Koetsu - Urushi Red Vermillion Cartridge




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"…I've just spent a few months with Koetsu's Urushi Vermillion, and it's safe to say that those who worried that the magic might have disappeared along with the elder Sugano needn't have…the Vermillion and the rest of the Urushi series offer an addictive balance of high-resolution detail and exceptional evocation of instrumental textures…few, if any, are capable of re-creating instrumental textures the way the Vermillion does…I've been playing the Beatles' Abbey Road for almost 40 years now, and the Vermillion took the voices, particularly George Harrison's and Ringo's to new levels of jump-from-my-seat believability…Regardless of musical and sonic tastes, I can't imagine anyone's encounter with a Koetsu Urushi Vermillion being anything other than memorably ear-opening. It's one of a handful of the most musically engaging cartridges I've heard." – Michael Fremer, Stereophile, January 2008

Probably the most popular in the Urushi series. Alnico magnet with silver and copper coil windings producing about .4 mv output in a red lacquered rosewood body. One of our favorites here at Acoustic Sounds.

"I had to let you know, I got the cartridge installed Saturday and started playing this afternoon. Wow! What a change. It paints a huge musical picture. It kind of reminds me of the first time I went to a college football game. I did not know where to look first. All the colors, the green pitch, the marching band, spectators and, of course, the game. Well, it was sort of like that. There was so much going on in the sound stage, my ears did not know where to listen. Spaces around the instruments, yet, it all sounded musically coherent and so sweet, not a trace of harshness." – Simon Cronin, 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.

  • Lacquered rosewood body
  • Alnico magnet structure with alternate windings of silver and copper wire
  • .4mV output

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