How it all started …
The other step Herman had taken, was contacting some of his Japanese friends and explained them that he needed extremely urgently a new cartridge to compete with Koetsu. At least same quality and if possible lower in price. In the Netherlands he made a hand-drawing for the body of a cartridge, his friends who Herman was making the tone arms with (and small parts for worldchampionship mini-aviation speedmachines) made immediately 6 aluminium bodies and those were sent to 3 cartridge makers in Japan. Specs and details were given (and yes, these were close to those of Koetsu), suggestions for better sound added and as an extra they asked for consistent reproduction possibility of the quality and a best price. Herman could add some of his own ideas and he could emphasize on what he wanted and certainly on what he did not want as he had built up in the meantime a lot of experience. With diamond shapes, internal damping, magnets, charging of magnets etc. Once the 6 cartridges were sent to Holland Herman and his team did many blind tests in different set ups and finally decided for the new cartridge. It is true, that one of the manufacturers was Dynavector, and Herman knew Dr. Tominari and Mr. Takefumi Fujimoto very well, but the new cartridge was not built into their facilities. And unlike somewhere in the press was suggested, Herman has never been a Dynavector distributor.
But what the hell, Herman had a new cartridge and a “name” was needed. Herman asked one of his Japanese friends the Japanese translation of “I make a new start”. The answer was “Atara shii kadode” or something like that. Herman answered back “too long to print on a cartridge as brand name”. So he asked for the Japanese translation of “miracle”. The answer was … “Kiseki”. Herman jumped 10 meters high. A new brand name was born and what a beautiful name to follow up his former Koetsu child which was kidnapped from him and Dave in such a rude way by one of our high-end family members …
The next thing was to convince the market that there was a new cartridge, the Kiseki Blue, which could compete with their former Kid, the Koetsu Black. Herman realized that the only way to convince the market was to convince his former clients, the Koetsu distributors. So a first batch was made and in the meantime the approved sample was sent out to one of them, the one who was most known for his analog specialism and for his skills in for example making a very famous tone-arm. Very soon after Herman got a message that if he could keep up the sound quality in production, could offer it at the same price as the Koetsu Black and supply in a regular way, an order would be placed immediately for 100 pieces. Well, Herman confirmed he could, and even at a lower price than the Koetsu Black. His opinion was important for the other clients and the market and Kiseki was accepted as a high quality phono cartridge. Some of Herman’s old Koetsu distributors, also started to distribute Kiseki, some did not as they thought it was too confusing and some said they were gonna distribute it, but kept it out of their country for years …. L. But anyway, Herman was in heaven and was selling about 150-200 cartridges a month instead of 30.
After the Kiseki Blue, the Kiseki PurpleHeart Boron, PurpleHeart Sapphire, BlackHeart Boron, Agaat Boron, Agaat Ruby, Lapis Lazuli Diamond were designed. And Mr. Kondo supplied Herman with Silver wired MC transformers, OFC MC transformers and pure silver cables for rewiring tone-arms. Later on Herman designed with his friends the Kiseki Gold tone arm which was also made in Japan.
One year before entering the market with Kiseki, Dan D’Agostino introduced his Krell electronics. Immediately the market recognized the quality of his designs and as a high-end distributor there was only one brand on Herman’s list: Krell. Well, Dan had heard in the meantime about the Kiseki cartridges and was interested to distribute Kiseki in USA, and so it happened. Dan started distribution of Kiseki and Herman started distribution of Krell. Later on Herman developed and manufactured CoGelCo silver cables and these were also distributed by Krell and for a while Herman even supplied CoGelCo signal cables for use inside the Krell amplifiers.
When the cd entered the market the record sales dropped to an unbelievable low level. Record shops were forced to pick up the CD format and records disappeared very fast from the shops. At least in The Netherlands were Philips / Phonogram was “KING”. Kiseki sales also dropped quite a bit and due to other projects -opening of first high-end shop- Kiseki became soon a sweet memory. Now in 2011 all these memories are a main reason for a refreshing and exciting project: “Atara Shii Kadode”. I make a new start with KISEKI.