I have inherited a Koetsu cartridge. I believe it to be an Urushi, but am not sure of which one. The only info I have is the serial number. Does anyone know of a site that has a serial search facility?
yes, it is an Urushi. TMK, there are 4 variants: a red one (Vermillion), a black one with & gold spots (Black), a yellow one with spots (Wajima) and a yellow/white/black one with lacquer layers mixing with each other which i believe is called Tsugaro and to me it looks like you got this Tsugaro.
TMK, the lacqering does not indicate quality levels and "Urushi" is one model, one quality level.
Anyway, i also own an Urushi Tsugaro and TMK this variant is no longer made and dates back to the late Sugano senior. Which means : it something you should take well care of because it is a crown jewel.
I have listened to Onyx and Onyx Platinum, i prefer my Urushi Tsugaro. It is the live-liest Koetsu i know.
I would recommend a top-notch step-up amplifier or step-up transformer like the Jensen JT346-Ax, wired as 1:12 . I currently have no cartridge data at hand but if you really pester me, i will have to look for them.
meanwhile found out,
that the yellowish marble-like lacquering like the one you posted is the desing variant called "Wajima". TMK it is no longer made, in fact it dates back to those days when Koetsu still used AlNiCo-magnets.
The AlNiCo versions have lower output voltage, not 0.6 mV, rather 0.25 mV RMS @ 5cm/sec lateral groove velocity. So does mine and the Urushi Wajimas of two of my buddies.
If you send a Koetsu cartridge back to the factory for a full re-build or internal upgrade, the Koetsu folks keep the AlNiCo magnets instead of replacing them for Samarium Cobalt or their new Platinum alloy. I presume the Koesu guys are knowing what they are doing when they keep the vintage magnets in place. So by any means, keep that cartridge for yourself. So do i.