Hana is a subsidiary of the Japanese manufacturer Excel Sound Corporation. This one gained its reputation with the launch a few years ago of the Hana EL and Hana SL MC cartridges. In a few months, these two models have become uncontested references for music lovers and specialist journalists.
After this well-deserved success, Hana comes back in force with a more high-end and ambitious model: the Hana ML cartridge!
HANA ML: BODY
From the outside, it looks rather like its little sisters, even if the shape is more complex and less basic than a Hana SL.
The PVC body has been replaced by a P.O.M (Delrin) version. This material offers excellent acoustic and particularly mechanical properties. The P.O.M. does not resonate in the audible spectrum and perfectly controls the vibrations. T
here is gold alloy sole added to this one. This allows the effective mass to be added to the phono cartridge and increased from 7g to 9.5g. This gives it a better coupling with the headshell.
The Hana ML is attached to the headshell using two screws and two brass inserts attached to the body. The mounting without screw nut is easier and offers a better tightening torque.
HANA ML: STYLUS
Hana abandoned the Shibata stylus of the SL to take a Nude Microline profile. It is a coherent choice with the rest of the cartridge design and is therefore not debatable.
This stylus size offers perfect tracking with almost no surface noise and a high transparency. It is mounted on a rather traditional cantilever made of hollow aluminium.
The generator is made of pure steel that has received cryogenic treatment. It is associated with Alnico magnets and high quality copper coils.
HANA ML: MOUNTING AND SETTINGS
We had the chance to get a preview of this phono cartridge! The mounting remains simple. Alignment is not difficult and the VTA is not really critical.
For our tests, the adjustment of the phono preamplifier was more tricky. This MC cartridge must be charged to at least 100 ohms. The test of a step-up transformer was not very successful. The best balance has been obtained around 200 ohms, knowing that above 500 ohms, the load has little or no influence.
HANA ML: TEST AND LISTENING
From the very first notes, we are surprised by the definition and refinement of this Hana ML cartridge.
The listening is very clear and quiet. This facilitates the extraction of the smallest details. The sound scene is precise and perfectly placed.
The voices are perfectly centered and especially physical! The artist really thrones between the Hi-Fi speakers with a superb presence. The timbres are full and very realistic, which tends towards a certain neutrality. The whole restitution is neutral and clear.
This Hana phono cartridge is not “round” or “hot”. The bass is very articulated and punchy. It totally differs from one recording to another with a lot of nuances and details.
The whole restitution is very musical and offers a smoothness that can be found in some Japanese cartridges at 2 or 3 times the price.
This Hana ML MC cartridge represents the best of what the manufacturer can do currently. It will delight the music lovers who have a very good turntable, an excellent phono preamplifier and those who want to remain reasonable on the price of the phono cartridge!
NOTE: a high output version is also available with the Hana MH MC cartridge.
Haute Fidélité - Meilleur achat (Best Buy)
The Audiophile Man - Deeply Groovy 9/10
Hi-Fi Choice Recommended - March 2019
Stereo - Überragend
Hi-Fi World - Outstanding Mono & Stereo - Best Buy - 2019
Mono & Stereo - Highly Recommended - 2019
The-Ear.net - Best Buy - 2019
Mono & Stereo - Best of 2019
Hi-Fi + - Highly Commended - 2019
Audio Video Pologne - *****
The Audio Beatnik - Best of 2019
Stereoplay - Highlight - 2020
Stereonet - Applause Award - 2020
Hi-Fi Voice - Recommended - 2021
Part-time Audiophile - Best Phono Cartridges (Best Guides for 2021) : "Until recently, when this Japanese cartridge manufacturer announced the new $3450 Umami Red, the ML was the flagship in the Hana line–and it sounded like a flagship despite its very modest price. Hana has a no-nonsense way of making cartridges that keeps the costs relatively low while preserving an unusually high level of performance, and we found that the ML was perfectly at home with some very expensive analog rigs. Next to the Denon 103, this might be the biggest bargain in phono cartridges." Franck
Principle: low output MC cartridge
Output level: 0.4mV
Stylus profile: Nude Microline Tip
Cantilever : aluminium
Generator: pure Iron/cryogenic treatment
Coils: high-quality copper
Body: POM (Delrin)
Channel separation: 30 dB
Frequency response: 12-45 000 Hz
Impedance: 8 ohms
Load: > 100 ohms
Tracking force: 1.8/2.2g
Recommended tracking force: 2g