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Sumiko Rainer Moving Magnet Cartridge – REVIEW BY ENJOY THE MUSIC.COM

Enjoy the Music

Enjoy the Music

Sumiko Rainer Shifting Magnet Cartridge
Happiness is a heat (vinyl LP) hug.
Evaluation By Paul Schumann

Sumiko Rainer

Once I was child in elementary faculty, considered one of my favourite occasions was once I had the prospect to order books type the Scholastic E-book Membership. The instructor would move out a bit pamphlet with books to select from, you’d examine the bins of the books you needed, then presto, they arrive a few month later. In fact, my mother and father must pay for them, however they have been so low cost! By the point I used to be in Junior Excessive, I had a fairly good little library. One of many books I had in my assortment was entitled “Happiness Is A Heat Hug”. Once I began scripting this evaluate, I remembered this e-book. I’ll get to that later.

Sumiko, in fact, is likely one of the commonplace bearers of the analog world. Because the 1980s they’ve been making each moving-magnet and moving-coil phono cartridges of extremely-high high quality. Their iconic Blue Level Particular set the usual for a cheap Shifting Coil (MC) with top-of-the-line efficiency. So, when Benefit from the‘s Artistic Director Steven R. Rochlin requested if anybody was involved in reviewing their Rainer shifting magnet (MM) new phono cartridge, I responded, “Hell Sure!”. Okay, perhaps not like that, however I assumed it. I did have a large worth vary of cartridges to select from in each the MM and MC varieties. Sumiko has a number of new merchandise of their Oyster line. I selected the Ranier due to its affordable worth of $149 and the MM design slot in with my system. I additionally consider that lower-priced choices of a line are a bargain-hunters dream, since they’ve a lot of the identical DNA of their pricier siblings.

Sumiko Phono Cartridges

As I stated, the Ranier is a MM cartridge is a part of the Oyster Line. The Oyster Line incorporates Sumiko’s price-conscious choices. This line is a mix of MM and MC cartridges; all are excessive output besides the Blue Level Particular EVO III low-output mannequin. On this line there are seven shifting magnet cartridges, 4 of which have been just lately launched. These 4 are the Amethyst, the Moonstone, the Olympia, and the Ranier. The Ranier is the bottom priced of the 4 new members to the household. All of those cartridges share many comparable options. In addition to being all shifting magnets, all of them have the identical physique sort, pure copper wiring, similar mass, monitoring drive and cargo impedance. As you go up the road, the large variations are within the cantilever and stylus form.

Sumiko Rainer

Whereas Ranier and Olympia have aluminum pipe cantilevers, the Amethyst and Moonstone are product of thinner zero.5MM aluminum. The stylus shapes additionally improve in complexity as you progress up in worth. The Ranier has an elliptical stylus, the Olympia and Moonstone share the zero.three x zero.7 micron elliptical, and the Amethyst has a nude Line-Contact. The cantilever/stylus meeting for the underside three are interchangeable, so you can improve should you wished. The Amethyst has a totally totally different generator meeting.

One of many enjoyable features of reviewing is opening up the field to see what’s inside. An essential aesthetic facet of Japanese tradition is presentation. The Ranier has this in spades. It is available in a chic miniature picket field that had an exquisite perfume. A number of screws and washers are with it to seek out the right match. Despite the fact that the Ranier is the a lower-priced providing, it will get the white-glove remedy. As soon as I obtained the Ranier out of the field, I noticed one thing; I’d by no means mounted a cartridge myself. Prior to now once I’ve purchased cartridges, I’d all the time introduced my turntable in for the vendor to mount it. Fortunately there all types of internet sites on the market to assist. Fortunate for me Benefit from the has a free cartridge alignment protractor, plus an Excel spreadsheet to make a customized protractor for those who so want. I printed it out and set issues up. No drawback.

Earlier than I transfer on to the evaluation, let me clarify my vinyl setup. I’ve had the identical turntable because the early eighties, a Yamaha P-350. It’s a belt pushed semiautomatic. I’ve modified it through the years with an upgraded mat and wiring, and tonearm wrap. All of those, particularly the tonearm wrap, cleaned up the sound fairly a bit. I additionally use a do-it-yourself document clamp made from mayo lid (I informed you I used to be low cost). My phono stage is a Creek OBH-Eight, which I bought within the late nineties. It’s clear and balanced and I’ve by no means been in a rush to exchange it.

Additionally, let me talk about my relationship to vinyl. I’m truly sufficiently old to recollect music earlier than there was digital. I’ve purchased 200 LPs myself. I’ve additionally inherited some through the years, so now my assortment is nicely over 400 albums. I even have some 78s I’m unsure what to do with proper now. So, whereas a lot of the music I take heed to now’s in a digital format, there are occasions once I pull out the vinyl to make a journey down reminiscence lane. Sadly, a few of them are fairly properly performed, so pops, clicks and inner-grove distortion do play an element.

Sumiko Rainer

The Joys Of Music on Vinyl LP

It’s humorous how one’s thoughts works. Even since Amazon began their “Give a Little Bit” marketing campaign, I’ve been craving the Supertramp’s unique. Fortunately for me, I’ve “Even within the Quietest Moments…” [A&M SP-4634] on vinyl. Supertramp’s albums have all the time been nicely produced and this one, even in a non-audiophile urgent, has all the time stood out. “Give a Little Bit” is a type of nice songs that begins with a easy starting and builds because it provides layers to the very finish. It begins merely with two 12-string guitars in each channels enjoying the identical chord development and Rodger Hodgson’s vocals entrance and middle.

After the primary verse, Hodgson’s vocals are doubled and the drums and bass kick in. Then on the break, the remainder of the band joins within the enjoyable because it continues to construct from there. On the finish Hodgson’s vocals and the 12-strings are layered throughout the soundstage, with keyboards, saxophone and electrical guitar. What’s to not love about that? So, what concerning the Rainer? Hodgson’s vocals the place pure and candy, the twelve strings got here throughout as full–bodied devices, the bass was robust and deep, and the drums impactful. Even because the track added extra layers, the Ranier refused to homogenize them, holding them separate, however nonetheless a part of the identical material. In different phrases, musical. That was enjoyable, let’s go to a different one.

My unique urgent of Genesis’ album Duke [Atlantic SD 16014] is certainly not an audiophile pleaser. For some purpose it’s on the recent aspect (boosted excessive frequencies), over compressed and missing any actual low bass. I’ve recognized that for some time, however I nonetheless love the music, so who cares? The opening monitor “Behind the Strains” has Genesis sounding like a band who has been enjoying collectively for over ten years. Speak about being within the pocket! Phil’s drums are speaker to speaker and makes you marvel what number of cymbals he has on his package. Tony’s keyboards are triumphant and stirring. Mike does double obligation on bass and guitar and exhibits off his chops on each devices. Who stated prog rock was boring?

Talking of prog rock, considered one of my favorites from ten years earlier is Sure’ The Sure Album [Atlantic SD 19131]. Arguably one in every of their greatest albums, it options, for the primary time, the superb guitar work of Steve Howe. Howe introduced a brand new power to Sure that they lacked of their first two albums, which might ultimately propel them to greater and higher issues. Listening to this album with the Ranier, I picked up a number of the fascinating tips in Eddie Offord’s manufacturing. “Starship Trooper” is my favourite monitor on “The Sure Album” and I observed some issues I’d by no means picked up earlier than. The track begins with Howe’s guitar up entrance on the best channel, Squire’s bass up entrance on the left and Bruford’s drums throughout the again. Anderson’s vocals are double tracked with no reverb in every channel. Within the break between the 2 verses, Anderson is entrance and middle. Then on the second verse, Kay’s keyboards kick in and Anderson’s vocals are thrown to the again with tons of reverb. The Ranier makes all clear as day.

Sumiko Rainer

Switching Gears

Let’s change gears for a minute. How about Brahms 4th Symphony by Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra [MS 6113]. Within the recordings Bruno Walter did for Columbia, he used a hand-picked orchestra. These days are lengthy gone! Some audiophiles sniff at these recordings as a result of they don’t seem to be the sonic high quality of the RCA’s and Mercury’s of the identical time interval. I’m truly not that choosy. I do know the string sound is just a little on the screechy aspect and the soundstage isn’t “right”. In my previous age I appear to care much less about this stuff. I’m listening to the music. Walter had this orchestra locked in tight. The 4th symphony of Brahms as all the time fascinated me. It undoubtedly is the work of an older man who isn’t making an attempt to impress anybody anymore.

What makes this piece so troublesome is that the tempos range a terrific deal. In some spots, one might say they decelerate to glacial. If a conductor isn’t cautious, issues can begin to drag in locations. Consider me, I’ve heard performances the place this has occurred and it sounds just like the orchestra has undergone zombification. Notably tough is the retard halfway via the final motion. At one level there’s only a flute, violins and French horn meandering via a fragile melody. Walter and the Columbia Orchestra are on prime of it the entire time. You undoubtedly can inform that the gamers know this music and taking a look at Maestro Walter greater than their scores. Music carried out with such dedication is all the time such a deal with.

At this level you’re in all probability considering, “Wait a minute, I assumed this was an gear evaluate, not a music critique”. Sure, you’re proper, however that’s the purpose. The Ranier is a really musical cartridge. Timbres are rendered faithfully. The rhythm and tempo by no means really feel discombobulated. Devices and voices have a three-dimensional really feel. The Ranier will get so many issues proper that it makes you marvel what mysteries Sumiko’s costlier cartridges can reveal.

Sumiko Rainer


Fairly a number of years in the past, a pal of mine from church had his visiting teenage niece come and play violin for providers that Sunday. After the primary couple of notes, you can hear that she had “it”. That really feel for the instrument. Her violin produced that lovely wealthy tone that transports you to a different dimension. I by no means did hear her play once more, however so far as I do know she has had a profitable profession in music and performs within the San Francisco Symphony.

Some individuals simply have “it”. The Ranier has “it” too. This doesn’t imply it provides one thing to “prettify” the sound. It simply lets the good tone of a positive instrumentalist or vocalist shine by means of. That’s the nice and cozy hug. I had by no means listened to a Sumiko cartridge earlier than, however now I perceive what all of the fuss is about. This entire expertise has began me itching to improve my entire analog entrance finish. However I’m not in an excessive amount of a of hurry. With the Ranier in place, it sounds excellent proper now.


Sort: Shifting magnet (MM) phono cartridge
Stylus: Elliptical
Cantilever Materials: Aluminum pipe
Wire Materials: Pure copper
Inner Impedance: 1130 Ohm
Load Impedance: 47kOhm
Frequency Response: 15Hz to 25kHz
Output Voltage: 5.0mV
Channel Separation: 25dB @ 1kHz
Channel Stability: 1.5dB @ 1kHz
Compliance: 10×10-6 cm/dyn @ 100Hz
Really helpful Load Capacitance: 100pF to 200pF
Vertical Monitoring Angle: 20 levels
Monitoring Drive: 1.Eight to 2.2 grams
Advisable Drive: grams
Cartridge Weight: 6.5 grams
Worth $149

Firm Info

6655 Wedgwood Street N
Suite 115
Maple Grove, MN 55311

Voice: (510) 843-4500
Web site: www.SumikoAudio.internet