Designer Noriyuki Miyajima has earned a worldwide following for his artisan phono cartridges. 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 a natural, organic material (the first being the Madake, which uses bamboo).  Noriyuki  spent several years searching for the ‘right’ cactus plant with a just-so strength and, once he had found it, spent several more years cultivating the cacti in question.

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 mechanical linearity: it positions the stylus tip very close to the central axis of the cantilever and coil assembly. The benefits, says the company’s press release,  “can perhaps be best understood by way of a comparison: consider the offset position of a tonearm headshell. The offset induces the skating force that a tonearm’s antiskate is designed to counteract. If there was no offset, no skating force would be generated in the first place, hence there would be nothing to counteract. 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.”

In common with all of Miyajima’s stereo cartridges, the Saboten L’s generator system features a unique patented cross-ring design in which the cantilever fulcrum and coils are positioned in the centre of the magnetic field.

The body is made of Cameroonian Ebony.

Technical Specifications


Body typeCameroon Ebony
Frequency response20Hz to 32kHz
Output level0.23mV
Impedance16 ohms
Recommended load100-250 ohms
Tracking force3.0g
Stylus typeNude line-contact diamond stylus
Compliance100Hz : 8×10-6cm/dyne


Pricing & availability

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


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