Hana Cartridges

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by JMT, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. JMT

    JMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    I'm looking for a back up LOMC cartridge, preferably under $1000. I've seen these Hana cartridges on Audiogon, never heard of them. Did a search here and came up with zilch, any experienced Hana users?

    From Agon:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. JMT

    JMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    I already read that, looking for some user opinions. I have a lot of respect for collective ears of this community, sometimes more so than the distributor.
     
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  3. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Excel in Japan has made good cartridges for many years, given their track record of yore, I'd consider a Hana worth auditioning.
     
  4. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    What are some of their "greatest hits"?
     
  5. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Their moving coils were all very nice and their MM line was also very fine. I have only heard one or two many years ago and liked them. The MC 100e is a nice HOMC, they made the SAEC C-1 LOMC, their ES 70EX MM was very nice.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  6. vinylbuff

    vinylbuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Port Florida
  7. morris_minor

    morris_minor Vinyl addict

    I've had a Hana EL for a couple of months now and am very pleased with it. Comparing with a Zyx R100 and Ortofon Rondo Blue, the Hana was by no means outclassed, and is a very engaging listening: good depth and detail. For the money I think it's great value. I was using it with my Kenwood KD7010 DD and Graham Slee Accession phono amp (with Graham Slee Elevator EXP step-up).

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. mkfly2626

    mkfly2626 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    france
    Hello Morris,

    Can you describe the sound of the Hana el?

    Regards
     
  9. morris_minor

    morris_minor Vinyl addict

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  10. mkfly2626

    mkfly2626 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    france
  11. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Bumping this thread: any further experiences with these cartridges at all please?

    I like what I read about them and they appear to be great value.

    JMT - did you get, or try, one in the end? Can't see one listed in your profile at all.

    Thanks.
     
  12. Long Live Analog

    Long Live Analog Forum Resident

    Location:
    Memphis
    George Merrill is a Hana dealer in Memphis and uses the Hana Green with the Jelco arm on his Polytable. I've heard these at his shop and would characterize the sound as smooth, natural and musical. I'm sure they get better as one moves up the Hana line. Worth checking out for sure. George is a legend in the audio world, his website and info is hifi gem.com great guy who loves to talk audio and analog.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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  13. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Nice one
     
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  14. willboy

    willboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wales, UK
    I'm considering upgrading my Denon dl110 in the not too distant future, if that's possible with my limited budget. Would like to stick with a HOMC so the Hana EH might just be the ticket, but I've seen it mentioned somewhere that it's not best suited to pop/rock music, which is mostly what I listen to. Will hold on until I see some more reviews, hopefully including a comparison or two with the dl110.
     
  15. Phillip Holmes

    Phillip Holmes New Member

    Location:
    van alstyne, tx
    Hello Willboy,
    I'd disagree with the "not appropriate for pop/rock music" critique. Honestly, I think the elliptical, HO version is slightly better for Jazz/Pop than classical. The low output Shibata version does flesh out more of the details that make orchestral recordings rewarding. The HO Elliptical is a little forgiving for me, and the people I've spoken with, and lets me crank the system up loud. When I was doing show demos, it slightly preferred R/B, Jazz, Pop, etc.., digging in on Hammond and electric bass, particularly well. But, that probably has as much to do with the tonearm, or it's a team effort. Anyway, the Alnico magnets give it a pretty natural overtone balance, so listening loud is fun, and I like it loud.

    Regards,
    Phillip Holmes
    the US importer for Hana

     
  16. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    Can anyone compare to say the warmth and even sound of Shure, the brightness of AT, the dynamic punch and musicality of Dynavector etc...what is the Hana close to tone wise? (Yes im generalizing :)
     
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  17. willboy

    willboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wales, UK
    That's what I was hoping to hear to hear, thanks Phillip

    Unfortunately there appears to be very little in the way of HOMCs in my price range. The Dynavector 10x5 seems to be the obvious upgrade and I would love to try one but it's way too expensive. I have considered the Benz Silver but it seems a bit too warm sounding for me.
     
  18. Phillip Holmes

    Phillip Holmes New Member

    Location:
    van alstyne, tx
    I'm not sure of the UK price, but the EL (low output elliptical) should be within $50US of $400 (I think). Not sure of the exchange, plus there is VAT to consider. Not "dirt cheap" but everyone that has reviewed or listened to it has been astonished at the bang-for-the-buck, including the equipment manager at Acoustic Sounds, Herb Reichert (reviewing one),et.al., so far.

     
  19. Phillip Holmes

    Phillip Holmes New Member

    Location:
    van alstyne, tx
    There is a small similarity with a Shure V15mk3 with original stylus, in my opinion. Both use Alnico, and there is a definite character to Alnico. I compare Alnico to Samarium Cobalt the way a 12ax7 differs from a EF94. Both are high gain, but the 12ax7 has a different transfer function. Seems like Alnico is more triode like, to my ears. Or there is less grain. A field coil would be even better, like a type 26 triode, but the price is ridiculous. I never liked the more modern V15 cartridges after hearing a mk3 with Alnico. Before the Cobalt problems in the '70s, I think most cartridges used Alnico. It's too bad that natural rubber turns to rock after 40 years!

     
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  20. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    Thanks, full midrange, not bright in other words?
     
  21. willboy

    willboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wales, UK
    Just checked US vs UK prices of the EH and EL and much to my surprise they are approx. £8, $11 cheaper in the UK.
    I need to stick with HOMC as my phono stage is MM only. No real issue though as I'm quite content with my DL110, so if the EH sounds even better then I'll be more than happy.
     
  22. Phillip Holmes

    Phillip Holmes New Member

    Location:
    van alstyne, tx
    Oh Lord no! Not bright, at least on the arms and headshells I've tried. I think you could get it to sound bright on a low mass arm like a Mayware or Black Widow, since the compliance is a little low, and those arms are kind of bright sounding anyway. Should work fine on arms like the Rega though.

    When Sibatech told me they were approaching Excel Sound Corp to ask them for a cartridge line, the first thing I did was ask "who's Excel?". The Japanese are pretty tight lipped on trade secrets, and OEMs usually keep a low profile. I'm not sure why Excel is pushing their own name, now, after all these years, other than Mr Ishihara is good friends with the president of Excel. Maybe it was the product of the friendship. Anyway, I made suggestions on the appearance (no bright colors, font, etc..), then requested three things: Alnico, forgiving tonal balance and healthy bass. Your options for "annoying, analytical, unforgiving and no bass" are quite plentiful. I wanted it to be an alternative to the uptight annoying cartridges that can be had in all price ranges. There wasn't much competition for a "happy-bouncy-forgiving" budget moving coil. I probably had no impact on the final product. Excel is impressive. They spent $10,000 on the injection molds, which can be used on all the different models, by the way (you just use different color pellets). I do not know the type of wire or the type of plastic. The plastic is very dead--does not go "tic tic tic" on my arm. I've been very impressed with consistency: fit and finish have been really good. They've forgotten more about analog than I'll ever know.

    Alnico doesn't give you the tremendous output, and corresponding low impedance, of Neodymium. Samarium Cobalt and platinum alloy magnets can also put out more juice than Alnico. That being said, the Alnico that Excel uses isn't 5 (exact formula is a trade secret). It's a different grade with significantly higher BH Max than old fashioned Alnico V, as used in classic audio pieces. It still isn't as all-powerful as Neodymium, but we aren't concerned just about highest possible output, or we'd just switch to crystal cartridges, wouldn't we (the lowly crystal is a poor man's strain gauge)? I'm convinced that the magnets have as much to do with the sound as the output, cantilever, stylus shape, etc.. Unfortunately, you can't even swap all the various types of magnets to do a straight comparison of the sound.

    Regards,
    Phillip
     
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  23. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    Thanks Phillip! This would be for a Technics 1200 (KAB upgrades)
     
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  24. Phillip Holmes

    Phillip Holmes New Member

    Location:
    van alstyne, tx
    It should work fine. I definitely recommend the elliptical model, but i have only used it on 2 arms here (not the Technics). It would put a little less energy into that arm, and it's only $400. I'm sure it's a good table with the mods. I've had a love for direct drives since the '80s. They always turn on and spin, even when they've been abused.

    Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disk and George Merrill should have them, if you get interested. More reviews coming out soon.

    Speaking of that arm, I actually improved the sound of it for a record dealer friend. If you haven't experimented with wraps, try putting a small piece of heatshrink on the collet, and about a 1" piece halfway down the arm. It quieted down my friend's arm a lot, without making it sound artificial. Too much rubber damping sucks, in my experience. I bought some animal sinew (deer? cow?), the stuff they use for making authentic Native American arrows (you fasten your flint to the shaft with the stuff). I plan on wrapping a s-shaped arm with it one of these days. It won't look pretty, but who cares if it imparts sounds better. I'll send you some of the heatshrink if you want. I think I bought several yards of the stuff.

    Regards,
    Phillip

    PS, is my default avatar supposed to be a "needle", a constant source, or a to indicate I am male? I think I need to come up with a version that indicates all three.

     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016

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