Koetsu with FR arms

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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Hi, how many are using Koetsu with an FR arm? Which model? Also, how many are original Sugano?
 

Nemal1

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My late father has original rosewood and onyx Sugano manufactured koetsu cartridges on a fidelity research fr64s mounted on an oracle premiere. From my recollection it was glorious through his beveridge pre, threshold s1000 monos and beveridge system 3 speakers. This was around early to mid 1980’s
 

microstrip

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My late father has original rosewood and onyx Sugano manufactured koetsu cartridges on a fidelity research fr64s mounted on an oracle premiere. From my recollection it was glorious through his beveridge pre, threshold s1000 monos and beveridge system 3 speakers. This was around early to mid 1980’s

Curiously I also owned exactly the same combinations - the rosewood was lush sounding, warm and musical, but compared to others lacked detail and air. Retrospectively I see it was probably also due to the Oracle rubbery absorbing mat, replaced in later models by an acrylic one. Unfortunately my onyx had poor tracking, but had great slam and bass.
 

mountainjoe

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I am running a Blue Lace Platinum on an FR66s and an Urushi Black on an FR64s - neither are Sugano versions but these carts really shine on the FR tonearms.
 
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Kcin

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I am going to try after a couple of delayed starts regarding getting the right geometry with the milling of my arm board. A challenge with the Brinkmann, B60 and tight quarters.

I will try again this week after a little more was milled out of the board.

RSP here and the FR64s +B60 FR 7f for fun. IMG_1542 (002).jpg
 

mulveling

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Jul 7, 2017
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After months of waiting, I finally got an arm-board for my FR64S w/ B60 original base to my ClearAudio Master Innovation. And a couple months later now, I've finally done all the fiddly adjustments, alignments and tightenings to be relatively comfortable using this arm. At 40 years old the FR64S is not as smooth & friendly a setup experience as my Graham Phantom, ClearAudio Universal, or even its sibling FR64fx on my SOTA Nova. For instance, the tightening bolts on the collar of my B-60 don't lock down on the arm pillar all that tightly, which was a point of concern for a while (seems to lock down "well enough").

I'm running an Onyx Platinum with Ikeda titanium collar headshell presently, but getting very tempted to rip the Coralstone off my Graham and give that a go too (fortunately I have an extra Ikeda shell). Not that there's too much sonic difference between the stones. Also I have an Onyx Signature waiting in the wings, which does display some modest sonic differences due to the alnico magnets. This one WAS an original Sugano, but in desperate need of a re-tip so I had to get it rebuilt by Koetsu a year ago. I really don't think it lost any of its original "magic", and it's so great to have a good stylus again. The alnico magnets are always what made this one sound different.

Sonically, this arm is more exciting than the Graham (10" Supreme version). The midrange is more vivacious and beautiful. The bass is quite powerful and robust; more punchy than the Graham. The result is a very dynamic, beautiful sound with a lifelike presence and no hint of any sleepy/sluggish/syrupy Koetsu gremlins. The only downside is that perhaps the treble can get just a touch harsh at certain times on some records - not a pervasive problem, but I did notice it. The Graham is very silky smooth and refined, but can tend to sound a little bit boring in direct comparison - to be fair, it never sounded boring to me before I got the 64S. And to be honest, I'd gone back to the Graham a couple times after comparisons with the 64S. But lately the FR64S / Onyx seems really beautifully locked-in - finally really nailed the alignment via my SMARTractor. It's also getting along very nicely with the EAR MC-3 SUT I just received (surely a much nicer box than the Bob's Devices, too). And as superficial as this is, I just LOVE looking at all that damn gleaming steel while my record's spinning and producing its beautiful sounds!

On a side note, the ClearAudio Universal 12" proved to be a bad match for Koetsu (not that I expected it to be a great match). It definitely made it sound dead and sluggish. The Universal does great with Shelters, and I've been very much enjoying the Harmony on it for a while now. But the Onyx/FR64S/MC-3 is really tickling my fancy as of late, and I'm hoping that continues!

I ended up setting pivot-to-spindle distance at 229.75 mm, because I kept running out of room in the headshell when I tried to go longer. I chose the pretty standard Loefgren A IEC. With this alignment, the cartridge body is definitely slightly toed-in towards the spindle, because as has been discussed elsewhere FR seems to have chosen something like a Stevenson curve for their stock alignment (which I'm not interested in running). The SMARTractor worked very well for this table & arm.

 
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Kcin

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Just beautiful mulveling absolutely gorgeous. I can appreciate the set up frustrations. Most of mine are borne by the fact that the B60 underside nut is quite robust and and does not allow my arm to set back a further 1.5 mm with the Brinkmann arrangement . This is not an issue with a slotted head shell & Koestu , however with my desire to use the the FR7f I need it exact. There is no variability with that system.

I will get a stone body Koetsu one day. In the meantime, the Rosewood Signature Platinum has the same motor arrangement as the stone bodies.

I hope I can get something set up to hear this arm in my system for the first time this week.
 
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advanced101

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After experimenting with a few popular arms I decided to stick with the FR-64S for the two Blue Laces Ive had. My FR is a Silver Wired version. I am using a Micro Seiki AST-10 weight and Acoustical Systems Arche headshell. The Arche headshell allows me to set the P2S distance at 231mm and run the Baerwald alignment. Running Furutech Silver Leads and Titanium Screws. I also swapped the arm lift with a new version from AudioSilente. Someday I may try re-wiring the arm with Kondo or equivalent.

The Koetsu FR-64S presentation is very dynamic without much subtly. The 66S combination leans more towards a calmer/ neutral presentation giving up some of the speed. Both are great, choose what you prefer. Capture.PNG
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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After months of waiting, I finally got an arm-board for my FR64S w/ B60 original base to my ClearAudio Master Innovation. And a couple months later now, I've finally done all the fiddly adjustments, alignments and tightenings to be relatively comfortable using this arm. At 40 years old the FR64S is not as smooth & friendly a setup experience as my Graham Phantom, ClearAudio Universal, or even its sibling FR64fx on my SOTA Nova. For instance, the tightening bolts on the collar of my B-60 don't lock down on the arm pillar all that tightly, which was a point of concern for a while (seems to lock down "well enough").

I'm running an Onyx Platinum with Ikeda titanium collar headshell presently, but getting very tempted to rip the Coralstone off my Graham and give that a go too (fortunately I have an extra Ikeda shell). Not that there's too much sonic difference between the stones. Also I have an Onyx Signature waiting in the wings, which does display some modest sonic differences due to the alnico magnets. This one WAS an original Sugano, but in desperate need of a re-tip so I had to get it rebuilt by Koetsu a year ago. I really don't think it lost any of its original "magic", and it's so great to have a good stylus again. The alnico magnets are always what made this one sound different.

Sonically, this arm is more exciting than the Graham (10" Supreme version). The midrange is more vivacious and beautiful. The bass is quite powerful and robust; more punchy than the Graham. The result is a very dynamic, beautiful sound with a lifelike presence and no hint of any sleepy/sluggish/syrupy Koetsu gremlins. The only downside is that perhaps the treble can get just a touch harsh at certain times on some records - not a pervasive problem, but I did notice it. The Graham is very silky smooth and refined, but can tend to sound a little bit boring in direct comparison - to be fair, it never sounded boring to me before I got the 64S. And to be honest, I'd gone back to the Graham a couple times after comparisons with the 64S. But lately the FR64S / Onyx seems really beautifully locked-in - finally really nailed the alignment via my SMARTractor. It's also getting along very nicely with the EAR MC-3 SUT I just received (surely a much nicer box than the Bob's Devices, too). And as superficial as this is, I just LOVE looking at all that damn gleaming steel while my record's spinning and producing its beautiful sounds!

On a side note, the ClearAudio Universal 12" proved to be a bad match for Koetsu (not that I expected it to be a great match). It definitely made it sound dead and sluggish. The Universal does great with Shelters, and I've been very much enjoying the Harmony on it for a while now. But the Onyx/FR64S/MC-3 is really tickling my fancy as of late, and I'm hoping that continues!

I ended up setting pivot-to-spindle distance at 229.75 mm, because I kept running out of room in the headshell when I tried to go longer. I chose the pretty standard Loefgren A IEC. With this alignment, the cartridge body is definitely slightly toed-in towards the spindle, because as has been discussed elsewhere FR seems to have chosen something like a Stevenson curve for their stock alignment (which I'm not interested in running). The SMARTractor worked very well for this table & arm.


Congratulations on getting the “new” FR tonearm installed and aligned. Thank you for the interesting comparison between that tonearm and the Graham!
 
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mulveling

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Congratulations on getting the “new” FR tonearm installed and aligned. Thank you for the interesting comparison between that tonearm and the Graham!
Thanks, Ron! Another great listening session last night - definitely enjoying this setup. Now the problem is that seeing the above Blue Lace pics reminds me I'd like to get one w/ diamond cantilever some day. The Arche headshell looks really cool, too.
 

Vann9594

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Dec 9, 2018
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I am new to the Forum and wanted to share my FR-64s and KBGL. My cartridge is a month old & I love what the FR tonearms bring to the table....bass, dynamics and with my setup the arm/cartridge setup just disappear. I am running a Woodsong Audio Garrard 301 and Einstein Audio Phono Preamp.
 

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perart1

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I would be surprised if the 10" Graham arm would work well with the Onyx Plat as its RF must come in at about 13 whereas the FR would be around 8. you could alway experiment by adding some mass to the Graham.
 

jdza

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May 3, 2010
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Not at all sure what I have. I had a Sugano Onyx Gold that was returned to Koetsu for refurb. Turns out the Onyx body was cracked. Through an intermediary they informed me that for the rebuild they used an old Gold body that was never used as the Onyx was less than perfect. I received a cartridge plus the remnants of the old. All I know is that it is a significant improvement on the old, even in the old cart's prime.

IMG_0242 by jdza, on Flickr
 
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DaveyF

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Not at all sure what I have. I had a Sugano Onyx Gold that was returned to Koetsu for refurb. Turns out the Onyx body was cracked. Through an intermediary they informed me that they used an old Gold body that was never used because the Onyx was less than perfect. I received a cartridge plus the remnants of the old. All I know is that it is a significant improvement on the old, even in the old cart's prime.

IMG_0242 by jdza, on Flickr


Nothing that a little super glue wouldn't fix!:eek:;)
 

Kcin

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Cool Jdza to see the inner workings of Koetsu.

I am getting ready to mount my Rosewood Signature Platinum on the F64s and Brinkmann. I have a Jade coming shortly which should be interesting. I have added the Arche head shell as well.

I was stalled on the FR combo with machining issues on my armboard and tight quarters withe B-60 VTA tower. I am over that now.
The 4 point and Brinkman 12.1 will sit idle for a while until I satisfy this experiment. IMG_1751.jpg
 
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mulveling

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Got my Coralstone locked-in to the 64S, with new Ortofon silver leads. NICE combo. Of course I've muddied the waters by adding some CMS Center Stage feet to my system at the same time. But between this and the Shelter Harmony / Clearaudio Universal arm, I can always find something that sounds amazing for any given decent record - I suspect this 2-arm setup is helping me work through the infamous break-in of CMS feet; I haven't had a bad session in over a week (swapping between flavors as necessary). But when the Coralstone side is "on", it's giving the most realistic, palpable midrange I've ever heard in my system. I think the Graham (nice as it is) is finally done in my main system. The 64S definitely rules for Koetsus now.

 

Kcin

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The plan is finally coming together after many delays. The Jade just arrived. I will mount it on the FR64s and hopefully verify what the fuss is about.

The KRSP will be next- it has less than 20hrs on it.

IMG_1814.jpg

Edit... it is now installed.. I will report back later... very very nice....
 

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mulveling

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Very very pretty Jade; nice lush dark green! I gotta get one of those Arche head shells. I think you'll be impressed by the 64S/Koetsu sound. I've been impressed enough over the past few weeks that I've already picked up some other stuff for mine too - the Audio Silente lift (looks like you have one too), the Ikeda VTA-06 base (for comparison and backup to my old B60, which barely tightens well enough to the arm pillar), and...maybe perhaps kinda got a Blue Lace DC on the way. Finally get to see what the DC fuss is about. The stones with boron cantilevers seem to only have very subtle differences among them, once you eliminate variables like large discrepancies in hour counts and build dates.

Getting the 64S setup seems to be a practice in handling delays; glad you're in the homestretch now. It must've taken at least 4 months for my cut armboard to get delivered from Clearaudio.

Does the Jade have any hours on it yet, or is it brand new?
 
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Kcin

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Very very pretty Jade; nice lush dark green! I gotta get one of those Arche head shells. I think you'll be impressed by the 64S/Koetsu sound. I've been impressed enough over the past few weeks that I've already picked up some other stuff for mine too - the Audio Silente lift (looks like you have one too), the Ikeda VTA-06 base (for comparison and backup to my old B60, which barely tightens well enough to the arm pillar), and...maybe perhaps kinda got a Blue Lace DC on the way. Finally get to see what the DC fuss is about. The stones with boron cantilevers seem to only have very subtle differences among them, once you eliminate variables like large discrepancies in hour counts and build dates.

Getting the 64S setup seems to be a practice in handling delays; glad you're in the homestretch now. It must've taken at least 4 months for my cut armboard to get delivered from Clearaudio.

Does the Jade have any hours on it yet, or is it brand new?

Hi, It sure sounds like you and I had the same trek. It took two tries with machining my armboard to get it the correct PTS .Ther right geometry with the fixed FR7f was challenging... but with Arche I will have room to maneuver spot on. Those two episodes of machining took months and I added to the delay as the Etna SL and the Atlas were really sounding very good. I did get the Audio Silente lift as mine was not holding well... but I since rebuilt it.

I have the B60 VTA tower as well and it is really tight under the Brinkmann pod. I had to modify the nut slightly to fit.

The Jade has about 100hrs and is a recent model with tapped holes so it is just broken in. The suspension looks exactly like the new RSP as well as the stylus- received it from a trustworthy source.

If I like this I may sell one of my cartridges and get a Blue Lace with diamond. For some of the music I listen to the Atlas rocks and I have to break out the GFS as well.

Are you using the copper washer with the headshell or the rubber one installed...Thanks! I am going to try to install this evening.
 

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