Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Sumiko Blackbird Coil Wire Fatigue?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Big T, Feb 23, 2021 at 4:02 PM.

  1. Big T

    Big T Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Has this happened to you? It's a new one to me.

    Last night was enjoying a nice new record on my Project Xtension 10 with the Blackbird and things were sounding quite beautiful. Suddenly about halfway through side one the right channel dropped out and was replaced by moderate hum. Left channel still sounded fine.

    I checked the amplifier, and then the phono preamp, and they seemed fine. That's when I moved up to the cartridge and saw this:


    If you look closely you can see one of the coil wires is just hanging free! This happened while it was playing a record (a nice new one). WTF?

    The cart is three years old and has seen quite a bit of use, so time to upgrade, I guess. But, didn't think would end this way. No I didn't clean it, bump it, brush it, or anything like that. It was fine, then it failed while playing.

    Has this happened to any of you guys?

    Now, I'm in the market for a new cartridge in the $5K range. Any suggestions? My phono pre is the Manley Chinook.

    Thanks for your help here.

    Big T
  2. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Could you post a close up on that side? Does anybody else have access to your stereo?
  3. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    MC carts do that all the time. Ask any retipper. Three years is a lot of time to get out of a cartridge. If you used the cartridge a lot the stylus was probably toast anyway. Sumiko may have a dealer trade in discount program for you, where you can trade in your old broken/stylus worn cartridge for a discount on a new one.
  4. Big T

    Big T Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for sharing your experience Mr. Patient_ot, I didn't know that could happen.

    I might have it retipped, but in the meantime looking for a new cart. There's a lot out there in the $5k range. Without the ability to hear it first, it makes me...........nervous.

    Big T
  5. GryphonForsell

    GryphonForsell Active Member

    The Mutech Hayubasa is a suberb cartridge selling for $4500. Or if you'd like a naked cartridge similar to the Blackbird, there's the VAS Ultimate Reference selling for $4000.
  6. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    surely is a bummer ! i have never seen that happen. the good news is you didnt smilch the cantilever accidentally like i did TWO times !
    my recommendation for you is the Ortofon Windfield Ti. The top Ortofons (Cadenza and up) are tone monsters, they get the tone so right it just smacks you. Very easy to enjoy.
  7. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    I've never seen that happen either.

    You want to jump from a $1000 cartridge to $5000? That's a pretty big leap, may want to check if it has any trade-in value against a Sumiko Starling, our friend here @Slippers-on has been churning out a non-stop stream of superlatives to describe how happy it has made his music life recently, even though it's under $2000. Lot of really nice carts when you get up in that range, but I've never had one quite that dear myself. Sounds like fun, I'd probably go with a Benz Micro Gullwing SLR at around $2000, that's about as high as I would go, but I go through them a little too fast to spend much more.
    patient_ot likes this.
  8. GyroT

    GyroT Forum Resident

    I have had the same thing happen, but on a Blue Point Evo Special 3 after approx, 700 hours/ year and five months of use. Pity, because it still sounded good. No repair was deemed possible.
    patient_ot likes this.
  9. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    A good retipper can probably fix the coils while retipping. However, they will charge accordingly to fix the coils in addition to a regular retipping charge. I know Joseph Long and VAS NYC can work on coil repairs or even re-wind coils but the work is not cheap. It may not make sense for a $1K cartridge due to the cost involved in the work. A trade in with discount on a new cart may be a better idea.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021 at 11:05 AM
  10. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    St.Louis Mo.
    Mr Big T.

    If you like the Sumiko sound, and you want to spend upward to $5k, I'd shoot for the Pearwood or the Palo Santos. I can't imagine the bravura they would carry....it would absolutely be breath taking. I can say this because as Davey has mentioned about my bragging.....I have the Starling and it too is breath taking. Those who have heard the Sumiko sound know the clarity and transparency they hold from top to bottom. As you go up in price, it only gets better. The Starling is remarkable in the technical skills that has been engineered into her. The high frequencies are crisp but yet pleasant to hear...no harshness or ear bleed or any of that. The bass is in bunches and can be felt in teh chest at times if the right music is played.... and the mids so smooth. I was listening to Eric Clapton's unplugged as well as Muddy Waters last night and just sat in amazement. no way you can read a book and listen to this cart....the Sumiko wins every time. The only issues I had was when my right channel went out. But due to something different from your issues. Seems the pins on the back of the Starling are extra small...so if you don't squeeze the connector pins tightly they will slip off. Just see them in the picture below. But once properly applied. Just be willing to be amazed at the level of music you get.

    Big T likes this.

Share This Page