For 40 years, the audiophile community around the world has been using the excellent Japanese Sumiko phono cartridges. The products of this company have earned their popularity due to their undeniable build quality and excellent sound. The entire line of Sumiko pickup heads is divided into two series – Oyster and Reference. All pickup heads of the budget Sumiko Oyster series are based on the MM mechanism of the same name; the difference between the models lies in the shape of the stylus sharpening and the frequency range. Thus, the most affordable Oyster pickup head is the optimal solution for both the novice audiophile and the lover of old vintage discs with a rotation speed of 78 rpm. The standard distance between the mounting holes will allow everyone to raise the class of their record player by several orders of magnitude.


Next in the Sumiko family hierarchy is a modified version of the Oyster – Sumiko Black Pearl. Featuring a higher build quality, the Black Pearl differs from its predecessor with a new suspension system and a significantly expanded sound range. Parameters such as balance and channel separation have also been improved. With a minimal increase in price, Sumiko Black Pearl is qualitatively different from its “donor” in tracking, resolution and reproduction of the slightest nuances. On the Ukrainian market, this is perhaps the best option for independently upgrading outdated vinyl disc players.

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Sumiko Black Pearl 

Among the huge number of moving magnet phono cartridges available on the analog hi-fi market in the $200 price range, the Sumiko Pearl cartridge has virtually no competition in terms of sound reproduction quality. An elliptical stylus, combined with a more complex magnetic system than the Sumiko Black Pearl, allows you to squeeze out the maximum musical information from the sound track. This significantly reduces wear on the precision groove walls, providing the widest frequency range and improved separation between channels. By the way, as one would expect, the limiting indicators of the frequency range, in comparison with the “Black Pearl”, extend down to 12 Hz and at the top reach 30 KHz. Sumiko Pearl has long been deservedly considered the most desirable pickups in the technical park of any self-respecting audiophile.

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Sumiko Blue Point No.2 

For music lovers who want to replace their cartridge with an MC type, the Sumiko Blue Point No.2 will be quite suitable. At its core, this is a technologically more advanced version of the legendary Sumiko Blue Point pickup, while its price has remained virtually unchanged. The modernized version of this popular pickup has a plastic body, the moving system of which is equipped with a durable needle holder and is reliably protected from mechanical damage. A new standard in the mid-$400 price class, this is the latest generation of moving-coil cartridges for Blue Point No. analog turntables. 2 with exceptional fidelity and musicality. Featuring a high output of 2.5 millivolts, the Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 is equipped with an elliptical diamond stylus, and has a standard platform with 1/2″ mounting holes. In addition, it does not require the use of an expensive MC phono preamplifier. Reducing the weight of the pickup has made it possible to use it with a large number of different tonearms.

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Sumiko Blue Point EVO III 

The Sumiko Blue Point EVO III is a bodyless version of one of the most popular pickups, the Sumiko Blue Point Special. Compared to its predecessor, this cartridge features more reliable tonal balance, more confident bass and less frequency response surge in the upper mids. The open type of the model provides full control over the pickup’s own resonances. An output voltage of 2.5 millivolts indicates that the user does not have an urgent need to purchase an expensive MC phono preamplifier. The Sumiko Blue Point EVO III model is capable of revealing the soulfulness inherent in any live instrument, while striking with the natural warmth of the sound. Plus, the Sumiko Blue Point EVO III is distinguished by its high ability to play the most complex, cluttered passages and, as an additional pleasant bonus, the Sumiko Blue Point EVO III behaves more loyally to the soundtrack.

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Sumiko Blackbird 

The Sumiko reference series of pickups begins with the Blackbird. Like the Sumiko Blue Point EVO III, this pickup is a high-performance open moving coil system. This is where the similarities end. Belonging to a higher class of the product required the use of non-standard solutions and non-traditional materials. In the struggle for ultra-low mass of the cantilever, the manufacturer had to turn to a rather exotic element – boron. Being lighter than carbon, this silicon-like substance is second only to diamond in hardness, which fundamentally solves the issue of internal resonances. Adding to this a rigid coil suspension and an anti-resonance inertial block, in total we get signal transmission from the needle to the winding that is unprecedented in quality and volume. Sonically, the Sumiko Blackbird offers even greater resolution and focus, revealing textural details clearer and more authentically than the Sumiko Blue Point EVO III. The mid-frequency range is distinguished by three-dimensionality and dynamic sensitivity, and the purism of the sound is inextricably harmonized with the extraordinary delicacy of the signal presentation.

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Sumiko Pearlwood Celebration

Next in the Sumiko family hierarchy is the Pearwood Celebration. Hand-built with a pear wood body, this cartridge is reminiscent of the glamorous MC cartridges of the analogue past. The mechanical basis of the model is a kind of cocoon made of a unique alloy, in which the entire generator system is fixed with one clamping screw. The cantilever is made of boron (as in the previous model), but the magnet is made of AlNiCo alloy for greater musicality. With this constructive approach, it was possible to create a uniform and dense magnetic field around the coil, which made it possible to achieve maximum efficiency from the entire system as a whole. To increase durability, the suspension is made on the basis of modern synthetic rubber elastomers.

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Sumiko Palo Santos 

The flagship model of Sumiko is Palo Santos. Music reproduction compared to the previous Sumiko Pearwood Celebration cartridge is an absolute realization of all the intellectual and technical potential of the company. Almost every component of the Sumiko Palo Santos pickup head has been modernized and improved. The creation of an aluminum generator structure can be considered as a unique achievement, which, in turn, significantly improved the performance of the cartridge, increasing overall rigidity and increasing tracking stability. Naturally, at the same time, resonances and background noise were reduced by an order of magnitude. The Sumiko Palo Santos pickup is hand-assembled, and new techniques used in the manufacture of the cartridge cartridge significantly improve the resolution of this pickup head.