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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 72
Location: Everett, WA, US
I own a Rega RP-6 and when I purchased it I bought the package that included the Rega Exact cartridge. While the cartridge was okay, it never really "sang" in IMHO but the cartridge was rather pricey and at the time of the table / cartridge purchase it was the best I could do. It has been some years now and I was in the market for a new phono preamp. I had purchased a Rogue RP-5 preamp and while I think the RP-5 is one of the best preamps I have heared / owned (and trust me, I have owned quite a few preamps) the onboard phonostage was not quite up to the performance of the rest of the preamp, which surprised me as Rogue usually has very nice onboard phonostages. Anyway, I bought a Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+. I bought largely on reviews both professional and feedback from satisfied owners on this and other forums. I concur with all the others that the Phonomena II+ is a marvelous unit for its price and then some. While the vinyl playback improved, things were still rather "lackluster". I spoke with my favorite local stereo shop where I bought the Rega and asked about perhaps upgrading the cartridge. One of the store employees told me that I needed a Hana SL cartridge. He went on to say that he himself has replaced a $2500 cartridge on his own Thorens table with a Hana SL and was gobsmacked at the performance. I have been a customer at this store (Hawthorne Stereo in Seattle) for over 25 years and they have never steered me wrong plus they are truly honest people and if something is poor, they tell you it is poor even at the cost of a sale. So, I bought the cartridge, they installed it for me while I went and had lunch and took it home afterwards. I loaded the Phonomena so it could accomodate the Hana, and started the break-in procedure as well as just giving it all a good listen. I was told to give the Hana about 20 hours break-in. People, I have only about 15 or those 20 hours on the Hana but I have to say that this is without a doubt one of the best cartridges I have ever heard! For a $750 cartridge this Hana plays as if it cost three times as much. It is the most engaging cartridge that has graced my home. I would recommend reading the reviews of the Hana. I often read reviews with a raised eyebrow but this time I have to agree with the reviewers for I am hearing what they hear and perhaps even more.
I know that this is a long post and for that I apologize but I wanted to give background. There are so many cartridges in the audio world today and if you are (were) like me it is terribly confusing as to where to put one's hard earned bucks. The Hana makes me feel actually like I stole the thing because I feel I should have paid more! I wonder what the next five (perhaps a little more) hours will get me as far as sonic performance goes?
If you need a new cartridge and your budget is $1K or less, and you can handle a LOMC, the Hana is it! There is also a HO and LO ellipitical style cartridge (the Hana I have is the SL which is a Shibata stylus - low output [.5mV] for less money that might just work for you as well. I did not hear those so I cannot say but all in all, Hana might be a company that will be taking over a lot of the market with phenomenal cartridges for low bucks!
Thanks for your time!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:12 am
Posts: 225
Location: Windsor, CO, US
Totally agree! I have a couple of Hana cartridges. I have a SL and an EL and had a SH for awhile. They are indeed excellent carts, but need to be loaded correctly and driven with enough gain, (well, the low output versions anyway).

I almost always recommend 40-50 hours break-in for most cartridges. You'll see, (hear) it open up even more once you get closer to that time.

IMHO, one of the "best buys" in current cartridges.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 117
Location: nmb, FL, US
not to bum out your parade..i have had and still have 2 mc hana cartridges..for the money,yes..very very good...one day,try and hear a kiseki purple heart...the bad news..when you do..you will have to spend the 3500..the good news,you will finally hear vinyl..period..ive had only kiseki purple hearts for last 3 years...literally NIGHT AND DAY...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
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Location: nmb, FL, US
and in the realm of hi end cartridges the kiseki is the BARGAIN


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 72
Location: Everett, WA, US
I have no doubts that the Kiseki is wonderful and probably in the world of the hi end, the $3500 could be a bargain compared to some other cartridges out there. But for those of us that are a little poorer, the Hana will have to do. Granted, I have not owned too many cartridges but compared to the ones I have owned, the Hana is a wonderful bargain. Perhaps if I win a lottery I too can get a Kiseki for that is what it will take for me to get a $3500 cartridge in the house and keep it (plus for me to go to sleep without having to keep one eye open...)


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:43 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
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Location: nmb, FL, US
yeah sorry..believe me...im not super rich and it is a crazy amount....however,ive heard $10,0000 cartridges that are not even better than the hana...the hana's are great and well priced...


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
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Location: Everett, WA, US
So true that a high price tag does not necessarily mean performance that will match the dollars spent. I appreciate the reply if for no other reason than it alerts me to great performing cartridges. I kid you not that I was on the verge of slashing my wrists (well, not literally) when I was looking at cartridges. At least with cables, speakers, amps, etc. it is a matter of lugging them in, a little set up, cable hook-up and away you go. Cartridges, not so much. So again, it is nice to hear from others as to what works for them, no matter the price...
May I ask what table and arm you are using???


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 117
Location: nmb, FL, US
nottingham analogue hyper space and standard tonearm that comes with it..even though this table is expensive...the cartridge means much more to the SOUND than the table...the table is fantastic and he is known to be one of the great table builders. however,i can put the kiseki on any table and my system will sound almost the same..in my humble opinion,the cartridge determines the highest percentage of your sound in the front end of a analog system...ive had many many cartridges over the years..the purple heart is by far and away the finest ive ever heard at any price level ive had....the biggest shocker is the resolution...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:02 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 117
Location: nmb, FL, US
if u send me your email,il send you a video of the sound im sharethemusic@aol.com


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 72
Location: Everett, WA, US
I think you can PM me through US Audio Mart. Let me know if you have issues doing so.

I see that there is a cartridge of a slightly lesser price than the Purple Heart, one called "Blue". It sells for $2100. Have you by chance had an opportunity to listen to that particular one? No doubt it is not in the same league as the Purple Heart, but for $2100 I might not get shot by the bride if I brought that one into the house.


Last edited by zkidd on Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
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Location: nmb, FL, US
I HAVE.. its fantastic..if you never heard the purple,ud say its unreal amazing...its best to not know the purple heart..once you know it...your in trouble


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:57 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Homestead, PA, US
On one of the other forums there is a guy named Raoul who wrote a very long essay, where after trying dozens of cartridges, concluded that moving iron, moving magnet & moving flux,(Astatic) were not only unrightly ignored by those seeking the ultimate, but that those types of cartridges were the way to go.
I have had vintage top of the line AKG cartridges ( not the 100 LE), and their speed is great and they are much quieter in the groove than any moving coil I have heard. Really EERIE. Like you have to get used to it, or pinch yourself or something. Totally black backgrounds. Once you lower the stylus you wonder if your preamp is working, until you hear the first note. It literally sounds like you can't hear the actual vinyl, except for an occasional tick. But ultimately, at least with my system the instruments lacked a bit of color. I used a middle of the line model Astatic Moving Flux and it was just the opposite. The groove noise constantly reassures you that you are listening to a slab of vinyl. Very vivid tone colors and fast.
Fidelity Research I am experimenting with now. It sounds like it builds from the bass up. Like many tube amps.Very prominent driving bass.
I agree with him on Sonus. Modifying the shell of those MI cartridges could turn some models into something great. Audio Technica's top vintage MM cartridge the ML 180, was for some reason supposedly only available in South America. The ML 170 was their highest model available in the US. This guy Raoul says the AKG 10OLE, Technics 100, and the top vintage AT cartridge were the ultimate cartridges, according to him outperforming Koetsu's, Ortofon A90's etc. I kind of think the worlds best cartridge is out there in Asia somewhere, and isn't well known yet nor its designer. I think most cartridge designers probably have some special no holds barred ones that they built for themselves only, and are probably sitting back amusedly at what consumers have to settle for.Perhaps they are the only ones who really know how good vinyl really is.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Portland, OR, US
Don’t all cartridges have to be heard? If not, how would you know what they sound like?

The gent’s name is Raul, not Raoul. Nice guy, we chat a few times a year. He always sends me a Christmas email as well. Hasn’t figured out that I’m Jewish in all these years.

I have an original Kiseki Purple Heart Sapphire in my collection, low hours, great sound. I bet the Hana is a fantastic cartridge as well, though I have not had the pleasure of hearing one. I have liked the Excel made cartridges in the past though.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 117
Location: nmb, FL, US
all that u state may be precisely true...i finally learned for myself that the darkest darkest dark black background is such a hifi over rated idea/concept and wish for my system...the only concept that matters at the level of equipment we are all talking about,is the sound of the music and voice.... a little bit of noise that does not disrupt the musical tone,clarity,resolution to my ears is not only unimportant,it is just useless...i use to stick my ear up to my speakers for years..the quieter pcs. of equipment did not make my system sound better..what makes it sound better is better equipment and re configuring my room acoustics etc...hiss, turntable noise etc,does not get in the way of my listening pleasure ,quality and experience..the purple heart if it was a mc,mm,mov iron whatever..its a mc and it sounds better than anything I HAVE HEARD ... of course ,there must be better ; maybe cheaper, maybe much more..i only know in my 45 years experience ...best


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:57 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Homestead, PA, US
If you read my post as carefully as you try to find spelling errors, you will realize that in every instance I specify if I have actually used a cartridge or are merely stating someone else's opinions.
Cartridges like the Hanna I would like to hear, but not a high end audio store in sight.I usually have to buy and keep my fingers crossed. I have been lucky so far.


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