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Thread: Shakti's walk throughout the exciting Koetsu experience :-)

  1. #1
    Addicted to Best! shakti's Avatar
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    May 2015
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    Shakti's walk throughout the exciting Koetsu experience :-)

    My personal Koetsu experience started in the time of being a student and working in a Hifi shop to get the money for the University.
    Every thursday I had the turntable day and my boss gave me all turntables the shop had sold during the week to install them. I have not counted the number of Audio Technica AT OC 7 & 9 or Ortofon MC 10 & 30 I fitted to various tonearms. But sometimes a Koetsu system happens. And my boss always wanted to do the final listening himself. after a while, I understood, it was always a little bit special and rare to listen to a Koetsu in our shop listening room. But I was that time more interested in the Clearaudio cartridges, may be because I was younger. The most of the Koetsu customers were in the age of my dad that time, more relaxed and laid back connoisseur type of persons. My boss always did the Koetsu listening check after the shop closing with a glass of red wine....

    Now I am in the age of my dad that time and I start to love Koetsu as well, as I prefer now red wine over vodka/redbull :-)

    So I tried to get my Koetsu experience completed and over the last months my collection of Koetsu systems grow up.

    Now I like to share some of my newer point of views to Koetsu.

    The start is always the Koetsu classic:

    - Koetsu Rosewood Signature

    The most turntable enthusiasts see a Rosewood Signature as the base to understand the sonic world of Sugano, the founder of Koetsu.

    It has already all of the sonic benefits you like to expect from a Koetsu. Means, it already "sings" , you immediately start to love the voices, but you also have to compromise the resolution give. Still , this system is for the given price point the entry cartridge into the real Koetsu experience .

    - Koetsu Black Goldline

    The Black Goldline is even cheaper, than the rosewood, but it has a metal housing. And the cartridge chassis is very! important to the sound of a Koetsu.

    The Black has more dynamic and resolution than the Rosewood signature, but is has also a lot less of the magic in the midrange. Coming from ortofon, Lyra, Audio technica and other more neutral carts, the Black Goldline might be a good start into the world of Koetsu, as it sounds more like other carts too. You can compare is to other Japanese entry level carts as the Ikeda 9TS

    The founder Sugano loved the rosewood chassis for making his carts, so he did some experiments with lacquer. Finally he decided to do the classical japanese Urushi way of treating the wood.

    The lacquer comes from the Urushi tree and will get natural colored pigments for the final appearance.

    Due to the different pigments, the Urushi carts differ slightly in performance. All Urushi do cost the same (at least in germany)

    - Koetsu Urushi Sky Blue

    The Urushi Sky Blue is one of my favorites carts, as I love the blue color so much. The performance is a big step ahead from the plain Rosewood body.

    The performance is much more structured, you get more contour and a more precise 3 dimensional staging compared to the Rosewood Signature

    - Koetsu Urushi Wajima Gold

    The Urushi Wajima Gold is one of my favorites, it seems, that the golden pigments are adding weight to the body, so the stiffness increases. Even more precise and with a deeper soundstage than the Blue Sky. But you have to like the look....

    - Koetsu Urushi Vermillion

    The Vermillion was the favorite cart from the old Sugano!, He changed to coils of the Vermillion, so the cart has only the half of the output and a lower impedance than the other Urushi. The sonic difference is huge. The Vermillion has more resolution , the performance is more light , inner dynamics has increased. I love female voices with the Vermillion!

    Coming to the stone bodies!, Due to the availability of the stones, they differ huge in price. As the stones are different , the sound is different. I would also expect, that different carts of the same stone are different (similar to wood as well) as the stones are a natural product with differences.

    - Koetsu Onyx Platinum

    Coming from the Urushi the first stone body is a shock!, I would never had expected such a big difference in performance. The stone bodies do give to the Koetsu carts the dynamic back, you might have missed before. Compared to a Rosewood body the Onyx is like a dynamic explosion, specially if the platinum magnet comes on top. I have two different Onyx Platinum, as I was interested , if they differ. They do!, But it is also possible, that the carts have a different age, so the age of the rubber will change the performance as well. The Onyx Platinum has resolution, contour and the integrated performance I like. Could be the best! But there was something special listening to the Urushi , which I was missing. The Urushi have a slightly more involving midrange, specially the Vermillion.

    - Koetsu Coralstone platinum

    The Coralstone underlines the difference of the stone bodies to the rosewood bodies, but not that hard, as the Onyx is doing. The Coralstone is minimal more close to Urushi in a positive way, the midrange is a little smoother than with Onyx, on the other hands the contour of the instruments is less precise, which is sometimes more nice and involving.

    to be continued :-)

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  2. #2
    Addicted to Best! shakti's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    Wow coral Stone too.
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

  4. #4
    Addicted to Best! DaveyF's Avatar
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    Great thread.
    Any experience with the Urushi Tsugaru? Some people tell me it is the best of the Urushi's.

  5. #5
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Jan 2015
    Beverly Hills, CA
    Very interesting! I'm looking forward to the next instalment!

    (I would like very much to learn your thoughts on Rosewood Signature Platinum versus Coralstone, and on Coralstone versus Blue Lace.)
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

  6. #6
    Addicted to Best! byrdparis's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    thanks for that!
    great review.
    Speakers:Magico Q3 Preamp:E.A.R 912 Amp:Luxman m900
    Cables:Siltech Double Crown Power:Nordost Odin1,Argento master flow
    Digital: Metronome C8/Aurender N10
    TT1TechDAS AF3/Thales Simplicity II/Ortofon RS212D/DV507MK2
    TT2:Torqueo T34 Exclusive Zebrano/ikeda 407
    Carts': Ortofon Anna,Zyx R1000 airy3,VDH Colibri Stradivarius,EMT XSD15,Murasakino Sumile,Koetsu Tsugaru,Top Wing Suzaku,DS W2
    Phono: CH Precision P1 Racks: Solid Tech Rack of silence reference Power treatmentPs Audio P10

  7. #7
    Thank you for sharing your Koetsu experience shakti. Did you ever have the chance to hear the Supex cartridge that was designed by Sugano?

  8. #8
    Addicted to Best! shakti's Avatar
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    May 2015
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    The Super is on my list :-)

    This weekend a couple of people will join my Koetsu journey, as I do again a workshop with interested people, Rainer Horstmann (owner of Dereneville) and Reinhard Thoeress will join. So we will get some insides about the Thoeress Phonopre and the Dereneville turntable drives as well.

    Now we are preparing!, looking forward to the weekends listening experience :-)


  9. #9
    What is the thin film which can be seen between the cartridge and the headshell on some pictures?

  10. #10
    Addicted to Best! shakti's Avatar
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    May 2015
    Cologne, Germany
    this is the Dereneville minimat , a headshellmat, which I like tonuse between metal body carts and metal headshells. To my surprise , the Dereneville headshell mat works also good on Koetsu stonebodies.
    To my knowledge the US distribution is with Feickert turntables.

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