Legendary Supex 900 Super: Koetsu before Koetsu

godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
535
826
108
63
Just installed the legendary Supex 900 Super designed by Sugano himself, before he went on to found Koetsu. What a beautiful sounding cartridge! Here is a picture of the cartridge on a Technics SP-10 Mk2 with the ruby bearing EPA-100 tone arm with variable damping.

IMG_5502.jpeg

Here are the specifications of this cartridge:

IMG_5508.jpeg
This is installed in one of my several systems. This system uses Brian Putzey’s masterpiece, the Mola Mola Makua all in one preamp — the most sophisticated and flexible solid state preamp I have owned in 35 years. You can hook up 8 cartridges to this preamp, and adjust all their parameters using your iPhone!
IMG_5506.jpeg

As for speakers, I’m using the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s in this system driven by Putzey’s Mola Mola Kaluga 400 watt monoblocks, which fit nicely under the Harbeth inside its stands

From the first album I played, a Chet Baker classic, I was mesmerized. This cartridge does not sound like a cartridge, but like mastertape. It is incredibly smooth sounding. The attached response curve shows an absolute flat response from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. No rising top like the Lyras I owned or the drooping top end, like my Koetsu Onyx platinum. The Supex is a rara avis (rare bird in Latin). It tracks as well as a moving magnet due to its somewhat higher compliance, but its incredibly low stylus mass gives it an extended response into the ultrasonic range.

The sound is simply ravishing yet neutral. I was lucky enough to get an unused copy for around $400. It’s easily better than my Onyx Platinum. They are hard to find unused. But pounce if you find one. You might end up selling your Koetsu.

IMG_5507.jpeg
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 24, 2015
15,775
12,813
2,665
Beverly Hills, CA
I have never heard of this cartridge. Quite amazing that you found one unused!

Wow, preferring it to an Onyx Platinum is saying something!

Do you have any sense of how it might compare to a Rosewood Signature Platinum (boron)?
 

Robert Young

VIP/Donor
Oct 22, 2020
258
488
290
61
New York CIty
Just installed the legendary Supex 900 Super designed by Sugano himself, before he went on to found Koetsu. What a beautiful sounding cartridge! Here is a picture of the cartridge on a Technics SP-10 Mk2 with the ruby bearing EPA-100 tone arm with variable damping.

View attachment 115281

Here are the specifications of this cartridge:

View attachment 115282
This is installed in one of my several systems. This system uses Brian Putzey’s masterpiece, the Mola Mola Makua all in one preamp — the most sophisticated and flexible solid state preamp I have owned in 35 years. You can hook up 8 cartridges to this preamp, and adjust all their parameters using your iPhone!
View attachment 115283

As for speakers, I’m using the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s in this system driven by Putzey’s Mola Mola Kaluga 400 watt monoblocks, which fit nicely under the Harbeth inside its stands

From the first album I played, a Chet Baker classic, I was mesmerized. This cartridge does not sound like a cartridge, but like mastertape. It is incredibly smooth sounding. The attached response curve shows an absolute flat response from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. No rising top like the Lyras I owned or the drooping top end, like my Koetsu Onyx platinum. The Supex is a rara avis (rare bird in Latin). It tracks as well as a moving magnet due to its somewhat higher compliance, but its incredibly low stylus mass gives it an extended response into the ultrasonic range.

The sound is simply ravishing yet neutral. I was lucky enough to get an unused copy for around $400. It’s easily better than my Onyx Platinum. They are hard to find unused. But pounce if you find one. You might end up selling your Koetsu.

View attachment 115284
My experiences as well. It is a superb neutral cartridge that does nothing wrong and an awful lot right (like piano decay -wow. And i have a baby grand right in the room, so it is easy to compare). The only bummer is that i have way too many cartridges that don’t get enough playing time, so i sold mine just a month ago (decided to keep a Monster Genesis Sigma 2000 instead. Maybe a good choice, maybe not).

the key here is that given the redonkulous prices of pretty good equipment these days, the world of great vintage cartridges (mm, mi, electret and mc) is the most fun you can have for under $1000 with your pants on.
 
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DasguteOhr

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2013
2,190
2,321
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Germany
Good old things have allways a comeback;)


P.S
my tip fidelity research fr 1mk3 first silver coil cartridge on the market
 
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godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
535
826
108
63
Here is the official blurb by Sumiko who used to carry this cartridge — I’m guessing this is at least 40-50 years old! It’s a Supex Super 900E. I think there may be other variations.

IMG_5511.jpeg

Here is a plot of its frequency response that came with the cartridge. Note how flat it is from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. This is unlike the later Koetsu’s. It sounds exactly as this suggests. No emphasis in the highs or rolled off treble. It’s hard to find a moving coil cartridge these days that is this accurate. But in this case, accuracy does not come at the expense of musicality. You simply want to keep playing your vinyl, so mesmerizing is its sound. Sugano really hit it out of the park with this one.

IMG_5510.jpeg
 

Robert Young

VIP/Donor
Oct 22, 2020
258
488
290
61
New York CIty
Good old things have allways a comeback;)


P.S
my tip fidelity research fr 1mk3 first silver coil cartridge on the market
Particularly when one is operating in the “What’s Best Forum, but on a Strict Budget because I have a 10-year old in Private School and I thus Have No Extra Scratch” sub-website. Almost everything i own is in the vintage category (even my Schroeder Reference, which is now about 20 years old!). And though there’s nothing state-of-the-art about my really humble system, it continues to bring me great joy every day. Even as the raging tinnitus in my right ear renders the Tannoy ST-200 on the right channel completely moot.

anyway, glad to see this cart get the kudos it deserves. I never liked Koetsus that i heard, but i loved my Supex. In the same vein, i also love the Monster, a Sony XL-55 pro, a Signet TK10ml, and a Micro Acoustics 3002 upgraded with a sapphire cantilever and fritz geiger stylus. These get as much playing time as my “more modern” cartridge, an Allaerts MC -1b (still my reference, though the Tedeska i had on loan from Solypsa may have bettered it on the Schroeder Reference). The Allaerts was a lot of money back when i bought it 20 years ago, but none of the others cost me more than $600.

i love vintage gear: sounds great, is simple, and doesn’t cost more than a car.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 24, 2015
15,775
12,813
2,665
Beverly Hills, CA
I didn't know that any moving coil cartridge had a flat (non-rising) high-frequency response like that.
 

DasguteOhr

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2013
2,190
2,321
595
Germany
Particularly when one is operating in the “What’s Best Forum, but on a Strict Budget because I have a 10-year old in Private School and I thus Have No Extra Scratch” sub-website. Almost everything i own is in the vintage category (even my Schroeder Reference, which is now about 20 years old!). And though there’s nothing state-of-the-art about my really humble system, it continues to bring me great joy every day. Even as the raging tinnitus in my right ear renders the Tannoy ST-200 on the right channel completely moot.

anyway, glad to see this cart get the kudos it deserves. I never liked Koetsus that i heard, but i loved my Supex. In the same vein, i also love the Monster, a Sony XL-55 pro, a Signet TK10ml, and a Micro Acoustics 3002 upgraded with a sapphire cantilever and fritz geiger stylus. These get as much playing time as my “more modern” cartridge, an Allaerts MC -1b (still my reference, though the Tedeska i had on loan from Solypsa may have bettered it on the Schroeder Reference). The Allaerts was a lot of money back when i bought it 20 years ago, but none of the others cost me more than $600.

i love vintage gear: sounds great, is simple, and doesn’t cost more than a car.
+ 1.
the new cartridges are just overpriced. They didn't reinvent the wheel.
i like to listen to my lyra clavis d.c, ortofon vero/vienna, linn karma(supex)kiseki blue(old version),audio technica art 1 and fr1 mk3f. listening to music is a lot of fun with every cartridge.all with good step up transformer
 

DasguteOhr

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2013
2,190
2,321
595
Germany
I didn't know that any moving coil cartridge had a flat (non-rising) high-frequency response like that.
Some Dynavector, emt and highphonic dl 103 pro that i know. LjH0Hxq.jpg
 

godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
535
826
108
63
I didn't know that any moving coil cartridge had a flat (non-rising) high-frequency response like that.
There are a small number, but none seems as flat as my sample of the Supex. Here’s the response curve of the Denon 103 that I also have, mounted on a fairly heavy SME V12 arm. The Denon has very low compliance (5 cu), so it needs a heavier arm than the Supex. This curve only specified the response from 1 KHz to 20 KHz. The Denon also sounds nice for the price, tonally very neutral. But it’s not got that Supex magic to it. The Supex has a touch of the Koetsu richness in the midrange. But not so much that it’s as lush sounding as some Koetsu’s.

IMG_5514.jpeg
 

godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
535
826
108
63
I have never heard of this cartridge. Quite amazing that you found one unused!

Wow, preferring it to an Onyx Platinum is saying something!

Do you have any sense of how it might compare to a Rosewood Signature Platinum (boron)?
Compare the frequency response of the Koetsu Onyx Platinum below to the Supex 900 posted above. The Onyx Platinum is voiced to be a very warm and rich sounding cartridge. Its response is down by 6 dB at 20 KHz and the whole treble range is shelved down. It’s a nice tone control in a sense and sounds that way. With bright recordings, it might be what you want. But if the recording is done well, you might not want to impose such a roll off. The Supex in contrast is completely neutral. It’s not going to sugarcoat a recording, but at the same time, it doesn’t sound clinical. I need to tweak the loading a bit and see how its sound changes.

IMG_5515.jpeg

 

DasguteOhr

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2013
2,190
2,321
595
Germany
There are a small number, but none seems as flat as my sample of the Supex. Here’s the response curve of the Denon 103 that I also have, mounted on a fairly heavy SME V12 arm. The Denon has very low compliance (5 cu), so it needs a heavier arm than the Supex. This curve only specified the response from 1 KHz to 20 KHz. The Denon also sounds nice for the price, tonally very neutral. But it’s not got that Supex magic to it. The Supex has a touch of the Koetsu richness in the midrange. But not so much that it’s as lush sounding as some Koetsu’s.

View attachment 115292
exsample incognito shibui if you find it buy it holygrail 103 70069a.jpg
 

miniguy

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2013
435
166
350
San Diego area
Here is the official blurb by Sumiko who used to carry this cartridge — I’m guessing this is at least 40-50 years old! It’s a Supex Super 900E. I think there may be other variations.

View attachment 115285

Here is a plot of its frequency response that came with the cartridge. Note how flat it is from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. This is unlike the later Koetsu’s. It sounds exactly as this suggests. No emphasis in the highs or rolled off treble. It’s hard to find a moving coil cartridge these days that is this accurate. But in this case, accuracy does not come at the expense of musicality. You simply want to keep playing your vinyl, so mesmerizing is its sound. Sugano really hit it out of the park with this one.

View attachment 115286
This is the identical one I used to have long ago. To be precise, as shown on this spec sheet, it was a SD 900/E+ Super. After this cart I had another Supex - the SDX 1000. Not sure if it was also a Sugano design. It had a boron cantilever. The body was rounder and more petite. Anyone remember it?
 

dcathro

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2016
563
709
228
Melbourne, Australia
This brings back memories!

I owned one of these in the early 80s, mounted in a Grace 707 on a Thorens TD160. At that time I listened a lot on Stax headphones and the combination was something special.
 

dcathro

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2016
563
709
228
Melbourne, Australia
This is the identical one I used to have long ago. To be precise, as shown on this spec sheet, it was a SD 900/E+ Super. After this cart I had another Supex - the SDX 1000. Not sure if it was also a Sugano design. It had a boron cantilever. The body was rounder and more petite. Anyone remember it?

Yes, I had one given to me in the 90s.
 

Jerome Sabbagh

Well-Known Member
Mar 27, 2018
63
76
125
Great cartridge! I have one that was retipped by Ana Mighty Sound, on an FR-64S. It’s my main cartridge and I listen to it all the time. It’s a great blend of detail, accuracy and naturalness to my ears.
 

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
3,542
2,455
1,810
Sydney
Just installed the legendary Supex 900 Super designed by Sugano himself, before he went on to found Koetsu. What a beautiful sounding cartridge! Here is a picture of the cartridge on a Technics SP-10 Mk2 with the ruby bearing EPA-100 tone arm with variable damping.

View attachment 115281

Here are the specifications of this cartridge:

View attachment 115282
This is installed in one of my several systems. This system uses Brian Putzey’s masterpiece, the Mola Mola Makua all in one preamp — the most sophisticated and flexible solid state preamp I have owned in 35 years. You can hook up 8 cartridges to this preamp, and adjust all their parameters using your iPhone!
View attachment 115283

As for speakers, I’m using the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s in this system driven by Putzey’s Mola Mola Kaluga 400 watt monoblocks, which fit nicely under the Harbeth inside its stands

From the first album I played, a Chet Baker classic, I was mesmerized. This cartridge does not sound like a cartridge, but like mastertape. It is incredibly smooth sounding. The attached response curve shows an absolute flat response from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. No rising top like the Lyras I owned or the drooping top end, like my Koetsu Onyx platinum. The Supex is a rara avis (rare bird in Latin). It tracks as well as a moving magnet due to its somewhat higher compliance, but its incredibly low stylus mass gives it an extended response into the ultrasonic range.

The sound is simply ravishing yet neutral. I was lucky enough to get an unused copy for around $400. It’s easily better than my Onyx Platinum. They are hard to find unused. But pounce if you find one. You might end up selling your Koetsu.

View attachment 115284

Sweet. Nice to pick up a hardly used Supex.

Can you please explain how you can hook up 8 cartridges?
There are only 5 inputs.
 

audiobomber

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2020
221
198
115
Sudbury ON, Canada
My favourite cartridge. I had the original SD-900, the SD-900 Mk-IV and SDX-1000. I no longer have a turntable but I still have the Mk-IV, which I will be selling. It was lightly used, the diamond is very good but I believe the suspension has dried out.
 
Apr 4, 2022
63
90
23
38
I recently sold my Supex 900. Great sounding cartridge indeed. I also sold my original, very low hour Koetsu long body rosewood (MC1), of which was a noticeable set up in performance over the Supex 900.
Further to that, my Koetsu Rosewood Signature was a noticeable set up from the MC1 Rosewood long body.
Owning 8 Koetsu's I can categorically say that the further up the chain you go, the 'better' the performance gets.
Very obviously 'better' is subjective, which is why we're all pontificating here. But, speaking in terms of 'absolute high end' and its dictates, a Onyx Platinum is not approached by a Supex 900.
 

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