Kiseki's cartridges were created almost 30 years ago and soon became legends! Then, with the advent of the Compact Disc, sales plummeted and production was discontinued in the 90's. With the revival of the vinyl record, their creator Herman Van Den Drungen decided to resume production. Production of these entirely hand-built cartridges was resumed in 2014.
Two models are currently available: Kiseki Blue NS and PurpleHeart NS. Two other models of the Kiseki Agate N.S and Blackheart N.S were unveiled in late 2015. These cartridges are made with the same attention and based on the same processes as 30 years ago. But they also benefit from many technological additions that push back their performances even further. Several foreign audiophile magazines have tried them and have confirmed that they have relived the outstanding qualities of Kiseki cartridges that have made them a legend in the late 20th century!
The legendary Kiseki PurpleHeart cartridge finally returned to the market in late 2014. Its body is built from solid Purpleheart wood. This high density exotic wood is also known as Peltogyne. It is more often used to make musical instruments, diving boards and skis than for cartridges! This wood changes colour depending on ambient light. It changes from brown to a delightful golden purple. The coils use the best elements on the market to date. The hair-sized cantilever is made of boron. It has great rigidity and velocity that tops aluminium. It features a great stylus cut and polished with a 'Nude Line Contact' profile. Great attention has been paid to the polishing to minimise surface noise. Two years of testing and playing were required to approve the materials and manufacturing processes so that this cartridge can deliver a sonic performance that tops that of the original Kiseki PurpleHeart. The weight of the PurpleHeart NS (7g), combined with its compliance (16) and tracking force make it compatible with most tonearms on the market. Its comfortable output level makes it compatible with all high-end MC preamplifiers as well as with most MC transformers.
We have to admit that handling such an iconic cartridge like this Kiseki PurpleHeart in this day and age is a somewhat solemn and moving experience! The sugar cube-like design of this cartridge, with all the parallel surfaces, is a great help for alignment and VTA adjustments. It is very easy to set up and requires no fine-tuning unlike other competitor cartridges… A good protractor and gauge will do the trick.
The sonic performance of this Kiseki PurpleHeart NS is legendary! It is definitely one of the best moving coil cartridges on the market. It has the magical touch of the Japanese cartridges that we are so fond of (Koetsu, Transfiguration, Air Tight, Accuphase…)! The vocals have a timbre that is close to perfection. They remain neutral in all circumstances, yet with substance and a divine presence. Also, they are perfectly placed at the centre of the speakers, delivering mind-blowing authenticity. The stereo is amazing. The excellent channel separation delivers a great soundstage with diabolical precision! The bass is SIMPLY incredible! Powerful, deep and perfectly well articulated! I don't think I have ever heard anything better! Or even on a par with it… The system is vibrant with that additional swing that only the very best MC cartridges can deliver.
The Kiseki PurpleHeart N.S is truly a great MC cartridge. It is close to perfection on many accounts, both on an objective and subjective level. We consider it as a benchmark in this price range. If you are looking for a cartridge that combines timbre, musicality and neutrality, then this Purpleheart is your Holy Grail! Sir Robert Levy from 'Positive Feedback' stated that this Kiseki PurpleHeart was his 'NUMBER ONE' cartridge! We now know why!
Very highly recommended
Tone Audio - Exceptional Value Award - 2014 Franck
Writers' Choice Award - 2014
Body: exotic wood
Coils: Pure copper 15 microns
Magnets: Samarium Cobalt
Stylus: Nude line Contact stylus
Frequency response: 20 – 30,000 Hz ± 1 dB
Channel separation: 35 dB at 1 kHz
Internal impedance: 42 ohms
Channel balance: 0.2 dB at 1 kHz
Internal impedance: 42 Ohms
Compliance: 16 U/mN
Tracking force: 2.3 g
Input load: 400 Ohms
VTA: 20 °
Weight: 7 g
Length: 30 mm
Recommended tonearm: medium weight
Break-in: 50 hours minimum