Sumiko Blackbird MC vs. Clearaudio Maestro Wood MM

Finally buying my first turntable after I left the vinyl format in the mid 1980s. Looks like I will be investing in the recently released Pro-Ject Xtension 10. Sumiko offers a package deal that includes the Blackbird MC cartridge. However, I have heard great reviews on the ClearAudio Maestro Wood MM. I understand the science between MC and MM. But has anyone listened to either OR both of these cartridges? I have a modest tube system that includes a Primaluna Dialogue II and Sonus Faber Cremona Monitor speakers. I will be using the dealer installed phono card in the Primaluna to start with and then move up to a separate phono stage in (a while). I listen to Pink Floyd, jazz, female vocals, Louis Armstrong, and Dead Can Dance. Any thoughts? Thank you. Cal.
Cal, I currently have a sale pending on my Blackbird, but I haven't heard the Maestro Wood. I have read great things about the Maestro, but I was not very impressed with the Clearaudio Aurum Alpha that I owned, I know the AA sold for less than 40% of the price of the Maestro, so take that with a grain of salt.
I was very impressed with my time with the Blackbird though, very fine cartridge. Very detailed and airy with no edge or harshness at all. Maybe not the best rocking cartridge out there, as the bass was a tad on the light side, but other than that, it can hold it's own with more expensive cartridges.
Never heard the Maestro but you won't go wrong with the BB. I really like mine. Doesn't set a foot down wrong . Excellent value even as the price has risen.
I have a Maestro, and while it is nice, it doesnt compare to a decent MC like my Lyra Delos. Just doesnt have the quick dynamics. smooth, yes. Punchy, no. My listening tastes are similar to yours, and I always prefer my MC cartridges.
As for the Blackbird, it seems to be an upgraded Sumiko EvoIII, which is a decent cartridge on its own, so I suspect the Blackbird would be a better choice.
Dramapsycho, which cartridge did you go with? I have the Dialogue 2, with the Audio Electronics DJH phono amp with NOS tubes and am interested in upgrading my Marantz TT with the Virtuoso Wood cartridge. I have never tried a MC but did look at the Blackbird and was thinking of the Maestro - VPI Scout 1.1 combo. Thanks!

We have the original VPI Scout with the Clearaudio Maestro Wood cart. I made an equipment rack with 4 shelves of 2" thick solid butcher block.

I put 1-1/2" solid butcher blocks on top of each shelf. The butcher block pieces are sitting on SQ-Products Isol-Pads.

All that weighs over 200 lbs. When I switched to that rack system it was equal to getting a better preamp. Bass was tighter, images were more 3d, cymbals had more shimmering, drums were more hollow, and staging went past the speakers in width and front to back.

Clearaudio has upgraded the Maestro Wood to Version 2. The Maestro was already a great high end MM and now it's better.

I would highly recommend the Maestro Wood V2 with the new ebony body and stronger magnets.
I have owned both the Blackbird and the Maestro Wood (v1) and preferred the Maestro by a wide margin. The 'bird was only ordinary, about on-par with the Dynavector 10x5 HOMC. The Maestro, on the other hand, was more dynamic, more detailed, and better at both frequency extremes. It took a Dynavector XX2 MK2 to get the Maestro out of my system. I would expect the V2 to be an even better cartridge.
To finish this thread. Jessie Luna (West Coast Sumiko Rep.) turned me on to a package deal that Pro-Ject / Sumiko offers. The Pro-Ject Xtension 10 is $2,999.00 MSRP. Buy the table + the $2,500.00 Sumiko Celebration II package for $3,999.00 -- saving $1,500.00 off the cartridge. This package was just $300.00 more than the entry level table / cartridge package that included the Sumiko Blackbird cartridge. Really? $300.00 for a $2,500.00 Celebration II instead of the $1,000.00 Blackbird? So I went with the Celebration II. I have been loving this set up for nearly a year. Talk to the sales reps. They often know about deals that the store owners are ignorant of.
Congrats, and enjoy! There are always deals to be had, it's just a matter of finding them.