New Miyajima Madake questions and impressions....

kozzmo

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Nov 19, 2019
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So I picked up a NOS Madake Snakewood. I have heard and read many who love it and I've read some criticisms..I was hoping to hear what some have described as a fast, neutral, holographic, MC cart but with that bold sound of a Miyajima. So far what I have heard in my system is somewhat slow, kinda dark, not a lot of "air". I do hear a very solid image, very meaty big sound, but it sounds more like a spherical stylus Denon 103 than a $$$ MC cartridge to me. It is new so it needs to break in but I have never had a good cartridge that didn't at least very good or great before going through the break in. I am coming from a Lyra Delos...I have messed with loading and VTF as well as VTA. I have also added some mass to the headshell too. Using is with a Kuzma 4point 9" into an ARC SP20. Curious about others experience with this cartridge..
 

bonzo75

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So far what I have heard in my system is somewhat slow, kinda dark, not a lot of "air". I do hear a very solid image, very meaty big sound, but it sounds more like a spherical stylus Denon 103 than a $$$ MC cartridge to me.

This is one of the best descriptions I have heard of the Miyajima stereo. Their monos are good but this is exactly how their stereo sounds like. I never understood the hype and I call it Muddyke because of these exact attributes.

There are many better carts at similar lor lower prices. SPUs do the bold sound way better. Hana SL, Audio technica Art 9, are lesser priced, and more neutral, with more musical information. Allaerts boron mc2, you will get that used at a similar price and is excellent.

Lyra and vdh are much more neutral than other carts, and here you can get into a whole discussion of what is neutral, what is too much detail, and what is musical, but if you liked the Lyra, then the Lyra carts became more musical with the introduction of the Lambda, though that is more expensive. You might want to look at vdh crimson stradivarius to retain neutrality, get that fast detailed cartridge you like, and imo more musical than the Lyra, and the crimson used will be priced very competitively. However due to variances in samples pick one only if you get to hear it or ask the seller to send you a video .

If you could afford 8.5k euro, half paid now and half on delivery after 6 months, I would jump straight to the DaVa field coil cartridge. It works great with Kuzma too. It is sold direct from the manufacturer so no built in retail margins, margins to create additional samples to distribute to reviewers, etc. It had a one year waiting period last year so the manufacturer stopped taking orders from Oct 2022 - this May, but now it seems to be back at a 6 onth waiting. You will need an additional SUT for it, and the field coil cart means you will have to put two wires along your arm, to do which you will need to be willing to get your hands dirty, or get someone local to do it for you. So factor that in. You can read up a lot on DaVa and the attributes on this forum so I will spare you that on this post.
 

Argonaut

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This is one of the best descriptions I have heard of the Miyajima stereo. Their monos are good but this is exactly how their stereo sounds like. I never understood the hype and I call it Muddyke because of these exact attributes.

And yet as a point of balance Bill ran a Miyajima Madake for over a year on both a 301, and in the main his VYGER , mounted on two different pivots into both panels and horns , and liked the cartridge exceedingly well , certainly no mention from him referencing any degree of ‘Muddying‘ of the signal … Tom likewise !

 

bonzo75

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And yet as a point of balance Bill ran a Miyajima Madake for over a year on both a 301, and in the main his VYGER , mounted on two different pivots into both panels and horns , and liked the cartridge exceedingly well , certainly no mention from him referencing any degree of ‘Muddying‘ of the signal … Tom likewise !


And they moved on.

As did another guy, I think Jeffy, he liked it before then preferred even his lowest model Etsuro to it. Why get these carts at that price if there are multiple other choices you are going to move on to?

It did sound good on the Vyger, and keep In mind that was a highly frequency compromised speaker (the Loth minstrel). Great in not having crossovers, but very limited frequency range, which is why it is suited for a good second speaker for only certain records, not as the main speaker. That said, on Vyger, it was Bill's first cartridge, and no match for the Red sparrow.
 

bonzo75

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The germane point being that they do /did not recognise your description of the performance of this cartridge !

the OP does. If it was really that good they shouldn’t have moved to so many different options
 

Argonaut

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the OP does. If it was really that good they shouldn’t have moved to so many different options

You are not really addressing the point Kedar are you ? That two highly experienced vinyl audiophiles have a diametrically opposite opinion of this cartridge to yourself.
 

bonzo75

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You are not really addressing the point Kedar are you ?

there is no point. it is a poor cartridge in this world of many options. And it is it value either given lower priced cartridges are better sounding. And there are enough for various palates
 

bonzo75

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Now you are merely being obtuse … The point being both Bill and Tom’s considered opinion.

I would consider Bill’s opinion on RS and Dava given how much he desires both. I have never heard him say he wants another madake. He likes both much better than the madake. So he is not harsh on the cart like I am, but it is not his top of the list either. So unless you want many carts, why would you have it/recommend it

All I read is they liked it till they heard some other carts, then moved on.
 

bonzo75

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Argonaut

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So he is not harsh on the cart like I am,
Why do you feel the need to be so ! …
Again you are not recognising the point that they do / did not consider the cartridge to be either “ Muddyke “ or to be a “poor cartridge “ and merely a point of difference of opinion to your own, It does happen.
 

kozzmo

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Nov 19, 2019
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I tried the Madake on a heavy long 12" arm. The cartridge sounds better on that arm. But that arm is not as good as the 9" Kuzma I use everyday and want to use the madake on. I guess some of the issue for myself is with the law of diminishing returns...been using a $2000 Lyra and thinking a $7000 or whatever that cartridge was new would blow it out of the water and in reality the differences are more subtle. Granted the initial differences are in the total presentation but in the end they end up being about preference and subtly. The Madake is more solid sounding with less air but the bass is better, I guess you pay a lot for what amounts to a little and I never seem to remember that going into an upgrade. Am not going to give up on this cartridge but I may just be a Lyra guy or a detail guy vs an impact and tone person!
 

Solypsa

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I tried the Madake on a heavy long 12" arm. The cartridge sounds better on that arm. But that arm is not as good as the 9" Kuzma I use everyday and want to use the madake on.
Stating the obvious but in the end it's what's the best cart+arm combo ;)
I guess some of the issue for myself is with the law of diminishing returns...been using a $2000 Lyra and thinking a $7000 or whatever that cartridge was new would blow it out of the water and in reality the differences are more subtle.
Can't speak to this match, and no disrespect intended for the excellent Delos, but it can bettered significantly lmho...
 

kozzmo

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Can't speak to this match, and no disrespect intended for the excellent Delos, but it can bettered significantly lmho...
thats what I thought I was doing with the Madake
 
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bonzo75

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Am not going to give up on this cartridge but I may just be a Lyra guy or a detail guy vs an impact and tone person!

This is based on comparing these two carts. You might get what you are if you listen to more, and you might get both of what those two carts do with more positives and less negatives.
 

kozzmo

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Nov 19, 2019
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So after much trial and error the results seem to be that this cartridge, The Madake really needs a heavier arm AND a step up transformer to really shine. After trying to get it to sound right on a 9" Kuzma, I gave up and tried a 12" Banana arm Alfred arm that was laying dormant unused, the cartridge sounded better in that...but I was still using the available gain of an audio research phono stage that ultimately resulted in a lack luster presentation, less so with the heavier arm but still not the great. Then switching to a back up moving magnet rega phono stage and pairing that with some Altec (green can) step ups really opened up this cartridge. Why? I have no idea. But it got faster, much more holographic, which was supposed to be this things calling card, and it retained a very big powerful meaty sound without being as muddy. Is it colored? Maybe, and I am also using with vastly less expensive equipement that the Lyra/Kuzma/ARC combo, and the Lyra, perhaps because of that sounds a lot better overall. For now I will keep the Madake and keep messing with it, and it will give me an excuse to buy another tonearm!! With all this said I do think the Madake is overpriced, it has a "thing" but at that price it should be more an all 'rounder?? I don't know.....
 

Solypsa

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Great work on discovering its strengths! Many a folk wouldn't get this far. But overall you may find better elsewhere.
 

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