I have the Kiseki Blue N.S. on my VPI Classic 2. It's an excellent cartridge. Everything I've read about the Purple is that it takes things up another notch. I bought mine here from seller Kron. He has the Purple Heart for significantly less than MSRP - https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisa76gb-kiseki-purple-heart-n-s-brand-new-cartridges
Having said all that, I have heard a few mentions of people having defective Purple Hearts, so make sure your purchase includes a warranty.
tommy, if you have a unipivot arm on that table you would be much better off with a high compliance Soundsmith.
The Japanese irritate me for using the name Purple Heart .
I had to be shot to get mine in Vietnam. Still hurts ..
Take a look at Soundsmith Paua or Sussurro. I have the latter. It tracks better and retrieves more detail than the Purpleheart which I had. The Purpleheart was also a pain to set up and I also had to get Upscale Audio to send one or two replacements until I got one with a parallel cantilever. But that was 3 or 4 years ago so I can’t speak to the current quality,
Kiseki PH is everything positive user reviews mention.
I've used the Kiseki Blue on my VPI Classic, but had QC issues with 2. First one the stylus fell off, the replacement had a right channel issue that conveniently developed just outside the warranty. That said, I can not recommend Kiseki.
If you want value=performance/cost, consider the Audio Technica ART9. Half the cost. I've used it before and after the Kiseki experience. Look at the XA model if you have 65db+ gain.
The ART9 is HW approved, and from what I understand, what the VPI Shyla cart is based on.
Check out Soundsmith also.
@schubert, Purple Heart is the type of wood used for the cartridge body. Thanks for your service.
Add me add me to the list of people who had QC issues with the Purple Heart.
Kron doesn't offer much of a warranty other than if you have a problem come back to me & 100% won't cover any stylus issue because you can
always point to user error , so thats a big gamble for me.
I wish there was a way to audition all these Soundsmith , Kiseki, Ortofon, AT carts....I have a pretty discerning ear (music producer) not sure I'd hear the $5000 vs $700 difference .. 🤷🏻♂️
@tommypenngotti I didn't ask Kron, but assumed "grey market".
I recently picked up a Soundsmith Aida II and really like it. I like the people behind it too. I bought mine second hand and it didn't have a stylus guard. I contacted Soundsmith to see if I could buy one and they sent me one free.
Tommy, you would shock to hear how little difference there is between a $160 cartridge and a $2000 cartridge. Between the $2000 cartridge and the $5000 cartridge there is even less. The best policy is to stay away from the cottage manufacturers and stick with the larger better funded ones. Their QC is usually much better. I examine each cartridge under magnification and I can say that Ortofon, Clearaudio, Soundsmith, Audio Technica and Lyra make precision products and I can not imagine that you would go wrong with any of them. Between these companies there is a good mix of MC, MM and MI cartridges, something to suit everyone.
"you would shock to hear how little difference there is between a $160 cartridge and a $2000 cartridge. Between the $2000 cartridge and the $5000 cartridge there is even less."
Mijostyn's observation is pretty much how my ears hear top of the food chain carts. You start squinting your eyes to hear the differences. Keeping that perspective in mind, the ART9 offers much of what the "super carts" do.
I'm surprised how well a $400 Soundsmith Otello sounds on my VPI.
It's clearly not the $10K Strain gauge, but having a solid system(which you do), will play a lot of great $1-2K carts without you wondering if you're missing something.
thanks so much , this helps...I have had my eye on the AT ART-9 for quite a while ...and I'm hesitant to do a trade in deal with Ortofon due to the Quintet Black crapping out after 23 months...
I noticed Audio Technica original ART-9 discontinued & they have (2) new ones AT-ART9XI Dual moving Coil / and ART9XA non magnetic core ....not sure what I should do there 🤷🏻♂️
"I noticed Audio Technica original ART-9 discontinued & they have (2) new ones AT-ART9XI Dual moving Coil / and ART9XA non magnetic core ....not sure what I should do there 🤷🏻♂️ "
Not the best representation, but it gives you an idea of difference between the 3.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QA1jw5Pj7Y&feature=youtu.be
Personally, If I had 65+db of gain, I would go with the XA, after having had 2 of first version. To my ears, the XA seems to have a subtle "air" to the tone of the overall presentation which I find pleasing.
I have been a very happy KPH owner for the last 5-6 years with no problems whatsoever. I have it on a Well Tempered Versalex and now use a Luxman EQ500 phono stage, which makes for a wonderful match. Also, I have never noticed any tracking issues. As far as details go, I get plenty! I am not a "detail freak" though, since I find that with too much detail, one can't see the forest through the trees. : )
Check out the latest KPH review in the Absolute Sound. It was last year, perhaps October or November?