Dean Cacioppo recently reviewed the new Hana Umami Blue MC Cartridge ($2,500) for Michael Fremer’s Tracking Angle. The cartridge was initially heard at Axpona 2023 and has been under scrutiny for review since then.
The Hana Umami Blue is the lesser expensive follow-up to the wildly popular Hana Umami Red at $3,900. It combines the Auricle body of the Umami Red which is enameled with a Melamine Thermosetting Process, baking the finish on the Duralumin body (the Umami Red uses a multi-coat urushi lacquer process which is much more labor intensive). The Umami Blue shares the same boron cantilever and Microline stylus of the Umami Red.
The new Hana Umami Blue ($2,500) looks to fill the gap between the Hana ML ($1,200) and the Hana Umami Red ($3,900) – both of which have received rave reviews and considered to be top contenders in their price ranges.
Read the full review HERE:
For all of the superlatives we use in this hobby, the one word I would use to describe the Hana Blue is simply clear and devoid of a specific character (well, that’s more than one word). The tonal balance is silky and extended in the bottom and the top end. The Microline stylus is dead quiet. The mids have a glow and velvety feel to them. It’s a textured sound that excels in capturing the essence of the human voice. The decay from the instruments fade slowly and continue to decay regardless of the macro transients taking place in the music. Impressive.Dean Cacioppo – Tracking Angle
It absolutely is. There is a difference between a $2,500 cartridge and one that costs north of 10k. The Hana Blue just lessened that gap.
If you are looking for a new cartridge and you are in the $1,500 range, spend the extra money. You wont regret it. And if you are looking for a more expensive cartridge, you should give the Blue a listen. It’s that good.Dean Cacioppo – Tracking Angle
Unless you are looking for the “end-all” in a particular aspect of sound, at the detriment to other characteristics, the Hana Umami Blue is the best overall cartridge available in the $2,500 price range.