Review: The Shibata Syndrome – Hana SL, a killer sub-$1,000 cartridge

For those of you out there on the Internet reading this who grew up in the ’70s, you might remember a suspense thriller called The China Syndrome. It details how a series of events lead to a climactic conclusion at a nuclear power plant in the United States. The film is driven by the strength of convictions in each character, with suspense, and a healthy dose of fear created as events inexorably draw the viewer to a heart-pounding finish. The Hana SL had a similar effect on me while I had it in my system: I had no idea anything out of the ordinary would occur at the start of the review, but by the end I was a bit breathless. The $750 USD Hana SL cartridge is relatively new to North American shores, and Edward Ku at Element Acoustics had some on hand, and asked would I be interested? I said “Yes!” He popped by soon after to mount the five-gram, black, plastic-bodied SL to my Linn Sondek. This was a bit trickier than usual because of the Hana’s light weight, but Ku persevered, and after some initial consternation, and a final azimuth tweak, it was good to go. … Continue reading Review: The Shibata Syndrome – Hana SL, a killer sub-$1,000 cartridge