Yamamoto Headshells

From Yamamoto Sound CraftYamamoto logo

Wooden Types: HS-1a/HS-2/HS-3

Headshells have mostly been made of metal.  Wood, in terms of strength and dimensional stability, is more difficult to obtain accuracy and strength. Because Yamamoto Sound Craft Company has specialized in precision machining of wood and plastic, they have the proper techniques for holding and machining wood for headshells, making full use of wood’s unique properties for analog reproduction.

There are many advantages of wood. One is that resonance peaks of the cartridge will be suppressed because of the internal losses of wood.  Second, the headshell material has a considerable influence on the total resonance of the tonearm.  By using a wooden headshell, it is believed possible to suppress the influence of the resonance the cartridge on the tonearm.  A third benefit is the ability to fine-tune the mass of the cartridge+headshell+tonearm mass, to better match the compliance of the phono cartridge.  When total mass is too high, a lighter headshell can be used.  When mass is not enough, a heavier headshell can be used.  Above all, choosing different headshell materials allows the fine tuning of tracking and resonance.

 

 

The HS-1A headshell 

Yamamoto Sound Craft Headshells

 

HS-1A is the latest version of the HS-1 African Blackwood headshell.  This version has longer slots for the headshell, since there are more cartridges on the market with nonstandard mounting distances (measured from the stylus tip to the centerline of the mounting holes).

African Blackwood, also known as grenadilla or mpingo, is a beautiful sounding wood, and is used to produce the oboe and clarinet. Specific gravity is about 1.4, and its strength is among the highest of any wood. Because of the good strength and dimensional stability, the reasons for its adoption in woodwind production, Blackwood is an ideal headshell material. There is no problem in strength, and Blackwood can directly accept most headshell hardware without fear of damaging the wood, although nylon washers are recommended to prevent scratching.

The HS-1A comes with gold-plated brass hardware.  You can increase the total mass by using the longer screws, to fine tune resonance frequency of the headshell and cartridge. These fasteners are non-magnetic.

 

 

HS-1A standards

Material:  African Blackwood (finished by  buffing)

Finger hook: brass (non-magnetic gold-plated finish)

Own weight: 10.6g (not including hardware)

Accessories: standard type shell lead included

Price: $75, plus flat rate shipping to anywhere in the United States via USPS, usually $7.  Ships from Texas.

 

 

 The HS2 Headshell

Yamamoto Sound Craft HS2 headshell

Asada cherry wood is a fairly stiff species, native to Hokkaido, with a specific gravity 0.75.  Asada cherry was chosen for the best sound for Yamamoto speaker enclosures, and is used by others like flooring and headphones, with a good reputation for durability, stability and excellent tone.  The HS-2 uses carefully selected heartwood, from the best quality Asada cherry tree.  Because of the density, and the use of heartwood, it was decided to use a gold-plated brass plate with integrated finger combination, to provide a firm stop for the screws.  Since the specific gravity of cherry is lighter than metal or ebony, the brass plate increases the weight to be similar to all-metal headshells. 

The HS-1A comes with gold-plated brass hardware.  You can increase the total mass by using the longer screws, to fine tune resonance frequency of the headshell and cartridge. These fasteners are non-magnetic.

 

 

HS-2 standards

Material: hand selected Hokkaido Asada cherry heartwood (eco paint buffing)  

Finger hook and screw plate: 1.5mm thickness brass (non-magnetic, gold-plated finish)

Mass: 10.4g (not including mounting screws)

Accessories: brass gold-plated mounting screws; standard type headshell leads

Price: $73, plus flat rate shipping to anywhere in the United States via USPS, usually $7.  Ships from Texas.

 

 

The HS3 Headshell

Yamamoto Sound Craft HS3 Headshell

I am offering the HS-3 boxwood, or Tsuge, headshell at a reduced cost to buyers of the Abis SA1.2 and Jasmine porcelain cartridges.  The low mass of the HS-3, at 8.2 grams, makes it particularly useful for the SA1.2 and the heavy Jasmine cartridges.

The HS-3 is the new headshell using boxwood.  Boxwood is a very good quality of wood that had been used for such items as old combs and seals. The specific gravity is about 0.75, a little heavier than Cherry.  The grain is very fine, homogeneous, and nearly invisible.  In this respect, its homogeneity and fineness, is better than African Blackwood.   In fact it is also used for shamisen (a musical instrument).  Recently it has become somewhat rare, more or less like African Ebony, so its use is becoming less common.  

Boxwood is lighter than Blackwood, but is its strength-to-weight ratio is very good.  So it was decided to use the same design as the HS-1A in order to produce a low mass headshell.  As a result, the finished weight became considerably lighter, at 8.2g.  This allows for reducing the effective mass of a tonearm, or to use a much better sounding material (boxwood) over the commercially available cheap grades of plastic used in mass market headshells.  After finishing with clear eco-paint, we display the product name by laser engraving.  The finger hook is gold-plated brass. 

Boxwood is particularly excellent for producing low-resonance, high-strength products.  The characteristic of the grain, which is very fine, prevents high resonance modes of the faster growing hardwood species.  So, even though it is wood, it doesn't have much resonance.  

 

 

HS-3 standards

Material: Boxwood a.k.a. Tsuge

Finger hook: gold-plated brass

Own weight: 8.2g (not including, mounting screws, including the lead)

Accessories: headshell leads included; brass gold-plated mounting screws included

Price: $75, plus flat rate shipping to anywhere in the United States via USPS, usually $7. Ships from Texas.

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