It's too damn expensive for me to get interested. Interesting idea but adding an box to the signal chain is often a mixed blessing. Cheers,
i am interested in knowing whether the device degraded the sound at all. I have mostly new albums and they don’t have the issues that I understand this product is supposed to help with, but have enough used albums that I thought could help with the crackles and pops that they have. I assumed you wouldn’t use the technology for the new clean album would you?
The following is in part a review that I wrote for the VPI Forum:
The SugarCube works as advertised. That is, it removes ticks, pops and noise on old and worn records, although not always perfectly. I have found that badly damaged records can't be saved, but for many situations it removes the majority of the rice crispies. Very often old noisy records are transformed and have totally silent backgrounds. Does it alter sound? I believe so, very slightly, but for me the trade-off is well worth it. I have cherished records, no longer available, and often used replacements seem hard to find or in some cases prove to be ridiculously expensive. My wife finds me gems in used record bins, but most of the time they are too noisy to be fun to listen to. The SugarCube is the best solution I have found for listening to many old records. To illustrate, I have a fabulous Janis Siegel record that is probably just a bad pressing and is out of print of course. I gave up trying to find a good copy so bought the CD. Disappointing. Just sucks. But now through the SugarCube it is like magic, I mean it really sounds great. I have a fair number of records that are noisy for one reason or another: Some are just old and have been played a lot, others are just bad pressings, some are scratched. If they play, the SugarCube can make them listenable in most cases. In a lot of cases, they can sound indistinguishable from new records. The device is not perfect, however, as there are those records that are damaged beyond salvation, or that are so distorted that they still are un-listenable. Perhaps they were played to death on an old console, or someone set the tracking force too low back when that was fashionable, who knows? But this thing is capable of salvaging a lot of vinyl.
Notes on setup. The SugarCube can be set up in a variety of ways, I put mine in a tape loop on my line stage pre-amp because I have two turntables, a phono preamp, and a step up transformer to switch back and forth between moving magnet and moving coil cartridges. To capture all of that without complication, in my situation the tape loop worked best. For many it could be installed in series between the phono stage and the line stage. Or if you have an integrated with a built in phono stage use a tape loop. Also, even though the SugarCube does not seem to interfere with the music, if the record being played doesn't need it, I like to leave the whole deal completely out of the circuit, which is another argument in favor of using a tape loop if you have one. Finally a word on sensitivity. It is basically not sensitive at all. Set the control at about mid-point and that works for everything. Very easy to use.
Honestly, if you have a lot of records there are bound to be some dogs and cats in the mix. Music Direct offers their standard 60 day return privilege. Only you can decide if the retrieval of lost music in your collection is worth it to you or not. The only downside to this thing is the $2,000.00 entry fee (oh and don't forget you will need two more sets of cables too). For me it is a no-brainer.
I have both the SAE5000 Impulse Noise Reduction Unit and the Burwen/KLH TNE7000.....I prefer the TNE7000, as it does not leave the random "thumps" when it removes the scratch sounds, like the SAE unit does, although the SAE does a better job on seriously loud scratches....I am considering the SC-1, and would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has used the SAE5000 and the THE7000 AND the Sugar Cube SC-1, with any observations, comparisons, etc........I would also like to know if anyone can compare the performance of these units to that of the Esoteric Sound Surface Noise Reducer.........