KOETSU: Rosewood Signature Platinum

STEREOPHILE: Among the more intriguing audio-related announcements this year was that Koetsu phono cartridges were once again available in the States. In fact, they're being handmade in limited quantities by the sons of founder Yoshiaki Sugano.

There are three new models, each using samarium-cobalt magnets with a healthy 600µV output: the Standard (Red), the Rosewood Signature, and the Urushi—$2500, $3500, and $4000, respectively. The Urushi was reviewed in the October '98 Stereophile by Michael Fremer; its aluminum lacquer-coated shell leaves some enthusiasts drooling on their tonearms. The Rosewood Signature Platinum, the subject of this review, sells for a mighty $5500 but outputs a fairly insignificant 200µV using platinum magnets. Made a killing on Wall St. before the late-August bust? The Onyx Platinum retails for 7500 powerful big ones and envelops the same motor in an elegant onyx enclosure.

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