Kiseki Agate Ruby: Thoughts Opinions Or Observations?

When I was in college the holy grail cartridges of vinyl playback were the Ortofon MC2000, Koetsu Rosewood, and the Kiseki cartridges. I was a poor college student and all I could afford was an Audioquest Talisman IIIS. 

I happen to have the opportunity to acquire the Kiseki Agate Ruby at this time, it had been serviced by Garrott Brothers. I am thinking it would be an interesting cartridge to own in terms of personal history and wants. 

But I wonder if nostalgia is really taking over. I found I do not care for a Koetsu Urushi that much, but I do adore the Ortofon MC2000. I also own a Transfiguration Audio Proteus and ZYX 4D, so I have some decent cartridges on hand. 

Do you suppose the Kiseki is legendary as the tales from yore tell us it is? Or an I buying a pretty cartridge and a piece of history? 

The cartridge looks in excellent shape, the stone body is perfect, and the cartridge is well cared for. Waiting for a picture of the cantilever before I send payment, but I am emotionally on board with this purchase. 

Any thoughts, experiences, or observations?


This was a very good cartridge back in the day, but to be honest, they are just too old. You could spend a fortune to get one in "seemingly" great condition but really its unlikely that the suspension is in good shape, how long will it last.

Even if it runs, it is unlikely to be up to spec on sound quality compared with when it was new. You have to let the dream go.

If you persist maybe you should consider sending it to Ana Mighty Sound in France and get them to check the condition, not only of the stylus, but also the dampers.

They can probably effect the repair of the dampers if they are in poor condition.

Might cost you a bit but at least you get your dream fulfilled with a vintage cartridge that has been properly vetted and up to spec.

@neonknight I can relate to your position. I also own and adore MC2000 and Transfiguration Proteus and was rather underwhelmed by the Koetsu Rosewood and Urushi. So what about the Kiseki? I owned the Agate for a while but its suspension was not up to spec and it needed a retip. I still liked the sound, which was sweet and slightly fat in the lower registers. A lovely sound, but definitely not neutral. As if I accidentally left the loudness switch on, if there still was such a switch!

But it had ‘something’ very alluring, so I was considering to have it refurbished when I was offered a Lapis Lazuli that had already been restored by vdHul with boron cantilever and new dampers. It did require a ‘small’ fortune, but I could not resist even if the original diamond cantilever was no longer there, essentially turning it into a Blackheart in a very fancy dress! Glad I didn’t. This Kiseki has a much more balanced sound (the imaginary loudness switch is off) but has this special flavour in spades. I believe some reviewers would call this a ‘wet sound’. Not as neutral and detailed as something like the Proteus, but very musical. I believe the Agate had a different motor than the Lapis (and Blackheart), but I have no doubt a restored sample will bring you much musical joy. While sonically superior to the Koetsu’s I’ve heard, it does share its liking of heavy tonearms, like the FR-64S.