Kiseki Blue N.S. cartridge Lab Report

If the high compliance/low-tracking force Lyra Etna SL suggested that modern-day MCs might be headed in a new direction, then this striking-looking Blue N.S. from Kiseki is surely a blast from the past. The engineering is all contemporary, from its boron rod cantilever, 5x120µm line-contact diamond and finely-machined alloy body (keeping the overall bodyweight down to a manageable 8.2g), but the tracking force is an ‘old school’ 1.8-2.6g. Tested at a fairly hefty 2.3g the Blue N.S. did not quite meet Kiseki’s 80µm/315Hz ‘trackability’ specification with 65µm/70µm achieved via the left/right, respectively, just breaching 1% THD at +15dB (re. 315Hz/5cm/sec).

Its 18-22cu dynamic compliance is also a little softer than rated, aiding tracking but pushing the arm/cartridge resonance down below 8Hz with medium/high effective mass tonearms. If you have ported speakers, a phono pre with no subsonic filter and/or cherished LPs that are a little warped, then I’d avoid using high mass arms [inc. the Timestep]. Otherwise the 600µV output (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec) is a useful +2.7dB higher than Kiseki’s rated 440µV, and channel separation superb at ~40dB through the midband, but channel balance was less impressive at 1dB.


Frequency response curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) versus vertical (L–R, red)


Lateral (L+R, black infill) and vertical (L–R, red) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harmonics) vs. frequency from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

The Blue’s response is sculpted for a rich bass, a mild upper mid/presence and a zing to the upper treble, though this 14kHz peak should not exacerbate vinyl noise. Generator symmetry is excellent and the lateral/vertical traces are well matched [black/red traces, Graph 1] suggesting the soundfield will be very uniform. Distortion has its own ‘character’ too – almost purely 2nd harmonic here – even if vertical cuts [red trace, Graph 2], indicate higher THD at the periphery of the soundstage. PM

Generator type/weight: Moving-coil / 8.2g
Recommended tracking force: 1.8-2.6mN (2.3mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec): 600µV / 1.0dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral): 18cu / 22cu
Vertical tracking angle: 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability: 65μm / 70μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz): 0.95–15% / 0.35–6.9%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz): –5.5 to +0.5dB / –4.3 to +1.8dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz): 40dB / 28dB
Price: £1695

Kiseki/Durob Audio BV
The Netherlands
Supplied by: Symmetry, Herts
01727 865488