Micha Huber is known for its outstanding analog creations and has already demonstrated this with the minimalist and highly sophisticated analog products in the form of turntables and iconic twin-tube tonearms. Now he continues his analog legacy with brand new products and company. Huber is a perfectionist by nature, as all his products show, and his latest creation and venture X-quisite is no different! 

The very first glimpse at a beautiful and meticulously crafted X-quisite CA MC pickup system causes excitement. But the magnificent outer shell is only part of the genuine audiophile thrill. 

The excitement continues with the inner heart of the X-quisite CA, the low output MC inner core which combined with the unique and patented monoblock ceramic transducer technology pushes the limits of analog reproduction a bar higher. 

This handcrafted micro machine features a coil of pure copper carefully matched with an advanced aluminum-wood sandwich housing for the most engaging sound characteristics. 

In addition, each pickup is handmade piece by piece and Micha Huber is personally calibrated. Swiss precision at its best!


While working on the development of EMT and OEM cartridges using traditional MC technology Micha Huber, has found that resolution can generally be increased by choosing a stiff cantilever. However, while listening, it always turned out that additional measures have to be taken to compensate for the harsh/brittle sound. 

Detailed analyses showed that this compensation was necessary because the microscopic connexion points can cause distortions in the mechanical transmission path. 

There are traditional ways to shift such a distortion into a comfortable range, but Huber has long been aware that - as a final consequence - skipping all joints would address the root of the problem. 

An in-depth discussion with a specialist in cutting head technology confirmed that this is the right way forward. 

However, it took Huber and his team exactly five years from the idea to the first functional prototype, because the real challenge is to produce such a transducer and cartridge.


Traditional transducer with an aluminum cantilever

The diamond tip is fixed to a cantilever made of aluminum. Since aluminum is a relatively soft material, the high-dynamic tracking process causes deformation of the cantilever and therefore distortion of the signal. Moreover, there is a joint between cantilever and coil body, which, due to lever action, carries the highest dynamical load of the transducer and cannot pass on the movement without loss.

High-end transducer with boron or sapphire cantilever

The cantilever is fully or partly made of boron, sapphire, or even diamond. Thus, the vibration of the cantilever itself is minimized. But the joint between cantilever and coil body is even harder loaded, and this weak point impairs the quality of the signal transmission.

X-quisite transducer with patented monobloc-ceramic technology

Cantilever and coil body are made of a single high-strength ceramic piece. Accordingly, there is no more joint at the point of the highest dynamic load, and the music signal is transmitted absolutely pure from the diamond tip to the coil body. X-quisite allows supreme detail resolution and at the same time an extremely natural sound.



The body is milled out of a massive block and its material is sonically carefully matched to the characteristic of the different models. Between tonearm and cartridge, a carefully matched wooden inlay balances the resonance-properties of the contact area.


The ironless coil-design of the X-quisite transducer requires a strong magnet circuit to achieve reasonable output voltage. It took us many prototype setups and listening sessions before  X-quisite found the perfect solution to be a Neodym-Armco combination with special measures to reduce eddy current loss to an absolute minimum. The generator is entirely built into an aluminum- holder, ensuring the mechanical energy-flow between tonearm and transducer to be as direct as possible.


By combining various modern production methods,  X-quisite team has found a way in producing the smallest ceramic parts precisely and exactly according to x-quisite preferences. By designing the cantilever itself partly hollow and with octagonal cross-section, extremely high rigidity for the entire cantilever/coil-body unit.


The micro-ridge diamond is exactly fitted into a cross hole of the cantilever and fixed with tiny quantities of a technical adhesive. Overall, the moving mass at the tracking point is with 0,8mg very low for an MC design.


The coil material – copper, silver, or gold with high purity grade - defines the tonal characteristic of the different X-quisite models. The winding technology is specifically adapted to the ceramic coil- body.


The X-quisite run in time was a little faster than the usual 150+ hours where everything usually calms down. This carefully crafted cartridge settled in without major shifts, but still developing gradually with each new hour of playback, unveiling more of the music and distinct details. 

Many analog enthusiasts use a preferred cartridge for a particular musical genre. Those impressive turntables systems with several tonearms, not only fulfill the tasks of reproducing mono and stereo records. More often than not, they provide users with voicing for certain of the music. 

X-quisite CA MC pickups do not follow this path. X-quisite CA follows the path of a rare breed of high-performance universal transducers, that can play all genres of music equally well without missing a beat. This means that it does not add its own sonic signature. 

A Dean Martin record for a desert island? Analogue Productions Dream With Dean - The Intimate Dean Martin (AAPP 076-45) 45 RPM 200 vinyl record mastered at Sterling Sound by Ryan Smith from the analog tapes and plated and pressed by Quality Record Pressings fits such standards easily. 

In terms of believability, this LP should appeal to audiophiles and music lovers alike. The music may fall into the genre of Easy Listening, but it is a record that really shows how well and how real human singing can be captured and what a monumental singer Dean Martin was.

Concisely, the listener can depict the characteristics of the system and, in our case, the cartridge. This is the practical test in which the high-end audio cartridges show their true performance and value, regardless of the price. 

The credibility and sense of the presence of the artist could be exploited to the nth degree, but this particular album is as straightforward as it gets.

I was struck by how much X-quisite manifested Martin's voice singular existence with the necessary forte. Many pickups reproduce his raw and unforgivable relaxed singing precariously. The X-quisite cartridge could not be further removed from such a formation. It reproduced Martin's singing in the absence of any false embellishment and without reducing formants, that can too often be the case even way above X-quisite price.

The remarkable ability of the X-quisite CA MC cartridge to paint primary colors without sacrificing resolution was evident on Forever Changes, the third studio album of the American psychedelic rock band Love. 

For many, Forever Changes is one of the greatest albums ever made and was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. It was ranked 40th on The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone magazine's list in 2003,

This iconic American psychedelic rock band was originally released on Elektra Records released in November 1967. While the stereo version somehow offers the usual panning, with most instruments shifted all the way to the left and right. 

All songs are wonderful escapades, of which I especially like "Old Man",  "The Red Telephone" and "Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale". On this track vocals in the middle are accompanied by brass and guitar. This introduces an additional "stress" to the cartridge along with ethereal guitar and drums. 

If the analog front-end is not adjusted accurately and the pickup is not tracking optimally, the music will become congested, uninvolved, sound brittle and the interactive bond is lost. 

Based on the X-quisite given resolution I expected some high-frequency augmentation at the leading edge. Again the CA cartridge showed a remarkable tracking and reproduction of the primary essentials that coalesce credible music reproduction.

Brass instruments represent a highly onerous chore. Not only in the digital but also in the analog domain.  The brass instruments' reproduction is not only connected with classical music and the orchestra. Every recording of brass instruments regardless of the genre is a  real challenge and difficult task. This particularly concerns the leading edges of the notes and timbre.

X-quisite CA was designed and voiced from the ground up to with these qualities in mind and lets the brass cut through the mix with the needed sharpness and realistic feel. 

The same is true for the guitar dynamism, that follows as the song expands. With X-quisite CA guitar never lost its grip and altered the tone. Furthermore, neither the brass nor the guitar stole or dissipated the vocal epicenter energy. 

This is one of the chiefly properties that set X-quisite CA cartridge apart. 

The story of a perfectly served sonic portray starts with a crucial basis and that is the proper capturing of the sound. Here, the sound engineer can either let the instruments float freely or discomposing the frequency spectrum. Correct use of EQ allows this. 

The next and final step is reproducing such potent recording. While cartridge picks up what it's written in the groove it can also alienate and morph the signal drastically and in many ways. The real art is addressing all of the fundamental aspects to discern those qualities sized in the first place. 

And with the Forever Changes, the X-quisite CA cartridge clearly shows that is far more than the sum of its parts. The ability to sonic diversity is never a matter of luck. It takes time and determination to get it right and CA encapsulates the needed qualities remarkably well. 

A unique atmosphere of Marlboro Summer Music Festival Recorded August 1960 possesses a unique workshop mood with musicians assembled around Rudolf Serkin. Speakers Corner' "Chamber Music From Marlboro" Johannes Brahms: "Liebeslieder-Walzer" op. 52 / Franz Schubert: "The Shepard On The Rock" D 965 - Rudolf Serkin (p, dir); Leon Fleisher (p); Harold Wright (cl); Benita Valente (soprano); a.o. offers some of the finest Brahms rendition. Joyful, carefree, and highly inspiring. 

X-quisite CA cartridge let Soloist Benita Valente and the rest of the performers actualize with a quintessential constituent and without edgy sibilants.  X-quisite allows  to follow the tempi with feathery lightness, without speeding up or slowing it down. 

My listening notes also pointed out the X-quisite CA exceptional layering and peripatetic quality. The sudden appearance and disappearance of the voices were lighting fast and they did not fight for expanse. 

X-quisite densest impressive reproduction of the horizontal layers was secured with a higher than the common quantity of anchor points. The lack of the necessary aggregation shortens the tails of the decays and delays, distorting the sonic illusion and taking away the necessary characteristics of realism. 

In contrast, the X-quisite CA MC cartridge estimates the actual distance and position of the singers. It allows a more grandiose than usual holographic representation and stimulates the amazing variety without atomizing the music. 


To call the X-quisite CA MC cartridge a newcomer is a somewhat relative statement. The addition of cartridge manufacturing to Mica's business portfolio following a successful venture with tonearms and turntables feels like a natural follow up and expected natural progression. The acquisition of EMT manufacturing, the deep technical background, and association with watchmaking experts involved in the manufacture of Thales makes it an even more logical business move. 

Over the years, Micha Huber has proven that his diligence and technical expertise is a rarity among industry peers.

In the very dense high-end audio cartridge market, where prices for top-of-the-range models can easily reach the 15k price tag it is quite a challenge to introduce yet another cartridge. To do something substantially different requires much more effort, know-how, research and development, and yet some serious founding. 

But as with all his creations, Huber does not follow the conventional criteria and qualifications. His determination and ability to go above the usual stance and to explore the unexplored has already been reflected in products that offer profound solutions. Not only technically and mechanically. These products come with an extravagant tonal élan. 

In the same way, Huber's X-quisite CA MC pickup is not just another Deja Vu MC cartridge. It's in dept and thoroughly researched and evaluated product with superb mechanical propensities and emotional inner hearth.

From track to track, from album to album, X-quisite CA has proven to be an analog gem that can expose some of the new analog palatinates and open up unexplored regions. X-quisite CA cuts through the layers of music far beyond the accustomed level and unveils further subtle aspects that I have not yet acknowledged. 

The ability of the X-quisite CA MC cartridges to utilize much higher density acquaints upper-level micro- and macro dynamics with a level of resolution that easily challenges far pricer cartridges. 

In combination with the exceptional NHB-18NS darTZeel built-in phono preamplifier the X-quisite CA cartridge noise was at a remarkably low level. The NHB-18NS's dedicated phono stage was designed from the ground up as a pure MC amplification stage, and it shines with low output MC pickups like the X-quisite, which has an output voltage of 0.3 mV. 

Partnered with darTZeel NHB-18NS phono + line preamplifier  X-quisite CA subtracted much more of the audio content.  The music could flow freely, and way smoother that is "allowed" at this price point. 

Possibly most importantly, the X-quisite CA functions at a higher resolution level, which yields an uninterrupted signal transition. The passage of an unexpected amount of information is evermore a welcome greeting. However, these attributes alone do not warrant the fundamental formulation of proper harmonics. This is precisely why some of today's high-end audio products have notably impressive specifications but do not deliver harmonically resonant content. 

In contrast, the CA MC pickup system constitutes transparency, resolution, harmonic density, and, above all, the correct composition of timbre tone and color. A rare mixture of so many remarkable qualities!

The X-quisite CA cartridge nucleus underpins a complex analog edifice. Many top-class pickups can clearly emphasize the sound characteristics that can portray concourse of sounds prominently. They let you lurk for what is out there in the music cosmos. What they cannot do is let you cross through this vestibule and this paradisiacal gate. The CA pickup system goes past the entrance and glances backward, enabling rare, interlocking interactivity in its own league. 

Some audiophiles do not want to associate high-end audio products with Haute Horlogerie in any way. Yet... Phono cartridges are the micromechanical machines that, contrary to many other claims associated with watchmaking, actually avail from watchmaking know-how. 

I have observed several pick-up systems under the magnifying glass over the years. Some of them have been disassembled for re-tipping others for repair, and I can understand the reluctance to call many of these cartridges finely crafted analog devices after what I have seen magnified…

Huber again begs to differ. He's not making any fancy claims. Rather, he is placing scrupulously contemplated concepts into practice. As with the Thales tonearms, the X-quisite CA, pick-up exceedingly benefits from the renowned Swiss watchmaking art and craftsmanship. 

As with the rest of Huber's endeavors, X-quisite CA illustrates how this engineering artistry is useful when it is put into practice correctly.

The refined aspects of Swiss Haute Horlogerie are not only hidden on the inside. Even the first glance at the X-quisite CA affirms something exceptional, and this starts with the stylish, solid walnut box, which perfectly pairs and follows with the monobloc design concept of the cartridge. 

There is a whole range of cartridges with a skin-deep effect, where unconventional exotic materials, intense colors, and esoteric designs promise something extraordinary. In reality, not everything glamorous, and glistening delivers aural virtues. This is exactly the reason why there are so many expensive cartridges in perpetual market momentum. X-quisite CA is of different qualities and values and couple external and internal excellence in an exemplary product that keeps true to real high-end values and above all offer genuine sonic lavishness more than worthy of the price. It actually exceeds its value in all aspects. 

The X-quisite CA cartridge defines its exquisite nature as the name implies. It is a perfectionist, handcrafted, innovative high-end audio and high-performance cartridge that exposes another level of analog music transcription and depicts a further step towards acknowledging what is hidden in the black grooves of vinyl records. 

For what it represents sound-wise, and above all, with its given price compared to what is available at that cost, it has a stand-out value. 

I wholeheartedly bestow Mica Huber 2020 Mono and Stereo Upper Echelon Product Award for the X-quisite CA MC cartridge.⧉

Matej Isak


- 8’400.00 CHF including 20% VAT


  • Cantilever and coil body: Monobloc ceramic unit, patented design
  • Coil: Pure copper 4N
  • Diamond shape: Micro ridge
  • Magnet unit: Neodym-Armco, reduced eddy current loss
  • Body: Aluminium-wood
  • Connection: 1/2" – 4pin, gold plated
  • Vertical Tracking Angle: 20°
  • Weight: 14,8g
  • Tracking force: 1,9…2,1g
  • Output voltage: 0,3mV @ 5cm/s
  • Compliance: 12µm/mN
  • Frequency response: 20 - 30‘000Hz
  • FIM disortion: max. 0,2%
  • Impedance: 2x 24Ω
  • Recommended load: 400 - 800Ω


HiFiction AG
Tösstalstrasse 14
8488 Turbenthal

Tel: +41 44 533 88 15

E-Mail: info@hifiction.ch
Web: www.x-quisite.ch