Hana introduces Umami Red MC Cartridge

Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda-san officially coined the term "Umami" in 1908, defining it as a very pleasing or delicious flavor on the palette, a synergistic effect resulting in higher taste intensity.

From the Musical Surroundings press release:

"When Hana decided to create a high-end cartridge, Master cartridge designer Masao Okada-san applied the concept of Umami combining brilliant materials and classic Japanese techniques with modern audio engineering."

The HANA-Umami Red exclusive Auricle™ body design, mimics the shape of the human outer ear to rigidly support the “Open Air” MC generator. It is machined from A7075 Duralumin with a multi-layered Urushi lacquer finish originating from the Japanese Makie-artistic tradition, and incorporates an Ebony Wood inlay, tapped mounting holes, and stylus guard.

The cryogenically treated MC generator features a samarium/cobalt magnet with a Permalloy square plate armature, hand-wound with high purity 30-micron copper wire for an internal impedance of 6Ω and .4mV output. A Nude Microline stylus is bonded to a solid Boron cantilever for tracing the most delicate musical nuances from the LP.

All the major parts of the HANA-Umami Red are manufactured in house by Excel Sound with its highly trained craftsmen skillfully hand assembling each cartridge. Master designer Okada-san brings over 50 years of experience to this design, applying the Umami concept of synergy with the HANA-Umami Red.

The Umami costs $3950. Musical Surroundings offers a trade-up program for owners of other Hana cartridges and well as owners of Benz LP, LPS or Ruby.

Launch date is September 22nd.

volvic's picture

At this price, it will have to shine as the competition is quite formidable. They seem to be reaching out of their comfort zone so it will be interesting to hear this cartridge.

Michael Fremer's picture
Read my mind!
rexlibris's picture

Still waiting for that big win so I can buy this stuff.

analogdw's picture

As volvic said there are plenty of big players at this price point. If you are able Micheal, I'd really appreciate a comparison to the SoundSmith Sussuro or Paua. I currently run a SoundSmith MIMC Star and have been considering one of those as my next upgrade. Who knows, maybe the Hana needs to be added to the mix. Thanks!

creativepart's picture

It's a tall leap from a $1,200 top-priced cartridge to a $4000 cartridge. One would expect a $2,400 price point would have been more tolerated and be a more logical step up from the M line.

rich d's picture

I typically eschew envy as it's pointless and self-destructive, but it's hard not to be bummed out by seeing a cartridge I want but cannot realistically afford. And being a cartridge skeptic is no longer possible because a few years ago I was able to afford a Transfiguration and enjoyed it for four or five years. And dammit it was obviously better than the still-very-good circa $1K items I've used before and since. Still, if one must choose, the money is better spent on records.

Trius's picture

It’s a conundrum. I suppose that at SOME point, the question may become “well, I have SO many great LPs and this cartridge may multiply or magnify my pleasure with them ... so what is the calculus here?”

rshak47's picture

I received an email today from Osage Audio (authorized Hana dealer) announcing the Umami Red and offering a $600.00 discount on this cartridge if preordered by August 9th. Osage mentioned that trade-ins are also accepted, though no specifics were given. If interested, this deal isn't available on-line and you have to call the store. I have no financial interest in Osage - just a satisfied customer over the last 10 years or so. Here's a link to Osage's Hana page:


Nigelg3's picture

Just heard the Allnic Rose. At the same price point! This thing is crazy good!

DigitalIsDead's picture

am breaking in and enjoying my new Hana ML. I'd love to hear this one. What I am hearing from the ML on my VPI Aries 1 is quite impressive.

hcosborne's picture

The performance of this cartridge could be improved by reducing the coil resistance to 4 ohms and replacing the Permalloy armature with a non magnetic material. The output will be reduced, but gains in transparency and resolution will be realized.

infohou's picture

The Soundsmith carts appear to be modified p mounts so I am still skeptical as to their worth. At $3950 you are in Kleos territory. I have had a Kleos and now have a Kleos SL. I would be very surprised if this cart sounds as good as a Kleos.

Y'all take care,

Fertus.herring's picture

Speculation is not empirical actuality, and so it might sound easily as good as a Kleos. But I've not heard either, so, as I was taught, the guessing game is like wish-fulfillment: just a Hope. Not a "knowing."

Arthur1260's picture

Hi, I have the Umami Red mounted on a Reed 1-x, sounds impressive, but I can't quite get the SRA right. Michael, any thoughts regarding microscope measurement points for this stylus?