My Hana ML finally died... What next?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Hardiman, May 11, 2022 at 3:48 PM.

  1. Hardiman

    Hardiman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So after 22 months of heavy rotation (almost everyday at length and some days all day) my Hana ML finally died, I noticed it was riding lower than usual on a record, like the body was scraping the record. (they normally ride around a millimetre or two high). I thought has this bent somehow? When I used my cleaning brush to try and persuade the stylus down a little it pretty much snapped off.

    My question is, I have had the Hana ML for that long and loved it, but I was thinking of upgrading to a Koetsu, which one depends on if I can find a barely used one in my budget. I wanted at least the Red T though but would go for a rosewood signature if I could find a second hand one barely used.

    Anyone have any experience with both or any other cartridge recommendations? Or should I just exchange the Hana ML cart for a new one at the exchange price (around £200 off)

    My system is in my profile if you'd like to get a gauge for my sound signature.
    labreahouse likes this.
  2. Helom

    Helom Forum member

  3. Danmar

    Danmar Forum Resident

    I too have the ML w/230 hrs. on it. (love it). I just switched out to a Ortho Cadenza Black, which is a lil warmer. From what I've been reading, people are liking the Delos is from what I gather would be a step up from the ML in which is more CD sounding cartridge then my Black. Now I have read discussions on many carts including the Koetsu, but I went with the Ortho instead. Hope this helps. YMMV Good luck on you search!
  4. gakerty

    gakerty Forum Resident

    For approximately the same price as the Hana ML (or less if you do grey market), if you're willing to try something different, I'd highly recommend a Benz Wood SL. It's detailed, with a rich timbre and wide soundstage (perhaps due to the measured >35db channel separation). It is ever so slightly on the warm side, but mostly is a balanced cart in presentation, without the high frequency tip up that many MC carts have. It was the Wood SL that started me down the (wallet unfriendly) path of going down the Benz line. The Wood Sl is the sweet spot in the Benz line. Since then I had a Gullwing amd Benz LPs. I'm using an Aidas now, but Benz has a soft spot in my heart. Benz are lovely cartridges. If you're willing to spend more (2K - 3K), I'd also recommend the Benz Gullwing... that is a special cart (if your tonearm can handle nearly 13g)
    GyroSE and Ripblade like this.
  5. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Not sure of your listening preferences (e.g., detailed? warmer? soundstage? PRAT?), but looking at your system I wonder if a Benz or even a Grado in your price range would push it a bit too much to the warm side with the EAR phono stage. An ML replacement is a safe bet, but there's also Dynavector which might be worth investigating. There are many here who would suggest an Audio Technica, but I have no recent experience with them.

  6. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Washington DC
    Here's a thought especially since you're thinking about splashing out on a Koetsu, considering how much you listen maybe two cartridges? A less expensive "daily driver" and a special occasion or weekend/evening cartridge? Just a thought I'd hate to see you run through a very expensive cartridge in under two years. Really nice system btw.
    aunitedlemon and Big Blue like this.
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    If you're running a cart until the suspension collapses the diamond was probably worn out sometime way before.
    Mr.Sign likes this.
  8. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    I had a discussion on another forum about the cheapest Koetsu that has the "magic." One guy believed that it was a platinum magnet Rosewood, which isn't a cheap cartridge. I don't know how the lower priced ones deliver; I do know a friend who has "had them all" and says that the Kieski gives you about 70-75% of the Koetsu experience. I do remember a couple users here who had questions about whether the cantilever was correctly aligned as received.
    The inherent value in the Koetsu is that if you go for the top models (crazy money in the States), the rebuild cost is a fraction, so it evens out in the end, but the initial outlay will be significant. The gray market cartridges -- those bought on the cheap directly from Japan-- are problematic in terms of getting the factory to work on them. If you found somebody who had a U.S. authorized Koetsu, and you could buy it cheaply with the prospect of retipping it at the factory, you might do ok. (The stumbling block there is that Koetsu will not work on a cartridge that has been fiddled with by a third party).
    A lot of folks seem to like Peter Ledermann's cartridges. I have never used them, though I've known Peter a long time.
    Cartridges-- crazy expensive for this little thing that wears out as you use it but makes a huge difference.
    The London Decca would be interesting to try, not nutty money, but you have to have the right arm, and owners can tell you better than I can, how they live with them. (I gather the new ones are far better than the Deccas of old).
    One last idea- reach out to Steve Leung at VAS and see if he has anything of interest.
    hi_watt likes this.
  9. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Orlando, FL
    I like the Hana ML a lot too. I actually like the Ortofon Quintet Black S a bit more for less money.
    woodpigeon and jusbe like this.
  10. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    If you like it so much you can repair it, it also can be much cheaper then new cart
  11. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    Sorry for your loss @Hardiman, I have the ML as well and from time to time I worry about it dying on me. It's pretty hard to beat, but if I were to move on from the ML, the DS Audio 003 is a wonderful sounding optical cartridge. Vivid yet sweet when it needs to be, also makes most records just sound awesome. Just not sure if it will fit sonically with your preferences and aesthetically into your very nice system (checked your IG page). Also, it will render your EAR 834p unusable as it comes with its own phono equalizer. But if you get the chance to listen to it I highly recommend it.

    jusbe and bluemooze like this.
  12. Hardiman

    Hardiman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You’re probably right, I didn’t notice any massive drop off in sound quality, mostly because I’m always playing different records. I did notice a higher noise floor on some old Blue Notes/Esquire records I bought that looked clean.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to get back to me, I’m still undecided and would rather a new Hana over a retip to be honest. But I’ll see how I get on! It’s hard to even demo Koetsu’s due to their expense!
  13. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    Get a Koetsu Black if you can swing it! I went from a Hana SH (still working great,btw) to a used and quite vintage Black 2yrs ago and it is still beyond amazing. The original owner probably only used it a couple years off and on and then boxed the old Pink Triangle table it was on and stored it for 35yrs or so. These things last. Really last. There’s lots of happy audiophiles that collect or just keep their older Koetsus and install and enjoy their magic and then stash them again to keep them in useable condition longer. That’s me after I grab another one or two down the road.

    On my second table I’m using a newer Denon DL103 to keep me from wearing out the Koetsu prematurely. If you need something to tie you over until you get another pricey cartridge and your table can accommodate the DL103, you’ll be shocked how good it sounds.
  14. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    Darn, I listened recently to DS Audio (a little pricier version), and speed of this thing is absolutely incredible.. transients to die for. I did not buy it yet because.. I don't know )). One day ))
  15. fjn04

    fjn04 Forum Resident

    clifton Park, NY
    Pythonman...What table/arm do you use for the 103? I have a Charisma Denon (ruby cantilever/wood body) 103, which I like quite a bit. I went crazy and bought an MSL Hyper Eminent, which I truly enjoy.
    I now use the MSL on my Kuzma Ref2/ Ref 313, and am looking for a new table/arm for my Denon. All that aside, I would suggest the OP look at either of the gold bodied model MSL's
    if you like a slightly warm sound. And don't count out the Charisma (or similar Soundsmith 103) out if you have the arm for it. Another nice cartridge is the EMT TSD series. If the
    TSD 75 is out of production, they have a model called HSD 006. I very much enjoy all of the cartridges I mentioned, and all lean to the warm/full side.
  16. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    VPI HW19Jr with an Audioquest PT-6 arm. Really a nice match for each other.
    The Koetsu is on my VPI Prime with the regular printed unipivot arm.
  17. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    It is nothing short of amazing and I'm saving up for one.
  18. willboy

    willboy Forum Resident

    Wales, UK
    Why not have a search for Hana trade in deals. I had 20% off RRP with my Hana EH a year or so ago. It was with Origin Live UK though I'm not sure they are still offering trade in deals. You should be able to find a dealer that is though. The only hitch was I had to wait about 3 weeks for Origin Live to send my old cart to Japan and recieve a new replacement.
  19. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Karlskrona- Sweden
    Why not go with the granddad - ortofon SPU. If you can accommodate it's need (heavy arm, low output) you will get a bold and meaty sound signature.
    jusbe likes this.
  20. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    If you want something different than the Hana ML I second @gakerty in his suggestion about the Benz Micro Wood S cart. It's a great sounding cart and as gakerty writes it might be the sweetspot model in their programme. Michell used to demo their decks with Benz Micro carts- lots of synergy between them. What kind of tonearm do you use on your GyroDec?
  21. Hardiman

    Hardiman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My tonearm is a SME IV so not sure what cartridges work best with that particular tonearm!
    GyroSE likes this.
  22. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I use an SME 1V.
    Have used a Benx Glyder in it for the last 10 years. Faultless!
    GyroSE likes this.
  23. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Excellent! I’ve a SME IV mounted on my Orbe SE and had it previously mounted on my Gyro SE. SME tonearms are matches made in heaven when combined with Michell decks. I believe you can mount almost any good quality cartridge on the market on it.
  24. Daddy Dom

    Daddy Dom Lodger

    New Zealand
    I used a Benz Glider on my Linn but upgrading to the Hana ML was delicious. (Of course, we're talking worn-out Vs. new but still.)

    In poorer times, I got another Dynavector 10x5 when one wore out - I couldn't afford to move up the food chain and there's actually no shame in getting the same again, despite gentle upgrade pressure from ourselves or peers. If you loved the ML once, you'll still love a new one.

    So, I use the ML on my Linn but an entry-level SPU #1E on my 301 but that's wearing out now so I'm wondering about putting the ML on my 301. I do remember reading (before purchase) that the ML "gets you very close to Koetsu sound without that price" or something. Because we all jonesing for a Koetsu!

    But the SPU is just so damned fine-looking!!

    So I'm no help ... o_O
  25. Lowgroove

    Lowgroove Forum Resident

    I am really enjoying my Hana ML.

    Prior to that I had a Dynavector XX2 which I liked a lot. The Hana has more air but the Dynavector has more punch.

    I plan to get the Dynavector retipped for when the ML wears out. Only then will I really know if I miss the Hana in comparison.
    Daddy Dom and woodpigeon like this.

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