Hana SL -- I hate it

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by BigMikeATL, May 28, 2020.

  1. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I read so many reviews raving about the Hana SL and decided that it *had* to be a step up from my Ortofon MC-3 Turbo. I've given the thing upward of 50 hours of break in time, tried it on two turntables (Technics SL 1210GR and Rega P6), messed with alignment, VTA, tracking force, loading, different headshells, you name it... and I just hate the thing.

    Sure, the high end is brilliantly clear, but when things get busy the lower midrange becomes a muddied mess. My old Ortofon MC-3 Turbo feels warmer, richer, has better stereo imaging, and is just more pleasant to listen to. Sure, it has some brightness and some issues with IGD, but I can spend my time enjoying the music. With the Hana, it's a constant fight. Vocals often seem recessed and certain details get lost. I simply can't get this thing to sound the way I want.

    Everyone raves about the Hana, so what am I missing here? Do I have a dud? Is it a poor match for my system?

    If I ditch the Hana, the question becomes: What next?
     
  2. FalseMetal666

    FalseMetal666 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    What are you gain and loading settings? Not that any amount of tweaking those will undo what you're describing above...
     
    B. Scarpia likes this.
  3. Abbagold

    Abbagold Working class hero

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Hate to be “that” guy, but.... you should post your system on your profile. Tube, SS amp? Separates or receiver? Speaker brand? You get the gist.
     
  4. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    Most probably a setup issue. Correct VTA can make or break the sound of a cartridge.
    Correct loading is very important too.
     
    Heckto35 likes this.
  5. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Here
    Here's my setup FWIW:
    Marantz AV7005 SS pre
    Rotel RMB-1075 amp
    Martin Logan ESLs
    Musical Surroundings Phenomena II+ SS phono pre

    The settings on the phono pre I've had the most success with are: 200pf, 475 ohms, with 56db gain
     
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  6. Abbagold

    Abbagold Working class hero

    Location:
    New Orleans
    I agree with 5 string. Look at your setup on the cart. Spend time dialing it in. It may take an evening, give it a shot.
     
  7. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I've mucked with VTA and the loading. My Ortofon MC3 easily sounds better 90+% of the time and that thing didn't require 1/100th of the tinkering I had to endure with the Hana.
     
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  8. FalseMetal666

    FalseMetal666 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Try 60-ish DB of gain...output of SL is 0.5mV so 60db would show your Marantz 0.5V. Might be happier?
     
    rischa likes this.
  9. Yeah, if you’ve already messed with the setup that much then I think we can safely conclude that you just don’t like the sound of the cartridge. My local dealer tried the Hana line and hated it, despite all the praise. It happens. It’s unfortunate you can’t try a cartridge before buying.
     
  10. Abbagold

    Abbagold Working class hero

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Put it on the classifieds. I’ve taken a step outside of my comfort zone,(Shure), and have always gone back. Get most of your money back and enjoy your setup that you have.
     
    muskrat, Leonthepro, macster and 7 others like this.
  11. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I wonder of you received a dud...it has been known to happen. Once upon a time I owned an MC-3 Turbo -- didn't much like it compared to my MM carts. I now own the SL and love it.
     
  12. Drew769

    Drew769 Buyer of s*** I never knew I lacked

    Location:
    NJ
    A couple of things may be in play.

    First off, the shibata stylus is fickle and very sensitive to set up. It can take a lot of experimentation to get it right.

    Your other issue could be the low output. Yes your phono preamp has the settings, but in order to really get a low output cartridge to sing, you need to notch equipment. A symptom of a phono preamp not being up to the task is the sound that you have described. I would strongly recommend a SUT. You don’t have to break the bank doing so - Bob’s Devices can make one tailored to your system. I think you will be amazed how much more body, clarity, and “meat on the bone” you will get with an SUT.

    I’ve heard the Hana SL properly set up, and it’s very impressive for its price range. You should be able to improve on what you are hearing (or not hearing). I personally prefer the VAS Nova at a few bucks more, mainly because of their synergy with VPI tables.
     
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  13. rischa

    rischa Devout Irreverent

    Location:
    Mt. Horeb, WI
    I think 56db might be too low for the Hana. I ran mine at 60 or 65.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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  14. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I tried that numerous times. It didn't make a difference save for increasing the noise floor.
     
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  15. mkane

    mkane Strictly Analog

    Location:
    Cloverdale, CA
    ditch the 200pf and try loading @ 300 Ohm. That's 10x the impedance which is a good starting point.
     
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  16. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Sounds like I'd be throwing more money at the problem. Perhaps a Hana SH might be a better choice?
     
    displayname likes this.
  17. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    The phono pre has 100pf or 200pf. No 300 ohm option. It's 235 or 475, nothing in between.
     
  18. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    If you don't like it, get rid of it. Sometimes things aren't all they are hyped up to be, or simply not to your taste. Life is too short to be jacking around with a cart you don't like.
     
    wgb113, wrat, luckybaer and 15 others like this.
  19. My guess is something is amiss with alignment or settings. I have it on my RP8 (6 weeks new) and it is the best sound cart i personally have experienced.. I am also using the Aria phono stage.
     
  20. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Just curious...is the sound slightly better on the P6? I think the Hana SL is too light for the Technics arm - a poor compliance match. Now assuming you have the RB330 on the P6 proper set up is a bear with little ability to adjust azimuth and lots of heavy lifting on the VTA. My Hana SL sounds best at 60dB gain and 400 ohms loading.
     
  21. Davey

    Davey NP: Björk ~ Vespertine (2001)

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Aren't the Technics and Rega both about 12 gram effective mass?
     
  22. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    Location:
    California

    "Vocals are recessed..." On a HANA?!? Yes, something is definitely wrong. As "that guy" asked: what's the rest of your system? Not that it would matter. I can't fathom that. And I'm not saying it doesn't sound like you say it does. Only that it shouldn't.

    [Review] The Hana SL Low-Output MC Cartridge

    TNT Review

    The Hana SL MC ($750) Versus The Ortofon Quintet Black S MC ($999)

    Michael Fremer review

    Review: The Shibata Syndrome – Hana SL, a killer sub-$1,000 cartridge | Part-Time Audiophile

    Part-time Audiophile

    (We could all be wrong...BUT...)
     
  23. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    They are. In terms of compliance matching probably the two most versatile on the planet. I don't think Shibata styli are that difficult to set up either, and like most stylus designs there are a few degrees of tolerance for VTA in either direction. My opinion is if OP gave it a fair shot and did a decent job of set up, time to move on.

    My 2 cents.
     
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  24. My mistake; I misread here. I have the Hana ML. a $1200 cart which is fantastic.
     
  25. BigMikeATL

    BigMikeATL Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Yes, it's slightly better on the P6.

    I've tried the Hana with a heavier headshell on the Technics, but I wouldn't say it sounded any better.
     

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