Tonearms that work well with better Koetsu stone body cartridges


I have my heart set on buying one of the better stone body Koetsu cartridges. The problem is I’m having a problem finding a tonearm that’s supposed to be a great match. I’ve read that they sound best with higher mass tonearms. The problem is, not every manufacturer will list the effective mass of their tonearms. I am leaning towards the Kuzma 4 point (11”) and the Ikeda 407. Does anyone know the effective mass of the Ikeda 407? If there are any others that work well with the Koetsu’s please let me know. I prefer new, not used. Thank you.

Don’t know about the stone bodied models, but the FR64S with Ortofon LH9000 headshell (18g) gets more out of my Urushi than any other tonearm ever, to include Triplanar, Reed, and the Kenwood L07J tonearm on my L07D turntable.
I have an Ikeda 407, but I don't know the mass. The mass is not stated on their website or in the manual. Below quoted from the website:

"The Ikeda IT-407 tone arm is a High Mass design and has been called Big, Rigid and Beautiful."

It is a great match with my Ikeda and other cartridges that require a high mass tonearm. Seeing the Ikeda tonearm in person is different than seeing a picture. In person you can appreciate the mass and precision of this tonearm, as well as the beauty.
This whole subject is in my opinion concocted as an excuse for some guys to feel good about having bought bad arms. Instead of defining a good arm as one on which all cartridges sound good they break them down into arbitrary mass categories and say it is the users who are bad for not being able to figure out which few of the many cartridges out there will sound good on their less than good arms.

This is all so very easily avoided. Simply buy a good arm! Origin Live makes fabulous arms. I know, mine is awesome. Got a Koetsu on it right now. Never ever even bothered to look up its mass, or compliance, because these things simply do not matter when you have a good arm. Which I do. Because, Origin Live. Read and learn:

compliance is well down the scale of significant factors to the point of irrelevance in a good arm. You may find those who will argue with this but they always seem to relate matching issues they’ve had with other arms and not an Origin Live one.
"Compliance is well down the scale of significant factors to the point of irrelevance in a good arm." For the record, that is Mark Baker. Not me. Anyone got an issue with what we just said, take it up with Mark Baker. 😁
Here's a good read...

I've seen the 407 described as being in the low/mid 30's, which would definitely put it in the high mass category (if true).

The FR64S sounds phenomenal with Koetsu stones; any one who’s had that combo will tell you the same. The FR64fx is also quite good if you’re on a budget. Silver vs. copper versions on these arms doesn’t matter too much; don’t stress over it. The stock 64fx base is quite good but a B-60 or Ikeda VTA-06 base is recommended for the 64S. The stock FR headshells are all pretty bad. The Koetsu deserves better. I'm partial to the Ikeda headshells (20g, very thick aluminum). Also a Graham Phantom is quite serviceable for Koetsu stones (but not as good sounding as the FRs) if that’s what you’ve got on hand.

I tried a Jade once on a Clearaudio Universal 12" and it was an awful match lol. I don't know how much of that was compliance/mass matching versus the carbon fiber arm tube material, but the Koetsu sounded like it wasn't happy. That same arm sounds GREAT with a Shelter Harmony (carbon fiber body), so there is definitely something to the arm/cart matching thing. 

The Ikeda seem like they’d be a great match too, and share lineage with the FR arms, but they will cost you a good bit more than a used FR64 series arm.
Not that you are going to go out and buy one, but the stone bodies work really well on my Kuzma Airline linear tracker. Yes, the arm has high horizontal but not vertical mass, though according to Franc, the design should not cause undue stress on the cartridge. The arm seems to like a lower compliance cartridge based on my experience using some pretty high end cartridges from the likes of Lyra and Airtight. I’ve had the arm a long time. Not sure if this applies to other linear trackers, including the ET2 and Trans-Fi, which are probably easier to get into financially.
The stone body (I have two) really made the difference in my system-bringing up the bottom end (and of course that famous midrange).
Love it when people weigh in with real world listening experience based on a variety of arms and carts they own. Plural not one hit wonders.

@lewm which Triplaner? I have a 7 mk 2 w alu armtube, I always appreciate your sane contributions.
Wish I could remember but Triplanar v7 sounds right. Cardas internal wiring straight from cartridge to phono inputs.

IKEDA 407 is a descendant of FR64S from the same designer, so probably should work well w Koetsu. Just a guess.

MC, where did I or anyone else mention effective mass or compliance? Whatever you may think of their importance, the fact is that some tonearms mate well with certain cartridges than others. I make no claim to know exactly why that is. It’s trial and error. How do you know that some other tonearm might not outperform your OL, mated w your Koetsu?
compliance is well down the scale of significant factors to the point of irrelevance in a good arm. You may find those who will argue with this but they always seem to relate matching issues they’ve had with other arms and not an Origin Live one.
Of course he would say that - he wants to sell as many arms as he can.
There's a sucker born every minute.

On the other hand, I partially agree in that statement - in my view the quality of the bearings is the most important, particularly with cartridges that put a lot of energy into the arm. 

However, you miss the nuance of what he says - that compliance is less of an issue than many think - he does not claim that compliance has no impact. Origin live arms are medium to upper medium effective mass -  they should work with most cartridges made today. It is more the difficult trackers, very low compliance and very high compliance cartridges that require more careful matching. 

As far as the stone bodied Koetsus ( Onyx Golds ) that I have personally set up the best sound was obtained with FR64S & Sumko MDC800.
Note that those two arms sound different - the FR64S more extended top and bottom end, the MDC800 fuller midrange, less tight in the lower end.

This is my hands on experience, it wasn't a fantasy that everything I own must be the best - which appears to be the rationale for some. 

I own an FR64S and its all that for lower compliance carts. I also use a Groovemaster Ti and it to works a treat for these carts as well although its a bit more restrained.  On my wish list to try is the Glanz and the Schroder broadcast...
"to the point of irrelevance" is close enough to no impact for me.

I miss zero nuance. If anyone is missing nuance it’s the ones still saying compliance is so important. It is- if your arm is crap. If your arm is good then it by definition doesn’t really matter what cartridge you put on it. The arm that is only capable of making certain cartridges sound good is by definition not a good arm. It is a picky arm. It is a specialized arm. It is an arm that can be used with good results only with a very limited selection of cartridges.

That’s the nuance I’m trying to get across.

What gets me, these are all very high end arms and cartridges we are talking about. I could understand if it were budget gear. Cheap arm, compromises must be made. To pay a couple hundred for an arm, and it really only works well with certain carts, fine. A worthy compromise. Totally understandable.

But this is not cheap gear we are talking about here. To pay big money only to get an arm you have to change and buy yet another big money arm just to use an even bigger money cartridge, that is just nuts. That is like, "Thank you sir, may I have another!"

If that’s too visually nuanced, (Notice the one dishing it out, is enjoying it.)
The stone bodied Koetsus are very heavy so you can get away with lighter arms. The 4 Point is an excellent choice I think the 9" arm is the best of the lot. You should also look at the Reed 2G and the Schroder CB and LT. If your turntable can take it the Schroder LT is the best of the lot as it is a pivoted tangential arm. Reed makes the 5T, also a pivoted tangential arm but, it is animated and costs twice as much as the Shroder. Frank Schroder is a very clever guy. 

7,850 posts

Love it when people weigh in with real world listening experience based on a variety of arms and carts they own. Plural not one hit wonders."
What people say they hear does not have much value. First of all with what speakers not to mention the rest of the system? What about his ears? I did a hearing test today on a fellow who complained of tinnitus. He thought his hearing was fine. It was steeply rolled off from 2000 Hz equally in both ears.
 Humans are terrible at describing what the heard. They can tell you immediately that they heard a violin but they can not tell you how the violin sounded. If they have been listening to a well balanced system problems with other systems problems will be obvious when they hear them. They can tell you it is too bright which is really brighter than what they have been listening to which if well balanced means they are right. 
A good tonearm should not have a sound of it's own like the Tri Planar, Schroder CB and Kuzma 4 Point 9. A good cartridge will sound exactly the same in all three arms. I can say the for the Windfeld Ti which I have heard in all three arms on a very well balanced system for what it's worth.   
A good tonearm should not have a sound of it's own like the Tri Planar, Schroder CB and Kuzma 4 Point 9. A good cartridge will sound exactly the same in all three arms. I can say the for the Windfeld Ti which I have heard in all three arms on a very well balanced system for what it's worth.  
The reality is it doens't.
I have swapped arms many times using the same system, same turntable, same cartridge - all arms have different sonic signatures even the most expensive.
The most recent example was when I set up a Van Den Hul Colibri
on 3 arms in the exact same system - Moerch DP8, Helius Omega, Kuzma 4Point11. Basically I swapped out the arms on the exact same TT/Cartridge in the same system.
Each arm/cartridge sounded noticeable different. In one case - the Helius - it was so different you would not have recognised the cartridge. Just so happens the Helius has an extremely low effective mass relative to the others.
There is some truth to that, and the value varies depending on the listener, but I still think it has more value than people talking about something they haven't heard, and that happens all the time.


What people say they hear does not have much value."
FWIW, what I hear has a lot of value to me. Also, since my experience is limited to what I have actually heard, other audiophiles opinions of what they have actually heard has way more value to me than that of any number of spreadsheets telling me how something is supposed to sound. 

All the best

Well, when a thread is long enough, you will get recommendations even from ear bleeding combinations :-)

when new, try SAT Arm ( a high price tag betters everything )
Not gonna buy the SAT until I first acquire a Porsche Carrera GT for my garage.
Hi dover

If I may ask, when you heard the Van Den Hul Colibri on the Moerch DP8, Helius Omega & the Kuzma 4point (11”) did you feel one sounded better than the others (based on your preferences)?

You also mentioned that with the Helius Omega “it was so different that you wouldn’t have recognized the cartridge”, was it better or worse? Any opinions are appreciated. Thank you.


Originally the owner purchased the Moerch DP8 12" based on reviews and suitability for the medium compliance Colibri. This sounded very quick and quite neutral in balance.

Then he becme interested in the Kuzma 4Point so I installed the 3 arms in sequence in one session. He still owned the Helius as well as the Moerch.

The Colibri in the Helius had a more full bodied midrange than either the Kuzma or the Moerch, however the top end was slightly course and less resolved than the other 2 arms.

After comparing the Moerch/Colibri to the Helius/Colibri I then installed the Kuzma 4Point11 with the Colibri.

The Kuzma 4Point11 with the Colibri was very quick, very dynamic and much more resolving than with the other 2 arms. It was easily the best arm for the Colibri. 

As far as Koetsu's go I have owned a few and indeed the FR64S silver wired with B60 VTA bass that I also own does dig deep and provides real grip on the Koetsu's. However for a general arm I am a big fan of the Kuzma 4Point, it is quick, transparent, and ease of setup and VTA on the fly is hard to beat in my view.
Scott, The 4 Point is a brilliant arm. If you are setting it up yourself you will need a SmarTractor, a Hi Fi News Analog Test Record, and a set of Soundsmith graduated weight Cartridge screws. Once you have the tonearm dialed in with the SmarTractor you run the resonance tracks on the test record and find your resonance points. You add mass until you get the resonance frequency as close to 8 Hz as you can. Then sit back and enjoy. The 4 Point is a much more sophisticated design than the Ikeda. No competition there. Of course you can add mass to any arm as long as it has enough counter weight to balance it out. A Schroder LT with the heavy mounting plate would be another excellent choice if you can fit it on your table. The Stone Bodied cartridges are heavy so it won't take as much mass as you would think. That was the original idea behind the stone bodied cartridges, to make Koetsu's stiff design work in a wider variety of tonearms. Then it turned into "this stone sounds better than that stone," yada, yada. IMHO they all sound the same. So, get the color you like the best.
Boxer, sorry for the late response. My comment focused on what other people hear, not what the individual hears for themselves. Of course what you hear is important but you can not trust what others hear even if you know them very well. You have to take everything with a grain of salt until you hear for yourself. Until you can hear for yourself you have to be able to evaluate designs based on their physical characteristics. This is particularly true for tonearms and turntables. You narrow it down to those designs you like best then try to audition them if you can. Most equipment I have to buy site unseen based on either overwhelming positive reviews like the JC1 amplifiers or by my own analysis of the design like the Schroder CB tonearm. I never got the chance to hear one before I bought it but given the brilliant design and the fact that Mark Dohmann uses it to demonstrate his Helix turntable added to the very reasonable price made it an easy purchase. I have not heard it yet as I am still WAITING for the turntable. If you have questions about tonearm design please feel free to ask.