Hana Umami Red Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

Manufactured by the Excel Corp. in Japan, this new flagship MC of the Hana range performs exactly as specified on the tin (or the box in this instance). Output is slightly more generous than expected at 0.46mV (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec) into a 100ohm load and the channel balance is impressively tight at 0.14dB. Stereo separation also meets the 30dB spec. through bass and midrange while the 'Nude Microline' stylus is well polished and precisely mounted on its boron cantilever to achieve a VTA that's impressively close to the ideal 22o. Compliance is low at 9cu and this, combined with the 10.5g bodyweight, renders the Umami Red compatible with today's higher (10-16g) effective mass tonearms. The subsonic arm/cartridge resonance is suitably well damped at ~+10dB by the Umami Red's advanced mechanism but its tracking prowess is just slightly below the very best MM/MCs at its recommended 2.0g, achieving ~70-75µm via the right/left channels, respectively, and keeping hold of a high +15dB groove modulation (re. 315Hz/5cm/sec) at ~1% THD.

Distortion is generally low, the unequalised figure amounting to 1.8% at 1kHz/5cm/sec (0dB) and RIAA equalised from 0.4-12% (lateral) and 1.2-8.5% (vertical) across 20Hz-20kHz at –8dB [see Graph 2]. However, the Umami Red is not alone in exhibiting a slight generator asymmetry [see HFN Oct '20], the right channel having a hotter treble – a kick above 8-9kHz reaching +4dB/18kHz on lateral (L+R) cuts and +2dB/18kHz with vertical (L-R) traces [solid lines, Graph 1, below]. The left channel [dashed traces] has a milder +1.6dB/18kHz (lateral) and +2.0dB/18kHz (vertical) response. Either way, any extra 'bite' or revelation of surface noise will likely reduce as the Umami Red ages. PM


Freq. resp. curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) vs. vertical (L–R, red). L channel dashed


Lateral (L+R, black infill) and vertical (L–R, red) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harmonics) vs. frequency from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Generator type/weight Moving-coil / 10.5g
Recommended tracking force 18-22mN (20mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 465µV / 0.14dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 9cu / 10cu
Vertical tracking angle 22 degrees
L/R Tracking ability 75μm / 70μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 0.41–12.0% / 0.45–11.8%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) –0.25 to +1.5dB / –1.1 to +4.4dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 31dB / 20dB
Price £3399

Excel Sound Co., Ltd
Yokohama, Japan
Supplied by: Air Audio Services Ltd,
01491 629 629