Sumiko Blackbird High Output Moving Coil Phono Cartridge


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Details & Highlights

Product Highlights

    Sumiko Blackbird High Output Moving Coil Cartridge
    Designed for exceedingly low noise levels, wide dynamic range and the highest possible fidelity in its price class, Blackbird is destined to become an analog classic. Each cartridge is assembled using time honored, labor intensive techniques, hand calibrated and critically auditioned to meet the most rigorous standards of consistency. The main advantage of high output moving coil cartridges is the elimination of any additional gain stages, resulting in an overall reduction of the noise floor. With 2.5mV directly driving a standard 47k Ohm RIAA phono stage, the best possible signal to noise ratio is realized. Nothing but music emerges from your most treasured recordings.

Details from Sumiko

    Old World Craftsmanship
    Each Blackbird is painstakingly crafted by hand in a process that involves hours of labor. After assembly, final adjustments are made using a battery of test records, and performance is hand calibrated. Each Cartridge is subjected to this process and is critically auditioned before it is shipped. No computer of machine is yet capable of matching the precise adjustments necessary to extract the highest level of performance from a reference quality phono cartridge.

    Why a high output moving coil cartridge?
    Along the conceptual design path, we examined closely the possibility of several construction methods. Moving magnet, or moving iron cartridges were rejected for their inability to deliver the high resolution and emotional intimacy possible only through the reduced moving mass of the better moving coil designs. Conventional, very–low output moving coils, while theoretically offering the lowest moving mass and generator impedance, were generally found to require too much from the phono section in terms of performance. We found that while the theoretical performance envelope was very high indeed, the delivered sound quality in real world systems rarely reached the intended performance foal. By using a higher than usual output 2.5 mV in the Blackbird, the phono section benefits from not being tasked with amplifying the extremely low level signal. Radio frequency interference (RFI) and circuit noise floor have less impact on the sound, resulting in wider dynamics and a quieter background. Additionally, bass response is rich, extended and complete.

    The Blackbird builds upon the strength of and lessons learned from, the best selling high–end cartridge in the world, The Blue Point Special. No aspect of the cartridge's design was left to chance. To avoid unwanted external resonance storage the conventional cartridges body was eliminated. This allowed for the construction of the most efficient path for evacuating internal resonance through the structure of the cartridge directly into the tonearm. This low mechanical impedance mounting system, combined with the optimization of mass, provides the perfect environment for the carefully chosen working elements of the cartridge.

    The long grain boron cantilever chosen for the Blackbird provides excellent energy transfer from the stylus to the coils. There is, among some factions of audiophiles, a misconception that boron cantilevers produce a somewhat sterile sound quality. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, the choice of a stiff cantilever necessitated excellence within the suspension design of the cartridge.

    Suspension Design.
    Virtually all conventional moving coils get by with a suspension element made from a butyl material. For the Blackbird, we chose to use a synthetic rubber where the hardness (10 degrees) and repulsion factor (8%) of the material can be tightly controlled with molding temperature, cure time, and skin tension. Additionally, with this synthetic material, the specified parameters of the suspension are held to design tolerance for a longer period of time. These steps help insure the cartridge will perform as designed for a longer period of time, and will last considerably longer than other designs. The final result provides a combination of superior dynamics and excellent long term tracking ability.

    Why an Elliptical Stylus Shape?
    The Blackbird is fitted with a specially ground, low mass stylus, a design type were the inherent character is always musical. With car and precise adjustment, tremendous amounts of detail can be extracted from the Blackbird. Unlike other designs even if it is not adjusted with a gnat's whisker of perfection, the cartridge will still deliver an intensely musical experience.


Features & Specs

Best Seller
Manufacturer's Warranty
    1 Year Limited Warranty
Detailed Specifications
  • Cartridge Type High output MC
  • Stylus Type Low mass elliptical
  • Cantilever Long grain Boron
  • Dynamic Compliance (x10–6 cm&/dyne)12
  • Frequency Response 10Hz–50Khz
  • Output Voltage&/Channel 2.5mV
  • Internal Impedance 135 Ohms
  • Channel Separation 35dB @ 1kHz
  • Channel Balance 0.5dB @ 1kHz
  • Tracking Force Range 1.8 – 2.2 grams
  • Cartridge Weight 9.6 grams
  • Mounting System Standard 0.5" hole spacing
Product Bullets


Included Coverage from Sumiko: 1 Year Limited Warranty

Category ID: 172 | $1,249.00