Kiseki Purpleheart

I currently have an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze. I'm thinking about a switch to the Kiseki Purpleheart.
In this price range-3K..what other carts should I consider?
Associated gear- Pass XP-17- Pass Int-60- Martin Logan Montis-VPI Prime Signature
I want to stay with a Low Output/MC...but would consider a Moving Iron.
Any thoughts or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
I've used the Kiseki Blue on my VPI. Nice cart. Questionable durability though- I went through 2 of them. 1st one the stylus fell off. 2nd -left channel problem not covered by warranty.

SS Voice ES is worth investigation. I used the entry level Otello  for a short while, and was surprised with its pleasant sound.
Presently using an Audio Technica ART9, which I used before with good results..
I have the Kiseki Blue NS, it's my best cartridge.  Great tracking, no noticeable distortion, solid bass, clear but not "bright" treble. 

Disturbing to hear about those quality issues.  I've had mine since March with no issues. 
I owned a Kiseki Purpleheart, it's a great cartridge.  I agree with Big_greg that is tracks well has solid bass and not bright in highs.
You ask about alternatives, two others are MuTech Hayabusa and Air Tight PC7.  The MuTech is $4500.00 retail but I recently sold one for less than $3K.
The Air Tight PC7 is only $2500.00 retail and excellent.  
I have the VPI Prime and have used both a regular Soundsmith Zephyr And SS Zephyr MIMC Star, both track and sound great in my system. For a while you could get great deals on both before the latest models came out. Not sure if still the case. I think the regular Zephyr was made for unipivot arms. The SS website worth reading if considering these. I had both retipped by SS before the warranty ran out. Had no problems at all before or after retip. Just wanted to extend life and have one as a backup without buying completely new carts. Hope this helps. 
"Disturbing to hear about those quality issues."


I typically have good luck with gear. Likely, no real concern in your case.
The KB does have subtle refinement compared the the ART9 overall-particularly the mids/highs.  It should, being 2X the cost!

I've heard the KPH in a few systems. Very nice.

Dear @krelldog: Ortofon is very good cartridge design/manufacturer and this one of its great top cartridges and is new at good price:

and the one you ask for:

and this is very good offer too and very good quaklity performer too:

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
I owned a Purple Heart for about two years and thought it was very nice.
I switched it out for a Lyra Kleos and am much happier with the Lyra.  Granted, the Kleos is a jump in price but not by leaps and bounds.  

Dear @snackeyp  : You are rigth, the Kleos is truly exeptional cartridge and I know because I own it and forgot to give it as alternative.

@krelldog here the Kleos:


I purchased a Purple Heart N.S. SB about six months ago from Upscale Audio. First off Kiseki suddenly lowered the separation spec by 5dB as opposed to the standard 30mm model. Second about 35 hours in I started to notice 2-4 slight tings when raising or lowering the tone arm especially on the lead out groove. My conversation with the Upscale representative was that it was not an issue as long as it doesn’t interfere when playing. Yes it does sound and is one amazing cartridge. I really can’t hear those annoying little tings when playing an LP however I still have my antennas tuned in every time I raise or lower the stylus.

I had problems with my PH from the get go. It had really uneven frequency balance between the two channels. I was able to get my money back. I heard HW’s PH at his house and it does sound wonderful, however my own experience and others I’ve read about with the same cart suggest it might be best to check it out carefully upon purchase.

Those quality issues are unfortunate. I should consider myself lucky. My PH NS has 1,000 hours on it and sounds extraordinary with my Graham Phantom arm. I recently had it set up with Analog Majik software and the installer had to put a very small washer on one of the screw mounts to get it calibrated but it sounds so good, I may just replace it with another PH when the time comes.

Well a little semi-closure here is in order. I sent the PH cartridge back to Upscale Audio for evaluation and since it has been determined to be defective and is under warranty, I get to pick out a replacement. (Yippie-Ki-Yea!) In all honesty their customer service team has been very helpful and responsive. Cartridges do go bad from time to time I guess, sheet happens. So to keep this short, I am faced with a few choices around the same price range. A little feedback here would be greatly appreciated.

1. Another Purple Heart

2. Sumiko Celeb 40

3. Lyra Kleos

4. ClearAudio Concerto

Thanks, Starwarrior 

Tough choice between kleos and another ph, I have both and would lean very slightly to ph.  But you really need both!

I replaced my Allarerts MC1B with Lyra Kleos. I am happy with change. The Allaerts had a lot of mileage on it. Nice detail and openess. 

Well I have to say that Upscale Audio took care of my PH issue and processed an exchange without question. An excellent company and customer service crew. I decided to go with the Sumiko Celebration 40 as a replacement since the specs were relatively close and first impressions are exciting as it’s breaking in. It doesn’t seem as warm as the PH yet not quite as detailed as a Kleos. A well defined, crisp  mid range & excellent high end. I did lower the gain by 2dB to warm it up a little and the bottom seems respectable without being too overpowering. All said, after 10 hours of break in time, NICE!

This is a very helpful thread and truthfully,  the PH was on my short list but no longer due to the quality issues mentioned.  The Cadenza Bronze took it's place.

FWIW My short list is:


Miyajima Saboten

Hana ML or Unami (a little price difference between the two)

Ortofon cadenza bronze





Of all the cartridges mentioned here, and there is not a klinker in the lot, the Kleos would be my pick. The only fly in the ointment would be the tonearm. @krelldog what tonearm is on your table? If it is VPI's unipivot arm I would consider changing that before getting a new cartridge. VPI now makes a gimbal arm that is a direct replacement but there are many other great arms you could mount with a little cleverness. 

+1 @mijostyn

Of all the cartridges mentioned here, and there is not a klinker in the lot

The differences between the carts mentioned is mostly preference rather than performance.

Based on my research rather than direct experience:

Ortofon Cadenza Bronze - is likely the most used cart at audio shows - likely meaning it's a great all round performer at it's price point.

Hana are high value cartridges line built by many highly experience relatively large handcrafted established company who also manufactures some of the very best carts in other product lines.

Purple Heart - IIRC is also a high value cart that competes with Koetsu per frugal VPI founder Harry Weisfeld

Lyra Kleos seems to be neutral, detailed, fast, and maybe quiet

Soundsmith - cheapest cartridge retipping at ~20% cost of new.  Paua seems musical.  Founder and President Peter Ledermann extremely knowledgeable and friendly.  



The original Prime turntable redefined and polished with a new fit and finish and improved performance. Upgraded with HW-40 feet, 3D Gimbal tonearm, and new machined top plate with additional bracing and isolation. The Prime 21 @color tunnel is bringing 2021 in on a high note. 

I am a Ortofon user and have a experience of listening to a variety of Ortofon Designs released since the early 00's.

With the most recent models released having elevated prices and not any Trickle Down Ranges being produced at present. I have looked towards Japan.

The Mutech Hayabusa and MSL Cart's are on Shortlist to receive demo's off.

Recently I read the review in the attachment, and have come away with the impression, this might be a very suitable replacement for a Ortofon, especially with the asking price for this model.

Bargain hunters versus connoisseurs. The first mentioned look at the price

the second for ''the master'' who made them. Say Ikeda-san, Takeda-san,

(Jan) Allaers, Reto Andreoli, J.Carr , etc. Those which are rarely offered for sell.

This is the indication that the owners are not willing to part from them.

They do not ask for price but use the opportunity to ''grab'' the wanted one.

I for example (sic!) was waiting for two years to find  Ikeda's REX ,  his

latest cantileverless kind. What is common to them all is ''made by the

master himself''. One can see, for example, many Van den Hul's for sell.

But nobady is sure if the ''master himself'' made them. Nobody even

knows how many employee he has,

And regarding new Kiseki's one can see that many are offered second

hand. I owned all of the old and still own 4 kinds. The difference can

be seen in the used parts. The old used Dynavector parts the new

unknown kind. Anyway the old sound much better than the new .

I am sure that Raul has never heard any new Kiseki otherwise

he would not recommend the new  purpleheart.


Dear nandric, it's ironic that the quality control issues that apparently plague current Kisekis was the reason for Van den Dungen to start the original Kiseki back in the 70's. The story goes that the Koetsus of the day - which he distributed in the Netherlands - had wildly inconsistent sound quality from sample to sample. So he decided to release an 'alternative' for his customers. These 'original' Kiseki disappeared again in the late '80 but had become as famous as Koetsu. There was an intentional lack of information about its 'maker', although it has been confirmed they were built in Japan (Dynavector or Kondo were the most likely candidates). It's unknown to me who makes the current Kisekis, but I agree with you that they sound nowhere near the originals.

As for Van den Hul, I have it on good authority that AJ is the only one building the 'open' systems like Colibri and Condor. For the more 'budget' priced models like the Frog and MC-10 I'm not sure. How long he will be able to continue is anybody's guess, but a recent interview with AJ in a Dutch magazine introduced both his sons as his successors. The oldest is handling the business side, while the youngest is being tutored by the master to become the cartridge builder and designer.

In the UK in the Mid' 90's, Cartridge Manufacturers were desperate to get products into the mainstream market.

This has been explained to me, as being the result of the Rise in CD Usage gathering converts from the Older Generation Recording Medium to the State of the Art Recording Medium at a exponential rate.

I have come to know through having good relationships with certain retail outlets at at this era, and at a later date having been in discussion with individuals who were working within the HiFi Mainstream, of which one is a Magazines Editor form this same era, that heavily discounted Cart's being offered was the norm.

In the case of the Media, Cart's were supplied less than Trade Prices to the retail. It has been explained as the Golden Years of Cart' Trials, as the Turnover of Cart's purchased to be trialed and the remuneration on a partially used Cart' was extremely attractive and profitable.

This was a period when numerous TOTR Cart's from a variety of Brands, especially Brands Incorporated in Japan, were seen for sale as used items with substantial price reductions.

I myself had met known magazine journalists in London and bought for cash Cart's that had been trialled by the magazine and a article had been done on the purchased Cart'.

If I had savvy of foresight I am sure I would have gone to extra expense and hoarded a few models, that have a desirable heritage in today's market.

If I wanted the Rich Tones that can be found in certain Japanese Cart's from this era, I feel confident, I would have been looking at a Ortofon or Denon, there was not too much steering of one toward Japanese Models at this time in the UK.

From pure recollection, Cart's with a Lean Sonic were the rave, or Bespoke Built Cart's from certain individuals, were getting coverage at he main HiFi Events I was attending at this time. I stand by this being the era, where I was becoming wed to a lean, transparent presentation, but certainly not in the realms of what a CDP was able to present.

Roll the Clock forward the best part of 30 Years. If I was in possession of a Cart' from this era, with a Japanese Origin and produced by a particular individual who was the knowledge behind a certain Brand. I would certainly tell the story regularly.

I would be off one opinion only, from my end, the Story would be told the assist with keeping said item a fantastical item, suggesting it to be unobtanium and 'hopefully' keeping such an item at a place where good remuneration will be realised.

The reality check for me is, it is a Tool produced many many years past to carry out a specific purpose, no different from the likes of a Valve TV.

If I had a Valve TV or Cart' produced by Mr ? from a Japanese Brand, it would be enjoyed for being in the state of intactness it has survived to kept be in and the  rarity/curiosity factor and nothing else. 

In recent conversations, I have already detected the same developing for Mr Tim De Paravicini Products. It is now seemingly a growing talking point about items being a TDP Legacy Item, as it was produced at the time when Tim was prolific in his design and production for EAR.

I have also seen a resurgence of Items being offered for sale, that are realised, as a result of TDP having been influential in the designs for items being produced not by EAR. 

Watch the Markets and even in these very tough times, watch the prices slowly appreciate.

'It all looks like a little bit of history repeating itself'.    

Dear edgewear,

I wrote to Durob Audio in Holland (which owner is Van den Dungen who also

owns an factory in China for tubed amps)  about my problem with Agaat. 

To my big surprise I got an answer from the ''master himself''. He propsed

to me to post my Agaat to him because he was looking for ''someone'' for

his own Kiseki's. (???). 

Regarding Van den Hul our (Dutch) information is that he spend the most

of his time in Ukraine with his cables meant for aircraft industry. He himslef

make some of his carts in order  to keep his skills in order. He also owns

''some more'' companies so it is very difficult to believe that he make all

''his'' Colibries . On German site '''' one can see many 

Colibries offered as second hand. This means for less than half of their

retail price. I hope you got the ''good one''(grin). 

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