Sumiko updates cartridge line with six new models

Sumiko launch six new carts.

Longtime Japanese moving-magnet, and moving-coil cartridge manufacturer Sumiko has announced a full-scale assault on the state of their art with six new pick-ups being launched. Having heard their Blue Point No.2 , and Blackbird cartridges extensively over the years on a variety of ‘tables, I can say without hubris that this is a company that does not short-change resolution for warmth. Their designs cover a broad spectrum of price ranges so that anyone wanting to get into high-end sound without breaking the bank can do just that. I’m looking forward to hearing some of these models in the near future.

–Rafe Arnott

Press release below:

SUMIKO is proud to announce six new phono cartridges, the outcome of a 3-year development effort.  The new line will be premiered at the Munich High End Show, May 10-13, 2018.

Sumiko is introducing 4 new moving magnet cartridges, the Rainier, Olympia, Moonstone and Amethyst which join the existing Oyster product lineup; and 2 new moving coil cartridges, the Songbird and Starling which will be part of the Reference Series product line.

The four new additions to the acclaimed Oyster series are the most ambitious Moving Magnet (MM) cartridges we have released to date.  The Rainier, Olympia, and Moonstone all utilize a common housing and generator assembly, so the stylus assemblies are interchangeable.  You can purchase the Rainier and upgrade to the Olympia or Moonstone without replacing the entire cartridge. They set a new performance standard for the audiophile on a budget.

The Amethyst is our flagship Moving Magnet (MM) design and requires its own unique cartridge body to maximize the performance of the excellent Nude Line Contact stylus. This exceptional cartridge even surpasses some moving coil cartridges in resolution and detail, setting a new benchmark for moving magnet cartridges with replaceable stylus assemblies.

Joining the Reference Series line are two new Moving Coil (MC) designs including the new Songbird, which features exceptional tracking capability and the flexibility to mate well with a wide variety of tonearms and turntables. The Songbird’s high output voltage ensures noise free musical reproduction compatible with not only moving coil phono inputs but also moving magnet inputs.

The Starling is our new reference open architecture design featuring a MicroRidge stylus on a boron cantilever in a low output/low mass configuration.  This is a powerful, dynamic cartridge with a very refined coherent presentation.  The Starling is the latest manifestation of Sumiko’s forty years of refinement of phono cartridge design.  Both cartridges feature a new CNC-precision milled high grade aluminum body with optimized resonance properties.

Pricing and Availability
Orders for the cartridges can now be placed with Authorized Sumiko dealers with shipping expected to begin in May.

Suggested retail price (tax, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded):

MC: Songbird – $899 USD, Starling – $1,899 USD

MM: Rainier – $149 USD, Olympia – $199 USD, Moonstone $299 USD, and the Amethyst $599 USD.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. I’ve been happily using the high output Blackbird for many years, I guess it will stay priced between the 2 new models.

  2. Reasonable prices for great cartridges, a welcome addition now that Shure has abandoned vinyl with the closure of its cartridge business.

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