The Jico Seto-Hori high-output moving-coil phono cartridge is now available in Australia from Soundring Australia. Jico is one of Japan’s longest-running manufacturers and in addition to building phono cartridges under the Jico name, the company also supplies parts for phono cartridges to other manufacturers on an OEM basis.
The Jico Seto-Hori is a handcrafted moving-coil cartridge with an unusual ceramic body and a 2mV output. ‘ For many years it was thought that it was impossible to use ceramic for cartridges because of the inevitable shrinkage during the firing process,’ says Brian Maddern of Soundring, ‘ but following a two-year collaboration between Jido, a laboratory in Seto, Japan and a pottery factory in Toki-city, Gifu, Jico craftsmen were not only able to build a ceramic body, but also apply a beautiful patterned finish using a technique the Japanese call ‘Hori-Tsuke’ because it resembles a fishing net and follows a Japanese philosophy of capturing happiness by creating beautiful sounds.’
The cartridge body is mounted on a base made from natural walnut wood and is processed near Hamamatsu, a city famous for its worldclass musical instrument factories, and the moving-coil generator is motivated by a Boron cantilever tipped with a Micro-Ridge polyhedral diamond stylus for which is claimed a frequency range of 15Hz–32kHz and channel separation of 25dB at 1kHz. ‘ Being a line contact stylus its life-time is at least three times longer compared to an ordinary conical or elliptical stylus,’ Maddern told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine, ‘ and because the Boron cantilever has such low mass and such great stiffness, the stylus is able to trace the groove more accurately and reproduce low, midrange and high frequencies with the truest fidelity.’ Made entirely by hand in Japan, the Jico Seto-Hori phono cartridge retails for $1,469 (RRP).