Hana Umami Red

Umami Red 

RRP £3,399.00

photo of umami cartridge with a reflection on polished surface

Umami Sound means Wonderful Taste in Music

The HANA-Umami Red hand-built MC cartridge embodies ‘Umami’ – officially coined in 1908 by Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda-san as a very pleasing or delicious flavour on the palette, a synergistic effect resulting in higher taste intensity.

Hana’s Master cartridge designer Maseo Okada-san applies this concept as he combines brilliant materials and classic Japanese techniques with modern audio engineering to create his Hana Umami Red low output MC cartridge.

The cryogenically treated MC generator features a samarium/cobalt magnet with a pure-iron square plate armature, hand-wound with high purity 30-micron copper wire for an internal impedance of 6Ω and 0.4mV output.

A Nude Microline stylus is bonded to a solid Boron cantilever for tracing the most delicate musical nuances from the LP.

The HANA-Umami Red exclusive Auricle™ body design (with tapped mounting holes) mimics the shape of the human outer ear to rigidly support the cryogenically treated “Open Air” Moving Coil generator. It is machined from a hard Duralumin with a multi-layered Urushi lacquer finish originating from the Japanese Makie-artistic tradition and incorporates an Ebony Wood inlay resonance damper. An easy to fit stylus guard protects your investment.

All the major parts of the HANA-Umami Red are manufactured in house by Excel Sound with its highly trained craftsmen skilfully 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 Red offers 0.4mv/1KHz output.

2 year guarantee and a ‘new for old or damaged’ replacement service.

Hana Umami Red Reviews

The Absolute Sound, 2021 ‘Golden Ear Award’

From a sound perspective, this cartridge has exceptional balance that allows the musical timbre of instruments and vocals to present themselves truthfully with realistic integrity. If you couple these attributes with excellent micro/ macro-dynamics, the ability to unravel harmonic complexity, a slight tilt towards warmth, and smooth yet extended high frequencies, you have an excellent transducer. The Umami Red is the best-sounding cartridge to come from the Excel factory, and I’ve heard a number of them, including some expensive OEM models. At its price point, the Umami Red provides deliciously enjoyable class-leading performance compared with cartridges in the same price range.

HiFi + Award best cartridge

Hi-Fi+ magazine  Cartridge of the year 2020


A design that gives you both the sort of detail and precision of sound that presents whatever music you put on the platter with a laser-guided focus on the recording itself, and a musical grace and passion.


The Hana ML and MH gets you glimpses of what a really good cartridge can do. The Umami Red gives you the complete picture. It represents the top end of Hana’s output, but goes toe-to-toe with some exceptionally rare cartridges with some very lofty reputations. And it sacrifices nothing. This is truly top-tier LP replay. ‘

Hi-Fi+ magazine, awards edition Dec. 2020

HiFi news highly commended hifi cartridge

The Hana Umami Red has an ease and effortless to the way it approaches music-making that deserves to be heard. It is beautifully detailed and can be particularly enthralling when it comes to acoustic fare which only serves to make it all the more compelling as a musical companion. And it will rock out too. Umami? Most definitely. At times I was even tempted to describe it as Saiko (stunning).

Hi-Fi News magazine. Dec. 2020

Stereo Magazine Umani Cartridge review

It’s silky elegance and perfect naturalness are particularly impressive ……. The Umami Red played unbridled and yet extremely disciplined, giving free rein to fortissimo attacks but not forgetting the all-important echo of the room, which enveloped the whole performance.


The Umami Red does not pose a question of taste or even lets it arise. It is  not only a perfectly, but also an exquisitely arranged and prepared MC pickup!

Stereo Magazine. Nov. 2020

the audio beatnik review icon

One of my “go-to” torture tests for tracking is the Speaker Corners reissue of the Swiss Movement with Les McCann and Eddie Harris Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969. Not only are they hard to track but there is a “rawness” to the sound that, if captured correctly, is amazing to hear. On the other hand, if the cartridge can’t handle the tracking, it can sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. This is an incredibly fine line that the Umami-Red negotiated without breaking a sweat.

It is one of the very few cartridges that have done so for me.

This cartridge connects you emotionally to the music. It can negotiate virtually anything you throw at it and never get flustered. Its balanced sound always seems to reveal a new interpretation of music that you are familiar with. You will find yourself just wanting to pull out albums and have a listen.

If you are looking for a cartridge in this price range that you can have a long-lasting relationship with, one that will drive you to be more involved with your vinyl collection and less involved with your equipment, then the Umami Red simply has to be on your shortlist.

“Welcome to the big leagues, HANA. You’ve earned it!”

For more Hana reviews and awards:  https://www.airaudio.co.uk/brands/hana/

Technical Specifications 

ModelUmami Red (UR)
Body MaterialDuralumin (A7075), Ebony Wood
Body FinishGloos Urushi Lacquer/ Red
StylusMicroline Nude Diamond
Armature MaterialPermalloy
Armature ShapeSquare
Parts MaterialPure Iron
MagnetSamarium Colbalt
Terminal PlatePEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone)
Terminal Pin24K Gold Plated
Coil Impedance6Ω/1kHz
Coil Output Level0.4mV/1kHz
Coil Wire MaterialHigh Purity Copper
Terminating Impedance>60Ω
Cryo-genic treatmentYes
Frequency Response15~50,000Hz
Output Balance0.5dB/1kHz
Channel Separation>30dB/1kHz
Tracking Force Weight2 gr.
Dynamic Compliance10 x 10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz)
Dynamic Compliance16 x 10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz)
Cartridge Weight10.5 gr.