TNT-Audio.com

Hana EL & SL

Reviewed by for TNT-Audio.com, June 2016

Pairing budget cartridges with The Wand Plus Tonearm Version 2.  Part 2

With it [Hana EL] I heard stuff I have never heard before, but in a musical way rather than an analytical way. This cartridge was much better at resolving distinct instrument parts and layers of the mix that can be followed even when the recording is busy and complicated. Thus, whilst the Denon and Sumiko produce highly pleasing listening, the Hana EL was somehow simultaneously lowering the noise floor and encouraging me to turn the level up. Perhaps this is down to less distortion? Hence, the soundstage was open and expansive, pleasingly solid yet easily presenting delicacy in recordings, creating an extra level of connection with the playing. I'm thinking that this is partly from the polish on the elliptical diamond. I especially noticed that record track fade-outs were audible for longer, evidently not masked by disc noise, then falling into silence.

loan the more expensive Hana SL model. The range of quality I had discerned was even more my immediate experience with the SL with its Shibata profile. Records came to life with a big spacious soundstage and excellent bass and treble. There was just a hint of lighter midrange compared to the EL, but the overall balance was very nice. What it delivered is perhaps more subtle and not as weighty as the EL. Some previously disappointing records were presented more realistically than by other cartridges I've used over the years and the music made more sense, with certain details seeming better positioned and balanced within the mix, and so the soundstage was more coherent and just plain more listenable.

Postscript

Fabled entrepreneur (at least in marketing circles) Viktor Kiam liked the shave of Gillette razors so much he bought the company. In my much more modest circumstances, at the end of several months of listening, I decided to keep The Wand Plus tonearm and the Hana EL cartridge. Yes, I like that combination that much to buy it.

1st and 2nd out of 9

Read the full review here.

View products on Air Audio Distribution: EL, SL.