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  1. #1
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Sumiko Blue Point

    John Micheal sent me a Sumiko Blue Point. I have it on my Realistic and after a half hour of listening, I am near tears. The realism of the instruments and accuracy of the soundstage is mind boggling. I am listening to Bob Brookmeyer, his horn is coming right out of the speakers.

    I can't believe what I've been missing. This is certainly a good kick in the azz for me. I realize that I NEED to upgrade my analog.

    Thanks John...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sumiko Blue Point-dsc02922.jpg  

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I am glad you are enjoying the old cartridge. I knew it still had life left in it. I thought you would enjoy the moving coil experience.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  3. #3
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Poppa,

    This may be somewhat off of subject, but this is a great investment for your LP.

    http://www.amazon.com/SE-Mini-Pocket...ef=pd_sim_sg_4

    I use this to check the stylus wear. It can be a bit finicky to use at times, but it can't be beat for under $6. I imagine 30-40x will be good enough, but 60x+ clearly shows stylus conditions.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    At my local dealers I used their microscope at the 200x setting to see the facets of the stylus and how they were wearing. He felt the stylus only showed moderate wear. When they closed I wish I had purchased that microscope with the dual lights to keep a check on all my cartridges.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  5. #5
    nightflier
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    Yes, I have an old "analog" (LOL) microscope that I shlep out when I need it. There is no light or battery, just a little mirror underneath that I shine a light on. The lenses are very good, though. I got it practically for free with a bunch of other "science stuff" someone was hocking off for a pittance at a garage sale. That was many years ago, but it still does the job.

    Regarding Sumiko, I have to say I've been thoroughly impressed with all of their cartridges. They are much less expensive than the competition (their top-of-the-line Palo Santos is "only" $3500 and looks surprisingly like a Koetsu). I've heard the Blue Point Special Evo and the Black Bird in systems I know well, and they sound fantastic. The Black Bird is still on my short list, although I'm just now discovering Benz cartridges, too.

    Too many choices and too little time....

  6. #6
    nightflier
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    Poppa, any new revelations about that Sumiko BP?

  7. #7
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Poppa, any new revelations about that Sumiko BP?
    I might be the wrong person to talk to about this cartridge. I've never owned anything this good, and therefore am easily impressed.

    Without a doubt, I can say that the Blue Point envokes music like nothing I've heard before. I can only imagine how it would sound on an upscale Rega or Pro-Ject arm. I have it on a SME type arm, paired with a vintage table.

    Certainly not the greatest set-up, but I think that's what really shows the power of the Sumiko. In the face of "low-end" gear, it's still 100% musical. The best elements for me have been increased seperation and detail in the soundstage. Makes the music much more listenable, interesting and quite frankly, exciting.

    My other table has Shure M97xe on it, and the differences are many. I still love the Shure, and all my other "budget" carts, but the Sumiko is WAY ahead of them all. As I said previously, it's inspired me to upgrade my analog in a big way. I have gone back and forth a couple times as to how anxious I am regarding an upgrade.

    Now, every time I listen to this cartridge I sweat bullets of anxiety...I Need To Upgrade!!

  8. #8
    nightflier
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    Wait until you discover SoundSmith: the bargain hunter's holy grail....

  9. #9
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    which soundsmith?

    enquiring minds want to know.

    as for the blue point, i have an original that is actually a pmount cart that came with a flimsy/cheeeep styrene plastic 1/2" mount adaptor. its sound in original form had somewhat misbehaved highs and lows that werent that well difined nor exteded.

    at that time, Lyle Cartridges was offering an adaptor made of an aluminum block, threaded for the supplied screws. it had a cutout that allowed the cart, once removed from the plastic adaptor, to be gripped with a setscrew from the side.

    its hard to picture but suffice it to say that the top and bottom ranges got much better but not as good as i wish. my friend had what we call 'the boxcar' body, which is what the model 2 looks like. as good as my original with aluminum block but no better. perhaps the 2 is better than that, at least i hope so.

    with all my whining about the extremes, the midrange and imaging were GORGEOUS. i used it last on a rabco SL8E arm for a short time. i suppose i should try it again but i have a grace f9e waiting and a stanton 881s with new aftermarket stylus as well that are unmounted and also a new atOC9II plus a backup at440MLa.

    shure cartridges, including the v15VxMR that i have have never excited me. something is missing in their sound, some liveliness that keeps me from being attracted to them.

    if only the BP had the trackability of the AT440 and the bass of my krell cart.
    ...regards...tr

  10. #10
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I had a BP then a BP special. I upgraded to a Blackbird and have found my cartridge. If the BP is an introduction to high end carts (it is IMO) the Blackbird is another 2 steps up the line. Carts that I've heard that sound better cost a lot more.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  11. #11
    Forum Regular gillsev's Avatar
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    Congrats Pops! I've always wanted to try a moving coil but then I also have to buy a step up transformer for it. With my recent project, I am broke now. So I'm sticking with the old Shure M95ED for now

  12. #12
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    The Sumiko Blue Point is a high output moving coil cartridge. It needs no step up transformer or head amp. There are many high output carts from many manufacturers. My Sumiko Blackbird is also high output.

    BTW: The Blue Point Special Evo III is a real winner at less than half the cost of the Blackbird.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  13. #13
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    poppa needs to try low output MCs.

    they DO sound better than the HO variety. one of my faves is the ortofon kontrapunkt b with the ruby cantilever. its been nicely received in the audio press but more importantly, i have listened to it in person at length. my own collection of LO MCs consists of the ortofon mc200, fidelity research frt1 III, oc9II, and krell kc100.

    currently using the marcof ppa1 which is really nice. it even doesnt use much power, i have left the battery on for a week or two at a time lately. right now playing charlie byrd/cal tjader-tambu-it is doing some great deep bass with the orto mc200.

    that orto prompted my friend to end up buying numerous ortos-mc30IIs, rohmann, jubilee, and the Kb. hence, i got to love the Kb.

    poppa is a quick learn so when he gets a LO MC, he will be hooked. they do the top end so nice.
    ...regards...tr

  14. #14
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I totally agree. The top end on my worn out MC30 was to die for. I've got my eye on a Benz Glider SL. I've got to get my (coming soon) Oracle and Advanced Analog MG-1 arm first.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  15. #15
    Vinyl Junkie slate1's Avatar
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    Tommy - get a Jico SAS stylus for your Shure V15VxMR. The SAS transformed my V15VMR from an excellent tracking cart with a laid back quality that basically sat in my drawer to an astounding tracking cart with a level of openness and excitement I couldn't have imagined possible from this cartridge that is not coming off my arm. The highs are the closest thing to a high-quality MC that I've ever heard from a MM. I couldn't be happier.
    Cayin A-70T Integrated w/ Gold Lion Tubes PS Audio GCPH Phono Stage Pro-Ject RPM-9.1 Turntable w/ Pro-Ject Ground-It and Pro-Ject Speedbox II Dynavector 20X2H Cartridge Usher Audio X-718 Monitors Ultimate Cables C4 Interconnects & Speaker Cables

  16. #16
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy
    with all my whining about the extremes, the midrange and imaging were GORGEOUS. i used it last on a rabco SL8E arm for a short time. i suppose i should try it again but i have a grace f9e waiting and a stanton 881s with new aftermarket stylus as well that are unmounted and also a new atOC9II plus a backup at440MLa.

    .
    Like I said earlier, I have no real comparison points in terms of LOMC or even HOMC for that matter. I am rather surprised to see that you and Joe were unimpressed with the Blue Point.

    I guess I can't wait to see what else is waiting for me. l will put the Blue Point on the Ariston for sure. I am listening to The Brecker Brothers and the highs from Brother Micheal's horn are anything but rolled off.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeESP9
    The Blue Point Special Evo III is a real winner at less than half the cost of the Blackbird
    I have been looking at that. If anything it's a wonderful looking design. There is a Pro-Ject/Sumiko dealer in town.

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I enjoyed the Blue Point for several years. Sounded smooth with great depth and soundstage. I did not think it was dynamic enough for rock but now I realize it was the Rotel phono stage.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  18. #18
    nightflier
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    Soundsmiths

    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy
    enquiring minds want to know.
    I have a friend who owns the SMMC2. I helped him configure the system which included a Pro-Ject RM-5 TT. To save costs, we put a Denon 103 cartridge on it at first, based on Arthur Salvatore's website recommendations, which used to be a site I learned a lot from. Unfortunately, the Denon wasn't as lively and exciting as the CD player, which he did like a lot (A Cambridge Azur player). I was rather disappointed because I knew there was a lot more to vinyl, and because I felt responsible for not having made the case well enough. It was not until he heard my Clearaudio cart that I was able to convince him to upgrade, and so finally he ponied up the money for a better cartridge. After some more research we settled on the Soundsmith SMMC2. You can buy it from Mapleshade for $650.

    Now that he has upgraded the cartridge, the sound is much more alive than it was with the Denon. What the Soundsmith also did was add heft and bottom octave energy to the system, and in my opinion it sounds much better than the CD player now - granted I like a warmer richer sound. I can't say my friend would go that far, but he's been very impressed with the upgrade and listens to a lot more records now than before.

    I know that the price of the SMMC2 is a bit steep, but you can buy the SMMC4 for just $250, and it is just as much a giant killer as its more expensive siblings. I haven't actually heard it, so I can't guarantee that, but from what I've read online, it's a very impressive cartridge. The only other Soundsmith I've heard is The Voice, which is a beautiful sounding cartridge, albeit at $2K it ought to be. Anyhow, that was not a system I knew well, used pretty exotic gear, and cost an order of magnitude higher than the systems we've been discussing, so that's not a fair comparison.

  19. #19
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    I have met Mr. Salvatore. My Dad used to frequent his shop back in the day. Hey Flier thanks for the link to Salvatore's site. I didn't know he had one and it looks amazing. I just emailed him to see if he remembers my old man. I have a couple of memories of being in his store (extremely bored as nothing could be touched), and him and my Dad arguing or discussing some issue.

    I noticed his section regarding his opinion on reviews. His sentiment goes along with what I remember about him, so I was happy to see he's not compromised a bit.

    Anyhow, thanks for the link...

  20. #20
    nightflier
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    You're welcome. There's a lot of good stuff there about TTs and Vinyl. I used to think pretty highly of him, but as I'm learning more, I have to say it's based a lot on his own personal experiences in very peculiar cases and not as much about what others would find in their systems.

  21. #21
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Like I said earlier, I have no real comparison points in terms of LOMC or even HOMC for that matter. I am rather surprised to see that you and Joe were unimpressed with the Blue Point.

    I guess I can't wait to see what else is waiting for me. l will put the Blue Point on the Ariston for sure. I am listening to The Brecker Brothers and the highs from Brother Micheal's horn are anything but rolled off.



    I have been looking at that. If anything it's a wonderful looking design. There is a Pro-Ject/Sumiko dealer in town.
    I wasn't unimpressed with the BP. I thought it was a good introduction to MC carts. It's a great appetizer. It leaves you wanting to know what a more expensive MC sounds like. MC carts have been in my stable since the late 70's. I was using a Dynavector DV-10X and the Orto MC-20 into a Marcoff. The DV was sort of like the BP. It prompted me to by the MC-20.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  22. #22
    Audio Enthusiast
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    What about......

    One cartridge line that hasn't been discussed in this thread is Shelter.

    I believe there is a 201 and a 301 that would be in this price range. Shelters have been sold under different and very expensive labels for years.

    I've read so much about the 501 and have been dying to hear it. How do these compare to the cartridges mentioned above? Anyone with experience with them?

  23. #23
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    les, i would search

    the AA archives for that info. there are proponents and opponents.
    ...regards...tr

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