"…lovely: smooth, textured, exceptionally colorful…The Black sounded beautifully human. It presented singing voices with superb clarity and presence…stringed instruments sound wonderful: thick but clear, with mountains of texture and a nearly indescribably sense of wood and varnish…I still have my original copy of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush…the Koetsu Black made it sound so nice I actually started to cry…Is there a better way for an analog enthusiast to spend $1600? Maybe not." – Art Dudley, Stereophile, July 2007
The Koetsu Black's biggest crime is that it's not the newest kid on the block in this price range. The Black has quietly gained internal improvements, most notably the use of silver-clad copper wire like the upper models.
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.
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