Hana Umami Blue cartridge review

Hana Umami Blue Moving Coil Cartridge Review

Last Updated: January 9, 2024By

Dean Cacioppo recently reviewed the new Hana Umami Blue MC Cartridge ($2,500) for Michael Fremer’s Tracking Angle. The cartridge was initially heard at Axpona 2023 and has been under scrutiny for review since then.

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The Hana Umami Blue is the lesser expensive follow-up to the wildly popular Hana Umami Red at $3,900. It combines the Auricle body of the Umami Red which is enameled with a Melamine Thermosetting Process, baking the finish on the Duralumin body (the Umami Red uses a multi-coat urushi lacquer process which is much more labor intensive). The Umami Blue shares the same boron cantilever and Microline stylus of the Umami Red.

The new Hana Umami Blue ($2,500) looks to fill the gap between the Hana ML ($1,200) and the Hana Umami Red ($3,900) – both of which have received rave reviews and considered to be top contenders in their price ranges.

For all of the superlatives we use in this hobby, the one word I would use to describe the Hana Blue is simply clear and devoid of a specific character (well, that’s more than one word). The tonal balance is silky and extended in the bottom and the top end. The Microline stylus is dead quiet. The mids have a glow and velvety feel to them. It’s a textured sound that excels in capturing the essence of the human voice. The decay from the instruments fade slowly and continue to decay regardless of the macro transients taking place in the music. Impressive.

Dean Cacioppo – Tracking Angle

Is the Hana Umami Blue the MC cartridge to beat for $2,500?

It absolutely is. There is a difference between a $2,500 cartridge and one that costs north of 10k. The Hana Blue just lessened that gap. There are many great cartridges in the $2,000-$3,000 range, but the vast majority of them excel in one or two areas. The Umami Blue seems to excel at just about everything making it a very special cartridge.

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If you are looking for a new cartridge and you are in the $1,500 range, spend the extra money. You wont regret it. And if you are looking for a more expensive cartridge, you should give the Blue a listen. It’s that good.

Dean Cacioppo – Tracking Angle

What is the best phono cartridge you can buy for $2,500?

Unless you are looking for the “end-all” in a particular aspect of sound, at the detriment to other characteristics, the Hana Umami Blue is the best overall cartridge available in the $2,500 price range

This article is a condensed version of the review of the Hana Umami Blue on Tracking Angle.

Hana Umami Blue Moving Coil Cartridge Specifications

  • Body:
    • Material: Duralumin (A7075)
    • Finish: Melamine Thermosetting Process (MTP)
  • Cantilever: Boron
  • Stylus: Microline Nude Diamond
  • Magnetic Circuit:
    • Armature Material: Permalloy
    • Armature Shape: Cross Plate
    • Material: Pure Iron
    • Magnet: Alnico (AI-Ni-Co)
  • Coil
    • Coil Impedance: 8 Ohms
    • Output: 0.4mV
    • Coil Wire Material: High Purity Copper
    • Load Impedance: >80 Ohms
  • Treatment: Cryogenic – Front Yoke, Rear Yoke, Pole Piece, Terminal Pins
  • Specifications:
    • Frequency Response: 15-50,000Hz
    • Output Balance: 0.5dB/1Khz
    • Channel Separation: 30dB/1KHz
    • Tracking Force: 2 Grams
    • Trackability: 70μm/2g
    • Dynamic Compliance: 10X10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz) Estimated at 17X10(-6)cm/dyne at 10Hz
    • Cartridge Weight: 10.8g
    • Cartridge Height: 15.8mm
  • Owners Manual
  • Spec Sheet Comparison

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