van den Hul Colibri, Koetsu Rosewood Signature, SoundSmith Sussurro Mk ii


After years of focusing on medium to high compliance MM and MI cartridges (and a handful of old piezoelectrics) in various turntables, I'm finally looking to add my first serious MC cartridge.  I've long been interested in either the Koetsu Rosewood Signature or the van den Hul Colibri (XGP/XGW) and had planned to go with one of those carts.  That said, I've seen enough glowing reviews of the SoundSmith Sussorro and its progeny to make me seriously consider that as an alternate route.  I would love to hear thoughts from anyone who has experience with more than one of those carts.
The cart will be mounted in a Moerch DP6 (yellow) as the second arm on a Thorens TD 124.
My listening tastes are eclectic, so I'm particularly interested in how the carts handle a diversity of music.
Thanks in advance.
Best,
Carroll
cmdc
I can’t speak about any of the carts you listed but I absolutely love my Soundsmith Paua MK2 ES
Thanks, lancelock. I have a SoundSmith The Voice that I really love, and the Sussurro is apparently a step up from both that and the Paua. The ES is another evolution still, so I have no idea how a Paua ii ES would compare to the earlier Sussuro ii.
I don’t know the Sussurro, or for that sake any other Soundsmith cartridge, but of the Colibri and the Rosewood Signature the former wins as far as I’m concerned. Not because the Koetsu is bad in any way; au contraire, it’s a glorious cartridge. I do, however, find the Colibri more neutral, more homogenous, more agile, with a tighter bass performance and simply better suited as an all-round cartridge for all kinds of music.

My own musical tastes could be said to be eclectic too I guess and I listen to classical, early music, 60s/70s British rock/folk/folk-rock, a wide variety of "ethnic" music, French chansons, classic jazz, indie rock, blues and much more. While the Koetsu would be slightly better suited to a some genres, it would be less suited to others, while the Colibri handles each and every one superbly.
Thanks, Agrippa, this is very helpful.
You should really listen to them as I don’t think you know there sound. The Koetsu and  Colibri are both excellent but complete opposites in sound. 
I just got a Soundsmith Sussurro Mk 2 and I love it. According to this review of an earlier model, it tracks better than anything he tried except for the Shure V15 series, and my listening tests confirm that: https://www.dagogo.com/soundsmith-sussurro-mcp2-phono-preamplifier-review/ But the Sussurro then takes all that information picked up by the stylus and cantilever assembly and preserves it in the output, unlike MM's. Definitely I'm hearing detail now that makes me marvel at just how much information in those grooves is waiting to be unleashed. Of course a very quiet phono stage helps with this, in my case a Pass XP 27.  I'm now convinced that the arguments Peter Ledermann is making for why his low mass moving iron design is better are absolutely legitimate. I, for one, have always been in the camp that tracking is paramount. Shure only lost out in the end because their cartridges, although the best trackers, were not very articulate. Now Soundsmith, and particularly the Sussorro because of my experience with it, have picked up where Shure left off and brought superior tracking and sound quality to the table.
  • MOERCH Effective mass of complete tonearm with arm tube:
  • Light (green): 4g
  • Medium (red): 6g
  • Heavy (yellow): 8g
  • Extra heavy (blue): 14g


How can you mount a Koetsu to the arm with 8g effective mass ?
Koetsu Rosewood Signature Compliance:
5 at 100Hz (about 8.5 cu at 10Hz)

Even 14g (blue) armtube is not enough for Koetsu, no ?

You need 30g effective mass to use such low compliance cartridges with the best result
Chakster is right - if you want to try different sound than usual MM and MI designs you have to invest into heavy tonearm (I don't argue that you'll get better sound just different ) 
Moerch DP6 (yellow) is medium light tonearm. If to look into compliance it should work with Colibri. Although if you want to try different sound - go for Koetsu. 

Peter Ledermann arguments about moving iron superiority is bs and shame on him.
The Mørch should work just fine with the Rosewood, especially with a blue arm tube. Way back I tested an Onyx Platinum in my (then) Syrinx PU3b with an effective mass of 11g and it worked beautifully.

The paramount issues are the quality of the arm’s bearings, its general construction quality and tolerances, not adherence to a compatibility table which dates from the 50s and is likely quite incorrect. The Mørch scores high on all three and I’d have no doubts about using it with a Rosewood.

I’d still buy the Colibri though.
A low compliance cartridge on mid mass tonearms (or on a light mass tonearm) may be "fine" only for those who does not care about theory of resonance frequency described here. It’s easy to measure tonearm/cartridge resonance with Hi-Fi Test LP.

8g "yellow" armtube suggested by the OP. It’s a bad choice for a very low compliance cartridge! 14g "blue" armtube is better, but not ideal.

Everything can work until there is an issue with some slightly warped records and stuff like that.

There are tonearm with effective mass twice as much compared to Moerch "blue" and they are made for low compliance MC

Koetsu is not just a low compliance, it’s an EXTREMELY LOW compliance (7.5 cu at 10Hz)




After years of focusing on medium to high compliance MM and MI cartridges in various turntables, I’m finally looking to add my first serious MC cartridge.

Ortofon MC2000 could be your last LOMC if you have all those Moerch arm tubes, because it is a high compliance MC. But only if you can find a dedicated SUT or special current injection type phono stage (or very high gain phono stage).

Diamond cantilever Dynavector KARAT 17d2 mkII or higher in this series is also perfect choice! It does not require high mass tonearm.

P.S. For a very low compliance cartridges you really need another tonearm, with much higher effective mass.


I have an Ortofon Windfield and hundreds of records.  Never heard mistracking.  Not knocking P/L design....just sayin
I'm surprised nobody has mention Lyra cartridges.  The Delos and Kleos carts are quite good.  Not thin or too analytical like the early Lyra's, particularly the ones with the ceralloy cantilevers.  They are medium compliance carts that will work with your heavier arm tubes.  
Chakster is right. It will still play and probably sound  ok, but not it’s best with a light arm. I have had Denon 103’s and only got mediocre sound. Always wondered why all the hype. Similar compliance to Koetsu. When I got a 12” Ikeda (heavy arm) I finally heard the denon sound good. 
Ah yes, the 103.  Both it and its brother the 103R sounded suberb on the 11g Syrinx.

Sure, extreme mismatches are bad.  I wouldn't, for instance, stick a Koetsu on a Black Widow or a Grace 747.  Well, actually I would, but only out of curiosity and I wouldn't expect the combo to sound fabulously.  The DP6 with a yellow tube will likely be borderline and less than ideal, but with a blue tube I'd be happy to put 5 bucks on it sounding superb.

Short of serious or extreme mismatches I'm perfectly happy to maintain that bearing quality is the paramount determinant of whether or not the arm will handle a cartridge, followed by overall manufacturing quality and tolerances.

If those are all covered the arm will in all likelyhood handle cartridges well outside what's recommended by that table everyone's treating like holy scripture.  That has certainly been my consistent experience up until and including this very day.
Thanks, Agrippa.  Applying the formula on the Moerch arm/cartridge matching site, both the colibri xgw and the sussurro mk ii should work well with the DP6 yellow arm. I had focused on the Koetsu Rosewood when I originally planned to get the blue armwand, then forgot to recheck it after making the last minute shift to yellow just before the arm shipped.  According Moerch, at least, the blue arm is a comfortable match for the Koetsu, and I'll probably try that combo at a later stage.
Well, if anyone knows it ought to be them.
Best of luck whatever you end up with!