The Sensual Reverberations Created by 2,000 Years Old YAKUSUGI Cedar
Wood from YAKUSUGI cedar has highly dense wood grains due to life in harsh weather conditions, which allows it to create an organic sound.
Analog Relax is proud to announce the EX1000 cartridge, which has been carved from a rare piece of solid YAKUSUGI cedar that is over 2,000 years old. Its every component has been tuned to perfection.
The fine grain of the wood and the special resin content come together create a new cartridge with an organic and sensual sound the like of which has never been seen.
Have you heard of YAKUSUGI cedar?
It is a type of cedar that grows naturally in mountains above 500 meters above sea level on Yakushima Island in Japan, an island registered as a World Natural Heritage site. Only trees that have lived longer than 1,000 years received the “YAKUSUGI” name.
Yakushima Island is a small island located in the southern region of Kyushu, Japan, that has a circumference of 130km. 90% of the island’s land is mountainous; it is home to a series of 1,000-meter-high mountains. The highest mountain in Kyushu is located on Yakushima Island. (Mt. Miyanoura-dake: 1936m)
Most of the mountainous terrain on Yakushima Island consists of granite. It has little fertile soil.
How, then, do the YAKUSUGI cedars grow?
They take root in the thin layer of moss that grows along granite, and slowly, slowly grows on what little nutrition can be gathered.
Yakushima Island has an environment with weather conditions that are extremely harsh for trees, with an annual rainfall of more than 10,000mm, roughly five times that of Japan as a whole, and an annual average mountain top temperature of 6 to 7 degrees Celsius.
Because of this, the tree rings of YAKUSUGI cedar are only 1 to 2 mm wide, due to their very slow growth. They have also evolved to create a resin specialized to protect them internally from the rain eating away at them, creating fantastical trees that can live over 1,000 years.
YAKUSUGI cedar has been a cherished building material since the Edo period because it is straight and easy to handle, and after World War II, the cedars were cut down in large quantities throughout the post-war reconstruction and during the period of reconstruction and the high growth era.
YAKUSUGI cedar logging was banned when the island was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1995, after conservation efforts. By 2001, the logging of YAKUSUGI cedars ended completed, with only fallen trees and buried wood could be taken off the island, which were then auctioned off. In 2013, the auction of the trees banned as well.
The only YAKUSUGI cedar available today is that which was already felled and taken off of Yakushima Island. The amount of YAKUSUGI cedars will not increase moving forward, assuring that they will continue to become more and more scarce.
The EX1000 is made from carefully selected lumber that were over 2,000 years old, a rarity even among YAKUSUGI cedars.
YAKUSUGI cedar’s effect on sound
YAKUSUGI cedar cartridge bodies have two distinct characteristics: extremely tight grain and the special resin contained within the material.
Research on tonewoods, wood used for musical instruments like violins or guitars, has shown that the speed at which sound travels through the wood, as well as the resin and other materials within the wood, affect the resultant sound.
As shown in the image below, wood cells are made of cellulose, but when dried, the water inside the cells evaporates, creating countless natural cavities.
Cell walls contain lignin and resins that bind the cellulose together and keep it strong. These components absorb vibrations, creating various acoustic effects that vary depending on the type of wood.
Due to its fine 1-2mm grains and the special resin it holds,YAKUSUGI cedar produces a unique sound that cannot be replicated with any other wood.
The EX1000 uses its internal structure with these properties to produce a unique sound, especially when used with live instruments.
The unmuddled sound of a full orchestra—the sound of each instrument brings the image of the stage and instruments to the mind’s eye…
The lustrous melody of the strings…
The sound of the piano, almost as if it were right next to you…
This is a cartridge for a new era—I confidently recommend it to all music fans and audiophiles.
Features of EX1000
The 2,000 years old YAKUSUGI cedar wood body
As already explained, the EX1000 is made of solid 2,000 years old YAKUSUGI cedar, an extremely rare tree. The grain of the wood is very tight, because the tree rings only grow 1-2mm per year. The cedar also accumulates resin within it to prevent wear down caused by frequent rain. Using this rare material in the cartridge body allows for the creation of complex and sensual sounds. Due to the scarcity of the wood, this item is sure to become difficult to obtain in the future. (The EX1000 will be produced in limited quantities with what YAKUSUGI cedar that is available.)
The Ruby cantilever
Ruby is said to be the second hardest material after diamond. We have machined it down and used it as material for the cantilever. It transmits vibrations at high speeds, allowing it to read the information from the grooves on records quickly. Ruby is a corundum mineral just like sapphire, but they contain different components, with ruby containing chromium.
The Super Curve Line Contact Ver. 2 stylus
The Super Curve Line Contact was newly developed when the Analog Relax EX1 phono cartridge was created, and has been very well received by customers. Ver. 2 is an upgraded version of this needle. It retains the advantages of the original, which has a line contact shape, with only the leading edge of the stylus tip having a curvature close to that of a round stylus, with additional design to pick up all of the information on the record using multiple angle cutting. It is particularly good at reproducing live instruments and human voices, creating a kind of sensual sound. Another great feature is that you will not feel any inner-groove distortion. t does not pick up the scratching sound of old original records, a worry for many record fans, allowing you to immerse yourself in the sound of the record. The stylus also is more resistant to wear and tear than run of the mill line contact stylus, giving it a longer lifespan.
To maximize the body’s resonance, we used beeswax for the surface finish. As a result, the color of the body will change over time, but we believe this will only enhance your enjoyment of this product.
・Product name: ANALOG RELAX EX1000 phono cartridge
・Product number: AR-MCC-EX1000
・Transducer: MC Stereo Cartridge
・Coil: High purity copper
・Stylus: Super Curve Line Contact Ver. 2 (Pure diamond)
・Body: 2,000 years old YAKUSUGI cedar (beeswax finish)
・Electric output: Over 0.5mv (1kHz)
・Internal impedance: 15Ω
・Tracking force: 2.0g
・Magnet: Neodymium multi magnet
・Weight: about 9.0g
・All products are made by artisans within Japan.
・The solid wood body is made with natural materials, there will be differences in color, grain, weight, etc. between products.
・The body color of the grains will change with age.