Cartridges by Kuzma
Kuzma’s cartridges are made in Japan by a builder with over 50 years’ experience.
The same impeccable attention to detail is paid to the design and manufacture of these cartridges as is paid to their tonearms.
Kuzma manufactures the cartridge bodies in Europe and ships them to Japan for final assembly. After completion, cartridges are returned to the EU for final inspection before heading off to their destination countries.
We rarely see this level of attention to detail in the audio industry.
Thinking about how aligned we are with Franc Kuzma’s musical sensibilities (and how he transforms them into reality), we were drawn to investigate their cartridges.
No piece of audio gear satisfies everyone, but one of Kuzma's fans is Roy Gregory.
This review of the CAR-50 by Roy Gregory not only outlines the virtues embodied in the lineup, but also represents how a cartridge should be reviewed. It’s thoughtful and informative piece of work.
More recently, he reviewed the CAR-60 here. Once more, he echoes my experiences of setup.
All too many otherwise competent individuals fail to understand the relationship between tracking force and dynamic presentation. This is true of all cartridges, and is overlooked by the vast majority of audiophiles - reviewers included.
One look at the machined bodies of these cartridges tells you all you need to know about Kuzma’s near-fanatical attention to resonance control at its source. Of course, this is only part of the sonic equation, but a very important one.
Does it make sense that they would be a perfect match for your Kuzma tonearm?
Kuzma tonearms excel at draining cartridge energy, and it should come as no surprise that their cartridge bodies are designed to maximize energy transfer as well.
All six cartridges are moving coils, and share the following attributes:
- 17g. weight (milled aluminum bodies)
- 2.0 g. recommended tracking force
- the recommended load is <100Ω for all 5 low output cartridges.
- the recommended load for the CAR 20H is 47K (for use with MM input phono stages).
In addition to Kuzmas, the Ikedas, Schröders, 12" Tri-Planar, and Durand tonearms are also excellent matches for these cartridges.
The 17g. body mass assists in mating them with lower mass tonearms like the 10" Tri-Planar and Graham tonearms.
All too many manufacturers have a dizzying array of products, leaving the audiophile in a state of paralysis from analysis.
Kuzma introduces a rational approach to their cartridge line, with carefully considered improvements as you work up the range.
Note that the entry level CAR 20 and 20H are identical in every respect, except for output (and of course, coil impedance), with the 20H having sufficient drive to mate with your MM phono stage and a standard 47K input impedance.
Every cartridge in the line has the same 17 gram mass, precision machined body as the flagship CAR60, because Kuzma knows that tonearm coupling and resonance control matters.
Key differences are laid out in the table below, and more details can be found on the Kuzma website.
Models and Pricing
(prices effective April, 2022)
Rebuilds / Retips:
Exchange for new cartridge at 80% of current price.