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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lumiere DST: cartridge extraordinaire or a nightmare?

Kimura-san at his workbench.
Kikuchi-san (on his vintage italian bike) and staff

Neumann company, Germany, offered this construction of dynamic moving coil pickup.
Die Firma Neumann (Deutschland) bietet diese Konstruktion eines dynamischen MC- Tonabnehmers an.

and here is link of the Swedish forum which hinted to me about "Lumiere DST": (look at the very end of the thread for interesting pixes).

... as Chiaki Kikuchi-san from Japan offered his own replica since not too many months ago... as a proud and fond user and owner of some of these cartridges, I'm asking myself, after lots of chatting, writing and reading on the matter: are these elusive, rare, sought after and extremely nice sounding cartridges an owner nightmare, as many people suffered mixed troubles or they do simply deserve some care, that with VERY simple rules gives to her a very long life-span?

Tech-head who closely examined the Neumann DST or the Lumiere DST still wonders "how" this cartridge is able to give a proper stereo signal... with its old timey 0,6 mil spherical diamond, it reaches groove walls where very few cartridges goes... again, the diamond is VERY long and reading much deeper than many ellipticals, exotic designs...

Someone reported that DST's replica used a quite cheap diamond tip, while Neumann's papers claimed back in the '60s they spent nine-folds the average industry cost - i.e. USD 9 instead of a more common USD 1 per single diamond tip and this diamond was super carefully hand-polished... more than one user I personally know suffered from failure on one channel or other troubles...

I use some samplers exclusively in my system since 2004 and never noticed any problem: I only followed the few hints Kikuchi-san gave to me... never use any liquid and/or brush... only some careful air-puffing.

... but the above are only phisical trivia: what a cartridge like Lumiere DST gives to music is a sort of miracle!

Like an handmade instrument, it nears the listener to the music, letting music to flow in a freer than air way seldom experienced.

... and this makes me wonder: will a Lumiere be my very last cartridge? Who knows?!?
... but I got some spares, just in case... really, can't imagine myself without this relaxed, musical, transparent, soul-infused Sound.

Another great, holy hand from Japan helped, I'm sure: Kimura-san and his hand made rotary headshells RS-3... cannot imagine a better combo: Schick 12" arm, RS-3 shell, Lumiere DSt replica and my own 25 kilos bronze arm-base and plinth. Maybe not perfect, but my very own combo of choice. Thanks Kimura-san.

... and thanks Chiaki-san: you've been able to catch a sunlight, a butterfly flight, the blue of mountain sky without loosing the magic, the ineffable... you got Music.


luckyluke said...

A real nightmare the Lumière after sale service.
An awful service made to my MC-DST(arm connector glued to shell with a 20° wrong angle!!!), no answer in 12 months after they received the cart, that I must consider lost. Isn't this a nightmare???

twogoodears said...

I agree... unfortunately this TOO common bad habits go parallel - on best, unflawed samplers - with maybe one of the very best cartridges ever made... the artisan and his two or three employees are really throwing away a treasure on this cart... better (if any...) quality conbtrol and consistency and a serious, yet long delivery schedule would made DST a true winner!
A pity...

Unknown said...

We tried importing the cartridge several years ago based on a sample that we heard. Unfortunately we were ripped off by Lumiere and they only delivered a few pieces from our order, and we never received the balance. The few that we received sounded dead and very different to our order sample. We contacted kikuchi about it and he said that he modified the design based on some audiophile's comments but he offered to exchange our cartridges with the original one that we heard and liked. I took two of them to his workshop in Japan where he was supposed to work on them and send back to us, but of course, a crook is always a crook, we never got those samples back either.

twogoodears said...

Hi David... I also unfortunately had some lost samplers... BUT, sound-wise, the early DST really sounded WONDERFUL.
What a pity this gem fame get trashed!