Umami Sound means Wonderful Taste in Music
The Hana Umami Blue hand-built MC cartridge embodies ‘Umami’- that 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 ‘taste intensity’ concept as he combines brilliant materials and processes with classic Japanese techniques and modern audio engineering, to create his Hana Umami Blue low output MC cartridge; with ‘trickle-down’ design features as offered in the higher specification (and outstanding) Umami Red cartridge.
The cryogenically treated MC generator features an Alinco magnet material with hand-wound high purity copper wire on a cross armature, for an internal impedance of 8Ω and 0.4mV output. The pure iron pole piece and the Nude Microline stylus bonded to a solid Boron cantilever are as used in the Umami Red cartridge; for tracing the most delicate musical nuances from the LP.
The total design approach creates the classic sonic qualities and great value that Hana cartridges are now so well known for and positions the Umami Blue between the Hana ML and Umami Red cartridge price points.
The Hana Umami Blue uses the exclusive Auricle™ body shape (with tapped mounting holes) that mimics the form of the human outer ear, to rigidly support and help protect the “Open Air” Moving Coil generator. It is machined from a hard but light Duralumin with a special multi-layer melamine (MTP) brilliant glossy blue finish. An easy to fit stylus guard protects your investment.
All the major parts of the Hana Umami Blue 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 MC design experience to the Umami Blue, applying the Umami concept of synergy and intensity, to offer sound excellence.
The Umami Blue offers 0.4mv/1KHz output.
2 year guarantee and a ‘new for old or damaged’ replacement service.
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
Audiophilia, October 2022
The Umami Red is not just the most engaging cartridge I’ve had in my system, but it’s one of the most engaging cartridges I’ve ever heard, and that includes time spent with very high-end systems and cartridges double its price. For listeners like me who have hung out in the 1-2k range of moving coil carts for many years, the Umami Red represents one of the smartest “steps up” to the high end you can make in my opinion. The sky is the limit when it comes to high-end moving coil cartridges, but I think Hana has presented a very good case here that this could be your “end game”.
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.
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
‘ 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
‘ 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
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!”
Hana Umami Blue Reviews
Umami Blue MC cartridge review – ‘Yummy’.
The Umami Blue is the least expensive cartridge I’ve heard that does most of the things that the big high-end cartridges do. Maybe not to the same degree, but it’s on that same wavelength. And what I mean by that is the Umami Blue manages to put together a balance of the beloved analog qualities that those of us who are into vinyl really revere. Not to get too technical, I’m going to call that analog “yumminess”.
This cartridge offers a balanced delivery of all of the good factors we want in a phono cartridge at a reasonable price. Exactly what Hana is known for. To my ears, this cartridge really nailed it.
|Model||Umami Blue (UB)||Umami Red (UR)|
|Body Material||Duralumin (A7075) + POM||Duralumin (A7075), Ebony Wood|
|Body Finish||Body Finish Gloss Enamel Lacquer/ Blue||Gloos Urushi Lacquer/ Red|
|Stylus||Microline Nude Diamond||Microline Nude Diamond|
|Parts Material||Pure Iron||Pure Iron|
|Magnet||Alnico (Al-Ni-Co)||Samarium Colbalt|
|Terminal Plate||PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone)||PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone)|
|Terminal Pin||24K Gold Plated||24K Gold Plated|
|Coil Output Level||0.4mV/1kHz||0.4mV/1kHz|
|Coil Wire Material||High Purity Copper||High Purity Copper|
|Tracking Force Weight||2 gr.||2 gr.|
|Dynamic Compliance||10 x 10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz)||10 x 10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz)|
|Dynamic Compliance||17 x 10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz)||16 x 10(-6) cm/dyne (100Hz)|
|Cartridge Weight||10.8 gr.||10.5 gr.|