Koetsu Urushi stylus shape

I have to re-tip my Koetsu Urushi, I am most likely to have it done by a private re-tipper, rather than to send it back to Tokyo. Does anyone here know what is the original conformation, e.g., line contact vs microridge or other? Thanks for any info.


Dear @lewm  : As almost everything from the Koetsu begin Sugano likes that all about his cartridges been a " mystery ". In the past we can't know even the output level or tracking force because Sugano dis not disclose it

I owned several Koetsu cartridges and that " mysteries " are really BS.

About the stylus shape they said " it's made it especially for Koetsu ". Who really kares but you.


The best stylus shape today and from several years is the Replicant 100 that's the same as the one by vdH and the same coming by Expert stylus.


If you want the BS stylus shape then you have no alternative but to be retipped by Koetsu.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


I have visited Juergen's pages, he has a vast history with Koetsu and has used a wide range of the Models.

The best I can find is references to a Sugano Design and additional information makes the claims the forms are closely guarded secrets.

Further searching might disclose a dimension and this can be checked out for other similar forms that closely match.

As it has been made known recently on this forum not too long ago, one Styli Form is available from three different sources under different brand names, and there are also variants to the dimensions that are acceptable to produce the form, so the Styli could offer a slight differing in the presentation if one dimension is used against another?     

Dear Raul, In accordance with your earlier suggestion, I have contacted vdH about doing the re-tip.  Thus far, despite two further inquiries, I have had no response.  Which is why I am here asking this question.  I have no doubt that the Replicant would be fine.  However, I do have curiosity about what was there to begin with. By microscope examination, it does not look like a line contact type, although because it is worn, it is hard to be sure. I think I remember reading somewhere that it is a micro-ridge or in that family. I agree with you and Pindac, Koetsu takes pains to be mysterious.

If you like your Urushi then I would wholeheartedly recommend having MoFi Distribution handle a “factory” rebuild.

Having dealt with a large number of new & rebuilt Koetsu pickups over the years I can say their rebuilds look like they were built by a robot with better than new alignment/geometry. Highly recommended. No affiliation.

Hi Lewm,


If you want to keep the characters of the Koetsu, I caution you on using aftermarket retippers, especially VDH!


Just to share my experience, about 20 years ago, I bought a used FR64S and the seller also sent me a vintage long body Koetsu rosewood without the cantilever.  Not knowing whether I would like the Koetsu sound at the time, I opted to send the rosewood to VDH, instead of Koetsu, for retipping. The returned cartridge worked and sounded fine, but it didn't have the famous "warm" sounding which Koetsu cartridges were known for.


A few years later, my friend loaned me a, then current, Koetsu rosewood for comparison. This newer rosewood sounded a lot warmer than mine. So, I am pretty sure the retip by VDH did change the character of the rosewood, more like in between a Koetsu and a VDH. Personally, I liked the VDH retipped rosewood better, but if you are looking to keep the Koetsu character, the VDH retip probably would not fit you.





If the Cart' is enjoyed in the current condition, and the only requirement by the owner, is to have a new stylus added.

A return of a Cart' to a manufacturer might not offer a service that is limited to replacing the stylus only.

On returning a Cart' to a manufacturer, there is a possibility that the service will incorporate more than the exchange of the stylus only.

If the Manufacturer is changing other parts used in the Cart's assembly, there is the possibility the Cart' can be returned to the owner with a material added that is  'equivalent' in function, but not the same to those it was sent with.

The longer the Cart' has been owned, the more likely the Manufacturer has been sourcing different components for modern generations/variants of the Cart'.

I do believe that their are Manufacturers that are very considerate to their customers and do concern themselves with being able to keep a Cart' true to the era it was produced.

It would be good to know of considerate manufacturers, that would keep a stock pile of earlier generation parts, apart from a styli, to be used on returned Cart's from the earlier generation productions. 

There might be a detection by the Cart's owner, that the returned Cart', if incorporating new parts, is being perceived as having a sonic difference. 

My experiences encountered, where there has been comparison demonstrations of different Stylus Forms used on Ortofon Cartridges, that are from different production era's, but share similar methods used for the Cart's designs, is that the assessments made are leaning toward the Stylus does not appearing to be solely responsible for impression the Cart' can make.

The differences detected in the presentation of the variations of the Cart's being demonstrated, is most likely caused by choices of materials selected for the overall assembly of the Cart' and the methods used for the assembly.    

I bought my Urushi in Tokyo.  I still have the dealer warranty card, and I am sure that I could submit it to Koetsu for rebuild under the auspices of the Tokyo dealer, which would probably be less expensive than going through the US distributor, who probably would not want to handle it anyway. for the foregoing reason.  However, I am not a patient man. The cantilever on my sample is fine and OEM, so all I need is a new stylus.

Expert Stylus was the go to rebuilder for Koetsu cartridges in Europe during the transition time between the elder and son. Seems like the best choice for service if not using the factory rebuilder. 

Dear @thekong  : "  about 20 years ago...." or today no re-tipper will make that your original cartridge performs the same, no one.




Hello, I came across this thread a bit late but I have first hand experience with what is being discussed so I thought to chime in - if a bit late. I have a small collection of Sugano built Koetsu which I am rather fond of. My favourites are two MKI Urushi which were the swan song of his personal production. These were the first to feature platinum magnets and unlike the Urushi of today have aluminium chassis with the Urushi lacquer on the outside much thicker than you see in todays models. This cartridge weighs 13g and I prefer them to Jades and Coralstones. I used the first one for several years until the stylus departed and being of the opinions stated above I sent it to Expert Stylus. It came back with the stylus grossly askew and when I mentioned this they said it must have been my mishandling and I would have to pay for another retip. I went forward despite the fact that I had not mishandled the cartridge. Upon return the cartridge in no way sounded like it had before, all the magic was stripped from the presentation, even after 50 or so hours of break in, and thus I shelved it. I pulled out its stable mate, only several serial numbers apart, and the difference was gross, night and day. The rebuild had none of what I seek in Koetsu. Eventually I sent it back to Koetsu and it was more than fully restored exceeding its older and more worn stable mate on its return. There are a lot of opinions floating around. The real life experience above means I will only be sending my Koetsu off to Koetsu for rebuilds. It is common to see third party rebuilt Koetsu for sale and this is for a reason - you lose a beautiful cartridge along with the cost of the cheap and disappointing rebuild...

Following the advice of Raul, I finally sent my Urushi off to Expert Stylus. In my opinion, they were very professional from start to finish. They determined that the OEM cantilever and suspension were in fine shape and did not need work. They then replaced the OEM stylus (whatever it is) with a Paratrace (whatever that is). The whole transaction took not more than a month, including back and forth shipping, and they paid the return shipping cost. (I live on the East coast, USA.) I now have a few hours on it, and I feel very strongly that the cartridge is at least as good as or in fact better than it ever was. I agree with Mijostyn that one’s aural memory for detailed sonics is poor at best; suffice to say I am very happy with the re-tipped Urushi and have moved it up a few notches among my LOMC cartridges. In contrast, I sent two other lesser cartridges to SS on about the same date, and 8 weeks later I have no new info on those two, except they were received. Not that I lack faith in SS to do a great job eventually. (Those are vintage MI types; no factory repair or re-tip is available.)

Thermio, I feel for you, but my experience with Expert was very different from yours, obviously. I am curious, did Expert replace both cantilever and stylus on your Urushi? Because if they replaced only the stylus, it hardly seems credible that they could blame you for its being askew, if that was the case.  Did they imply you had removed and re-glued a stylus tip?  Not something most of us could even attempt at home.