Blackbird High – Out of Production

Classic Moving Coil Phono Pickup

Among our first Reference open-body MC cartridge designs, Blackbird has been circling audiophiles for decades. Fiercely detail-oriented via its nude line-contact stylus & highly rigid boron cantilever, it is widely known for its brilliantly airy highs, midrange clarity and full-bodied, texture-rich bass. Nuance around instruments and vocals are palpable, room ambiance vividly transcribed, low & high frequency extension sweet and natural. Originally released in high-output (2.5mV). Blackbird High elevates your MM system to the next level, then some.


The popularity of Blackbird High over years perpetuated much curiosity about a low-output sister — enter Blackbird Low. Bearing the same attack and presence as its high-output counterpart, Blackbird Low delivers a quieter backdrop behind warmer, more refined overall reproduction. Added depth in soundstaging also improves clarity & imaging across the board, reinforcing what we already know to be true in the Blackbird design — it’s a high-value masterpiece among reasonably priced MCs.


Trade In or Trade Up

As user-replaceable styli are not on an option for moving coil phono cartridges, remember that any of our MCs, functional or otherwise, can be returned to your dealer in a re-tip exchange — a discount on a new cartridge of equal or greater value — sparing you expense when your stylus heads south! Here’s how it works… The cartridge you own is worth 30% its retail value in trade. As an example, if you have a cartridge with a retail value of $1000, it’s worth $300 in trade toward your new cartridge. All trade-ins must be done through an authorized dealer. Note: our trade program is valid within the United States only.


Hand-Crafted in Japan

From Oyster to Reference, each Sumiko phono cartridge is crafted by hand in Yokohama, Japan — near the waters where our namesake Oysters dwell. We’ve selected by ear the finest materials that combine to deliver performance that has enlightened generations of listeners. Each design is thoroughly auditioned until perfected. Production is then executed by world-class cartridge makers with a collective eye for precision & quality. The result is a full horizon of cartridges eager to introduce themselves to your analog system — we firmly believe there’s a perfect cartridge for you here.



Design Principle
Sumiko Moving Coil Phono Cartridges Sketch

High Output Moving Coil

Mass & Dimension
9.6g, 17.1 x 20.5 x 28.2mm (WxHxD)

Solid Ultra Low-Mass 75µm x 2.5µm Microridge

⌀0.28mm Boron Shaft

High-Purity Copper

Internal Impedance

Load Impedance

Frequency Response
12Hz – 50kHz


Channel Separation
35dB @ 1kHz

Channel Balance
<0.5dB @ 1KHz

12×10-6cm/dyn @ 100Hz

100pF – 200pF

Vertical Tracking Angle

Tracking Force Range
1.8g – 2.2g

Recommended Tracking Force

Replacement Stylus Unit
Re-Tip Exchange (See Dealer)