Hana SL -- I hate it

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

  1. JuhaLind1

    JuhaLind1 Member

    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    I had the same problem with my Pioneer Plx-1000. After careful studies, I found out the problem is on the light tonearm, at least in my case. I added +4 grams on the headshell, so the weight on the tonearm is now bigger but the weight on the stylus is still 2 grams. The sound just popped out instantly. I was surprised that the sound I was missing just appeared this way! Just try it! Now the Hana sounds awesome!
     
    Andy Saunders likes this.
  2. AppleCorp3

    AppleCorp3 Forum Resident

    Which headshell were you using and what did you switch to?
     
  3. Martin Henry T

    Martin Henry T Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cornwall, UK.
    Did you get a reply .........have the same setup and feel something not quite there on current settings ....

    Thanks Martin
     
  4. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    Sites like this one have an outsize influence as even hundreds of posts one way or another represent a small sample of all the buyers of a certain product. That's the only way I can figure my lonely experience with the much- loved by many Hana EL, or the Denon DL-103 or anything Audio-Technica moving magnet. The Hana I tried was a thoroughly bad cartridge in the same product line as the SL being, just as you put it, muddy and confused in the mid-range. Thanks to Covid it went back to Music Direct without a peep, full refund.

    I don't think there's much wrong with my ears, the amount of Rock Concerts I've attended are a mere handful and even though I spent a lifetime playing in symphony orchestras I never had the Trombones blaring in my ears,
    I was playing one :biglaugh:

    For the investment $$$ of the SL, one can have, as I do, the seemingly unknown on this site ZYX Bloom which has clarity from top to bottom while remaining true to the sounds of acoustic instruments playing in a space but still able to re-create hit you in the chest Low E String and Kick Drum when it actually exists on record.
     
    nutsfortubes, GyroT and jonwoody like this.
  5. Davey

    Davey NP: Tujiko Noriko ~ Crépuscule I & II (2023)

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    They did a nice review last year at HFA on the most recent Bloom version, mostly mounted on the TP 92 arm on a new Thorens TD 1601 as shown below, which concluded with a comparison to the AT33Sa, and the Bloom did come out ahead in most regards. It does cost a bit more than the Hana SL, but I guess not substantially. Not many places to buy in the US, did you get yours locally?

    ZYX R50 Bloom3

    [​IMG]
     
    Budley, GyroT, bluemooze and 2 others like this.
  6. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    Got mine from Sorasound ZYX – North American Retail Prices | SORAsound . The owner, Mehran, proved himself to be a first class guy when an issue with my first sample arose. I didn't go for the uberexpensive top plates but mounted mine with an 1/8" aluminum plate that lowered the stylus and raised the weight 4gms., necessary on my Traveler for VTA adjustment and resonance/compliance.

    I played it to death and it now sports a Soundsmith Boron Cantilever with nude Contact Line stylus, a noticeable step up without changing the basic attributes.
     
    jonwoody and Davey like this.
  7. Davey

    Davey NP: Tujiko Noriko ~ Crépuscule I & II (2023)

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Wow, they show the Bloom III at $1200, that's a lot more than the $750 Hana SL now, that's the Hana ML price in the US. Anyway, sounds like you are set, I've toyed with the idea for a long time of trying a Zyx cartridge, still in the back of my mind.

    Looks like the best deals now would be via a UK source with the tanking GBP to USD exchange rates, below at Analogue Seduction showing Hana SL at around $580 and Zxy Bloom 3 around $738 ... maybe now is the time :)


    [​IMG]
     
  8. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco The Pressing Matters

    Location:
    Miami
    I also have my doubts about the Hana SL. I've lived with it for four months and can not say I love it. Running it through the Modwright PH9 at 475 seems bright. Backing down to 250 helps somewhat. Lowering VTA helps somewhat. But still I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. Has been set up twice by two different dealers, and I checked it myself today. Seems to be right on with Baerwald. I'm thinking of moving on. I find I'm always analyzing the sounds and finding faults instead of relaxing and playing more albums. I play a side and I'm kind of over it.
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  9. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Philippines
    There have been reports on quality control issues with the SL, so it's either you got a dud or maybe the SL sound is just not for you. I had an SL for a few months before changing to an ML and I never found it analytical. Can I ask what cart you were previously using prior to the SL?
     
    Andy Saunders likes this.
  10. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco The Pressing Matters

    Location:
    Miami
    Yes, I was using Denons, a 103 and later a 110. Have also had a Benz Glyder and a sumiko BP
     
  11. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco The Pressing Matters

    Location:
    Miami
    I have a chance next week to bring the table to a dealer. I'll test it in his system and have him take a look under a microscope. Is the ML worlds better? There's a trade up going on til the end of the month. I'm just afraid I don't like the house sound, or it's just a dud.
     
  12. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Philippines
    The ML is (hate this term but going to use it anyway) in a different league. It's the first cart I've had in my system where the SQ made me stop wanting more. My short cart journey went like this: Shure M97xe - AT PTGii - Hana SL - Hana ML.

    Is there better? Of course. But to me it hits the sweet spot of what the highly praised MC carts can do without the prohibitive sticker price.
     
  13. Ed Osborne

    Ed Osborne Senior Member

    Location:
    NJ
    If you say that you “hate” a cartridge (or any other piece of equipment), then I believe you.

    You have a unique group of components, set up in a unique way, in a unique room. Plus, your ear/brain characteristics are unique to you, as are your sound preferences.

    Therefore…barring a poorly designed or manufactured (in this case) phono cartridge, and assuming that your particular one is not a “dud” (it does happen)…then all you can say with assurance is that…given all of the above…you do, indeed, hate the Hana SL.

    It does not in any way mean that that cartridge is actually bad nor does it mean that reviewers and users who love it have bought into hype. It merely means that YOU don’t like it.

    Fair enough.

    That doesn’t make you wrong…nor does it make you right and others wrong.

    For what it’s worth…I owned a Denon 103 for several years and listened to it for many hours. I didn’t hate it, but it did nothing for me.

    Forty years later it’s still winning accolades. Other audiophiles and reviewers genuinely find it wonderful and I’m very happy that it gives them pleasure.

    Is the Denon objectively more true to the source audio than other cartridges? Who knows.

    Back to the Hana. My audiophile buddy of many years owns the SL and loves it. In his system… …and this is key…in conjunction with the rest of his gear…in his room setup…it sounds great.

    I have the ML and…although it’s not yet reached the use hours supposedly needed before it sounds the best…I feel it’s an exceptional cartridge in MY system and for the sound I like. Especially at its price point.

    Our SL and ML have a beautiful midrange, especially vocals. They’re sometimes down in the mix and sometimes the singer is right in the room. This tells me that the SL and ML are letting us hear differences in the recording and the mix.

    The bass is solid, detailed, and right where I want it to be. When there’s lots of bass on the recording, the Hana’s kick butt. When the recording doesn’t have low bass, it’s not there. As it should be.

    So…you tried the Hana and hated it. That doesn’t mean it’s a “bad” or over-hyped cartridge. It just didn’t work for you. And that’s all that counts.

    I sincerely hope you find a cartridge that’s everything you want it to be. Good luck!

    Side note: I’ve not found Shibata nor microline styli inordinately difficult to set up: just the expected tweaking until most of my go-to-for-reference records sound as I want them to.
     
  14. AppleCorp3

    AppleCorp3 Forum Resident

    I struggled to get good sound out of my SL. It sounded good at first but then it just went bright and I couldn’t shake it. The bass was nice, as were the mids but it had a glare which made most of my records not pleasant.

    Upgrading to the ML was a night and day transformation. The brightness is gone, with a much more refined top end and all the mids and bass I loved about the SL.

    Did I get a dud? Possibly. Could I just not get the sweet spot for the shibata stylus? Possibly. All I know is that I’m glad I stuck with the Hana line.
     
    chipcalzada likes this.
  15. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco The Pressing Matters

    Location:
    Miami
    I think you are referring to the OP, as I just recently joined the conversation. I think my issue is not a dud cartridge because the sound can be incredibly good. I just think I must not have it dialed in yet. I did get it sounding great in my last listening sessions by slightly lowering the arm. I could probably do another round of tweaking alignment. I don't have very sophisticated tools other than the Feikart protractor and digital stylus force device.
     
  16. Ed Osborne

    Ed Osborne Senior Member

    Location:
    NJ
    Yes...I was referring back to the OP.

    I adjusted my tonearm with the ML so that it's as parallel to the record as I can determine visually. All sounded pretty good so I've left it there while I put about 50 hours on it.

    In the meantime, I've done some room and speaker tweaks that significantly improved the sound: eliminating "problems" that I could have easily attributed to the cartridge.

    Placing a "transparent" rug over an acoustically rated, thick felt pad between speakers and listening position, adding thick felt strips properly placed near the two high freq drivers to reduce cabinet edge diffraction, and toeing my speakers out from their initial aimed-at-my-ears position.

    When one changes a piece of gear in the reproduction chain, the resulting audible shifts cannot necessarily be definitely attributed to it only.

    The sonic characteristics of each component add up to produce the end sound. The new piece could just as easily be more neutral/accurate than the one it replaced, thus shifting what you hear to a less pleasing sound...if the original unit was compensating for a sonic issue caused by another piece of gear elsewhere in the chain.

    That offending component is still in the reproduction chain, doing its thing, which can now be heard because the new unit is not "correcting" for the error of its ways. (Hope this makes some sense: it's late.)
     
  17. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco The Pressing Matters

    Location:
    Miami
    That makes perfect sense, and I suspect it could be true in my case. I definitely could use some room treatment, and I'm thinking the limitations of my older preamp may be more obvious now. Tomorrow I get to take the amplification out (while retaining the ModWright) and trying an integrated tube amp that my dealer is letting me audition for a week. Quite excited to see if that reveals any answers!
     
  18. Ed Osborne

    Ed Osborne Senior Member

    Location:
    NJ
    Please report back on what you find out!

    And...FWIW...proper room treatment makes a huge difference....maybe the most significant differences once you've got a reasonably good system. I've heard mega-buck stereo systems that fell far short of their potential because of room problems.
     
  19. T69

    T69 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    I hate all them fancy MC cartridges!!!!
    ...because they are too expensive for me :uhhuh::uhhuh::uhhuh::uhhuh::uhhuh:
    [​IMG]
     
    Eigenvector and Fishoutofwater like this.

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