After years of using Benz cartridges (and a brief flirtation with a Lyra Helikon), I bought a Koetsu Black last week. I've always read that Koetsus are far from neutral but are very musical with a gorgeous midrange and, well, being a longtime member of this forum, that sounded good to me. So I took the plunge. And the Koetsu Black does sound good. In fact, it sounds great—far more natural than the Benz cartridges I'm familiar with (most recently, a REF 2 Silver). It's cosiderably less mechanical and hi-fi sounding. With the Benz on my Linn LP-12/Ekos combination, music sounds good but I'm always aware that I'm listening to reproduced music. With the Koetsu, I genuinely get lost in the music and forget that I'm listening to an LP. How can this be if the Koetsu is as colored as it's said to be? Does it have less grain than other cartridges? Has anyone measured a Koetsu's frequency response or have some technical sense of exactly how Koetsus arrive at their characteristic sound? How exactly do they stray from neutrality? Sure, I hear how the bass isn't as tight as some other carts, and yes, the highs are maybe a bit polite, but it still sounds more neutral to me than a Benz does, at least in my system. I like the way Benz carts sound, but female vocalists sound a bit tonally skewed, highlighting the mouth at the expense of the chest. The Koetsu sounds more like a real singer. In any case, consider me a convert. If Koetsus significantly stray from neutrality, they sure do it in a natural-sounding way. Any insight into this paradox would be appreciated.