Sumiko Pearwood Celebration II Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

Although we recently looked at Sumiko's Starling MC [HFN Mar '20] the Pearwood Celebration II bears closer comparison, in both design and performance, to the flagship Palo Santos Presentation [HFN Jul '10]. Both cartridges feature a wooden sleeve, an AlNiCo magnet and long-grain boron cantilever but the 'ultra low mass' 75x5µm line contact diamond used by the Palo Santos is traded for an elliptically-ground P9 stylus from the Ogura Jewel Company in the Pearwood. Both cartridges have a slightly high 25-26o VTA at their recommended 2g downforce but both offer a flatter HF response, and better L+R/L-R symmetry than the Starling. The Pearwood's low/mid frequency response (20Hz-2kHz) is flat to within ±0.5dB leaving the output to peak at +1.1dB [L-R, red trace, Graph 1] and +2.6dB [L+R, black trace]above 10kHz [see Graph 1, below]. This is unlikely to cause audible brightness or emphasise surface noise, just as the ~20% peak in equalised distortion (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) at a similar 15kHz [Graph 2] will add no 'coarseness'. The THD is simply a reflection of the Pearwood's very extended HF response.

Like the Palo Santos, the Pearwood has a relatively low 9-10cu compliance and yet it boasts the tracking prowess of a lightweight MM. Few MCs surpass the 80µm groove test but the Pearwood steps up and tracks through. Via the stepped 300Hz test tracks, the Pearwood suffers just 0.2% distortion at +6dB (re. 5cm/sec), increasing to a mere 0.8% at the maximum +18dB modulation. Once again, few 10cu MCs will get past the +15dB grooves. Tracking assured, the 0.5mV cartridge output (into 100ohm) is achieved with a wide 25dB+ midband channel separation and a channel imbalance of just 0.4dB. PM


Frequency response curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) versus vertical (L–R, red)


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

Generator type/weight Moving-coil / 7g
Recommended tracking force 19-22mN (20mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 515µV / 0.4dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 9cu / 10cu
Vertical tracking angle 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability >80μm / 80μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 0.65–25% / 0.25–21%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) +1.5 to –2.9dB / +2.6 to –0.4dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 28dB / 22dB
Price £3199

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