Sumiko Pearl

Moving magnet phono cartridge

Item #: 782PEARL

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19 Reviews

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Out-of-this-world sound at a down-to-earth price

With its extended frequency response and groove-hugging elliptical diamond stylus, the Sumiko Pearl delivers the kind of gripping performance that'll keep your toes tapping from the very first note to the very last drum roll. Cymbal splashes come across as natural, open, and airy, while bass lines are rendered tight, deep, and tuneful. Even surface noise, one of vinyl's Achilles heels, is pushed far off into the background. You'll enjoy sparkling clarity and warmth with every disc in your treasured vinyl library.

Product Highlights:

  • moving-magnet design
  • 0.2 x 0.8mm bonded elliptical diamond stylus
  • alloy tube cantilever
  • frequency response 12-30,000 Hz
  • output voltage: 4 mV
  • stereo separation: 30 dB
  • channel balance: 0.5 dB
  • tracking force range: 1.5-2 grams
  • recommended tracking force: 2 grams
  • load impedance: 47k ohms
  • cartridge weight: 6 grams
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Sumiko Pearl Reviews

Average Customer Review:

19 reviews
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Needs Burn In Time

Written By Fritz F, New York on Monday, October 26, 2015

Playing this through a Philips 312 turntable I paired with the Cambridge Audio separate phono amp I also reviewed. It took a while for this to grow on me. Fresh out of the box the highs were not so distinct and mid range vocals sounded sound out of place and muddied. As a matter of fact the cartridge that came loose in shipment with the turntable sounded better. After experimenting withe tracking force and giving it about 20-30 hours of break in time the bass was tight and commanding and the vocals are starting to pop. The high end is getting better too, perhaps a little more break in time. All in all a nice cartridge for the money that makes a 42 year turntable sound great.

Pros: Affordable, great distinct bass and aggressive clear vocals.

Cons: Highs are a bit muted and takes a while to burn in.

Excellent value

Written By MarkA, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Purchased to replace an old cartridge and fill in until I am willing to spend the money for a new turntable, arm and more expensive cartridge. Tracks pretty well, images pretty well, pretty good bass, pretty natural sound. Just what I needed for a year or so.

Pros: Very good value for the money.

Cons: Slightly edgy highs but not so much as to stop me from listening.

Exactly what I needed

Written By plamarre, New York on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent sound! Way better cartridge and stylus than what came with my turntable. Virtually no noise. Brought the old vinyl back to life and then some. I recommend it to anyone.

Pros: Fast shipping, great price, easy to install and excellent sound!

Cons: None

A Real Pearl

Written By Stove, Bel Air, Maryland on Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I am in the market for a new TT to replace an old 'plastic' Pioneer but was quickly over whelmed by the many choices that are out there. I was also reluctant to upgrade to a better cartridge for fear it would out perform the TT, but I comprised and upgraded my Oyster to see where that would get me and was pleasantly surprised by the Pearl's sound. It has brought new my life to old vinyl. Deeper, richer base, midrange that reaches out and grabs you and clearer highs than I am used to w/ far less sibilance and distortion. Obviously the price can't be beat. If you need a quick, respectable upgrade and don't want to over spend, this is the way to go.

Pros: Inexpensive way to upgrade an old turntable. Great sound for the money!

Cons: None

Sumiko Perl

Written By Rick., Queen Creek,AZ 85142 on Sunday, January 18, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Highs &Lows,combined with the music hall usb, sound more like a concert hall.

Great sound!

Written By RobertZ, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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I am very pleased with the cartridge, it picks up full spectrum of sound, very pleasing. Plays my old albums without a lot of noise! Just bought a new Denon Turntable, sound great together!!

Pros: reasonable cost, received it in 2 days. easy to hook-up to my new Denon turntable. The Tech expert helped me with my choice, very satisfied!

Cons: None

Good value

Written By Jim, Corpus Christi, TX on Saturday, October 04, 2014

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I wanted to replace the Sumiko Oyster cartridge that came fitted on my Pro-Ject Xpression Carbon turntable having never replaced a phono cartridge since taking up this hobby centuries ago. After reading through every article and audio forum on the subject I could find, I decided to keep it simple and stayed with the same cartridge maker, opting for the Sumiko Pearl. Big improvement. The enhancement in musical clarity and detail was noticeable and immediate from the moment the stylus touched the record groove, with the most dramatic improvement with live recordings which came alive. Soundstage was open and life like, very good with low frequencies, though I did notice a bit of harshness in the high frequency range on some recordings. With all I've learned about turntables, cartridges, and the like I'm certain there is a more ideal phono cartridge for my Pro-Ject turntable, but for the money the Sumiko Pearl floats my audio enthusiast boat just fine. Again, good value.

Pros: Nice clarity & detail; open soundstage

Cons: High frequencies can sometimes sound a little hard with some recordings

The Pearl

Written By Ron M., Huntsville, AL on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

the stylus stands up for itself. not so easy to setup, still not sure if i have the correct settings. however i am still playing records and i love the upgrade.

Pros: worth the upgrade, for listening to nice records. love the sound. looks good.

Cons: little parts, measurements hard, not sure if I have them correct. called in not sure about the info i received, tried it did not work, so I went old school.


Written By audiofile, portland, or on Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

awesome sound and easy to set up.

Pros: high quality, great value

Cons: none

Sumiko pearl

Written By Roger Main, Portland, Oregon on Sunday, April 20, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Outstanding, versatile cartridge. Clear, honest, wide soundstage with great detail. Great for jazz and complex rock like Queen or Pink Floyd. Next best cartridge would cost $300.

Pros: Price, ability to replace stylus for $60, sound quality.

Cons: Needs a tube preamp to really show it's prowess. (I added a Pro-Ject tube box II).

Sumiko Pearl Cartridge

Written By FlyMike55, Baker, FL on Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Everything it promised to be from Crutchfield listing. Has brought new life to our Technics SL1200 MkII turntable. Sound reproduction and spurious noise rejection is excellent.

Pros: Excellent price point and cost/performance value. Comes with stylus protector and needle cleaning brush.

Cons: Lacks dimensional data which is required for Technics tone arm setup.

A Great Cartridge at a reasonable Price

Written By LynnV, Salem, Oregon on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I recently upgraded my turntable by purchasing a VPI Traveler ($1400), which does not come with a cartridge. On a modest budget, I had no desire to spend another $600 - $800, but wanted a cartridge which would bring out the sonic qualities of the turntable. I purchased the Sumiko Pearl ($125), thinking it would be a good starting cartridge which I could upgrade later when I have more funds. After setting up the cartridge, I am amazed at the sonic clarity and detail this cartridge produces. Highs are crisp and clear without being too bright, bass is detailed and ample. Vocals come through very detailed and clear without any undue sibilance. I am so pleased with the musicality of this cartridge, at its very modest modest price point, I have no need to upgrade. Truly a great product at a very reasonable price.

Pros: Very reasonable price, great entry-level cartridge. set up instructions were easy to follow.

Cons: Mounting screws almost not long enough to install the cartridge.

Good Cartridge

Written By jat3, fort worth tx on Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sumiko Pearl is a good cartridge at a good price, especially when used on the Technics SL-1200mk2. The Pearl's compliance matches well with the SL-1200mk2's tonearm mass, and, when mounted in the Audio Technica MG-10 magnesium headshell, using the forewardmost set of threads, alignment is perfect, per the Technics supplied alignment tool. This a real boon for those of us who despise the job of accurate cartridge alignment. Level the turntable, balance the arm, set VTF to 2 grams, arm height level with record surface, adjust cueing height to your preference, dial-in 2.2 grams of anti-skate, and you're home free.

Pros: Good sound, and easy installation.

Cons: None

Sumiko Pearl phoho cartridge

Written By Martin, Thief River Falls, MN on Sunday, May 05, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sumiko Pearl phono cartridge does a nice job of relayuing the music from my lps to my receiver, speakers, ect. The phono cartridge was easy to install and it came with the longer bolts, washers, and nuts. Which I needed. But you have to look for them. There hidden in the bottom of the box the phono cartridge came in. Again I like the Sumiko Pearl phono cartridge. It is a nice match to my Technics SL-5200 turntable ( OLDIE BUT GOODIE )..

Pros: Sounds NICE. All parts included. Easy installation. Very HAPPY with my purchase.

Cons: Had longer bolts from a previous cartridge that I used. Found the bolts that came with the phono cartridge two days later when I was going through the cartridge box before disposal...Hidden compartment in the bottom of the box.Cartridge could use some horozantial lines across its top surface to make the alaginment of the cartridge a little easer. All-N-ALL the Sumiko Pearl is a nice phono cartridge.

Sumiko Pearl

Written By Anonymous, mililani, hi on Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Easy install and picks up the sound

Returning the old to new

Written By John G, Forestville, Maryland on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After replacing my old cartridge with the Sumiko Pearl,it was musical nirvava,I have album's that are forty-plus year's old,and the sound that came out of my speaker's was unbelieveable!

Pros: Sound reproduction

Cons: NONE!

Great Sound Reproduction

Written By CPW, Hazel Green,AL on Sunday, October 07, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I replaced a Shure cartridge and I am very pleased with the sound reproduction of the Sumiko Pearl. I have a lot of vinyl that I have taken care of over the years and was thrilled by the Sumiko Pearl. Great product and I would recommend it to anyone.

Pros: Great sound reproduction

Cons: None

Best Value

Written By Anonymous, Columbus, OH on Saturday, August 18, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Smooth sound across the spectrum without any frequency being overloaded. You won't be disappointed here.

Pros: Good bang for the buck.

Cons: None

Excellent Cartridge

Written By Shermanm4, Lakewood, CO on Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent cartridge, beats my reference champ the Shure M97xe. Smooth as the shure, but more detail.

Pros: Price, sound.

Cons: None

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Turntable cartridge (MM)
  • Plastic stylus guard
  • Plastic case
  • 2 Mounting screws
  • 2 Nuts
  • 2 Plastic washers
  • Small screwdriver
  • Brush
  • Instructions

Product Research


Overview: The Sumiko Pearl is a moving magnet phono cartridge with an alloy cantilever, bonded elliptical stylus, and 4.0 mV output. The Pearl cartridge offers superior construction and sound quality with an emphasis on real world performance.

Compatibility: The Sumiko Pearl turntable cartridge is an ideal replacement for any standard 1/2" mount turntable or headshell.

  • Turntables: The Sumiko Pearl turntable cartridge supports turntables manufactured by Pro-Ject, Technics, Sony, Pioneer, Dual, Kenwood, Marantz, Denon, etc..
  • Cartridges: The Sumiko Pearl turntable cartridge replaces any standard 1/2" mount cartridge from Shure, Audio Technica, Ortofon, Pickering, Empire, Grado, etc..

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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a moving-coil design with exceptional resolution

nude-mounted elliptical stylus for lower friction and longer wear

high-output voltage for direct compatibility with most preamps, integrated amps, and receivers with phono inputs