Sumiko Pearl Cartridge

9 Reviews
Considering the the reputation of Sumiko's venerable Blue Point and Blackbird moving-coil cartridges, its easy to see how their more affordable line of moving magnet cartridges is so often overlooked. It's fair to say that manufacturers like Ortofon, Grado, and Audio-Technica dominate the market for moving magnet cartridges, but the Sumiko Pearl is certainly a capable competitor.

With smooth presentation and a warm mid-range, the Pearl also does a great job of reducing surface noise without sacrificing detail at high frequencies. Improved channel separation allows for fantastic stereo imaging, while the elliptical stylus and wide frequency response (12 – 30Khz) extract and present a surprising level of depth, with strong rhythm sections and bass.

Audiogon Review of the Sumiko Pearl

"For once here is a budget phono cartridge that can compete well above its price range, plus the fact you certainly do not have to make excuses for the Sumiko Pearl. It is a solid performer for the most jaded of us, and for those beginning their analog journey, one can get spoiled quite nicely to the sonic signature of the Sumiko Pearl. If I had not been tempted by the local audio shop, I might have passed this gem by and would have missed a very musical phono cartridge. By any standard one would care to judge the Sumiko Pearl, I firmly believe one will come away most impressed by this entry level MM phono cartridge from Sumiko."
  • Cartridge Type MM
  • Frequency Response (Hz) 12Hz-30kHz
  • Output Voltage/Channel (mV) 5mV
  • Channel Separation (dB) 30dB
  • Channel Balance (dB) 0,5dB
  • Compliance 15mm/N
  • Stylus size/shape (mil) Elp. 0,2x0,8mm
  • Load Impedance 47kOhm
  • Tracking Force Range (grams) 1.5 - 2.0
  • Ratings & Reviews

    9 reviews

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    Brendan McMurphy


    Received this cartrige with my Pro-ject rpm1 Carbon thinking I would pull it off immediately and never look back but I was pleasantly surprised. Comparing back and forth with another cartrige I bought from needle doctor that costs twice as much now revealed just how much of a value the pearl is. Not better by any means but gets you most of the way there. One thing I noticed on mine is that the diamond was not mounted straight to the cantilever such that I have to have a pretty extreme downward tilt to my tonearm to get the vta even close (also I've learned pretty quickly not to trust factory alignment). What a wonderful difference it made though! Balanced and a little warm but with a good amount of detail. I definitely recommend it for the music lover on a budget!



    Outstanding Cartridge for the money. Fine dynamics and EXCELLENT Channel separation. Fine extended Deep Bass and Top octave treble. Very highly recommended. Doubly so because (so far at least) Sumiko hasn't doubled or tripled their prices for it like other brands have in the wake of the vinyl resurgence. That's worth my customer loyalty.



    Damn fine cartridge. Neutral sound. No pumped-up treble or bass. That's why God gave you tone controls. Notice the spec: Channel Separation 30 dB. Most carts in this price range will give you 20-22 dB. Now what cart will give you a better soundstage?



    Consistent bass, acceptable detail, some harsh on high notes (vocal sibilante and hats) but nothing more than other cartridges that cost twice or more, warm sound with a little lack of bright. The final sound depends much on How correct is the cartridge setup with correct azimut, wheight and anti skating, plus leveling the turntable. It's will be sounding wonderful or ugly based upon the most fine adjust. Price versus sound quality makes a five star reputation, it is not the finest cartridge but do the work very well with great sound quality and superb Stereo separation. Be carefull with the adjust especially on Project turntables wich are difficult to setup because the lack of information on manuals, they are so basic and lack of crítical information on cartridge adjust.

    Peter P Wilson


    I've reviewed other items here, too including the DL103, and the AT95E. I'm using the Pearl with elliptical stylus as an interim until i can afford my new Dynavector for the NAIM Stageline. the Pearl is another astonishing cartridge. If you do not think this cartridge is sounding right, then begin to suspect the 5 setup parameters ; VTA ( adj arm pillar height) lateral tracking error distortion , BIAS (anti skate) arm lead capacitance being too high, and azimuth. I made the mistake of having the anti skating set too low. On my Jelco 750D, 1.5g is spot on for a playing weight of 2g. Imaging and depth then zoned in perfectly. A GEODISC gives very, very good alignment, and this thing sings, really sings. Not as gritty and 'dynamic' as the 103's are or even the little AT95, but very, very sweet , good depth, spread, and realism. Checked out on my Morcheeba, Air, Live at Massey Hall , Daft Punk, Kruder and Dorfmeister remixes ( French , not the crappy Eurotrash bootleg) SYSTEM: Linn motor in remote housing. Linn bearing and sub platter. Custom plinth, platter and solid stainless suspension. Jelco 750D , Rega fono mini (True!) NAIT 5i-2, NEAT Petite MK1's ( 1989) in my study. At its own price point, it's brilliant

    another Roy


    The sound of this cartridge is slightly "round", with some drop off at both frequency extremes. Other than that, it sounds very balanced and "musical" to me. Detail retrieval is good for the price-range. Maybe slightly subdued, but I never get the feeling I'm missing much, like I can with some lower-priced carts. The highs sound reasonably smooth and transparent and not "hard" like they can sound with some lower-priced carts. I prefer this over my Ortofon Blue, as the frequency response seems more even across it's range. The Ortofon seems to have a couple frequencies that sound "thick" and overdone. I'm really enjoying listening with this cartridge.



    I love this cartridge. It has a very neutral sound with no coloration. It lets the music stand out. The Pearl does well with rock, acoustic, and vocal music. It has a very wide range from solid low bass, musical midrange, to clean clear highs. Stylus is easy to replace when necessary.



    Restored a Thorens TD-160 & with the Pearl, I am very impressed. Although this set up can't un-congest full orchestral works it allows an extremely life like portrayal on jazz, vocals & acoustic pieces. Great budget cart for these vintage TT. Highly recommended & only $100!



    Mounted on an old Thorens 'table - TD165 - and using very modest tube amplification, this cartridge provides excellent midrange clarity with a slightly sweet top end. Bass deeper and better defined than expected after reading some other reviews. Great tracker. Looks good, too. Has to be considered in its affordable class - remarkable value for money. Very satisfied.