Koetsu stone-body Platinum vs. non-Platinum

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Warren Jarrett, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Has anyone here owned or heard both, Platinum and non-Platinum stone-body cartridges (particularly the Onyx and Jade)? And can you describe the sonic differences? Does anyone who hears them invariably prefer the Platinum, or are there differences that could involve personal preferences?
     
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  2. Nascimento Brasil

    Nascimento Brasil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sao Paulo/Brasil
    I have a Jade Platinum, I'm curious, I did not know about Jade, I only knew Jade platinum!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  3. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Before the Platinum name was introduced (I am guessing about 8 years ago) all stone body Koetsu's were the same as they are now, just missing the new platinum-alloy magnets. About the same time, but not exactly, the mounting holes changed from straight-threw-holes to threaded-holes.

    So my question is, to anyone who has heard them both ways: what did the "Platinum" do for the sound?

    I read one writer expess his experience that the non-platinum had better mid-range magic, but the Platinum added more high frequency extension and detail. So this made Koetsu's sound move slightly towards "analytical" as opposed to "romantic".
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  4. Nascimento Brasil

    Nascimento Brasil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sao Paulo/Brasil
    My Koetsu does not need bolt nuts, so it must be Jade Platinum! Thank you for clarifying my doubts!
     
  5. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    But ... I just want to say that newer is not always better. Too many audiophiles get dissatisfied with an excellent sounding piece of audio equipment because the manufacturer came out with an "improved model" or "upgrade". So we assume that every time there is a model change, we would like the sound of the newer one more than the older one. This is a terrible disease in high-end audio thinking.

    I have compared newer vs older versions of the same component, many times, and found a few that the older one sounded better to my ears in my system.

    The truth is that manufacturers MUST continue to develop theor products to keep sales going. The pressure on them to do this sometimes causes them to hype a change, even though the change may cause a difference instead of a true improvement
     
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  6. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I have heard the onix platinum, but, never in comparison with a non-platinum alloy magnet version of the cartridge. I liked what I heard, but, because it was not my system, I have no idea what the cartridge contributed to the sound. A dealer that sells primarily Koetsu cartridges for high end systems prefers the rosewood body to any of the stone bodies (he likes really warm sound). But, in a rosewood cartridge, he prefers the platinum magnet to the non-platinum magnet. I suppose the availability of these different options, in what are otherwise very similar cartridges, allows for fine tuning to meet one's preference.
     
  7. Nascimento Brasil

    Nascimento Brasil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sao Paulo/Brasil
    I understand your point of view, but not always the two options (new model and old model) are at your disposal! I have a Koetsu Jade Platinum and a Black Goldline, copper-coils, it has a good extension in the highs, but it does not have Jade's midi-range!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  8. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    That's pretty close to the truth although I've never come across a stone bodied Koetsu that didn't have the platinum magnets, I have compared the rosewood signature and the rosewood platinum and indeed the platinum is slightly cooler, drier and more extended at the frequency extremes, while the samarium-cobalt signature has a warmer and more inviting sound. Which you choose will be influenced by your system, preferences and budget.

    Personally though, I think that the latest round of price rises took Koetsu into areas where their products are no longer competitive and you'd be wise to check out what other manufacturers are offering at the same price before you commit.
     
  9. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    If you like the Koetsu sound, what are the more competitive alternatives that sound similar? I've heard some Ortofon SPU variants that might please a Koetsu fan, and some Allaertes (but they aren't cheap either). An Audio Note cartridge?
     
  10. Nascimento Brasil

    Nascimento Brasil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sao Paulo/Brasil
    I have Ortofon SPU 85th, it has a very pleasant sound, nothing analytical, midi range warm, but being my reference cartridge (it plays everything very well) but when it plays jazz, it is not a Jade!
     
  11. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    In my opinion, there is no direct competitor to Koetsu. They are so unique, in their strengths and weaknesses, that if you have your heart set on one, nothing else will satisfy your desire. That is why I have two... but actually listen to my other cartridges much more frequently.

    For me, listening to a Koetsu is an adventure in itself. But my Audio Note Io-Gold, Benz Ebony LP, and highly modified Denon 103d are preferable for everyday listening.
     
  12. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Warren, have you ever heard the Audio Note fieldcoil cartridge? I have heard a Denon 103 that was modified to be a fieldcoil cartridge by Dave Slagle (MyEmia) and it sounded very good--extremely dynamic and alive.
     
  13. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Oh, that's called the Audio Note Io Limited, and I would love to own one. It has 6 pins on it, requires the tonearm to be wired with 6 conductors, and includes its dedicated power supply (2 of the cartridge pins for power to the cartridge).

    But even my dealer cost is more expensive than I have ever paid for a car.

    Somehow, I think paying more for my cartridge than for my car would be a little extreme... well living in Southern California, that is, where cars are king.
     
  14. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    Honestly Warren, up until a few months ago I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly. I was all prepared to buy a Jade Platinum but recently I got to hear the Lyra Etna SL and the Van Den Hul Crimson Stradivarius which have both caused me to seriously reconsider what is possible from vinyl replay at half the price of the Jade. I'm currently waiting to hear the Grado Epoch before making a decision, but I do know that contrary to what I once thought the Koetsu is no longer the only option.
     
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  15. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I never said a Koetsu is "so good" that it's the only option for "best sound". Only that the sound from a Koetsu is so unique and distinctive, that there is nothing else like it.

    Which is better, apples or oranges? Because a Lyra versus a Koetsu is not even a comparison... they are from two different planets, Venus and Mars... they represent a compleley different set of sonic priorities.

    I installed a Grado Epoch, and listened to it on a few occasions. It is wonderful, too. Now we are talking about Apples, Oranges and Cherries. How can anyone choose just one and ignore the others, claiming their choice is "best"?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  16. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland

    Indeed Warren, when you're talking about equipment at this level it's more a question of choosing the flavour you like and what works best in the context of the wider system rather than claiming an absolute champion.
     
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  17. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    I heard a Koetsu Urushi (I think), this is the red colored one. And was very impressed with the character in general, what I was not impressed with was the bottom end, I just thought it would be a deeper detailed sound may have been the source gear. I think once you get to this level of cartridge you need to match gear with such a discerning ear to pull it all out. Throwing one of these on "your turntable" is not going to make you too happy, meaning you buy/build an analog rig around this type of cartridge.

    Warren you may need to jump over to AA and see who might have one of those carts that can describe the experience.

    Cheers
     
  18. TommyTunes

    TommyTunes Forum Resident

    I never liked Koetsu’s, previously I heard the Rosewood and one of the Urushi’s I found them too rich sounding more suitable for classical than rock and jazz. However the Platinum series has radically changed my opinion. I’m using a Onyx Platinum in one of my systems and find it closer to the analytical sound that I prefer. IMO close to the Lyra Etna but not as revealing as the Lyra Atlas.
     
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  19. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    Ahhh...that's it! I too would consider it a good choice for classical music. For sure I doubt it would suit my needs for rock, jazz distorted music and R&B.
     
  20. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    It goes to show how different all of our systems and tastes are. I have a Koetsu, have heard the competition, and in the context of my system simply don't feel it has the limitations that others do. Every time I hear a thundering bass line, I wonder what it is I'm missing out on.

    I certainly like my other cartridges as well, but its hard to go back to them after spending time with the Koetsu.
     
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