Low Output Cartridges
"A well known audio executive (name withheld) was at my house last weekend, and we installed the Koetsu Tiger's Eye. Very few things in life really surprise me. This one did. The cartridge is such a killer, it is hard to describe. I am hearing things that I never knew or imagined could be in those grooves. The soundstage, the detail, the dynamics, the lack of smear, the air around the instruments is nothing short of astonishing. The frequency response seems to be DC to light. Every other cartridge I have ever heard now seems constrained in frequency response, as well as in micro and macro dynamics. The audio executive concurs. When he first lowered the cartridge into a white noise groove on his test record, he said: 'Wow, I have never experienced anything like this before.' Since we were in my separate equipment room, and the amplifiers were not even turned on yet, I asked what it was. He pointed out that you could hear nothing when you brought your ear near the cartridge! As you well know, every other cartridge in the world will give out clear mechanical sounds from a groove because of the vibration of the stylus and the body. Not this one. You really have to struggle to be able to hear the faintest incredibly low-level sound. Our only conclusion is that the diamond cantilever has no flex, and the cartridge has essentially perfect vibration and resonance control. To top it all, this thing sounds so neutral, and the channel separation is so good, that, if it were not for the Koetsu Tiger's Eye, I would never have believed that this was possible with Analog. Bottom line, this cartridge has made a bigger difference to my system than any other front-end component I have ever tried. It is truly awesome and worth ever penny, and I do not say that lightly regarding a tiny thing that costs $13K!" – Mark Dubovoy, Acoustic Sounds customer
For decades, the Koetsu sound has been legend in audiophile lore. But only a proud few have owned and experienced the unequaled magic these hand-built cartridges evoke. Many of the converted search out second and third Koetsus. Why? Maybe it's time you hear for yourself.
To fully appreciate Koetsu, we must know Yosiaki Sugano, an artist, musician, swordsman, calligrapher, business executive and creator of the world's most renowned phono cartridges. Certainly a well-rounded man, Sugano rose to prominence in one of Japan's largest industrial companies in the postwar years, yet continued to pursue his passions, now including hi-fi.
In the 1970s, Sugano began to experiment with phono cartridges by substituting his own parts in commercially available models. His keen ear and deductive reasoning, combined with an artist's sensibilities, led to the creation of what would become a legend in audio. Sensing the moment, Sugano named his cartridge after his hero, Koetsu.
Sugano's quest led him to enlist universities, specialized industries and master craftspeople to create the special parts to go into his masterpieces. One of the first to use 4 nines copper (99.99% pure), curent production uses 6 nines copper (99.9999% pure). Platinum signature models feature silver cladding of the 6 nines copper, a process where a silver sheath is slowly drawn over the copper conductor.
Ultra-pure iron square plate formers were sourced for their most predictable magnetic characteristics and lowest oxidation. Pre-aged to the perfect consistency, rubber suspension parts are sourced under license with a rubber damper manufacturer. Special magnetic materials, including Alnico have been featured. Today, samarium-coblalt is used with platinum magnets reserved for the flagship models. Japanese craftsmen carve the rosewood bodies, lacquer coat the Urushi bodies, or cut stone for the onyx Platinum. Styli are specially designed and precision ground for Koetsu.
Today, Sugano's sons have revived his art and continue to create musical masterpieces under the watchful eye of the old master. For every music lover, your journey to musical nirvana is incomplete without a Koetsu phono cartridge in your system.