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Koetsu Black Goldline Phono Cartridge

2 Reviews
The Koetsu Black offers the signature tonal balance and natural harmonics that the line is known for worldwide, but at a price that makes it much more accessible for a larger group of analog aficionados. The tonal signature of all Koetsus is pure smoothness. Sure there may be some cartridges that better the Koetsu in a specific area, but there are none that offer the complete package. If you really care about the sound of music, if your goal is to be immersed in tones that make up chords, and you don't want to put up with any more hi-fi artifacts, the choice is simple.....only a Koetsu cartridge will do.

In the 1970s, Sugano began to experiment with phono cartridges by substituting his own parts in commercially available models. His keen ear and deductive reasoning, combined with an artist's sensibilities, led to the creation of what would become a legend in audio. Sensing the moment, Sugano named his cartridge after his hero, Koetsu.


Sugano's quest led him to enlist universities, specialized industries and master craftspeople to create the special parts to go into his masterpieces. One of the first to use 4 nines copper (99.99% pure), curent production uses 6 nines copper (99.9999% pure). Platinum signature models feature silver cladding of the 6 nines copper, a process where a silver sheath is slowly drawn over the copper conductor.

Ultra-pure iron square plate formers were sourced for their most predictable magnetic characteristics and lowest oxidation. Pre-aged to the perfect consistency, rubber suspension parts are sourced under license with a rubber damper manufacturer. Special magnetic materials, including Alnico have been featured. Today, samarium-coblalt is used with platinum magnets reserved for the flagship models. Japanese craftsmen carve the rosewood bodies, lacquer coat the Urushi bodies, or cut stone for the onyx Platinum. Styli are specially designed and precision ground for Koetsu.

Today, Sugano's sons have revived his art and continue to create musical masterpieces under the watchful eye of the old master. For every music lover, your journey to musical nirvana is incomplete without a Koetsu phono cartridge in your system.

The tonal signature of all Koetsu's is pure smoothness. Sure there are cartridges that better the Koetsu in every area but there are none that are the complete package. If you really care about the sound of music, if your goal is to be immersed in tones that make up chords, and you don't want to put up with any more hifi artifacts, the choice is simple.....Koetsu

Stereophile Koetsu Black Moving Coil Cartridge Review

Are there better cartridges than the Koetsu Black? Sure. Are there better Koetsus? I guess. Is there a better way for an analog enthusiast to spend $1600? Maybe not.

In order to really appreciate the Koetsu Black, I had to remember some of the things that drew me to this hobby in the first place: the love of records, the love of well-made playback gear, the love of being startled by anything that sounds real. I also had to forget a few things—the myths, the misunderstandings, the cultish reviews both pro and con—that have swum around this line in the past.

Most of what I learned about the Koetsu Black came as a surprise, and all of those surprises were good. It didn't thrill me quite as much as my Miyabi, but it delighted me as much as any other moving-coil cartridge I've tried. I was also impressed by its build quality—something I can't help but associate with a very long service life—and, rightly or wrongly, by the sheer history of its provenance.

The Koetsu Black phono cartridge is a lovely, musical product, and a better-than-average value: There was at least $1600 worth of beauty in that little black box, and I'll hate to see it all go.
  • Body: anondized aluminum
  • Type: moving coil
  • Coil wiring: copper
  • Magnet: Samarium cobalt
  • Cantilever: boron
  • Output: .4mV
  • Frequency range: 20Hz-100kHz
  • Channel separation: 25dB/1kHz
  • Inner impedance: 5 ohms
  • Channel balance: .5dB/1kHz
  • Recommended impedance: 30 ohms
  • Weight: 10.8g
  • Compliance: 5x10-6cm/dyne at 100Hz
  • Tracking Force: 1.8-2.0g
  • Ratings & Reviews

    2 reviews

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    I own this cart and have lots of experience with it. Its my favourite. bar-none. You cant go wrong with this cart. Yes its expensive. too expensive. But the value is there. I love the sound of it. It eclipses all others i've ever heard. Its not the most striking and flashy. Its very basic looking, and its sound isnt shouty - its a music lovers cartridge and my favourite. Its so smooth, detailed, natural, tonally accurate and rich. Im sure you can find another cart that you might find subjectively "better" but for something like that, i speculate that you'd have to spend significantly more money.. ive not heard the upper range koetsu carts, but i cant imagine them to be much better. The koetus black is a magical sounding cart. The better the system, the more it amazes. Its a cart that romances the listener, draws you in and lets music come forth undisturbed and uncolored. Some people liken it to a technicolor film - but i wouldnt say that at all. Yes. i see how like technicolor it makes things appear beautiful and colourful, but the koetsu does it in a natural sort of way. Its never artificial or pastel. It produces the sounds in the groove with remarkable accuracy and detail and will help you fall deeper in love with your record collection. (played through Mitch Cotter B1, and Cotter front end, and class A amps into Kef reference series. Also have it in a Technics TT to Pass Labs and B&W 800 series system.)



    I heard this cartridge on a freinds Orical delphi IV, smooth and velvity are the words that come to mind. Koetsu would be near the top of my list for cartridges. Loaded at 100 ohms, it was perfect, Elvis Presley sounded amazing. Better then with any other cartridge that had been in my system. I also love that the cartridge can not only be retiped but rebuilt. Defently worth the 2k price tag.