This combination of natural warmth and rhythmic articulation, dynamic impetus, and physical presence is strangely familiar. It’s almost like listening to a Linn Asak (or perhaps the more refined and slightly less boisterous Asak T), with its uncanny ability to sort out bass lines and notes, bringing clarity of purpose and clarity of pitch to the music’s nether regions. The result is a bottom end that really backs up the performance, but does it without pushing too hard. Play familiar tracks and you suddenly start to appreciate the shape and coiled power behind the bass parts, the sheer impetus, or calming restraint they can impart. Whether we’re talking about a Fender Precision or an octet of uprights, the number and identity of bass instruments is more obvious, the individual contributions much easier to hear. The CAR-20 never makes the music hurry. Instead it allows it all the time in the world (and all the power it might want). You need pace and drive? You’ve got it – just not all the time and not where it has no business being.
This Kuzma cartridge, like so many of the company’s products, bucks the trend and does so to serious advantage. With so many modern transducers leaning towards ever-greater detail and transparency at the expense of musical substance, the CAR-20’s back to basics approach is both refreshing and musically satisfying. It fastens on what’s important – pitch and pace – and builds from there, presenting the musical performance with the firmest of possible foundations. There’s an almost sinuous fluidity and grace to the Kuzma’s presentation, which combines beautifully with its quiet background and lack of grain, its warmth and sweet upper-midrange to make your records inviting and positively engaging. Voices undoubtedly sing, but what makes them so impressively natural also works its magic on other types of music, bringing scale and substance to larger classical works, intimacy to small group jazz, and attitude to guitar-based rock. Its ability to dig beneath the surface detail and preserve the music’s inner structure make this a cartridge that will deliver long-term satisfaction to long-term listeners. That inner confidence and musical authority makes the Kuzma CAR-20 both one of a kind and an important addition to the market. It’s unique balance of virtues means that for many listeners (and in many systems) once heard, nothing else at the price is going to come close.
Type: Low-output moving-coil cartridge
Stylus Profile: Synthetic elliptical
Cantilever: Aluminium pipe
Output: 0.3mV (3.54cm/second)
Cartridge Mass: 17g
Recommended VTF: 2.0g
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