Can I get more out of my Koetsu ?

Hi Team, 
This might be one of my only discussions on here so pls take it easy on me🙏.

My current dilemma is, as the title suggests, I don't know if I am doing one of my carts (Koetsu Rosewood Standard) justice. 

Current setup is:
Koetsu > Yamamoto HS-5 headshell 18.4g > Technics 1200GR standard arm W-achromat > EAR MC4 > EAR Phonobox Classic > Leben 600x > Devore Fidelity 096;

The MC4 SUT is a new addition and it is all sounding pretty magical to me right now. Previously I was using the SUT in the phono stage. 

I know the Koetsu is meant to be on a high mass arm and that is why I added the HS-5 head shell. It is heavy and brings the resonance calculation to acceptable range. I do have to add the added counter weight for the technics arm but with it everything tracks perfectly. 

My other cart is a Hana ML low output MC cart. I like that one too but it only requires a medium mass arm which the Technics is so theoretically a better match.

The Koetsu already sounds magical and better than the Hana to my taste but how do I know if It could be sounding even better?

The way I see it:

  1. somehow hack a high mass arm onto the technics (don't think this would be easy and maybe not recommended) 
  2. Upgrade to technics 1200g (better arm but still not high mass. actually think its less mass than the GR)
  3. Start a new journey with another table with high mass arm (possible but $$$) 
  4. Just be happy with what I got and buy more records 😃

Strategy advice on how to navigate this problem and if new turntable is the answer some suggestions on how to approach that. 

I am not fussy about audio equipment that looks like it can take me to the moon. I am more into older style equipment that just sounds lush, magical and gives me technicolor dreams. 

Thanks in advance!!!


@mijostyn …”you need to try the combo of a very low impedance cartridge and a transimpedance phono stage.”


Thank you for the recommendation. I have slowly systematically moved to where I am today over the last fifty years. This is exactly where I want to be.

Koetsu is a brilliant match with MC4. From either its 3 or 6 ohm taps. Other solutions can probably do well too but that MC4 is right at the very best I’ve heard Koetsu. I even preferred using MC4 into an ARC Ref 3SE (low gain mode) over the Ref 3’s own high gain mode (great combo there btw). I think it would be a mistake to move on from the MC4 at this point. 

that MC4 is right at the very best I’ve heard Koetsu

@mulveling sorry to imply otherwise. I shouldn’t doubt the impressive synergy that can be realized from simplicity!

Since we were on the Loco transimpedance train, the SUTZ was most applicable.

My Koetsu Vermilion also gets along extremely well with simple tube RIAA gain via the SUTZ transimpedance current-to-voltage converter.

Is the consensus that this [transimpedance] is a better design or a matter of taste?

@kdogsy That’s a great question that’s been avoided 😎

I would venture it’s an acquired taste with the right system and cartridge.

When the design works, users will of course seek out low-impedance pickups that enjoy the party, most likely with the belief that non-working pickups are irrelevant in the LOMC universe.

In Stereophile’s March ‘23 issue, Herb Reichert describes the SUTZ connected to his all tube Tavish Design Adagio as, “These sonic descriptions fail to communicate the subjective character of my Dynavector experience. I put hundreds of listening hours on the XX-2 because it’s lively, easy-flowing free-spiritedness made me want to play records. At the end of every side, I needed another” as well as, “Ron Sutherland went wild and created a new category of phonographic components - the current-drive headamp - that let me add my own choice of tube glories to the quiet steadiness of virtual short loading.”

As far as a better design is concerned - I suspect that may have something to do with Mr. Sutherland calling it Loco.