The Korf Blog

The inside story: our research,
development and opinions

17 June 2019
Headshell Performance — Micro Seiki H-303
In this series of articles, we measure the performance of removeable tonearm headshells. Today, the subject is a Micro Seiki H-303.

Micro Seiki made two headshells with the same shape: H-202 and H-303. The parts that are black on H-303 are silver on the H-202, and vice versa. Otherwise they look exactly the same. I don't know what the internal differences are, and Micro Seiki's documentation is quiet on that point.

The headshell is precision cast from some sort of very light alloy, then brushed and anodized. It weighs 10.5 grams without wires and 11 grams with them. The fingerlift consists of a stamped steel part glued to a plastic bridge with an orange "micro" logo on it. The holes in the finger lift are threaded.
Micro Seiki's brushed anodized surface is almost Teflon-like in its rejection of any kind of adhesive. It took several iterations of degreasing, preheating and wax selection to achieve an acceptable bond between the headshell and the accelerometer.

Micro Seiki's oscilloscope trace looks a bit like other aluminium headshells's. It suggests either high rigidity or a lot of damping. The spectral density looks even better than Orsonic's — that's promising!
Orsonic AV-101b
The spectrogram is somewhat similar to Nagaoka's, but has a lot less energy. Lack of low frequency modes is particularly interesting.
Micro Seiki H-303 spectrogram is, unfortunately, not a match for Orsonic. The energy is spread over a much wider spectrum.
It should be more or less in the same league as an Audio Technica AT-LH13. Would be interesting to do the listening comparison of the two.
Micro Seiki's low frequency resonance is extremely low Q, with the first distinct mode being at 2.5 kHz. This in itself would've been great measured performance, but I am not so sure about the low frequency smear. The H-303 looks overdampened to me.
No surprises on the waterfall. Ringing is over by 90 milliseconds, which isn't bad at all.

With a Technics EPC-U24 cartridge, Micro Seiki H-303 is quite similar in measured performance to a Nagaoka AL-703.

Nagaoka's peaks are a bit sharper, while Micro Seiki's "smear" in the low frequency region points to a lot of damping.
Micro Seiki H-303 looks very well engineered, and it's clear that a lot of thought went into its design
The measurements suggest fair to good performance, but it can suffer because of the low frequency damping. This is the case when audition is necessary to confirm or reject a hypothesis suggested by the measurements.

Micro Seiki was one of the first Japanese audio companies to start focusing on sonics rather than specifications. H-303 looks very well engineered, and it's clear that a lot of thought went into its design. I am looking forward to a listening session with it
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