.
It's sort of ironic to consider that Kiseki was originally set up by the Dutch importer of Koetsu in the late 70's in response to Sugano's erratic product supply and apparent lack of quality control.
This is not the first time I hear about such complaints with their current product, so the resurrected Kiseki brand now seems to suffer from the kind of issues Koetsu has resolved years ago.
My wife wants to know if you tried putting a Penny on top of it? 😀


Glad you were able to resolve your issues with the Kiseki cartridge. I owned a Purple Heart for a year and while it seemed to have no obvious fault it was painfully bright and steely - not at all aligned with the reviews. No amount of tinkering with VTA/alignment/Antiskate could resolve it. Have just ditched it for a Grado Aeon which works wonderfully on my SME V. Rich tone, with outstanding detail and dynamics. 
My wife wants to know if you tried putting a Penny on top of it? 😀
@curiousjim
That reminded me when my wife tells me to just put a nickel on the cartridge, it worked back in her college days...!

Mijostyn,
I was going to say the same thing. Op, 
I have a freind who had the Hana SL. He said a reviewer at a show told him it was one of the best values for the money at $750. I can only imagine how good the red is. I am happy you ended up with a cart you love. 
I know they were mentioned but the service from your dealer, HI FI sound in Minneapolis, MN, was beyond exception. Without them, this would have been a rant post. Congrats to them. I hope you continue to use and purchase from them. I am far from Minneapolis but wish I had such a relationship in my area that I could foster.
eBay as reference. One can read philosophical disputes ''on
referring'' but what we all expect is that a name should name
someone. When I noticed ''to many Van den Hul's'' on , say,
second hand market in combination with the fact that Mr.
Van den Hul spend much time in Ukraine where he sells his
cables I pronounced my own ''Heureka'' : Van den Hul's are not
(all) Van den Hul's. Aka: ''the misleiding reference''. The same
was the case with ''repair service '' by Soundsmith in the sense
of ''who deed the repair'' but I was nearly killed by Peter lovers
for such ''insulting assumption''. The ''inventor'' of Kiseki Van den
Dungen deed not only invented ''Kiseki name'' but also the
person who made Kiseki cartrdiges and even polished the
style with human hair. His name was Mr. Fukadu. An curious
name without an bearer because nobody know who this Mr.
was. TILL TODAY. Even more curious is the fact that ''THOSE
Kiseki's made in the 80 is sound much better than the new one.
Should we then conclude with ,uh, Shakespeare ''what is in
a name''? Well there are Ikedas, Takedas, Allaerts and some
''one man persons'' with the right reference. It is not the name
of the cartridge that counts but the name of the the real person
 who made it. 






“Bad batch of Purplehearts”.   Don’t you mean bad batch of Blackhearts?  
Either way, I’ve read about quality control issues re: Kiseki and sympathize with buyers who’ve experienced defective cartridges.  I’ve had mine for 5 years or so and have had nothing but good luck.  My only issue with long body cartridges like the Kiseki and Koetsu products is they are intolerant of warped records.  Shorter carts like the Ortofons are better designed to handle warps.  My Purpleheart sounds fabulous.  Sounds like your dealer was a great advocate for you, which is how it should be.   
My understanding is that the Purplehearts that are now on sale are a batch of cartridges made long ago that have been "discovered." I don't know if the same is true with Blackhearts.  I know someone who bought a Purpleheart that was bad right out of the box; the suspension on it had failed, probably from aging in the box.  
I also had bad experiences with Kiseki Purplehearts, two defective samples, eventually shifted to Vdh Colibri.
One of my Kiseki's wooden body was split and had been crudely glued together- incomprehensible that anyone would think that is acceptable
I had a Kiseki Purpleheart. Three of them actually. The first two had bent (out of parallel cantilevers). Then I used it for about two years and I was happy with the sound except that I had to lower the back end quite a bit to get the sonic balance to my liking. Then I found out about Soundsmith and the more I learned, the more I was impressed. I have a Sussurro MK 2 ES, which bests the Kiseki in tracking and finesse. Now, I would never even consider another MC cartridge. Plus, Soundsmith’s are cheap to retip. I hope to own the Hyperion some day.
What can be worse than a very expensive cartridge made with poor quality control, and dealers who do not want to help their customers once there is a serious problem with the product they are selling.

It was one of the reasons I stopped buying new expensive high-end cartridges.
I have also owned a Kiseki  PH for over five years and it has performed beautifully! It's unfortunate that some owners have had poor results. I wonder how many are the result of poor quality control vs improper mounting, resulting in bent cantilevers?
Quality control relates to possible defects. But sound quality 
relates to the ''master'' who make the cartridge. Van den
Dungen obviously deed not find the ''right master'' as (alias)
Mr. Fukadu who made all ''old Kisekie's'' which were in high
esteem. This explains so many new Kisekie's offered second
hand. Try to find ''old'' Black heart , Gold spot or ''stone kinds''
as Agaat and Lapis Lazuli. Those who own them are not
willing to part from them.  

Nandric, “Fukadu “? Is that name real or merely very funny?
Dear Lew, Fukadu is also invented by Van den Dungen. Nobody
 knows who made those ''old Kiseki's'' . My guess was Kondo
san because he made SUT's for Kiseki but other think that Dynavector made them. 
@nandric 
I firend of mine has the original Kiseki Blue Silver Spot and the original Kiseki Agate Ruby - both of these were superb cartridges - the energy of the Koetsu range but very precise in their sound.

Of the current Kiseki range I have only heard the Purple Heart Sapphire and it had less detail and transparency than an aging Ortofon Rohmann on the same TT/system. It was vague and lifeless, nothing even remoteluy comparable to the originals.

Needless to say the owners current VDH Colibri and Kuzma CAR50 are in another universe. Given the price of the new Kisekis they seem extremely poor value in my view.

These things happen.....I got a new Ortofon Winfield that was internally wired wrong.....they easily replaced it.
First post - I have a vdh Crimson and broke the cantilever and sent back to AJ for repair last week. I didn’t want to go too long without a good cart to I bought a Hana Red. Wow - it sounds very (!) similar to the Crimson which is to say it sounds phenomenal- even with only 12 hours or so on it. That said, I’m a bit of a newbie and probably don’t have the discerning ear many of you have. 
It will be a tough decision which cart to run full time. I’ll probably buy another matching tonearm and just swap them out from time to time. 
Dear dover, You of course know that M. Levinson discovered
Takeda san. I am not sure about ''Krell'' in the sense of ''before''
or ''later''.  However Krell mentioned Takeda on the back side
of his metal box while Levinson pretended that those were his
own. My guess because Van den Dungen and Kondo san were
good friends is that this misterious ''Fukuda'' may be advised
to Van Dungen by Kondo san. Van den Dungen  was not familiar
with Japan but shared ''obsession '' with tubes with Kondo san.
This explains their friendship as well the fact that Kondo san
designed 3 SUT's for Kiseki. BTW this ''secret'' may result in
''bargain Kondo '' if one can find ''the silver Kiseki SUT''. 
I own the whole Blue series with Gold spot as latest design.
In addition the (stone) Agaat and Black heart. The latest
Kiseki meant as ''poor man Lapis Lazuli''. I like  Agaat the
most.