Posted on 6th June, 2019


The new Miyajima Saboten L phono cartridge uses natural materials for a natural sound and is now available in the UK.

Designer Noriyuki Miyajima has earned a worldwide following for his superb artisan phono cartridges. Each new model is the result of passionate research and development, and every single cartridge is crafted in-house by Miyajima’s small dedicated team.

Miyajima Saboten L

The new Saboten L (‘L’ denoting its line-contact stylus) is a low-output moving-coil (MC) design. It also happens to feature a cactus-spine cantilever, ‘Saboten’ being the Japanese word for cactus.

The Saboten is the second cartridge in the Miyajima range to feature a cantilever crafted from natural, organic material (the first being the Madake, which uses bamboo). Why? Because ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are two key features of the superb sound quality that Miyajima embodies, and it seems that Noriyuki Miyajima will go to any length to achieve this. In this instance, Miyajima-san spent several years searching for the ‘right’ cactus plant with the exact strength and, once he had found it, spent several more years cultivating the cacti in question.

Miyajima Saboten L

A line-contact diamond stylus is fixed to a short, tubular end-piece of aluminium, which is cemented to the end of the cactus spine. The aluminium end-piece is precisely angled to achieve the ultimate mechanical linearity: positioning the stylus tip very close to the central axis of the cantilever and coil assembly.

The benefits of this can perhaps be best understood by way of comparison: consider the offset position of a tonearm headshell. The offset induces the skating force that a tonearm’s anti-skate is designed to counteract. If there were no offset, no skating force would be generated in the first place; so, there would be nothing to counteract in the first place.

The Saboten’s two-piece cantilever virtually eliminates comparable unwanted forces at source, thus ensuring no adverse effects on the mechanical integrity of the cartridge’s generator assembly.

Miyajima Saboten L

In common with all of Miyajima’s stereo cartridges, the Saboten L’s generator system features a unique patented cross-ring design where the cantilever fulcrum and coils are precisely positioned in the centre of the magnetic field, designed to achieve more faithful handling of dynamic contrasts.

All of that critical work is beautifully housed in a body of Cameroonian Ebony, known for its exceptional tonal and acoustic properties.

In the words of the company:

Saboten L’s skillfully balanced mix of natural ingredients serves up a life-like musicality that almost defies the fact that this is hi-fi. Musicians stand before you, not hovering in space but grounded, with a just-so sense of scale and pace. Neither forced nor softened, the music feels effortlessly natural, authentic and alive. Almost as if there were no technology involved at all.

We reckon we need to experience this ourselves.

Price and availability

The Miyajima Saboten L phono cartridge is available now, to order, priced at £4,275 (including VAT).

Tech Spec

Body type

 Cameroon Ebony

Frequency response

 20Hz to 32kHz

Output level



 16 ohms

Recommended load

 100-250 ohms

Tracking force


Stylus type

 Nude line-contact diamond stylus


 100Hz : 8×10-6cm/dyne




    Jay Garrett's avatar

    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi
    Tags: timestep  miyajima 


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