Sumiko Blackbird Soundsmith Rebuild Level?

I have a Blackbird with a snapped off cantilever that I am going to send to Soundsmith for a rebuild.

Has anyone sent them a Blackbird and what level rebuild did you get? Level 1 ($150), Level 2 ($250) or Level 3 ($350)? I would appreciate your observations on how pleased or not you were.

Thanks in advance.
That is a tough one as the original has an elliptical stylus mounted on a boron cantilever. The SS ones are mounted on ruby and the $250 & $350 ones are line contact of one sort or another. Good stuff I'm sure but may sound different than stock. When I sent Peter mine with a bent cantilever he was able to straighten it; thereby passing through the horns of that dilemma. I'm listening to it as I type this. I was going to rely on his recommendations.
I agree with Wntrmute2....let Soundsmith make the decision.
Thanks all, I wanted to get as close to the original as possible.

I called Sumiko who told me they can only offer $200 in a kind of trade-in program....they don't do rebuilds nor do they have a program where they might take in a damaged one and give you a better break on the new replacement. All the company does now is work with their "dealer network," which means that's where you get the $200 off but even at that, I'd be spending close to $2,000 ($1,100 + $900) by the time I'm done.... Anyone know of a service that uses the elipticals and boron?
Try contacting Andy at

He may be able to help you. I have used his services before, not for your specific problem though, and been very happy with his work and the pricing.
Anovak ... check some of the comments on the Andy Kim (Chong) thread I started some time back. Many folks have good things to say about Andy.
I had a Blackbird rebuilt with the SS.
With the level 3, I found the cart nicer than it already is.

In my system,(tubed) the 'bird had a very detailed upper which at times, approached too much.

With the rebuild, seemed a tad smoother in a good way. Overall, worth the price and turn around was just over a month.

6 months later was a different story

Unfortunately, disaster struck again and I'm now considering a LO MC or a SS cart.
We can install Boron with ultra-low mass nude Contact Line. That should provide near undiscernable performance from the original, except with better inner groove performance. Althought it is not on our website, we do stock a large numebr of varied cantilever materials and nude styli.

Peter Ledermann/Soundsmith
That is good to know Peter!
Hello Peter, and thanks for your response.

I just received the SAE1000E that you did the level 2 rebuild upon. It sounds very, very nicely and I'm wondering if I should consider the level 3 with the Blackbird since it is a higher quality cartridge, from the accounts I've seen?

I did not know that you can do the boron cants. That might also seem to be a good option with the contact line stylus. I'll send you a message on your site to get the details....

Thanks to the others for providing insight, and regrets to Tablejockey....ouch! Or rather, I know just how that feels!