My Journey With SUTs

Shuggie

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Sep 9, 2020
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The Sculpture A Mini Nano Step Up sounds very interesting....the UK importer is not very far from me (40km) so I think worthwhile checking out.

Yes, the Sculpture A SUTs are really rather lovely and perform way better than their price tag might suggest, so do ask for a home dem.
 
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bonzo75

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Visited DCC yesterday. This was also my first audio visit outside the UK since the pandemic began.

Since my last visit, he has replaced his SME V on the Brinkmann Balance with SAT, added Stacore rack, platforms, and footers, Thrax preamp that he is using to biamp with Tenor hybrids on mids and high of his Dappolito Focal Acoustic, Krell on the bass (previously I had heard Krell across the range), and he has treated his room with SMT panels.

I cannot say what each component does in isolation, but overall the collective sum is that the system is much more coherent, and not having room interference which was pretty high on my last visit. It is now just a coherent system with high linearity into deep bass.

The one thing that I could compare was with and without Consolidated Audio, and the difference is night and day. With the SUT, the system just breathes more, there is more oomph, better tone, better energy, better stage, and extension on both sides. The nuances are higher as you can see each note more amplified, like the system is finally being driven properly. It is lifeless and flat in comparison if you take out the SUT. Keep in mind his Allnic phono MC has a SUT, and his Transfiguration cart is 0.2 output which is very low, so the SUT is built to match the cartridge. Might make a case to not upgrade your phono but add a good SUT to the mm first.

With the addition of the SUT and the SAT, the TT set up is much closer to his Studer A80 then I remember. The Studer still has more body, tone, dynamics, and impact, but I could go back to the TT set up and listen without missing anything. He also had a Nagra IVS in the same system, and the brief compare we did, while the Studer had more bass extension, body, and tonal nuance than the Nagra, it was sol close that if I had to pick one, I would pick the cheaper and spend the rest on tapes.

DCC and another guy (who is a passive reader of the forum living in Paris), are in many ways like montesquieu. They have deep knowledge of classical music, and I always thought of them as guys who could live with simple TD 124 type set ups into small Tannoys and with lots of tapes and LPs rather than big systems. For them, the music matters most. Now while dcc does have some phenomenal gear in his main system, he did have 2 small systems in the bedroom, both with TD 124, and one of them with LM 805 and cube audio nenuphar. Having heard the Cube audio recently with first watt amps and also with an entire Aries Cerat system, I was most impressed with DCC's. Whether that it is due to the analog or the simplicity of the LM 805 or both, I cannot say.

What was interesting was that the Hanze hifi TD 124 with SME V and the entry level Phasemation cartridge PP 200 held its own compared to the Artisan Fidelity TD 124 with Schroder CB9 and Lyra Etna. The AF set up was better, with more nuance and ease of change in dynamic contrast, but these are more Lyra traits imo. DCC could confirm that if he swapped the arms and carts between the two. I think both TD 124s will be at a similar level.

The key takeaway I could identify was the SUT, but Denis can definitely add more color to the impact of each component, as not everyone will be in a position to splurge on all the tweaks.

I thought I would add this here as I wanted to draw attention to the SUT. Whether it be consolidated audio, Slagle (which I haven't heard yet), or whatever you have access to, start investigating by getting the one that suits your cart and use it with your mm input into your phono. I have also had a positive experience with the Ear SUT into Aesthetix IO Eclipse but the delta here was much more significant
 
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the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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Great to see you out and about again Ked. It’s always good to see how systems evolve particularly for listeners where the music matters most of all. It is a good compass to work with.
 
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advanced101

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May 3, 2017
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I think the Allnic H3000 SUTs are quite good for stock, especially since you can buy one for $5000ish. The Slage silver SUTs a step above.

I agree with you traveling again, living the audiophile dream.
I have on my list to hear a set of Tad/ Altec or similar this year. Hopefully Merlin’s when I travel home for X-Mas. Hope i’m inspired.
 

dcc

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Visited DCC yesterday. This was also my first audio visit outside the UK since the pandemic began.

Since my last visit, he has replaced his SME V on the Brinkmann Balance with SAT, added Stacore rack, platforms, and footers, Thrax preamp that he is using to biamp with Tenor hybrids on mids and high of his Dappolito Focal Acoustic, Krell on the bass (previously I had heard Krell across the range), and he has treated his room with SMT panels.

I cannot say what each component does in isolation, but overall the collective sum is that the system is much more coherent, and not having room interference which was pretty high on my last visit. It is no just a coherent system with high linearity into deep bass.

The one thing that I could compare was with and without Consolidated Audio, and the difference is night and day. With the SUT, the system just breathes more, there is more oomph, better tone, better energy, better stage, and extension on both sides. The nuances are higher as you can see each note more amplified, like the system is finally being driven properly. It is lifeless and flat in comparison if you take out the SUT. Keep in mind his Allnic phono MC has a SUT, and his Transfiguration cart is 0.2 output which is very low, so the SUT is built to match the cartridge. Might make a case to not upgrade your phono but add a good SUT to the mm first.

With the addition of the SUT and the SAT, the TT set up is much closer to his Studer A80 then I remember. The Studer still has more body, tone, dynamics, and impact, but I could go back to the TT set up and listen without missing anything. He also had a Nagra IVS in the same system, and the brief compare we did, while the Studer had more bass extension, body, and tonal nuance than the Nagra, if I had to pick one, I would pick the cheaper and spend the rest on tapes.

DCC and another guy (who is a passive reader of the forum living in Paris), are in many ways like montesquieu. They have deep knowledge of classical music, and I always thought of them as guys who could live with simple TD 124 type set ups into small Tannoys and with lots of tapes and LPs rather than big systems. For them, the music matters most. Now while dcc does have some phenomenal gear in his main system, he did have 2 small systems in the bedroom, both with TD 124, and one of them with LM 805 and cube audio nenuphar. Having heard the Cube audio recently with first watt amps and also with an entire Aries Cerat system, I was most impressed with DCC's. Whether that it is due to the analog or the simplicity of the LM 805 or both, I cannot say.

What was interesting was that the Hanze hifi TD 124 with SME V and Phasemation EA 200 held its own compared to the Artisan Fidelity TD 124 with Schroder CB9 and Lyra Etna. The AF set up was better, with more nuance and ease of change in dynamic contrast, but these are more Lyra traits imo. DCC could confirm that if he swapped the arms and carts between the two. I think both TD 124s will be at a similar level.

The key takeaway I could identify was the SUT, but Denis can definitely add more color to the impact of each component, as not everyone will be in a position to splurge on all the tweaks.

I thought I would add this here as I wanted to draw attention to the SUT. Whether it be consolidated audio, Slagle (which I haven't heard yet), or whatever you have access to, start investigating by getting the one that suits your cart and use it with your mm input into your phono. I have also had a positive experience with the Ear SUT into Aesthetix IO Eclipse but the delta here was much more significant

Hi Ked,

It was a pleasure to meet you again many years after your first visit.

A small correction, it is a Phasemation PP200 that is mounted on the SMEV. This entry level MC cartridge has been a revelation when I heard it at Ana Mighty Sound.

SUTs are a great way to improve an analog set up providing prior testing and correct matching. I have the chance of getting the support from a dealer who has multiple samples for testing. The associated phono cables should also match which can sometimes be a challenge as well.

You will need to come back as there is a third SUT landing in a few days as well as some new phono cables.

Kind regards,

Denis

 
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dcc

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Since Ked’s visit, I received my third SUT. It is the Sculpture A Mino Nano that was reviewed by Michael Fremer https://www.stereophile.com/content...urntable-sculpture-a3l-phono-cartridge-page-2. It has a turn ratio of 1:20 to match the Phasemation PP 200 cartridge.

6FC925BE-84DE-4451-A974-61E1EC24B5B6.jpeg

I compared it to my other TD 124/II which is fitted with a Lyra Etna and a Sculpture A Silver SUT that has a turn ratio of 1:15.

Though both turntables have been fully overhauled and updgraded the same way by Jaap Pees from Hanze Hifi, there are some major differences. One is fitted with a plinth from Artisan Fidelity, a non-magnetic platter, a Schroeder CB9 toneoram and a Lyra Etna cartridge. The other is fitted with a Swissonor plinth, a SME V tonearm and a Phasemation PP 200 cartridge. Both turntables have their respective external supply.

2D36113D-4BED-4C4D-AFF5-D2D424A8907A.jpeg

ED2A26E5-076E-46DF-BD40-BB17905E50CA.jpeg

796B9C0A-6D83-4453-997F-885FA47BB27A.jpeg

On paper, the gap between both turntables could seem substantial but comparative listening sessions in my secondary system are showing subtal differences only. The TT with the Lyra is more dynamic and gives a more spacious sound image. Whereas the PP200 without a SUT has a « dark side », this has completely dissapeared with the SUT. there is also an increase in dynamics as well as more quieteness. The Phasemation PP200 reminds me my old Koetsu Black but in much better. Remember, this is an entry level MC and I was comparing it against another MC costing almost six times more.

I should also receive a new set of phono cables developed by Ana Mighty Sound. These will be tested in the main system with the Consolidated Audio SUT.

79A36F57-90C9-4C6A-8BDA-9FE62A018E27.jpeg
 

bonzo75

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So how close are the two now with the SUT on the phasemation? Is the nuance and the rise through the dynamic range closer?
 

dcc

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The Lyra Etna extracts more from the LP: more highs and micro-details as well a more expansive sound with strong dynamics. The PP 200 is « flatter » however it is very well balanced and highly musical. The PP 200 has a « Koetsu like » sound but with some more spice.
 
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Audiophile Bill

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Mar 23, 2015
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Adding the copper/silver hybrid DaVa SUT to my DaVa into the MM input of my NVO Spa II has been a revelation versus the MC input. It gives more of absolutely everything. Again the parallel here is low 0.2mV output of the DaVa.
 
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Solypsa

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The whopping 1:50 ratio, which is pretty unusual ( ratios like that traditionally have been considered to require compromised performance from the transformer ), and which also 'reflects' a heavy load ( low number ) to the DaVa makes it an outlier. Who knew it would be such a great way to go!?!
 
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mtemur

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The whopping 1:50 ratio, which is pretty unusual ( ratios like that traditionally have been considered to require compromised performance from the transformer )
it is very common actually, I mean 1:50 or above turns ratio. I haven't come across any compromises of high turns ratio other than general compromises of SUTs such as phase shift and hum. phase shift, hum and more can also be present with active gain stages. it's all about if a SUT or active gain stage is made properly or not. IME transformers have less compromises compared to active gain stages. additionally it's not related with sound but a transformer has the highest efficiency among all machines.
 

Solypsa

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I stand corrected :)

Can you mention some other phono step up transformers at these high ratios? so I may learn more about them.
 

shakti

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May 9, 2015
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My ultimate SUT is the Phasemation T-2000 that I had the chance to test in my main system with its bespoke EA 2000 phono stage https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...o-stages-in-my-home-system.34341/#post-777960
My Phasemation T-2000 is one of rare step ups, which was able to improve every Phonostage I tried so far (from Boulder to Allnic)

I will have the chance to try out the complete EA- 2000 phonostage beginning May, looking forward to it, currently the EA-1200 makes me happy , not that flexible as my prior Allnic 7000, but for carts in the 3 to 6 ohm coil resistance zone a perfect match. The T-2000 brings a Koetsu definitely to a „next“ level.

The only downside on T-2000 is, the huge step up takes many hours burn in, before it really shows the magic.

The good thing is, the phasemation Phonocables do work fine with their step ups, so a good starting point.

To my knowledge T-2000 and EA-2000 will be on Demo @Munich High End Fair
 

mtemur

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I stand corrected :)

Can you mention some other phono step up transformers at these high ratios? so I may learn more about them.
For example previous kondo sfz has 36dB gain (1:63), current kondo sfz and now discontinued cfz have 34dB gain (1:50). Old ortofon T-3000 (1:32) and T-2000 (1:56) are great too. IME all those SUTs sound incredibly good without any compromises and I'm still using sfz.
 
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Solypsa

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@mtemur Thanks for the examples! I knew about Ortofon T-2000, I considered it an 'exception', but was not aware of the high ratio for Kondo Sut.
 
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