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

May 9, 2015
Cologne, Germany
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 :)





May 9, 2015
Cologne, Germany



Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 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.)


New Member
Nov 24, 2015
thanks for that!
great review.
Jun 5, 2010
Thank you for sharing your Koetsu experience shakti. Did you ever have the chance to hear the Supex cartridge that was designed by Sugano?
May 9, 2015
Cologne, Germany
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 :)

May 9, 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.
Jul 7, 2017
Very nice collection! And great impressions; very informative. Against my RSP, I would definitely agree that all the stone bodies have a better bass foundation and dynamics. I now have an alnico Onyx to compare to a platinum Onyx, both recently rebuilt by Koetsu, and so far the alnico seems even more dynamic, though perhaps a hair less smooth and refined (but still very much smooth and refined in an absolute sense). These Onyxes still sound a bit more similar to each other than the Coralstone though -- which is definitely the "warm" sounding stone body.
Dec 1, 2013
Since Shakti mentioned this weekend's workshop in this thread I thought I'd throw in a few pictures of his workshop. It was a great experience as always with comparisons of seven different Koetsus, the Sperling and Dereneville motor units, the two Micro Seikis (RX 5000 vs. SX 8000 Mk.II), several reference level preamps and two horn loaded speakers (Zingali and Thöress). What a treat.

My personal highlight has been to finally get the chance to hear the differences between the Micro Seiki RX 5000 and SX 8000 II (both running with Dereneville motor units). Also finding out how much I liked the Koetsu Urushi Wajima and that I preferred it over the stone bodies was quite fascinating. And on top I have been absolutely gobsmacked when I realized how good the Dereneville motor is and what a difference it made. A lot of new experience has been made. :)






Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
La Jolla, Calif USA
Great thread.
I see one of my favorite Opus 3 LP's on a stand in these pics...the Opus 3 Therese Juel Levande LP. What do you guys think of this LP?
It's not that easy to come by these days.
Dec 1, 2013
The second room, basicall the home cinema turned showroom, where a friend of Shakti presented gear from his shop. This is a great idea of Shakti to use his available space to make his workshops even more worth coming to and have dealer friends present interesting new stuff.

I really liked the Polish hORNS FP12 speakers, although I must admit that a slightly more powerful amp than the little triode from LAB12 might have made the experience even better. I already heard the smaller FP10 on this year's Analog-Forum and thought it was really, really good for the money. Seems to be a brand that is worth taking a look at.



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