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Are Koetsus worth it?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Tim Jones, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. andyr

    andyr Registered User

    The 12" GoldenAge Audio UP is a fine-sounding arm (custom-made here in Melbourne) having an eff. mass of 23gm (with the ebony armwand).

    See here: http://www.goldenageaudio.com.au/univector-tonearm.html

    Works superbly with my Benz LP. :)

    How have you organised the correct cart loading when using a SUT?

  2. Si74

    Si74 pfm Member

    I'd suggest a Koetsu on an SME is a waste of time. I've only ever had 'lowly' Black Goldlines.
    On a Syrinx PU 3 they were less than stellar till J7 made me extra weights to fit inside the bearing housing. Zeta/ZYX Airy was lovely but too hi-fi compared to the Koestu in a Stogi Reference.
    Sold the first Black to a guy in Germany, fitted to his SME by his dealer?, wouldn't track a test record, strange folk that want to listen to test records, got it back at a loss and when it finally broke in, loved it. Sold it and kept the ZYX, Regretted that move and bought another Black. Have to say a Benz Glider on a Stogi S was a revelation, which I had already agreed to sell and was gutted when I heard the combo.
    Proteus/PU 7 on a Systemdek Reference on the Tuesday.. eh wow
    Proteus on an SME arm/Systemdek Reference the next day, totally underwhelming.
    Sold the first Black to a mate whose parents originate form Malaysia, is the speil about these Koetsus' true? a month later he had been visiting the Homeland and offered me an Urushi at dealer price (methinks about 1200 quid) as he'd picked up two on the strength of the Lowly Black.
    I first heard a wood bodied Koetsu on I think an FR64S? on an Oracle about 35 years ago and it raised the hairs on my neck, same Rosewood on a Breuer on an Oracle a few years later and the same story. There is just something right to my ears how they make music but as usual it's all a matter of synergy!
  3. merlin

    merlin Avatar changed - Town names deemed offensive.

    I only ever had an Onyx - mounted on an SME V.

    Don't really remember it as being worth the money. Nothing magical about it. Moved onto other brands after that. Never really looked back.
  4. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    I had a black and a red way back when, then a VDH modified EMT ,I think the Koetsu's were a little more rolled off than the EMT.
    It is true that now Dynavector make the internal cartridge and Koetusu fit the bodywork?
  5. dave thomas

    dave thomas pfm Member

    Always wanted to try a Koetsu and had the opportunity to try a Koetsu Coralstone in my arm, Kuzma 4pt, last year.
    Myself and the chap who brought it round were underwhelmed, it sounded rather dull in my system. Warm and rather slow, it did have a lot of power in the lowest registers though.
    I was very hopeful prior to trying it - obviously not a good match with my TT.
    Like all things analogue items need to be carefully matched and that is very difficult with cartridges.
  6. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    I feel a Koetsu is rather like an single ended amp. They can both do wonderful things. Those who listen by specifications will find them inaccurate. With a system which is otherwise quite neutral they can bring some very welcome musicality but of course it's all down to personal preference.
  7. pure sound

    pure sound Trade: manufacturer/distributor

    Do you have a source for that?
  8. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

    While on the subject of Koetsu, can any knowledgable, long term users advise on stylus cleaning, please. I still treat mine like the first baby, so afraid am I of damaging it. It gets a pass with a (otherwise unused, of course) sable artist's brush after every play (a la ESCO) but what about a drop of cleaner or the putties available? I live in fear of the tip falling off and can't even find a web page to tell me if the diamond is glued, wedged or whatever to the cantilever.
  9. Mike42

    Mike42 Heard it all before...

    Onzow Zero Dust. I have three delicate MCs and this does the trick. I know others that use it too.
  10. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Which is almost identical, I believe, to Dust Buster which cost me half that. K styli are pretty rugged, and, unlike Benz, slotted and glued (a.f.a.i.k.)

    I use said Dust Buster every couple of sessions or so, the AT 637 electronic cleaner occasionally and a truncated artists' brush with dilute IPA if I have the cart. off the arm (my arms are fixed h/shell). If your records are RCM cleaned, stylus cleaning is brought to a minimum.

    With Ks, watch the bias, as they were purportedly 'designed' to play without bias, and they do sound better with minimal bias. However, after a few hundred hours, the cantilever can start drifting a bit

    If you've a detachable head-shell, you're laughing as regards periodic inspection and hand cleaning; a jewellers' loupe is required, though.
  11. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Hope you watched the amazing men's singles final in that fair city of yours.

    The E.A.R. pre., with two either m/c or m/m inputs, has loading and gain switches to correspond with T. de P.'s top SUTs

    B.t.w., that home-grown twelve-incher unipivot may be excellent, but the description is appalling. I can't understand how anyone tries to market something like that without having their English checked out.
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Lucky you; I'd love to try the Coralstone, or come to that, any of the more recent stone bodied Ks. Dave, it can surely only be the Kuzma tonearm at issue here, unless loadings were wrong, it hadn't been set up correctly or it hadn't run in. Maybe it wasn't massy enough.

    Most start with the Black or Red, but you decided to go to the top.......?:)
  13. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Distributor and Manufacturer

    There is no correct cartridge loading value. Published loading figures are based on a "recommendation" from the cartridge manufacturer and is arrived at by listening in the cartridge manufacturers system, using their test electronics and in their listening room. It is done by ear and not by measurements. Obviously their value could be, and often is, very different from what works best in your system.

    Most reputable cartridge manufacturers quote two loading "recommendations", one for use when a solid state MC phono stage is used, and one for use when a MM phono stage (solid state or valve) is used with an MC step up transformer connected between the cartridge and the MM phono stage. Loading figures should only be used as a guide and are not set in stone.
  14. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    I think the net effect of these (very helpful) answers is that, unless I can somehow arrange a dem, I'm going off the Koetsu idea a bit, and veering towards a Benz LP or perhaps a Lyra. £3 or £4k is a lot of money for something whose character might limit me to particular musical choices.

    I do admire timbre and resolution, but neutrality is probably a better idea in terms of how I feel about my system atm...

    Mark - I'd like to take you up on that kind offer please - will send you a PM.
  15. anubisgrau

    anubisgrau pfm Member

    i found many lyras much more limiting music choice than any koetsu.

    if you want both worlds then lyra skala, lyra forensics in a unusually lush way ...
  16. andyr

    andyr Registered User

    Absolutely agree with your statement that there is no "correct" loading value and it needs to be done by ear. :)

    Not sure I agree with your comment how mfrs arrive at their 'recommended" value ... the specs for my Benz LP merely say "500 ohm to 47K ohm"!

    Yes and this is where it gets interesting ... and why I asked my question. :D

    IMO, there is an optimal load for any cart - it is not logical that this value should change when a SUT is suddenly introduced in front of a MM phono stage (ss or valve) instead of using a pre-pre amp (aka ' headamp').

    Why a mfr might suggest 2 different values, to me is because of the way a SUT modifies the default 47K loading which most MM phono stages have. As I'm sure you know, when a SUT sits between the cart and the MM phono stage, the cart 'sees' 47K / sq of the turns ratio. So with a 10:1 turns ratio, the load becomes 470 ohms ... with a 20:1 turns ratio, the load becomes 118 ohms.

    This, IMO, is the weakness of SUTs. :mad:

    A mate of mine who also owns a Benz LP was using it with his very expensive, very nice-sounding, US-made MM/MC valve phono stage. With the 0.28mV output of the benz, he obviously had to plug the phono cable into the MC input - which had an in-built 10:1 SUT ... which meant he was loading his LP with only 470 ohms.

    He knew I loaded mine at 3K3 and asked me how he could increase his loading. I lent him a JFET-based headamp that I own (which has a parallel pair of input RCAs, designed to take 'loaded' plugs), which he used with the MM input ... and was delighted with the better sound from his Benz LP.


    He was delighted
  17. dave thomas

    dave thomas pfm Member

    Unfortunately it was only on loan from a friend. I really don't understand why it sounded so disappointing. I have a number of high end carts and they all perform well in the Kuzma. It was certainly set up correctly and loaded correctly, my conclusion was the arm did not suit. Maybe it needs one of the heavy FR arms or similar.
  18. pmac

    pmac lovesrecordplayers

    Despite my indifference to Koetsus, I have to agree with this.
  19. RossB

    RossB Member

    Loading via SUT is very different from loading via headamp or active MC stage. With an active gain stage the input impedance changes the tonal character of the cartridge significantly. An SUT into an MM stage does not really produce the same effect. While a 10:1 SUT may in theory produce a 470 ohm load, in practice it does not produce the same sonic effect as a 470 ohm into an active preamp. With a SUT, the primary goal is to step the voltage up to around 5mv - the loading is far less critical to the sound quality.

    There is a good explanation of this on the Rothwells site, which explains it better than I can: http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk/html/mc_step-up_transformers_explai.html .
  20. martin dawson

    martin dawson pfm Member

    Having owned both cartridges a Micro Benz Wood SL and now having a Kiseki Blue NS how good the Benz was the Kiseki is in another league.

    The Kiseki opened up the soundstage so much more cymbals were so crisp, piano was more defined and especially acoustic guitars. The biggest plus were vocals more natural you really need to check out a Kiseki when you're laying out that money.



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