Sumiko Blackbird, Shindo and EAR


Hi've recently purchased a Sumiko blackbird. It produces the best sound I've never heard in my system: Shindo monbrison preamp, EAR 890 amp, Quads ESL57 + gradient woofer. If you wonder about a perfect match, this is one. A lot of air, great warmth, and yet amazing detail.
ggavetti
Can you post pictures Gavetti?
You might mention what type of table/arm you have, since it might not be a perfect match in different tonearms.

Glad to hear you're loving the sound. I've heard that the Blackbird is an excellent match for my tonearm (VPI JMW-9 sig.)

Cheers.
The interesting thing is that I have a cheap Denon DP-500 turntable that I bought new just a few months ago, and the tonearm is the stock one. At some point I plan to upgrade on this front, but I am really happy with what I currently have...my ears hear a very natural music (this morning I was playing Sarah Vaughan's American singer, and it looked like having her in the room)
Are your running the Blackbird directly into your MM input on the Monbrison?
Directly into the MC input.
Ggavetti, shouldn't the Blackbird be connected into the MM input? The Blackbird is a high output MC that is designed to be connected to an MM input with 47KOhm loading and lower gain.

From the Stereophile review:
Like the Sumiko Blue Point Special, it lacks a body around the generator, and its highish output of 2.5mV means that it can be used with a standard moving-magnet phono preamp.
Play it where it sounds the best.
Good catch, Restock. The review says that "it CAN be used with MM..." My interpretation is that one does not have MC, he can use MM. But let me try it with MM and I will let you know how it does.
Post removed 
Play it where it sounds the best.

Well - most likely a cartridge that is designed for a 47KOhm load and 40dB gain cannot sound good into a 20 Ohm load and 66dB gain.

The Shindo MC input really only works well with a handful of cartridges (Shindo SPU and Miyabi).

Good catch, Restock. The review says that "it CAN be used with MM..." My interpretation is that one does not have MC, he can use MM. But let me try it with MM and I will let you know how it does.

That usually means you could use it into a MC input with a gain of say 55dB and a loading in the several KOhm range. In this case the 20 Ohm load of the Shindo could almost damage the cartridge as this is way below the internal impedance of the Blackbird (which is 180 Ohm). It should sound worlds better with the MM input.
Restock, I tried it with the MM input, and I think you're right that it sounds even better...not worlds better, but I find it a tad more transparent. Thanks so much for the tip.
** and I think you are right that it sounds even better... not worlds better, but I find it a tad more transparent.**
It sounds like the difference between a very good, well implemented tranformer vs. not going through a transformer at all. I think this may be the case here, and this would follow the less is more theory.
Ggavetti, glad to hear the MM is improving the sound.

One more correction:
The Shindo MC input by its nature is designed for very low impedance
cartridges (examples are the Miyabi and Shindo SPU), but of course these
two are not the only ones. There are some other low impedance carts that
may work as well (Dynavector, Lyra, Ortofon, etc.).

And of course you could use external step-ups like the Auditorium 23 or
Cinemag with the Shindo MM to increase the number of cartridges that work
with the Monbrison.

Rene
Very interesting, Restock...are you basically saying that you do not think the blackbird optimizes the capabilities of the shindo? thanks.
Very interesting, Restock...are you basically saying that you do not think the blackbird optimizes the capabilities of the shindo? thanks.

Ggavetti, the Blackbird should work well into the MM input (as it is a high output MC which is designed for MM inputs).

Of course there are always better and more resolving cartridges out there at almost any pricepoint. If going the low output MC route, I would use the internal MC in the Monbrison or external step-ups connected to the MM input to match the cartridge best. Overall I tend to like low output MC cartridges more, but matching a right step-up to the cartridge is more of an art form than a science and can become quite involving.

The Monbrison does have an excellent phono stage built in and it certainly would improve even further with higher resolving cartridges.
Thanks again. This is helpful.

Regarding more resolving carts, I would say that I am not too much in favor of extremely high-resolution systems...sometimes I feel like real life (e.g. live concerts) is lower definition than some of the systems we use to reproduce it. In the past, I was an amateur photographer. There was a Nikon lens that most people raved about...it was so high-def that it would allow you to spot micro-details about one's face that the naked eye would not be able to see, at the same distance. As I said, most people raved about it, but I thought it was way too high-def for me. I guess this kind of reasoning carries over to audio. So far, the blackbird produced the most real sound i've ever heard in my system...but I am sure there are many other carts that can do better than that.
FWIW, I ran a LOMC Ortofon cart (which is very low impedance) into my Monbrison for some time and loved it... then I tried a Blackbird and liked it _much_ better. Yes, a tiny bit of detail missing, but it had none of that funny, tizzy treble you sometimes get with LOMC. And is stellar in every other way, frankly.

And, yes, of course run it into the MM input...
That is precisely how I would describe the Blackbird...I just listened to the new Bob Dylan's LP, and found it totally amazing...very real
And, by the way, the Blackbird was substantially cheaper than the Ortofon (Kontra H).