Ikeda 9GSS cartridge compliance


One of the cartridges I may be interested in is the Ikeda 9GSS. The specs for the dynamic compliance is listed at 10 X 10-6cm/dyne. Does anyone know if that is rated at 10hz or 100hz? It makes a big difference. Some Japanese cartridge manufacturers usually rate them at 100hz but some also rate them at 10hz. I would like to know. 

Does anyone own this cartridge and if so what tonearm are you using it with? Thank you.


Scot, I have a number of cartridges I used before the 9GSS. Benz LPS, EMT JSD 75, etc. You can see most on my system page. Just click on jperry at the top of the post.

Ikeda sells a SUT so I would assume that is preferred over an active step up. I use the internal SUT in my Luxman CL-38Uc.

If you are in Phoenix, AZ let me know

Good Luck with your search.

Jim Perry
You have that reversed Scot. If a cartridge has a compliance of 5 um/mN at 100 Hz it will be around 9 um/mN at 10 Hz. Not quite doubled. A cartridge with a compliance of 17-18 um/mN at 10 Hz will work in just about any medium mass tonearm. You might have to add a little weight. 

A word on cartridge performance. It has been shown that shorter lighter arms outperform longer heavier ones. The big arms have a much higher polar moment of inertia which means it takes more force to get them moving. There are always irregularities in the surface of a record. You do not hear them because they are at a very low frequency. But just like flapping woofers they cause distortion at higher frequencies that you do hear. Lighter arms follow these irregularities better filtering out the irregularities even with more compliant cartridges. The heavy arms don't move so the cantilever winds up following the irregularities creating the distortion previously mentioned. 
It has been hypothesized (not proven) that this is the reason some straight line trackers sound better because they are short and light.

Thanks again for your quick response & the invite, I'm in the Chicago area. 

All step up transformers are passive devices. What they do is convert the current coming out of the cartridge to voltage which is what your line stage preamp and phono preamp inputs are looking for. Most importantly they match the internal impedance of your cartridge's coils to the input impedance of the input of your MM phono preamp. They also raise the gain so you can/must plug the output of the step up transformer into a MM phono preamp for the RIAA conversion  (a lot quieter that increasing the gain on an active phono preamp). There are a lot of people who feel that this adds a lot of drive and energy and life and clarity to the sound as opposed to just using a phono preamp (active). It's supposed to sound much better (if everything is properly matched). Remmember, not everyone agrees. 

The Ikeda step up transformer is supposed to be a great match for their low impedance and low output cartridges (retail is $4800.00) so it's not cheap (but what in this hobby is?) Look at this Youtube video of Peter Breuninger doing a video review of the 9GSS cartridge with the IST-201 step up transformer.


Best regards


Thanks for the note and link to the 9GSS video. The Luxman preamp I use has two pair of SUT so it can accommodate both high and low impedance cartridges. I run the Ikeda 9GSS into the SUT for low impedance, which provides the best match. I have not tried the Ikeda SUT, so it may well be better, but it would also require another set of expensive interconnect cables as well. At this point in my system nothing is inexpensive it seems.

I had an Aesthetix Rhea phono preamp at one time. It is an all tube unit with different gain and loading available. A great sounding unit, but too much hiss for me with low out put MC cartridges.

I also had an Audio Research Reference Phono 3, but wanted to get something with a built in phono preamp and SUT so I selected the Luxman which is a better match in my system.

My former tonearm was an Ortofon RS 309D. A very good tonearm, but not as good as the Ikeda, especially when matched up with an Ikeda cartridge.

The 9GSS sound great out of the box, but gets better as it breaks in. Mine now has a little over 50 hours on it, and is still improving

Best Regards,

Jim Perry

Thanks for correcting my compliance question. 

I also prefer a 9” arm over a 12” arm. I’m of the opinion the the 9” arms tend to have a little more energy and life. The 12” arms tend to be a little lazier (in general). 

I’m looking at a Kuzma 4point 9” arm or the 4point 11” version. It’s a tough call, I believe the 9” would sound a little better but am I willing to give up the vta on the fly that the 11” offers? Not sure.

Thanks again guys. Take care.