Sumiko is not Japanese, but American and is both an American distributor and the company behind Sumiko Cartridges. Their Black Pearl and Blue Point Special are among the very best pickups in a reasonable price range.
This is also one of the nicer ends of the price scale, and the Moving Magnet cartridge Olympia is one of the slightly more expensive among Sumiko’s pickups.
Among other things, it has a replaceable pin, and you can upgrade to a better pin when the time has come to replace a worn pin.
Sumiko’s new Oyster series consists of four models. Rainer is the most affordable, Sumiko Olympia is next, while Moonstone and Amethyst are the two more expensive models. Technically they are the same, but the pins and suspension are better on the more expensive versions.
Olympia has a medium mass of 6.5 grams, and needs a pin pressure of 2 grams. It delivers 4 mV out, and fits in all MM inputs. Like most cartridges in this class, it is adapted to medium-mass tonearms, and most turntables.
The threads at the top make it easy to mount the cartridge, and just like with the Ortofon MC Quintet Red, it is easy to adjust exactly.
The Sumiko cartridge will be a clear upgrade, from the generic cartridges that come pre-assembled on most players.
The sound from the pin on the green Olympia cartridge, fits perfectly with pop, rock and rhythmic music. It may be reminiscent of the sound from Grado Gold 1, but here there is more dynamics, and tighter and control over the bass. Which is almost as full-bodied. The strength lies in the rich sound that gives bass, guitars and drums on Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy, depth and commitment.
The sound is more subdued on Radka Toneff’s Fairytales, where the piano is not allowed to sound as freely as from the Denon or Audio-Technica cartridge. The vocals are also a bit more withdrawn in the soundscape, which is otherwise well balanced.
The focus on details is more subdued at Olympia, which rather has its qualities in rhythm, dynamics and timbre.
With an upgradeable pin, Sumiko Olympia is an exciting alternative in the price range. You can start on a fuel burner, and upgrade to better sound with a better pin. Then Olympia is a good starting point. A skilled all-rounder that is easy to set up and easy to live with. It also has a favorable price, and therefore receives our clear recommendation.