The Sumiko Songbird MC cartridge is the version between the Sumiko Blue Point Special Evo III and the Blackbird cartridge. It is part of the manufacturer’s “REFERENCE” range from which it incorporates several elements and technologies.
SUMIKO SONGBIRD: BODY
This Sumiko Songbird cartridge is truly very beautiful and it is with pride that it is taken out of its box.
The blue anodized aluminium chassis and the stainless steel armature give this cartridge a high quality aspect. One can see the innards of this “beast” thanks to its open architecture!
The aluminium part has two threaded inserts which is where are placed the two screws in order to mount this cartridge. We greatly appreciate this method as it is easier to mount the cartridge and it provides a better tightening torque than nuts. However, this will not please owners of “vintage” Thorens vinyl record players. Indeed, their headshell from another time period is not compatible with this phono cartridge and cannot be mounted from above. In addition, not all screws fit with this Thorens headshell.
The Sumiko Songbird is connected to the cables of the headshell via plated gold Pins.
SUMIKO SONGBIRD: STYLUS
This Songbird cartridge has a 0.3 x 0.7 microns elliptical stylus. It is mounted on a coated aluminium pipe cantilever.
On the end of this stylus are 4 very pure copper coils. They were over coiled in order to obtain a higher output level (2.5mV) and a high internal impedance.
Thus, this high output MC cartridge is compatible with MM phono preamplifiers. Indeed, this technology mechanically assimilates this phono cartridge with a MC technology, but electronically, it is an MM cartridge!
SUMIKO SONGBIRD: COMPATIBILITY
This Sumiko Songbird cartridge weighs 8.5 g and has a compliance of about 18. It is thus compatible with the majority of 9 or 10 inch tonearms with a low or medium effective mass (between 7 and 15g).
We of course recommend to use this cartridge with a “good” MM phono preamplifier, that has a minimum gain of 44 dB and a load capacitance of 100 pF.
SUMIKO SONGBIRD: TESTING AND LISTENING
From the opening bars, and especially with the arrival of the percussion instruments, we were seduced by the dynamics of this Sumiko Songbird.
The snare drum is powerful and the bass drum hits with rigour and severity. These characteristics can also be found on the basses. The double bass is a very demonstrative, detailed, and powerful.
The voices are present and very sensual. There is the warmth and substance specific to Sumiko cartridges. The surface noise level is low, thus providing an excellent transparency and definition.
The sound stage of this phono cartridge is superb and the placement is very realistic.
It is to point at that, in this price range, there are few high output MC cartridges. There is for example the Dynavector DV 20X2 H and the Benz Micro Glider SH that have very different sound restitutions.
This Sumiko Songbird MC cartridge will delight music lovers enthusiastic of the dynamics and timbre. Indeed, it is not the most neutral on the market, but it has an extra something which favours musicality to neutrality.
Highly recommended! Franck
Principle: High output MC cartridge
Stylus: 0.3 x 0.7 microns elliptical
Cantilever: coated aluminium pipe
Coil: pure copper
Bandwidth: 12 Hz- 40 Khz
Output level: 2.5 mV
Channel separation: 30 dB
Channel balance: < 0.5 dB
Compliance: 18 (x10-6cm/dyn)
Internal impedance: 135 Ohms
Load impedance: 47 Kohms
Load capacitance: 100- 200 pF
Tracking force: 1.8/2.2 g
Recommended tracking force: 2.0 g
Total cartridge weight: 8.5 g