Recommendations for Sota Star

I just purchased a Sota Star. This will be used in conjunction with a Conrad Johnson phono pre, CJ pre, and CJ power. Interconnects are Stealth PGS gold and speakers are Tannoy Turnberrys.

I love a sweet, relaxed, warm sound and am now looking for an arm and cartridge to give me just that. :Listening? Primarily soft jazz (Diana Krall, Holly Cole, Melody Gardot, etc.) and classical. Budget? Up to $2k for a used arm and $1k for a used (maybe new) cartridge.

Any suggestions or experiences put forth will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
I have had good luck with an SME 309 on my Sota Star and Cosmos. I will soon be trying an Audiomods arm, but I can't provide info on that yet. As for a cartridge, the Ortofon 2m Black is excellent for a MM. I use a Dynavector 17d2 for a MC, but I'm not sure I would call the sound relaxed. A Koetsu might be better for you, or a Lyra Delos. If you go used, try a Sumiko Talisman or Benz Glider. Both seemed to sound sweet to me.
I have used a Souther SLA-3 for many years with my Star. The Souther fits the Turntable design well, and after the set up (a pain) is very stable and reliable. It does require cleaning occasionally, but that is quick and easy.The current cart is an AT-150mlx, and until this year I used a CJ EF-1 as phono pre. The sound is sweet and uncritical, yet very detailed in the mids, like a good British monitor.
Thanks for responding Manitunc –

The SME’s are in the forefront for me. The series V is a bit too pricy, and so the 309 seems to be the logical choice.

Funny you mention the Sumiko Talisman . I once had one (the Alchemist) on a Conrad Johnson Sonograph TT, Sumiko Premier MMT tone arm. CJ pre and power and Vandersteens. I just LOVED that sound and therefore have been considering another. However, that was years ago and I’m not sure how it would stack up to more current models like the Benz or Dynavector.

If you would be so kind as to respond one more time, how would you rate the Sumiko Talisman (was it the Achemist you had?) in comparison to some of the other models you mentioned?

Thank you,


Thanks for responding. Honestly, I am not familiar with the Souther SLA-3 but am going to research it.

How did you like your EF-1? There was one for sale on AGon about 2-3 months ago and I wish I had bought it. Currently, I’m posting a “wanted” ad for a CJ phono-pre.

Thanks again,