Peter Familari's avatar

by Peter Familari

about 8 months ago


Sumiko's new sextet of phono cartridges is sure to make beautiful music on the end of a nice tonearm thanks to New Zealand's new distributor, Sound Group.

Sumiko cartridges are always musical and are highly prized for their high-quality sound. Sumiko says they laboured for three years developing the new cartridges and debuted them earlier this year at the Munich High End Show.

Four of the models are moving magnet cartridges called the Rainer, Olympia, Moonstone and Amethyst. These will bolster Sumiko’s exiting Oyster series.

The new cartridges also include two moving coil models delightfully named the Songbird and the Starling. The pair will be part of the Reference Series product range.

Sumiko clearly rates this duo highly and the names chosen suggests they’ll sing as sweetly and naturally as birds in their natural habitats.

Sumiko also rates the new moving magnet and says the quartet is the most ambitious moving magnet models released so far.  The Rainer, Olympia and Moonstone share a common housing and generator assembly. This makes their removable stylus assemblies interchangeable.

Sumiko says you can buy the Rainer for example and upgrade to the Olympia or Moonstone without replacing the whole cartridge. A design feature bound to be praised by consumers and one that makes brilliant financial sense.

The flagship moving magnet called the Amethyst features its own unique cartridge body designed to maximise the sonic performance of the high-quality Nude Line Contact stylus it’s fitted with.

Describing the Amethyst, Sumiko doesn’t hold back the superlatives and insists it's an exceptional cartridge that surpasses some moving coils in resolution and detail and sets a new benchmark for moving magnet cartridges with replaceable stylus assemblies.

Owners of Shure’s V15 or Stanton’s 881S moving magnet cartridges are already privy to the detail, air, resolution and low noise a quality moving cartridge brings to the audio table.

Down below the Amethyst sit the Songbird and the Starling. Qualities extolled by Sumiko for the Songbird are exceptional tracking ability and the flexibility to mate superbly with a wide range of tonearms and turntables.

Without having the specs to hand, we are guessing the Songbird will work beautifully with medium mass tonearms. Ditto for phono stages thanks to its high output voltage, a measurement Sumiko won’t supply until the launch in Munich.

But a clue is in the brand’s description that claims the Songbird will work with moving magnet and moving coil phono stages, and this suggests an output voltage of about 2mV.

The Starling is interesting because it’s claimed to be the brand’s new reference open architecture design featuring a MicroRidge stylus on a boron cantilever in a low output/low mass configuration.

Sonically it’s said to be powerful, dynamic and with a very refined and coherent sound signature.

Both the Songbird and the Starling have a new CNC-precision milled high-grade aluminium body to reduce resonance.

Sumiko’s six new cartridges are available now and sell in New Zealand for - Song Bird ($1,499), Starling ($2,999), Rainer ($249), Olympia ($349), Moonstone ($499) and the Amethyst ($999).

For more information visit Sumiko.

Originally published as Sumiko Renews its Phono Cartridge Range

Peter Familari's avatar

Written by:

Peter Familari

One of the veteran journalists of the HiFi industry, if there's a speaker he's likely heard it or owned it at some point in his career. Peter was formerly the audio-video editor of the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia for over two decades.

Posted in: Hi-Fi Industry
Tags: sumiko  sound group