I recall reading an article some time ago by Fremer stating it tends to produce a polarizing sound that people either gush over or completely dislike. I have not heard it myself but from what I recall reading the clarity and speed of data retrieval produced are almost startling but possibly to the point certain aspects (vocals for instance) didn’t even sound recognizable to Fremer on some albums. I’d be very interested to hear a demo sometime.
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I had the pleasure of meeting Peter in NY earlier this year and auditioning both the SG and the Hyperion at his facility. His setup included top line VPI, two tonearms so I could quickly switch between the two carts, his preamp/amp and his monitors. (Incidentally, I was absolutely amazed by the sound of his monitors especially the bass response considering that they don't have a large woofer like a floor stranding .) I brought my own vinyl which I have listened to extensively on my system (AMG with turbo arm, Ortofon cadenza black, Rogue Audio ares magnum phono and Rogue Audio RP7 preamp and Stereo 100 amp, vahallia 2 cabling and Sonus Faber Amati tradition speakers.)
Both carts were excellent, but the SG was truly exceptional in its speed, articulation, tonal accuracy, sound stage, presentation, etc. I listened to classical and jazz only so I cannot comment on voices, but even difficult to reproduce instruments such as organ were near perfect. I listened for nearly 4 hours and stopped only because I had a 7 hour drive ahead.
I took extensive notes for both carts which I can share if you like. I could not find any faults with the SG (SG-6 stylis).
Peter is brilliant and so willing to teach and truly friendly.
I am placing my order for the SG in June.
This "not recognising vocals" criticism...I'm not getting it. Firstly, who knows what Frank Sinatra or Kate Bush or Peter Gabriel etc TRULY sound like? And I don't mean amplified mike on stage. I mean him/her singing for you.
I've run six top carts ahead of the SG, and not once has SG presentation ever appeared skewed tonally or timbrally to me.
It may be stripping some colourations that sugar coat vocals.
Put it this way, imho a fat Koetsu or cheaper sharper Lyra is more likely to alter vocals off neutral than SG.
craig has another of several highly compelling SG impressions, all of them consistently positioning it among the very finest on the market. Truly amazing considering when you get into that range you're talking more for the phono stage alone than the SG, which as a system needs no phono stage. It does however use a power supply. Which when that is improved then you are by all accounts talking a true cost no object reference system- yet still for less than a lot of those same cost no object phono stages alone, to say nothing of the cartridge. A stone bargain. Which is why its at the very top of my list.
This "not recognising vocals" criticism...I'm not getting it.
Hey, just the messenger here as I recall what I read. I did have the same thought...what's the point of reference?...your onw system? Fremer usually is able to take such viewpoints into consideration when making statements like that so I felt it perhaps had some merit for discussion anyway.
I found a link to the article from 2011. Here are a couple of quotes that stuck in my memory:
This character had me pulling out records like the Byrds' chimey first album, Mr. Tambourine Man (LP, Columbia). Roger McGuinn's 12-string Rickenbacker and the constantly rattling tambourine were reproduced with greater clarity, authority, and purity than I've ever heard, yet neither sounded too bright or edgy. On the other hand, McGuinn's voice was less coherent; its timbre was slightly off, making his very well-known voice less recognizable. But if you try to predict how familiar recordings will sound with the Strain Gauge, you'll probably be wrong much of the time. As with the Decca cartridges, I found that how a particular record, or a particular instrument on that record, would sound through the Strain Gauge was not at all predictable.
There's a banjo part in Virgil Thomson's The Plow that Broke the Plains, performed by Leopold Stokowski and the Symphony of the Air (LP, Vanguard VSD 2095). Through the Strain Gauge, it had a startlingly distinctive metallic ring that some would think realistic but others might find hyped-up and "hi-fi"–ish. It was in that region of the spectrum—cymbals, banjo, plucked guitar strings, etc.—where the Strain Gauge's most distinctive personality trait manifested itself.
Here's a link to the article. https://www.stereophile.com/content/soundsmith-strain-gauge-sg-200-phono-cartridge-system
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