Shakti's System: Micro Seiki 8000, Koetsu, VDH, Airtight, Zingali, YG Anat,

bonzo75

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http://zero-distortion.org/micro_seiki_8000_mkii_koetsu_colibri_thoress_airtight/

This will highlight the first exposure to Micro Seiki 8000 mkII with

  1. Ikeda 407 (with VTA lifter) with VDH Stradivarius and FR 64s with the Koetsus. The VDH has a body with Hawaiian Koa Wood and an old Stradivari type of lacquer
  2. The above compared on Zingalis with Airtight ATM 211 monos and Airtight ATE 2001 pre, and the YG Anat II reference professional with yes, 1000 Euro Hypex Ncore 400 monos and the Plinius M16 pre
  3. Koetsu Black Gold Line, Urushi Sky Blue, and the Onyx Platinum with Rosewood headshell and titanium headshell compared on the FR 64s
  4. Also the Micro Seiki direct drive DQX 1000 with the standard MA500 arm and an Ortofon 2M Bronze cart
  5. Thoress phono vs the built in phono in the Airtight pre
 

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853guy

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Aug 14, 2013
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http://zero-distortion.org/micro_seiki_8000_mkii_koetsu_colibri_thoress_airtight/

This will highlight the first exposure to Micro Seiki 8000 mkII with

  1. Ikeda 407 (with VTA lifter) with VDH Stradivarius and FR 64s with the Koetsus. The VDH has a body with Hawaiian Koa Wood and an old Stradivari type of lacquer
  2. The above compared on Zingalis with Airtight ATM 211 monos and Airtight ATE 2001 pre, and the YG Anat II reference professional with yes, 1000 Euro Hypex Ncore 400 monos and the Plinius M16 pre
  3. Koetsu Black Gold Line, Urushi Sky Blue, and the Onyx Platinum with Rosewood headshell and titanium headshell compared on the FR 64s
  4. Also the Micro Seiki direct drive DQX 1000 with the standard MA500 arm and an Ortofon 2M Bronze cart
  5. Thoress phono vs the built in phono in the Airtight pre

From a Koetsu skeptic to a Koetsu convert...! It's happened to many of us, Bonzo.

As you and I have discussed previously, most people haven't really heard a Koetsu 'til they've heard it on a heavy (gimballed) arm, and it's hard to imagine a better arm to get the most out of one than the FR 64s.

For me, the thing I love about Koetsu's is that the detail and energy is evenly distributed within the note - between its initial transient, its body and decay. It's easy to overlook that aspect of its reproduction, especially in light of carts that emphasize the transient, making Koetsu's sound less detailed overall, when in fact, it's simply that (too) many carts simply shift the majority of the detail and energy to the leading edge, masking (and emasculating) the rest of the note. When the detail is "integrated into the whole" as you write, it can initially seem like a step back, with the usual accompaniment of cliches like Koetsu's are "rolled off" and "soft". I was of that opinion myself. It wasn't until I experienced them strapped to heavy arms and idlers that I finally understood what cohesion meant, and embarrassingly, rendered all my tizzy carts in stark relief. They were trying way too hard to be impressive.

Welcome to the other side.

Best!

853guy
 
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bonzo75

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Hi yes, you did come to mind when I liked that koetsu.

I still think in a detailed system like the YG was, it will show some less relevant details, but I still preferred it in the YG due to the cohesion and the wholeness.

Possibly the zyx could do the best of both. Analog is tough, it is so much more set up dependent.

Interestingly it was not the midrange or vocals I chose it for
 

shakti

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Kedar,
thank you for your great words in describing our full day experience. It was a pleasure and a great fun to listen to such a good chosen selection of music with a similar minded soul in judging on system performance. I love this kind of joined learning, as it gives you a better understanding of the music and the gear combined.

...and know I try to understand the sonic differences of the 5000 and 8000 :)
 

853guy

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Aug 14, 2013
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Hi yes, you did come to mind when I liked that koetsu.

I still think in a detailed system like the YG was, it will show some less relevant details, but I still preferred it in the YG due to the cohesion and the wholeness.

Possibly the zyx could do the best of both. Analog is tough, it is so much more set up dependent.

Interestingly it was not the midrange or vocals I chose it for

Yep, there’s a lot more to a Koetsu than just midrange and Diana Krall and Holly Cole. Of course, as you go up the range more relevant details emerge (not to mention energy propagation and rhythmic dextrousness), but almost never at the expense of the whole.

And though a Koetsu will never be all things to all men, and they, like every other cart needs to be considered interdependently apropos the arm/table/phono, it always pains me when I see a cart written off without a lot of blood, sweat and headshell swapping having been performed in due diligence. Like you suggest, set up isn’t sexy, but it’s extremely underrated.

Like many of us I suspect, there are carts galore I could probably live with that would make me happy (still keen to hear the Palladium/Aiwon at some stage). But I think for me the truth is that I’m more interested in straight A purchases that allow me to sleep at night, rather than the insomnia generated by components that tout their A+ credential at the expense of a whole lot of B minuses.

Be well, Bonzo.

853guy
 

bonzo75

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Yep, there’s a lot more to a Koetsu than just midrange and Diana Krall and Holly Cole. Of course, as you go up the range more relevant details emerge (not to mention energy propagation and rhythmic dextrousness), but almost never at the expense of the whole.

And though a Koetsu will never be all things to all men, and they, like every other cart needs to be considered interdependently apropos the arm/table/phono, it always pains me when I see a cart written off without a lot of blood, sweat and headshell swapping having been performed in due diligence. Like you suggest, set up isn’t sexy, but it’s extremely underrated.

Like many of us I suspect, there are carts galore I could probably live with that would make me happy (still keen to hear the Palladium/Aiwon at some stage). But I think for me the truth is that I’m more interested in straight A purchases that allow me to sleep at night, rather than the insomnia generated by components that tout their A+ credential at the expense of a whole lot of B minuses.

Be well, Bonzo.

853guy

I heard Palladian twice, one in direct compare to Soundsmit Poua. Palladian was better, but it wasn't that I was bowled over, but hey, with carts, you can never tell in another set up it might work.

There are no straight As, or there are many straight As, and many are overpriced. If this was free, I would agree with you and just buy many As, as some people here do who can afford to. This is a hobby, an expensive one. And part of the fun is knowing the A, B, C and Ds, and their price/value equation, though with Analog it becomes very tough. That's why you see so many people with multiple TTs, carts, arms, and only one digital, maybe one or two amps. The multiple analog component syndrome happens at various pricepoints, at the expensive end as well as the lower priced end.
 

Uk Paul

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Nice write up Kedar, thanks, and I am happy your opinion of Koetsu has progressed.. many systems these days miss what Koetsu is about.
 

853guy

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I heard Palladian twice, one in direct compare to Soundsmit Poua. Palladian was better, but it wasn't that I was bowled over, but hey, with carts, you can never tell in another set up it might work.

There are no straight As, or there are many straight As, and many are overpriced. If this was free, I would agree with you and just buy many As, as some people here do who can afford to. This is a hobby, an expensive one. And part of the fun is knowing the A, B, C and Ds, and their price/value equation, though with Analog it becomes very tough. That's why you see so many people with multiple TTs, carts, arms, and only one digital, maybe one or two amps. The multiple analog component syndrome happens at various pricepoints, at the expensive end as well as the lower priced end.

Sorry, I meant that I'm personally less enamoured by components that do one thing amazingly, yet fail to achieve the same level of musicality/insight in other areas. I love horns, but the Symphonia is the only one I've heard that achieves true horn dynamics throughout the frequency spectrum without compromising tone and phase coherence.

Though I totally get others will feel differently.

853guy
 

Ron Resnick

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Very interesting, Kedar! Thank you for this report.

I am glad you now hear why a Koetsu is one of my two final contenders.

What did this comparison session tell you about our conversation the other night regarding whether a cartridge can warm up with decay and resonance and richness an analytical turntable, and whether a neutral, detailed and cool-sounding cartridge can liven up a lethargic, warm-sounding turntable?
 

rockitman

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Every time I try a new cart, it is not long till I yearn for my Coralstone and Tiger Eye again. My treat to myself is having my second Coralstone rebuilt with the diamond cantilever. This will bring even greater performance...hopefully. I should have it back from Japan just before the AS2000 arrives in dec or there about.
 

Ron Resnick

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Christian, have you ever yearned to hear your Coralstone on an Ikeda 407 or a Fidelity Research 64 or 66 (which many Koetsu aficionados believe are the best tonearms for a Koetsu)?
 

rockitman

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Christian, have you ever yearned to hear your Coralstone on an Ikeda 407 or a Fidelity Research 64 or 66 (which many Koetsu aficionados believe is the best tonearm for a Koetsu)?

I have not but plan to start with 2 - 3012's on the AS...one mono the other stereo (Lyra Olympos SL, Coralstone Diamond respectively)...

Edit Koetsu sounds mighty fine on my Graham arms...
 
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bonzo75

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Christian, have you ever yearned to hear your Coralstone on an Ikeda 407 or a Fidelity Research 64 or 66 (which many Koetsu aficionados believe is the best tonearm for a Koetsu)?

As per Shakti's suggestion it's not only the weight but you need an undamped arm. The Ikeda he has is damped. The fidelity research, like the koetsu arm that Gian owns (and I think jdza does too on his Thorens ref) is undamped
 

jdza

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As per Shakti's suggestion it's not only the weight but you need an undamped arm. The Ikeda he has is damped. The fidelity research, like the koetsu arm that Gian owns (and I think jdza does too on his Thorens ref) is undamped

I am not sure if you mean "damped" if you are referring to individually damped components in the arm or damped as in the conventional sense of the word i.e. silicon or oil in a trough. If the latter the original Koetsu 1100D arm is oil damped and the Ikeda not. If the former the Ikeda is damped and who knows with the 1100D !

Regarding the various Koetsu models: I believe a lot could be learned from their frequency response in not only how they will sound but in what type of arm they will sound best. The Nov 2017 Hi Fi News has a test of the Onyx Platinum while if you go to milleraudioresearch.com you can find measurements for the Urushi Sky Blue (Jul 2013) Red K (Oct 09) and Black (Sept 06). While there, also look at the various other cartridges tested over time. It should then become obvious why the higher end Koetsus sound the way they do. Also amazing is how lower end cartridges in general measure better than high end ones.
 

shakti

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I use the word "damped" not only, if oil or silicon is used. but some modern tonearm construction do use a material mix, that is dampening resonances.
So the modern Ikeda 407 is much better in managing Carts with high mechanical energy.

The former FR64s or FR66s are very sensitive . The steel construction can easily start to resonate. So many FR64s or FR662 users do like to pronounced treble, but after a while it becomes to much... Ikeda san recommends in the FR times to connect the headshell even without the typical damping rubber many headshells so have between headshell and tonearm. So the mechanical energy goes completely into the arm.

There is a huge sound difference, if the screws (counterweight, antiquating and so on) are not tighten on the FR arms, modern Ikeda is the much more easy going.

Putting a vdh Colibri in the FR 64s has an interesting effect, as you can listen to the sound of the record without an amplifier. The resonances are loud enough.

Changing to the Ikeda 407 makes this immediately quiet.

(my Colibri Stradivarius is customized for heavy arms)

Listening confirms this, on FR arm the Colibri is a little out of balance, the most energy is in the upper third. Changing to Ikeda 407 the balance becomes much more right. Its is still a Colibri, with a lot of resolution, but a much better balanced one.

The Koetsu are acting in the other direction. On the Ikeda 407 (for my personal taste, being a frequent Colibri listener) the most Koetsu sound boring and with low energy less involving.But giving to the Koetsu Cart a fast and dynamic headshell (titanium) , no rubber between headshell and tonearm, a Koetsu becomes a different Cart. Rich sound, full of energy, immediately involving, just fun.

During Kedar's visit, we were talking a lot, but listening to the Stone Body FR64s combination, we had to stop talking, as we were just banned listening to the great music Kedar had with him.

I believe, that Ortofon SPU user do have a similar experience. In theory the pairing of FR64s / FR66s and SPU should be great, but the reality shows, that most of this combinations do not sound "in balance", the combination with SME 3012 is much better. The often heard resonating "ringing" of the SPU/ FR arms do disappear.

If headshells can be exchanged, this is the obviously first thing to influence the energy floating to the tonearm.

Jelco has two standard headshell, one Magnesium and one Magnesium (same base headshell) with a rosewood topper for dampening purpose. As Koetsu loves Rosewood, this version is also available as Koetsu headshell.

In some arms I prefer the naked Magnesium version, in some arms the Rosewood version.

But it tells you something about the tonearm, which headshell you prefer.
 

advanced101

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Interesting. In theory, what is the proper type of head shell for a modern type of cart (A95 or Etna) on the Ikeda 407? Metal type? This would allow the energy to drain into the arm.
 

Ron Resnick

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Thank you, shakti. Oh my! Well this is all a lot more complicated and tweaky than I was anticipating!

I thought (mistakenly, I now read) there was widespread agreement that a high effective mass arm -- whether Ikeda 407 or an FR -- was the best carrier generally for low compliance Koetsus, and that that is all you need to make a Koetsu "sing."

I like a natural, slightly rich mid-bass to lower midrange, slightly warm-ish balance in a tonearm/cartridge combination. (Think Benz Micro Ruby 2, Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Benz LP S-MR, ZYX UNIverse Premium; I do not care for even Lyra Atlas.)

I, personally, would not want a resonant FR arm to tip upward the tonal balance of a Koetsu cartridge.

shakti, if I do not want to mess with headshells, rubber strips, rubber rings and bands, etc., what is your suggestion for a turn-key tonearm for a Koetsu?

What do you think of the SME 3012R for a stone body Koetsu?
 

bonzo75

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Ron Resnick

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Hahahah! Well ZYX UNIverse Premium SB2 on 3012R = turnkey for me!
 

bonzo75

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Hahahah! Well ZYX UNIverse Premium SB2 on 3012R = turnkey for me!

Ron, as any cartridge will play in, the VTF etc have to be periodically adjusted to keep the SQ. If you read Doug Deacon's posts on the gon, he been on the Zyx for well over a decade, he readjusts every listening.
 

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