Sumiko Celebration 40 Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

All the Sumiko Reference series hallmarks are present and correct in the Celebration 40 – X-shaped coils, pre-tensioned suspension, good tracking performance and extended but 'bright' treble response [Graph 1, below]. We saw similar with the Palo Santos Presentation [HFN Jul '10] and Pearwood Celebration II [HFN Jun '20], from which this Celebration 40 is derived, although our sample of the newcomer offered a slightly lower 0.33mV/1kHz (re. 5cm/sec) output. Once again, there's a minor asymmetry in the generator with the right channel providing a marginally hotter response (+4dB/20kHz vs. +2.5dB on the left). Also, L-R cuts are ~1dB less vibrant through mid and presence, taking some 'heat' out of peripheral soundstage detail and focusing attention on in-phase, central performers. Lateral/vertical distortion is uniformly high on both channels – up to 22%/14kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) – not because the '40 is especially non-linear, but because it has an extended and revealing HF response. Stereo THD is lower at <1% up to 3kHz [dashed trace, Graph 2].

The 'microridge' stylus is well polished and firmly cemented onto its boron cantilever, and although its VTA looks closer to 26° than the claimed 20° and its 8-9cu suspension compliance rather lower than the specified 12x10-6cm/dyn, the '40 remains a very secure tracker at its recommended 2.0g downforce. On test it achieved ~75µm and kept hold of a high +15dB groove (re. 315Hz/5cm/sec) at <0.3% THD before losing touch at +18dB (~5% THD). Nevertheless, and bearing in mind the Celebration 40's low 7g bodyweight, a high (>16g) effective mass tonearm is recommended to push the combined arm/cartridge resonance frequency down below 10Hz. PM


Freq. resp. curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) vs. vertical (L–R, red) vs. stereo (dashed)


Lateral (L+R, black), vertical (L–R, red), stereo (dashed) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harms) vs. freq. from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Generator type/weight Moving-coil / 7.1g
Recommended tracking force 19-22mN (20mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 329µV / 0.7dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 8cu / 9cu
Vertical tracking angle 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability 75μm / 75μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 1.2–12% / 0.6–7.7%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) –0.2 to +2.5dB / –0.3 to +4.1dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 29dB / 17dB
Price £3199

Minnesota USA
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166