My Journey With SUTs

dcc

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Mark Lavigne has recently shared his experience with SUTs. I just went through a similar process over the last months.

Until recently, my only experience with SUTs was that my Allnic phono stage H3000V has a built in variable SUT. I have been very happy with the Allnic. When I acquired the SAT tonearm, I was looking at a way to improve my analog setup and getting in on par with my Studer A80 and Nagra IVS tape decks.

A little flashback. At the 2007 Munich High End show, I stopped by the booth of Calamighty Sound, now Anamighty Sound, and had a very pleasant conversation on cartridge retipping. I kept their contact details. Ked has reported on this Paris based niche analog specialist.

In fall last year, I reached out to François Saint-Gérand, the Manager of Anamighty Sound and purchased a cartridge for my second system. François indicated that he had many SUTs that I might want to try. I did not accept his offer right away.

Several weeks later, Flyer and I attended the Analog Audio Show in Krefeld. One of the rooms that really got my attention was demoing two Primary Control Turntables fitted respectively with a Lyra Etna SL and a Lyra Atlas SL. They were connected to two large cans. These were SUTs from Consolidated Audio Berlin. Michael Fremer has recently reviewed one.

Back home, I found out that François was the distributor of Consolidated Audio. I contacted him an enquired whether it would be possible to test these SUTs in my system.

In early January, François kindly drove from Paris to Brussels and we tested several combinations of SUT (copper and silver wiring) that were matching my cartridge specifications.

I could not believe what these Monster Cans could deliver. There was clearly a significant step up of performance in all areas. I immediately placed an order for a silver wired SUT with a nano-crystalline core. Michael Ulbrich from Consolidated Audio made me a special edition with extra low primary inductance to meet the very low internal impedance of my Transfiguration cartridge.

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A pair of silver phono cables from François’ own Brand (Sculpture A) was added to the mix that was delivered in late March. At that time, the cables were a demo pair as François had still to build a pair for me.

We had agreed that François would pay and bring the final phono cables and review the turntables setups. Due to Covid 19, we had to postpone this visit to the summer. In mid-July, François came along with Frédéric Verhoye, his show room manager and we spent the whole day together. It was a very busy day as François and Frédéric had to take care of not one but three turntables.

François and Frédéric are mastering turntable setup like no one else. They spent several hours fine-tuning the SAT tonerarm which yielded in significant improvements. The gap between the main turntable and the tape decks has clearly narrowed.

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François had also brought his new baby: a little SUT from his own brand, the Sculpture A Mini Nano Step Up. This SUT has a toroidal nano-crystalline core and the winding is in 99,99% copper. It is available in several ratios. As I wanted to test it in on my secondary system, a ratio of 1:15 was chosen to match the Lyra cartridge.

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I could not believe what this humble little box could deliver. Suddenly, there was more air as well as a sense of relaxation and ease. The test was so conclusive that I told François that the little SUT was here to stay. François and Frederic took the time to improve the set up of my Thorens TD124 turntable.

This small SUT can also be paired with its matching phono MM stage, the Sculpture A Mini Phono. It is a made of 100% discrete electronic components and it operates in Class A without feedback. Though I have not tried the combination with its SUT sibling, I actually purchased this little phono stage for my son’s system. All I can say is that it delivers wonders at a very reasonable price. François and Frédéric also took the opportunity to setup my son’s turntable as they installed a new MM cartridge.

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I can only concur with Ked’s comment. Anamighty Sound is effectively mastering the science of analog setup in spades.

IMG_0546.JPG
 

Vienna

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Congratulations Denis.
Have they used a different geometry for your LM-09?
 

dcc

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Hi Savvas,

François and Fred had to set up three turntables and we also wanted to listen to tapes as they both have tape decks (François has a Studer A80). So we had a very busy day. I gave them "carte blanche" for setting up the SAT. Instead of using the SAT protractor, they used the Dr. Feickert one but with the same recommended alignment (Löfgren) and the exact pivot to spindle distance. There were some slight adjustments but the benefit was tremendous.

I have agreed with François that he will come back and spend a full day further fine tuning the setup (with Analog Magic etc.).

Best,

Denis
 
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Vienna

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Thank you. That’s very nice to know. To-date i had the impression that this tonearm would only sound good with the SAT debatable geometry.
Please keep us posted once you will have some Analog Magik measurements
 

Cala

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May 2, 2018
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Hi there ! Tonearm geometry is never really universal. It all depends on how the vinyl you are reading has been elaborated. Personally I prefer to use Baerwald geometry on short arms and Lofgren on longer arms, but... we kept to "SAT geometry" for Denis arm.

When you have different tonearms available in a same set-up, you can mix geometries and thus read your record with a chosen tonearm depending on where is your favorite track on this particular record. During my last trip to Japan, I met an audiophile who had set-up specifically one of his arms for his favorite track (ever). The geometry he used was optimized for less than 5 minutes of music on one side of a record. I admired his dedication nonetheless I am not yet ready to be so drastic. ;)

We used the Feickert protractor as a comparison point to the SAT protractor. Here is a photo of Frédéric checking out geometry on the beautiful SAT tonearm of Denis.

DSCF5717.jpeg

We had a fantastic time at Denis's home and are looking forward to spend the time needed to make the Brinkmann Balance work to its full extent but it already sounds not bad at all, if not simply amazing.
 

bonzo75

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Francois, Frederic is the guy who is better at set up between the two of you right?
 
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advanced101

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Thanks for this. You are not the first person to report a large performance increase when adding an external SUT to the H3000. I have it on my list.
 

Mike Lavigne

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nice to hear more about what great SUT's can do for our vinyl performance. and agree that this seems to take vinyl closer to the sound of tape (more of my vinyl now equals more of my tape collection).

i do think it's crazy to do a special set-up regimine for a single cut. but OTOH i like a little 'crazy' in my hifi life.:cool:
 
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iaxel

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Cala

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Francois, Frederic is the guy who is better at set up between the two of you right?

My definition of luxury when it comes to setting up a turntable : having someone you completely trust (Frédéric...) to do the first step of setting up the turntable and than me coming after that to put the cherry on the top... :D

More seriously being two to set-up turntables together allows us to have better focus, more attention to details and "out of the standard" solutions if we find some problems, speed up setting up parameters with the help of double-checking on crucial points. And as Denis might have noticed : we are really a team.
 
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howiebrou

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Francois,

I'm looking forward to getting my ebony headshell.

May be you can include a Consolidated Audio SUT in the box:p That thing looks a beast!

howie
 
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Cala

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Hi Howie,

I am expecting to receive them anytime now. as you know these are made on request. They have been sent from Germany beginning of last week to us but Covid-19 clearly altered shipping between Germany and France.

The Consolidated Audio Monster Can is the reason why I developed with Sculpture A our much more affordable Mini Nano Step-Up range... with which you can get a serious taste of the nano cristalline technologie... Do you want me to send you one for you to try with the headshells ? ;)
 

dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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nice to hear more about what great SUT's can do for our vinyl performance. and agree that this seems to take vinyl closer to the sound of tape (more of my vinyl now equals more of my tape collection).

Indeed the gap has narrowed by a significant margin. I still have some tapes that are remaining unbeatable.

The challenge is to find the perfect match between the cartridge, the SUT and the phono cables between the SUT and the phono stage.

There are so many variables at stake that a home trial is a must. You need to find someone who has got the knowledge and a rather large inventory of SUTs that are within the cartridge specs, not forgetting some phono cables.

We tested several combinations. In my system, a SUT with Internal silver wiring and silver phono cables were the best combo.
 

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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Hi Howie,

I am expecting to receive them anytime now. as you know these are made on request. They have been sent from Germany beginning of last week to us but Covid-19 clearly altered shipping between Germany and France.

The Consolidated Audio Monster Can is the reason why I developed with Sculpture A our much more affordable Mini Nano Step-Up range... with which you can get a serious taste of the nano cristalline technologie... Do you want me to send you one for you to try with the headshells ? ;)
Might be an interesting experiment Francois!
 
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Cala

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Working on it... I am sending you as soon as I am back from my holidays a Consolidated Audio SUT which will work with the Grand Cru of David and a Mini Nano SUT that will work with your VdH Master Signature XGW.
 

howiebrou

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Working on it... I am sending you as soon as I am back from my holidays a Consolidated Audio SUT which will work with the Grand Cru of David and a Mini Nano SUT that will work with your VdH Master Signature XGW.
Fantastic. Looking forward to it!
 

ICOREM

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Sep 10, 2016
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Howie
I was too interested in the Consolidated SUT - so did you have the chance to audition any of these SUTs ?
 

hvbias

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Jun 22, 2012
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The Consolidated Audio Monster Can is the reason why I developed with Sculpture A our much more affordable Mini Nano Step-Up range... with which you can get a serious taste of the nano cristalline technologie... Do you want me to send you one for you to try with the headshells ? ;)

Very nice, the "finemet" nano SUTs I've heard are the best sounding ones.
 

Direct Drive

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Sep 16, 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.
 

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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Howie
I was too interested in the Consolidated SUT - so did you have the chance to audition any of these SUTs ?
Not yet but some of our local audiophiles did. May he they can chime in. I hope to audition them soon.
 

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