Vinyl/TT Gurus Chime in! Cartridge Decision: Rework My old Sumiko or get a new cartridge?

My Quandary: I have an old Gyrodec MkI(I think) with a Zeta Tonearm and a Sumiko Talisman Virtuoso B cartridge (HOMC). I've been getting bilateral distortion usually about  the 1/3 mark way through my records. The cartridge is really old and either needs re-tipped and possibly a new cantilever or do I consider a new cartridge altogether. I've heard these carts are very highly regarded.

Get the Sumiko reworked at what I imagine is a pretty penny penny?


Get a new cartridge which will work with a MM phono preamp (suggestions please)

Associated Gear:
Lounge Audio LCR MKIII phono stage (MM only.. Not looking to change this)
Gyrodec Mk I
Zeta tonearm w/ a mass of 16g

Budget $500-$600 tops.

Thanks in Advance!!
Dear @birdfan :  "  I've decided to retip/rebuild the cart with Soundsmith. "

I agree with @dover  and @frogman  , the Talisman Virtuoso B is  an excellent quality performer and not easy to beat it, I owned.

The best is exactly what you will do: re-tip. Great cartridge motor, worth to keep that cartridge.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

Hey @birdfan, were you able to get your Virtuoso re-tipped by Soundsmith? I have one too and for a minute thought it was worn out but it turns out that the overhang on my tonearm was massively incorrect. Once I fixed that I am in Satori! I just wanted to add my 2 cents here and confirm the positive feelings that many others here have about this most excellent cart. I have had a small array of MC carts over the years (including a very fine Soundsmith Bohem that is no longer in production) and I can say that mated to my Graham 1.5t on my SOTA Star Sapphire, this golden talisman is a knock-out. It is clean and clear, airy and precise, and never shrill, bright, or hard. Despite its age (mine is from '91) it performs wonderfully. My system is on the euphonic side with vintage Tannoy's and an Audio Note OTO SE and this cart ensures that I'm not sacrificing detail retrieval at the expense of the warm pleasure of the other components. I find it to be a great compliment to my very neutral turntable but warmer downstream components. I certainly recommend it to anyone who is lucky enough to come across one. They're quite rare and looking at hifi-shark only a handful have come up on the used market over the last decade. I see one for sale currently for $1,350 which I think is a testament to its quality despite its age (since I wouldn't call this a collector's item whose price is contingent on being sought-after than as being competitive with similarly priced cartridges). The only reason I would ever replace it is if I bought an Audio Note IO (although that's unlikely since that would require I also purchase a costly step-up transformer). The virtuoso being a high-output MC is an advantage NOT a disadvantage because it makes it more useful without compromising sound quality. 

Cheers from Los Angeles!

Hey Esteborino


sad story.. I decided to get a new Sumiko and send the virtuoso to soundsmiyh for service. Not only did the shop I hired put on the wrong (but “equivalent” ) new cartridge the threw away my virtuoso. Beyond angry… not much I can do about it. The new Sumiko no 3 blue point sounds fine, a very middle of the road sound but nothing objectionable either.


thanks for your thoughts, though they only confirm what I knew, namely that the old cart was worth the rework.