New Kiseki PurpleHeart

(Sorry for the long post)

I wonder if another Forum member is using that cartridge?

I upgraded from an Ortofon Cadenza Blue. Much as I liked the Ortofon, it didn’t match my system as perfectly after I had the 300 DR’d and changed my Harbeth Monitor 40s for SHL 5 Plus. Both models sounded brighter than their predesessors and the very open-sound Cadenda Blue was inducing fatigue after a few hours of listening.

I consulted Todd at Codell Audio, who recommended the Kiseki Purpleheart. He didn’t have it on stock, but Todd and I have known each other for years, he perfectly understands what I’m looking for and I totally trust his integrity, so I ordered one. Kisekis are manufactured in small numbers but Codell received mine in just 3 weeks. Todd worked his magic installing it on my LP12.

In short, the immediate improvement was remarkable; after a week of breaking in, it’s hard to believe.


  1. The PurpleHeart seems to have no sonic signature of its own, as I cannot detect any kind of coloration. Accuracy of timbres -which to me is critical - is hard to believe. To use the old cliché, it feels like the voices and acoustic instruments are here in the room.

  2. The cartridge’s ability to extract detail from record grooves is stunning. It is even more detailed than the Cadenza Blue, which did a very good job in that department. The PurpleHeart, however, never gets tiring even after hours of continuous listening.

  3. Its powerful yet tight and articulated bass makes jazz and blues bass lines easier to understand and feel - the Harbeths PRAT like they never did before.

  4. The PurpleHeart has excellent microdynamics - every note decay, every voice inflexion is obvious. On acoustic instruments and on piano, each note attack and decay is clearly defined.

Overall, the PurpleHeart makes music more interesting and emotionally involving. It is almost impossible to type this rather long post in a continuous effort, Martha Argerich’s dexterity keeps distracting me.


  1. The PurpleHeart’s macrodynamics are limited. On major orchestra attacks or powerful drum beats (like in Stravinsky’s Firebird or Patricia Barber’s Nardis) they lack the Oomph! I’m used to hear from the Cadenza Blue or even the CDS3. Because of that, they may not be the best choice for extensive rock listening.

  2. While my Akurate+ LP12 (with Akito, Kore, Radikal and Urika) works well with the Kiseki (it seems to be able to track anything I throw at it), I’m not certain my current setup uses its full potential. I suspect a Keel / Ekos SE upgrade will be needed at some point, but I’d like to hear what others have to say.


i had before, one year ago, the kiseki blue ns, just under the purple heart, on sme20/2a, sme V arm. I found a lot of pros , but it sounded a bit bright and edgy on my ears, even after 200 hours. A little bit but not enough to keep it.
I prefer the lyra delos i have now.

The purple heart may be different but shares probably the same characteristics.



According to some reviewers (like Tom Kyle from Enjoy The Music), “the Purple Heart plays – literally and figuratively – in an entirely different league”. But I haven’t heard the Blue myself, so I cannot comment further.


i read also the reviews but was disappointed by the kiseki blue ns on my system. The another league on reviews must be taken with precaution i think.
The problem with cartridges s that you can’t test at home before the purchase. It is a bit risky.
The likes, system of each reviewer is also different. Some prefer lyra, other ortofon or koetsu.
The match with the arm and phono stage is also very important.
Difficult to choose finally.

Perhaps the lack of macro dynamics come from the match of your phono stage and the purple heart ? can you increase the gain ?

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I agree, but since I haven’t heard the Blue there’s no other way for me to determine the gap between the two.

Since everything else is stellar I suspect it’s a limitation of the Cartridge, but I’ll check with my dealer


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I’ve been using the Kiseki Blue NS for 2 years now on a Linn LP 12 Stiletto, Plateau, Armeggedon and Aro. I find the Kiseki amazing tracking, vocals, instruments all coming across with ease. You might consider an Aro a truly great tonearm if you can find one, people who have them don’t normally sell them. Secondly they are a prefect fit on a LP 12 the 3 springs are more or less even. Unlike an Ekos or Ittok where the rear spring is always wound up more than the other 2 springs due to the weight of the arms.

I use a Paradise phono stage which is superb silent, double mono channels and two power supplies one for each channel.

The above is my own opinion.



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