Hana ML Low Output Shibata Moving Coil Cartridge
The Hana ML cartridge has several advanced product features (Over E and S series HANA Moving Coil cartridges) that take the sound fidelity and musical enjoyment to new heights, continuing to offer a superb sound quality v. price at its higher price point.
The ‘Micro-Line’ stylus design (shaped like the cutting head when the metal master LP is being produced), fits precisely into the vinyl groove to capture the very smallest details, offering better frequency reproduction and less distortion.
We have our own Hana MH on demo and it is a superb cartridge with superb reviews!! Just read below!
The Hana M Series cartridge bodies are made from black polyoxymethylene (POM) which is a hard and extremely rigid, low resonance thermoplastic manufactured by DuPont under the trade name ‘Delrin’. There is a gold-plated copper resonance plate integral with the cartridge body that further reduces distortion from vibrations.
Very high-quality copper wire has been selected for MH/ML moving coils, offering greater clarity of sound, thanks to its lower distortion of the musical signal. Parts such as the front yoke, centre and rear components of the magnetic electro-motive circuit and wires are Cryogenically processed, this is a ‘cold annealing’ process at near absolute zero temperature restructures metals at the molecular level, resulting in lower sound distortion. The result is a more precise and musical sound quality.
There are captive threaded nuts for head shell fixing screws, these are built into the cartridge body offering easy mechanical fixing to the Tonearm head-shell.
The ML (Micro-Line Low output) offers 0.4mv/1KHz output.
2 year guarantee and a ‘new for old or damaged’ replacement service.
Hana M Series Reviews
2019 Phono Cartridge of the Year
“Let’s not damn the higher-output models with faint praise. The MH is awesome, but in the right setting the ML is awesome-r!”
What separates these Hana cartridges from the top echelon of Japanese jewel cartridges is casing. POM (Delrin) is an entirely right material for a cartridge body, but it is not a piece of jade or obsidian. The box it comes in is a nice black box that does not smell of sandalwood. If it had these things, I’d be praising the considerably more expensive Hana ML for its remarkable performance. As it stands, this is the best £3,000–£4,000 cartridge you can buy… for £995
…. ‘Beyond wonderful …. I’ve never heard such a good sound as this before.’
It (ML) gave more insight into Marianne Thorsen’s violin … than I have ever heard before …. it was the best I’ve heard from this ‘difficult’ LP …. the slight sense of shimmer I often hear was replaced by a steady confidence in transcription …. I’ve never heard such a good sound as this before.
…. Carol Kenyon’s ‘Dance with me’ was similarly fast, impactful, and better resolved that I have ever heard it; there was more insight and retrieval of fine detail, again a sense of open spaciousness yet no glare or edginess.
The Hana ML was wonderfully insightful, had tonal poise and good firm bass … placing it ahead of most else …. At the price, this is a great moving coil, well worth buying. The MH …. equally revealing.
For a sub-£1,000 design, the ML provided a sublime transcription of both the brass and strings. The latter flowed without effort while the brass, especially when the sax and trombones hit lower frequencies during the later parts of the song, showed a wonderful resonance that reverberated with a reedy character.
Midrange insight was superb too. Early in this song, on the right channel, was a piano. Really though this guy sounded like he was playing in another room and you could only make out he was there at all because the studio door was open and the sound was travelling down the corridor. Subtle, that’s what it was. Yet the ML picked up this effect and did so with a mite more character and detail than many more expensive moving coils I’ve heard of late.
This ability of the ML to lower noise, reach deep into the mix and extract subtle effects naturally without having to force the detail out by pinching the upper frequencies, for example, was one of the major talents of its basic design.
Hana has a growing reputation for quality of design. No matter what price point it decides to tackle, it tends to provide a value for money product because it tends to give you more than the competition at that particular point. For the ML that meant a sense of clarity and insight that allowed detail to be picked out from the subtle recesses of the mix. A trick often reserved for rarified high-end designs. That’s the quality of the Hana ML.
Conclusion. When I started this review, I expected it to be a short piece mainly describing the sort of incremental improvement I thought the manufacturer probably was attempting.
What has emerged is a review of a quite different cartridge and one that (having already stretched my vocabulary with the SL) leaves me struggling for superlatives. Circa 1000€ is not cheap, and cartridges are hard to value, but in my limited experience if you want a full-blooded cartridge of this sort of quality nothing else comes close.
It isn’t going to be perfect for everyone and obviously few components are as system dependent as a hifi cartridge. Be warned, this is the full-fat, high carb offspring of more reserved parents. It’ll clear your ears out and make you get up and dance – and it I absolutely love it to bits.
|Model||Hana ML||Hana MH|
|Stylus||Nude Diamond Shibata||Nude Diamond Shibata|
|Magnetic circuitry||Pure Iron/Cryo. Treatment||Pure Iron/Cryo. Treatment|
|Coil Wire||High Purity Copper||High Purity Copper|
|Cartridge housing||POM (Delrin™)||POM (Delrin™)|
|Suggested Load Impedance||>100Ω||47kΩ|
|Cartridge Weight||9 gr.||9 gr.|
|Warranty||2 Years Manufacturers Warranty|