Koetsu Mystique

I’ve read about it for years. I’ve heard it very briefly in other rigs over the years. I finally had to taste it myself. Just installed a Rosewood Standard that the good folks at MD accepted my Dynavector 17DX in trade toward the purchase of.

Fine tuning and final dial-in of this beauty hasn’t even begun and I can say for voice and acoustic instruments it is oh so seductive. Those of you who have thought about it, have at TT plus tonearm that can get the best out the Koetsu sound - find a way to taste it yourself.

I’m smitten already. It’d be nice if Koetsu actually provided some setup info with the cart and the untapped mounting holes are a royal pain in the hmmm, hmmm to deal with. The payoff for nerve-racking, fumble fingered near disaster getting a Koetsu mounted and aligned is handsome indeed.


Knew a chap who had a rosewood on an SME IV. Should be good on a 309.

Urushi here.


I can only speak for an Urushi Vermillion on an SME V 25 years ago or so. This was awful…warm and seductive for sharp recordings yes, but no dynamics, no transients, no treble energy, no soundstage, no bass control, slow sounding. It simply didn’t fit to the arm’s weight it seems and had an extreme character, too. But there must be better combinations.

Sweet! Looks like yours is on an OL tonearm. Apologies in advance if I got that wrong. It’s all in honor of music and boy does Koetsu deliver body and soul.

I just quickly searched for a Koetsu review mentioning tonearms and found this on 10audio.com:

“The TriPlanar simply is not the right tonearm for the Jade. This combination provides soft, plodding and indistinct bass, a huge but unfocused soundstage, and a treble range that is no particular improvement over the $3000 less expensive Rosewood SP.”

“ Bass definition noticeably improved when playing with the Graham 2.2 arm instead of with the SME V.” (and usually the Triplanar has much better bass control than the Graham)

…so this was about what I heard at the time with those medium mass arms…

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12" Illustrious Mk3. The Urushi is an extremely capable cartridge.

The chap who had a Rosewood on an SME IV previously had it on an SME V and said the change was a significant improvement.

I found this review of Dynavector XX2-Mk2 and Urushi on an Origin Live Conqueror Mk3c. It’s a slightly more expensive version of my Illustrious, but they are both of the dual pivot variety.

He said that on paper the Urushi should be a poor match, but …

“Put all that aside — with the Conqueror tonearm mounted on my Garrard table, the Koetsu left me speechless. The combination produced the most engaging, musically satisfying vinyl listening experience I’ve ever had in my home. As I suggested earlier, there are times when you can throw compliance numbers out the window, and the performance of the low compliance Koetsu cartridge mated with the medium mass Conqueror tonearm proves this point for me.”

I also have an XX2Mk2, sitting in its box after a retip, I’ve not used it yet. It’s a fine cartridge, but the Urushi has some magic.

I also have a SoundSmith that Origin Live rebranded as Mark Baker liked it so much. It’s attached to a second arm.

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At court and in Hi-Fi everything is possible :wink:

The Urushi choice was guided by the fact that when my turntable was reviewed by Jimmy Hughes he did it with an Urushi. He spent about 3 months with it. I went to see him and discussed it for a couple of hours and that was that. He used a PU7 arm, but I went for the OL.


Jimmy has also reviewed the Koetsu Onyx, which is rather more expensive. Can only dream.

makes sense