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Old 31-01-17, 01:42 AM
flatpopely flatpopely is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Originally Posted by abbydog View Post
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.
No issues at all. I've only heard a Rosewood but it made some of the most realistic piano sound I have heard from an MC.
Not heard a Brinkmann so can't comment.
Prog Rocks / MOD
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Old 31-01-17, 01:58 AM
Gaius Gaius is offline
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Andrew heard the Koetsu round mine and yes it was a lovely cartridge. Are they worth it, well that's down to the individual but there is nothing else quire like them.

Tim, I am just about to move on from a Karat 173/D to a Kiseki Purple Heart which might also be the very thing for you, you are welcome to pop over.


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Old 31-01-17, 02:07 AM
Tarzan Tarzan is offline
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No experience of listing to Koetsu, however being based on looks alone they are worth the Wonga.

Koetsu Urishi?

Nurse! nurse!
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Old 31-01-17, 03:01 AM
keith1962 keith1962 is offline
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Moved from a Lyra Kleos to a Miyajima Shilabe and wouldn't go back!

Last edited by keith1962; 31-01-17 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 31-01-17, 03:06 AM
mjw mjw is offline
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Tim, I listen to a lot of piano and the Red Signature does it beautifully (albeit on a WTA, not an SME). Mine was a used buy from PFM and all sales being final I did worry about reports of a rolled-off top. It just isn't the case. It's a beautiful thing.
Emil F might still have a Black for sale. I don't think he ever used it (but it's priced in Euros so perhaps not the bargain it was last year).
Good luck
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Old 31-01-17, 03:14 AM
david12 david12 is offline
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The nicest cartridge I ever had, was a Koetsu Rosewood Signature. Don't forget buying second hand, though I know it's a risk. I bought mine on the US site Audiogon, for about 950. I used it for three years and sold it for 900, can't complain about that.

My second favourite cartridge, someone has already mentioned, was a Benz LP, I am using now, also second hand. It is more neutral, but the Koetsu had a magical sound. I can't forget.
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Old 31-01-17, 03:36 AM
daytona600 daytona600 is offline
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Are Koetsus worth it? yes used them for over 30years
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Old 31-01-17, 03:40 AM
pt109 pt109 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 273
If you have a chance to do so, you should try Charisma's MC2.
This worked really well with my then SME10/V combo.
The Charisma's overall sound is somewhere between a Koetsu and a Lyra.
Groove noise is very low and the cart is an excellent tracker.
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Old 31-01-17, 03:55 AM
artist artist is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,442
Koetsu worth it yes as I use a rosewood signature on my sme 20.i have used Lyra and kiseki.if you buy a used koetsu you can always get it refurbished going back direct saving paying the importer his koetsu was a used model totally worn out when it came back it was like brand new and sounds amazing .
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Old 31-01-17, 04:29 AM
Mike Reed Mike Reed is offline
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Originally Posted by keith1962 View Post
Moved from a Lyra Kleos to a Miyajima Shiplake and wouldn't go back!
The Shilabe (but I like 'Shiplake' ) was demmed in my system in November by the local dealer; on his TD124 deck, not mine, but through my Superline. It was very similar in presentation to my Urushi Vermillion.

I had an Orbe with SME V and after Lyra Clavis and Helikon, took a punt on a used Black Goldline (cheapest K). Loved its full-bodied, musical and involving character. Went to newish Vermillion with its much lower output ( (<3 as opposed to 0.6 mV for the Black and Reds). Lovely ! Still have it but fancy trying a stone bodied K).

Both these cart's worked well in the Five, but the Urushi took off when I changed decks and to a 12" arm. My friend has a 20/3, but with Phantom and Lyras; a big improvement over his former Five and Orbe, it seems.

The Benz Ebony LP is a lovely cart. and was a great counter to my Urushi for some time (I have 2 tonearms); only supplanted by the Transfig. Proteus, which has a similar presentation but extends just about everything whist being a smidgen more neutral.

The SME Five is a very neutral arm; even bordering on the cool, some would say; despite only being at the lighter side of a medium eff. mass (11g), it copes well with a lot of moving coils. The 20/3, by all accounts, is not a colourful deck (house sound, maybe?), and I guess that a colourful cart. like a K, Miyajima, upper Benz and probably others would complement it well.

If you are anywhere near Norwich, or indeed fancy visiting this fine city, I'd be happy to host a session. However, my Dais, all valved amplification and electrostatics wouldn't bear any resemblance to your Naim; this with some surety as I've just moved from 552/Superline etc.

If you can get a used Koetsu with their legendary longevity, you'll be unlikely to lose much on eventual resale. Yes, phono stage etc. is all part of the package, as it were, but one can only concentrate on one aspect at a time, suck it and see.
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Old 31-01-17, 04:56 AM
pil pil is offline
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I have a black and Red here,both are excellent for jazz ,blues,female vocals etc.

I have a lot of indie type stuff,and prefer the Hana EL for that.
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Old 31-01-17, 05:14 AM
pmac pmac is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 126
Are Koetsus worth it? It's a difficult question to answer.

Koetsus are well respected cartridges, although not entirely my cup of tea. IME the entry level Black is only moderate for the money, I don't think it is an improvement (or even as good) as some of the older Sugano san offerings such as the Supex SDX-1000

The Rosewood Signature is quite nice, but I find it still suffers from colouration in the bass region. It has a lovely magical midrange, although it isn't the most resolving of cartridges. The very best stone bodied Koetsus (Coralstone etc. with diamond cantilevers and costing 5 figures) are very good and can grace even the best systems, but give me an Audio Note Io Ltd any day.

Given the OP's question, are they worth it? Well, that depends an your tastes and your attitude towards your bank balance. I would probably prefer a Miyajima Madake to a Rosewood Signature as I feel it gives a more rounded presentation and there are also others out there that I would consider before parting with my money, but unless you hear them it is just a lottery.

In your position, I would do everything possible to hear as many alternatives as possible (friends, dealers etc.) and buy according to your tastes and not subjective opinions given by others (which includes mine, of course)

All IMHO/YMMV etc. :-)
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Old 31-01-17, 07:49 AM
Spectre Spectre is offline
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Originally Posted by RossB View Post
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.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Very simply I recently heard a Rosewood and SME V together and didn't feel they were particularly complimentary. The SME is very matter of fact and just emphasizes the lushness and slightly rolled off treble of the Koetsu. To these ears it needed an arm with a little more sparkle such as an Audiomods Series IV or alternative. Paired with a more complimentary arm I would probably warm to a Koetsu.
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Old 31-01-17, 08:18 AM
Paul Gravett Paul Gravett is offline
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Posts: 298
About 30 or so years ago Hi-Fi Answers reviewed a Koetsu then worth over a grand and compared it to a Linn Basik cartridge costing about 25. The conclusion was the Basik outclassed it in almost every respect. Sounds ludicrous, I know, but the magazine was devoutly flat earth. I've never heard a Koetsu so can't comment on its capabilities.
Paul G
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Old 31-01-17, 08:54 AM
Tony L Tony L is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 59,374
I'm pretty sure that was either Flat Response or Hi-Fi Review, not Answers!

PS The original Basik cart, the one that came with the rather naff ADC/BSR-derived S shaped LVV arm was a rather interesting cart and one I never managed to properly identify. I'm talking about the one with a black stylus guard, not the conical-tipped AT95 derivative with the yellow stylus, which I've never been a fan of. The black one really had some bass grip and kick to it though it was a fairly cheap sounding cart elsewhere.
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