One cannot meaningfully advice, suggest, or recommend a phono cartridge for a Music Reproduction System without knowing at the very least you're make and model of tonearm and you're make and model of phono preamplification it would also be helpful and instructional for you to reveal and explain why you have chosen a Koetsu cartridge many of which are hopelessly colored although that may be you're style, taste, and preference
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Yes your bass will be outstanding. Haven't heard the two you're looking at but I did have two Benzes before going to Koetsu and its a big step up across the board, definitely including bass. Also I do have a 5 sub distributed bass array with superb deep bass, its actually now maybe the strongest aspect of my system, so if the bass coming off the Koetsu was deficient in any way it would be apparent. Its not deficient. Its awesome.
Koetsu is big money. I checked around a lot. The most knowledgeable experienced guy I could find has heard dozens of Koetsu's over decades and this for what its worth is what he told me. The reputation for soft lush euphonic yada yada goes back to the early original models which were indeed like that. A lot of this had to do with the fact that back then it was impossible to make anything like today, the capacity for refinement simply wasn't there yet, it was harsh or lush, at least by today's standards.
Since before his son took over the business though all that was gone. The son has moved things forward, with massive improvement in detail yet without ever crossing over into the hyped top end or other problems sensitive listeners experience with a lot of moving coils.
The sound you will get from either one of these will probably feel for you coming from a Benz the way it did for me. There were no big obvious changes in the sound. Koetsu is very similar to Benz, in the big picture. Yet you will soon feel its completely different in the way it brings the music right into the room. There's an effortless retrieval of subtle inner detail combined with authoritative control of dynamics that is darn near seductive.
The difference between these high end carts as you probably already know is in these subtle refinements. For input specific to your Blue/Vermillion decision you might want to call Oswaldo. He is a Koetsu dealer, so take that into account. He has set up a lot of these and strikes me as genuinely caring about helping you find the right one. His number can be found here
Andy, Koetsu's have nice warm bass if you put them in the right tonearm.
They are very stiff cartridges and require a tonearm with a high effective mass on the order of 18 to 20 grams. If you put them in a tonearm that is too light the bass will get rolled off and you might develop feed back.
You can make a light tonearm work by adding head shell weights. In order to get this right you will need a test record like the Hi Fi News test record which has resonance bands on it. You add weight under you get the resonance point below 10 Hz but above 8 Hz.
Which one to buy? Which color do you like? They sound exactly the same. My favorite Koestu is the Rosewood Signature Platinum. I use mine in a Kuzma 4 Point 14 which has an effective mass of 19 gm. The stone cartridges will work nicely in a lighter tone arm because they weight much more than the wooden cartridges.
Dead serious. But its all a question of degree. Its all relative. That's not the point I was trying to make anyway. It was if you read it again "and this for what its worth is what he told me." So its paraphrasing not quoting but useful and something I happen to agree with- and not all that different than stuff Fremer has said- and so I put it in there.
They are very stiff cartridges and require a tonearm with a high effective mass on the order of 18 to 20 grams.
Please don't tell my Conqueror about this. It has no idea its not supposed to work so well. It might get upset. Or start slacking off, now that it has an excuse.
If truly 12g it’s rather light so you would need use a heavier headshell or add weight as has already been stated.
But I have run plenty of arm and cart combos that theory and vociferous members insist would not work.
But they do sometimes so go figure.
Maybe consider something that is a better match to the tonearm though...
As I recall, all the color-coded variants of the Urushi vary from one another mostly by the lacquer finish. However, there is one, and it might be the Blue or the Red (Vermilion), that uses a different coil wire (e.g., silver coated copper vs copper) and therefore would stand a chance of sounding different from the rest of the Urushi models. This info is available on the Koetsu website, such as it is or used to be. Happy owner of a Wajima variant here.
I believe the Vermillion is unique in that it has half the output at 0.2mV vs. the 0.4mV of other Urushis and the non-Platinum Rosewood - due to its unique coil configuration. If you go for Vermillion I think you would be advised to pair it with a SUT of a high ratio (30x), rather than trying to push enough gain from an active MC stage.
Rather than spitting hairs among Koetsu's I would be casting a wider net and looking at the Hyperion from Soundsmith. As long as you're in that price range. Same or more output, half the moving mass, lifetime stylus replacement, best warranty in the business. What I have my eye on anyway. After the current Koetsu Black Goldline...
My assumption was that all Urushi's are ''painted Rosewoods''.
This would mean the same generator but different ''lacquer'' which
would provide slightly different timbre in order to satisfy different personal tastes. My own experience is comparison between
Rosewood Signature and Urushi Blue. Curious because of ''the
same generator'' assumption I was much more impressed with
the Blue than Rosewood. Not sure what to think about ''different
painting'' in the context of sound but I have never heard any other
Urushi and only know that ''our Lew'' is also very satisfy with his
Urushi. Ergo ''consensus between two members in our forum''
should be sufficient for the ''argument'' that those ''lacquers'' have
Koetsu's may vary a little one to another even of the same model. then there is the set up and toenarms used. The paint used has absolutely no influence on the sound.
Mulveling is right! I did not know this but the Vermillion has a different coil and is lower output so the phono amp is going to have to be a very quiet one or an SUT will have to be used. It might be a little more detailed due to the lighter coil but might not be a punchy for rock and roll.
Andy, you can add weight to your tonearm and it will work but you will never have the best bass a Koetsu can produce because you have a unipivot arm. These arms work better with more compliant cartridges. I can highly recommend the Ortofon Windfeld Ti cartridge. It will track anything and is a great rocker. It is about the same price as the Koetsu and should not require adding any weight to your arm. There are also cartridges from Clearaudio and Lyra that would work although Lyra recommends against using unipivot arms with their cartridges.
So, as I suggested, one of the Urushi models, the Vermillion apparently, has a different coil from the others. Thanks to whoever brought that fact out. As to Mijo's blanket statement that the paint has "absolutely no influence" on the sound, that is conceivable but so far only one man's opinion, although stated as a fact. However, you can find persons who say otherwise. I would say that Urushi's do sound quite different from Rosewoods, based on 20 years of internet testimony from many different sources; the Urushi is said to have a wider subjective frequency response, better bass and more extended highs, compared to the base Rosewood, and there are other physical differences between the two types, besides lacquer vs no lacquer (or clear lacquer which might be the outer finish on the Rosewood). Rosewood Signature or Platinum might be another kettle of fish.
Well the differences in Koetsu builds are always shrouded in a bit of mystery. I don’t have any experience with any Urushis or the Black, but I do have experience with the RSP and a number of stone bodies. The differences in stones like Jade vs. Onyx are pretty subtle and hard to even describe. The magnet type (Platinum vs. Alnico - I have the Alnico from an older Onyx Gold/Signature I had rebuilt) has a much bigger sonic impact. The Alnico magnet also has double the output level. The cantilever, diamond vs boron also has a much bigger sonic impact - the DC increases detail, clarity and dynamics without any obvious downside. The RSP (it has a clear lacquer, which I believe is missing from the lower Rosewood models) has less bass impact and power vs. the stone-body platinums, but the magnitude of this body difference’s impact is certainly less than that of magnet type or cantilever. And then you have the top-range Coralstone and Blue Lace stone models, which even with boron cantilevers seem to be a little "better" than the lower-ranked stones somehow, but it’s hard to say if this is due to being granted the "best" hand selected motors, and/or possibly getting slightly larger magnets (they seem a little bit higher in output, too) - no idea for sure, though.
In picking Urushis, the big choice is Vermillion vs. anything else. Again, I’d advise a proper SUT for the Vermillion (I like SUT’s with all Koetsus anyways, but that 0.2mV output will be especially tough without a SUT - and the Hashimoto HM-7 are fantastic with Koetsu, highly recommended). If you choose the non-Vermillion Urushis, just pick a look that pleases you! I think all the Urushis are beauties, and I'd love to try one someday. Probably would not be a Vermillion though, because even with a good SUT noise floor can creep in at that level.
Just curious, why Koetsu is so expensive, what is the technical advantages? I remember Garrott brothers, who rebuild them and retipped them for the clients, often commented about poor build quality of those cartridges (made at that time by Sugano-San himself). Now it's not even Sugano-San ...
Even lower model are extremely expensive compared to many great cartridges with reputation.
I have never owned any of them, but i wish to know
Mulveling, The Rosewood Signature Platinum weights 3 to 4 grams less than a stone bodied cartridge and requires a heavier tonearm to get the same bass impact. Bass and "impact" are the two most sensitive characteristics of a cartridge, the easiest to mess up. Resonance tuning is a real issue here. I think a lot of people miss out on it because most systems just do not go down that low. Not trying to insult anyone but it is hard and expensive to get a speaker/room to go below 40 Hz effectively. I had to build my own house to get it right. Anyway, the RSP bops just fine if you get that resonance frequency down under 10 Hz. I have never compared it directly to a stone bodied unit but the motors are the same and the only real difference is the mass of the cartridge which can be compensated for. Trying to put a stone bodied Koetsu in an arm as heavy as the 4 point 14 would be asking for it. The arm would go airborne with the first warp. I believe the stone bodies came along to make the cartridges perform better in the lighter tonearms that most of us use which are compatible with the majority of cartridges that are of medium compliance.
Chakster, they charge that much because they can get away with it. There are also several middle men. I think Ortofon has much better quality control. My Ortofon Windfeld Ti will track circles around my Koetsu and is by all accounts more neutral.
I’ve got a Vermillion which I use in an FR66s arm; it’s a really nice cartridge, very holographic, great dynamics, excellent tracking and minimal edge or nastiness to the sound.
Compared to my other Koetsu, a Jade with diamond cantilever, I’d say the Jade has a more “authoritative” feel. With the Jade you get the same as the Vermillion in terms of all the things listed above, but there’s something more explosive and solid about it (in a good way :)). One thing that is palpable is the lower frequencies with the Jade, the bass is really good, the best of all of my cartridges in that regards. That’s not at the expense of midrange or higher frequencies , just something that really stands out.
tkr, it is that euphoric quality that some of us love about the Koetsu's. You would have to add a lot of weight to the SME V to get the bass right.
I use my Koetsu for string quartets and the like not for R+R and rarely for Jazz. The other cartridges I use are more neutral and to my ear more accurate not to mention better trackers (more accurate is not equal to better sounding.)
mulveling, I certainly can not argue with your opinion. The FR's are certainly heavier arms. I would never use a Koetsu in a uni pivot arm. Actually, I would never use anything in a uni pivot arm so I guess that is not saying much.
tkr, it is that euphoric quality that some of us love about the Koetsu's. You would have to add a lot of weight to the SME V to get the bass right.I think you misunderstood my post. Actually, I had no problems with the bass of the Sky Blue at all. As I wrote, the Sky Blue had a great bass "slam" and dynamics.
My problem was that it sounded a bit too warm and cuddly or, if you want, euphonic.
My solution was to upgrade to a Koetsu Coralstone, which is a totally different beast.