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  #1  
Old 30-01-17, 02:56 PM
Tim Jones Tim Jones is offline
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Are Koetsus worth it?

I'm approaching one of those system rethink moment wherein I'll have an opportunity to do some good things. Alongside my distinctly out of date digital set-up, I'd like to take an opportunity to equip my SME20/3A and Aurorasound Vida with something less lowly than the current Benz Micro Ace SL cart I've had on for the past year or so.

Don't get me wrong. I much prefer the Benz to the DV TKR it replaced; which was a bit too hi fi, and a bit too low an output, for my tastes. I do hear a lot of good things about the Koetsu/SME combination. But I'm a bit mystified by that, at least in the sense that the SME decks are relatively 'dark' sounding, while Koetsus (at least the 'cheaper' ones) are renowned for being down in the high end.

Given the relative difficulty of auditioning high end carts, at this point I'm tempted to take a punt on something with a reputation for a more lively character - such as a Lyra, or even, weirdly, a 17D3. Any views or experiences welcome....
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  #2  
Old 30-01-17, 03:17 PM
Tony L Tony L is offline
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I think the SME/Koetsu synergy isn't really a bright dark thing, more the bold, full-bodied somewhat rose-tinted and romantic presentation of the Koetsu balances the slightly dry and analytical perspective of the SME. Lyra tend towards very bright, tight and dynamic and personally I'd prefer one on a warmer deck like an older LP12, Garrard 301 etc. Obviously a lot depends on the phono stage and rest of the system. I've always rather fancied a Koetsu, but never been able to justify the cost, I've liked the ones I've heard. I had a Lydian B for a fair while. The DV17 is very clean fast and enjoyable with great tracking and a lovely top end, but really lacks weight, slam and heft IME (I had one for a very short while, I liked it but it was just too thin for me). It would be a great cart to counter a really over-warm or weighty system.

Please only take the above as broad-brush generalisations made over the years in various scenarios, obviously context and personal taste are everything when it comes to carts. It is certainly annoying they are so hard to get to hear these days!
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  #3  
Old 30-01-17, 03:23 PM
abbydog abbydog is offline
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About 40 years is a long time to sustain a rip-off... they are very good.
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  #4  
Old 30-01-17, 04:07 PM
flatpopely flatpopely is offline
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Originally Posted by abbydog View Post
About 40 years is a long time to sustain a rip-off... they are very good.
Who said rip off?
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  #5  
Old 30-01-17, 04:10 PM
Tim Jones Tim Jones is offline
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The rest of the system (SN2/Harbeth Compact 7s) is pretty much geared towards a mixture of midband insight (going through a jazz and chamber phase...helped by the Vida) with just a tinge of PRaT for old times' sake.

I seem to remember Jason Kennedy putting a 17D3 on his SME20 with apparently great results. But I did live with 17Ds for the best part of a decade (on an LP12/Aro and then a P9), so part of me is willing the change. Plus I do take your point Tony that's it's not as simple as light/dark.

I could probably stretch to an Urushi, but it's still a big stretch. With any luck I might find a dealer who might be willing to dem. Any volunteers welcome....
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  #6  
Old 30-01-17, 05:59 PM
abbydog abbydog is offline
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Quote:
who said rip off?
The OP's question was 'are Koetsu's worth it?'

In my world, if something isn't worth the money, it is a rip-off.

I make the point that the cartridges have survived in the market a long time for a reason.

But then I have an Urushi on the Brinkmann for a reason, no?

Do tell if you have a problem with these cartridges - or people using them.
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  #7  
Old 30-01-17, 06:13 PM
RossB RossB is offline
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Some years ago I had a Koetsu Rosewood which I tried on the SME IV I owned at that time with an Orbe. I didn't feel that the SME/Koetsu combination was a good one, although many people do seem to use this combination. I found that the Koetsu sounded better on a heavier Japanese arm.

The Koetsu was a nice enough cartridge, but these days I think there are better cartridges for similar or lower prices. I would take a Benz Glider over a Koetsu, for example.

A Lyra may be what the OP is looking for, since they are certainly brighter sounding cartridges which can enliven an otherwise dull system. I've owned a number over the years - a Clavis DC, Clavis Evolve, Helikon, Delos, and Kleos. I don't know why I've owned so many, since I haven't really liked any of them, except the Evolve. They are all a bit lean and shrill for my tastes, but many people love them. Certainly if you want a contrast to the Benz, the Lyra will provide it.

Another suggestion is a Van Den Hul Frog. To my ears this bridges the gap between the Lyra and the Benz sounds - it is fast, detailed and dynamic - more so than a Benz - but there is also a bit more body and tonal depth than a Lyra.

You may also want to listen to some different phono stages. The Vida is quite nice, but can sound a little bland (I owned one for a while). As you own an SN2, you might be able to try a Naim Superline, which is more dynamic and characterful than the Vida. The Trilogy 907 and Tron Seven are also excellent options which personally I think are distinctly better than the Vida.
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  #8  
Old 30-01-17, 08:33 PM
andyr andyr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Jones View Post
I'm approaching one of those system rethink moment wherein I'll have an opportunity to do some good things. Alongside my distinctly out of date digital set-up, I'd like to take an opportunity to equip my SME20/3A and Aurorasound Vida with something less lowly than the current Benz Micro Ace SL cart I've had on for the past year or so.

Don't get me wrong. I much prefer the Benz to the DV TKR it replaced; which was a bit too hi fi, and a bit too low an output, for my tastes. I do hear a lot of good things about the Koetsu/SME combination. But I'm a bit mystified by that, at least in the sense that the SME decks are relatively 'dark' sounding, while Koetsus (at least the 'cheaper' ones) are renowned for being down in the high end.

Given the relative difficulty of auditioning high end carts, at this point I'm tempted to take a punt on something with a reputation for a more lively character - such as a Lyra, or even, weirdly, a 17D3. Any views or experiences welcome....
I do know someone who loves his Koetsu but can I suggest a Benz LP? You can still buy the LP, even though the LP-S has been out a number of years ... although the S may be more readily available in the USofA. (Europe, I have heard, prefers the LP-S - which has quite a different sound. Or it's vv ... I'm afraid I forget which.)

Andy

Last edited by andyr; 30-01-17 at 10:24 PM.
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  #9  
Old 30-01-17, 09:57 PM
jy3 jy3 is offline
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And just to make your choice more difficult, don't forget Transfiguration.
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  #10  
Old 30-01-17, 11:03 PM
koi koi is offline
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Originally Posted by jy3 View Post
And just to make your choice more difficult, don't forget Transfiguration.
Or ZYX
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  #11  
Old 30-01-17, 11:36 PM
Dark Lord Dark Lord is offline
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try an ortofon spu royal N.

very good.
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  #12  
Old 31-01-17, 12:03 AM
martin dawson martin dawson is offline
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Kiseki Blue NS does it for me.

Regards,

Martin
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  #13  
Old 31-01-17, 12:08 AM
GJO GJO is offline
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When my Rosewood eventually wears out and having owned an Agate Ruby back in the 90's,I will be seriously considering one of these. http://www.analogueseduction.net/cat...78/Kisekiphono[1].html
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  #14  
Old 31-01-17, 12:24 AM
Mike Reed Mike Reed is offline
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Don't get me started on Koetsus; or in fact any high end cartridges. It's an addiction. Be back later.
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  #15  
Old 31-01-17, 12:59 AM
Andy1912 Andy1912 is offline
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I have a koetsu red on a SME 20/2 with Harbeth speakers. It's a beautiful thing. Replaced a DV17d3, which was good but is understandably outclassed by the koetsu. The sound is gorgeous.
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