HiFiction Introduces Innovative X-quisite Cartridge Line

Switzerland-based HiFiction, best known for its line of Thales tangential tracking pivoted tonearms and high-performance compact turntables recently announced a new, high technology cartridge line called X-quisite (in July of 2018 HiFiction announced its acquisition of EMT’s cartridge assets).

All 3 of the cartridges in the X-quisite lineup feature a patented monobloc-ceramic transducer consisting of a one-piece high-strength ceramic cantilever and coil body that eliminates the joint between the cantilever and coil body typically found in cartridges using aluminum, boron, sapphire and even diamond cantilevers.

According to HiFiction’s white paper, in addition to the high-dynamic tracking process causing softer aluminum cantilevers to deform, movement loss occurs because of the aforementioned joint’s location at the point of the lever action’s highest dynamic load.

While the stiffer type cantilevers minimize aluminum’s loss, HiFiction avers that the joint between cantilever and coil body produces a harder load and thus a weak point that impairs signal transmission quality.

HiFiction claims for it’s monobloc-ceramic technology “absolutely pure transmission of the musical signal from the diamond top to the coil body” and thus “supreme detail resolution… and extremely natural sound”.

The “x-diamond” micro-ridge diamond stylus fits precisely into a cantilever cross hole where it is affixed with “tiny quantities of a technical adhesive”.

The winding technology used has been specifically adapted for use with the ceramic coil-body. Depending upon the particular model, the coil winding is either of high-purity grade copper, silver or gold.

The iron-free core design requires a strong magnet circuit in order to produce sufficient output. HiFiction chose one of Neodymium-Armco in a design that reduces to a minimum eddy current loss. The magnet is built into an aluminum holder to insure direct as possible mechanical energy flow from tone arm to transducer. A carefully matched wooden inlay between tonearm and cartridge is aid to balance the contact area’s resonant properties. Each of the 3 cartridges is milled of a solid metal block with materials differing depending upon the model.

The Three X-quisite Models

X-quisite CA features a body of aluminum and wood and copper coils. It weighs 14.8 grams, tracks between 1.9 and 2.1 grams, outputs .3mV (@5cm/s) has a compliance of 12µm/mN and an internal impedance of 24 ohms with a recommended load of between 400 and 800 ohms.

X-quisite ST features a body of Titanium-aluminum-wood and coils of silver. It weighs 16.6 grams and otherwise has the same specs as the CA.

The “Extreme Exotics” is exclusively made for Audio Exotics, Hong Kong and is available only from that company. It features a body of Bronze-aluminum-wood and features coils of pure 24 karat gold. Other specs are mostly identical to the other cartridges though internal impedance is listed as 20 ohms not 24.

Prices have yet to be announced.

Glotz's picture

The one-piece, monobloc ceramic cantilever tech is the most eye-opening.

I hope other cartridge companies learn from this research, though I wonder if patents would prevent that.

Anton D's picture

The CA is about 10k, the ST about 12k.

I hope the hit the shows next year!

Michael Fremer's picture
Know it all! lol
SeagoatLeo's picture

Sounds great to build a unibody cantiliver/base. Maybe it is less expensive laborwise than trying to align and voice a cartridge with conventional cantilevers. I use a Benz Ruby III (soon to be replaced due to wear) which has a non-magnetic coil winding armature (ruby) which is also beneficial. My new cartridge cost limit is between $3500-$5000. Too bad.

mtemur's picture

I had a chance to closely inspect all those x-quisite models. all I can say they look terrific, definitely better than my TSD 15N SFL. build quality is amazing and I'm sure they sound great too. my only observation that the cartridge body is too long which makes it difficult to mount to tonearms with a small headshell space like SME V.

Mijostyn's picture

Nice idea but an effective mass was not mentioned. I'm not sure I buy the cantilever flexing theory either.
I am of the opinion that moving coil cartridges are vastly overpriced. I bought a Clearaudio Charisma to use as a daily driver. It has the same cantilever and diamond as the Goldfinger. Inside are coils and magnets in the opposite orientation. Then there is a nice ebony and silver body. Where is the 14 thousand dollar difference? The MM market won't pay silly money for a cartridge so they are priced more conservatively. The Only reason MC prices are so ridiculous is there are people who will pay that much for them. You charge whatever the market will bear.
Now, to really bend your mind, retipping a Charisma costs $1200.00. Retipping a Goldfinger $9600. Same cantilever and diamond. What am I missing?

Mijostyn's picture

I know it is not a usual spec. But, it is a significant parameter as it does directly relate to the cartridge's tracking ability. A one piece ceramic moving assembly will not do you much good if it weights much more than the usual. It might just be the best thing since eggs and bacon but I would not be inclined to purchase one on what I know at the moment. The cantilever does distinguish it from other designs but all I can say with a degree of certainty is that it cuts labor costs.
Very few of us get to audition a cartridge in our system. We rely on an objective evaluation of the design, parameters such as compliance, will it match the tonearm we have and reviews such as your's to try and get some idea of what the cartridge sounds like. Cartridges are like ski boots. Once you take them home they are yours. The risk obviously increases with the price.

Michael Fremer's picture
According the manufacturer’s white paper, the effective mass at the tracking point is 0,8mg
Mijostyn's picture

Thanx Michael for finding that spec and there you have it. That is pretty high. In perspective a Sound Smith Hyperion is 0.3 mg. The Shure V15 III 0.17 mg. Your Lyra Atlas I believe is 0.5 mg but don't quote me on that.
With an effective mass of 0.8 mg these cartridge will not track transients and high frequencies well. They will also require a very low compliance suspension to control the mass increasing record wear over a cartridge with the same stylus and higher compliance.
In other words, this cantilever design is no magic bullet unless they can get the EM down without having a fragile unit.

Tom L's picture

It seems to me that the one piece cantilever and coil body concept should be amenable to future use in less expensive carts. Perhaps I will still be alive when this sort of design reaches my cost vs. benefit region.

mobileholmes's picture

Would be nice if there was a way of integrating a magnetic material in the process. The zero magnetic gain of ceramic creates a high impedance circuit, flying in the face of recent super-cartridges with ultra low output impedance based on high permeability magnetic cores. Try as I might, I couldn't like the "air coil" cartridges, like the Neumann, the ART from AT, etc.. They're very "airy" but didn't have much grunt.