Koetsu Coralstone Cartridge Body Art

Body Art

While jewelled or boron cantilevers, fine-line stylus profiles, rare-earth magnets and high-purity copper coils are all de rigueur for high-end MCs, there's still a greater diversity in the choice of cartridge body (or, more typically, its 'shell'). At one extreme are the skeletal designs from vdH [HFN Jul '17] and Lyra [HFN May '18] while at the other are the very dense and essentially inert shells including the titanium-reinforced metal composite first seen in Ortofon's MC A90 [HFN Sep '09]. Koetsu, by contrast, right from the original Rosewood MC1 [HFN Nov '80] and subsequent Rosewood and Black models, has crafted very individual shells that inform both the aesthetic and subjective (musical) experience. Fast forward to 2023 and Koetsu has at least 14 models in its range distinguished not only by the choice of magnet and coils but also by the shell that cloaks the black alloy sub-frame. Materials vary from anodised alloy; plain, polished and Urushi-lacquered rosewood; and mineral/gemstones including onyx, jade, dumortierite, tiger's eye, rhodonite and the softer 'architectural' coral stone seen here.

But can these different shells contribute to the MC's sound? Absolutely. The fact that many MCs can be 'heard' via needletalk injected into the headshell and armtube is a direct indication of the stray mechanical energy developed by – in particular – low-compliance moving-coils. And this circulating noise sets up resonances in the shell, with the bandwidth, amplitude and Q all determined by the mechanical properties of these novel materials. These resonances feed back into the pick-up process, adding subtle colour to the reproduced sound. PM

Tokyo, Japan
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909