Best SUT For Van Den Hul Crimson Stradivarius cartridge

Please suggest a SUT For Van Den Hul Crimson Stradivarius cartridge.
I currently own a Ypsilon MC26L Ypsilon VPS 100 Phonostage.

However the highs are high. Since the cart is putting out 0.95 mV, it may be overdriving the phono stage as MC26L has 26 amplification ratio.

Even the lowest amplification ratio Ypsilon MC10 is recommended for carts 0.4-0.6 mV. 

I am not sure if there are SUTs with 5 amplification ratio.
Ag insider logo xs@2xkanchi647
a few months ago I knew absolutely nothing about MC, but I learned a lot here and hopping about

In round numbers, signal strength boost, I think this is correct:

+12 db = x factor 4.0
+14db = x factor 5.0
+16db = x factor 6.0
+18db = x factor 8.0
+22db = x factor 12.0

this is extremely versatile with 4 low gain settings

they show it for $3,300.

they make several, some low gain, some +14db x factor 5.0

ortofon, single setting, ST-M25, +12db xf 4.0

Rothwell’s have too much gain for that cartridge, but some good reading

Facts, Charts, and Calculators
Kanchi, I am trying to figure out what you're getting from what you already own.  According to the Ypsilon website, "MC26L" sounds like the designation for one of their SUTs.  And VPS100 denotes their phono stage.  Since Ypsilon seems to use the db gain factor in naming their SUTs, I assume your SUT provides 26db of gain.  (I hate that they use the term "amplification factor", by the way.  It adds nothing, because what one needs to know is the turns ratio which indicates the voltage gain.)  26db of gain converts to voltage gain of about 20X, which means that the output of your 0.95mV cartridge would be seen by the inputs of the VPS100 as ~20mV.  I can well imagine that this much voltage (and much higher signal voltages in actual practice) might overdrive the phono stage and cause the distortion I guess you are hearing.  On the other hand, the VPS100 by itself provides 39db of gain or about an 89X voltage gain.  This begs the question: are you using an active linestage downstream from the Ypsilon phono stage?  If you do have an active linestage, take note of its intrinsic gain.  If it is at least 10-12 db, you may have enough total gain just in the YPS100 plus the active linestage to drive your amplifier to adequate output.  This depends also upon the input sensitivity of your amplifiers and on the efficiency of the speakers. In other words, you may not need any SUT.
@lewm the VPS 100 -> CARY SLP 05 -> CARY CAD 211 FE -> KEF Blade speakers.
I did connect the cartridge directly into VPS 100, but had to increae the volume to 100% to get enough sound level.
Which is why I am looking for a SUT.
Kanchi, Your linestage adds 17db of gain, according to the Cary website.  So, with the Ypsi and the Cary linestage you have a total of 56db (39db + 17db) of gain, which is a voltage step-up of about 630X.  Thus when the cartridge is putting out 0.95mV, the SLP linestage is putting out about 0.630V.  Bear in mind also that the rating of 0.95mV is for the frequency of 1kHz and the stylus velocity of 5cm/sec.  A large fraction of "music" will produce transiently higher output V. For many amplifiers, that would be sufficient to drive them to a decent fraction of full output, at least.  However, your Cary 211 amplifiers require 2.0V for full output, according to Cary. Therein lies your problem.  The 211 is a difficult tube to drive.  In lieu of buying a SUT, you could instead replace your linestage with one that produces more gain.  It's not hard to find excellent linestages that are in the 20db to 25db range for gain.  That would eliminate a whole slew of problems with matching a SUT.  And based on the typical cost of high end SUTs, the cost differential is not that great.  With a megabuck phono stage like the Ypsi, you don't want to match it with a bargain SUT. You stand the risk of losing the qualities you've paid for.

To answer your question put to Elliot, with any SUT, what you want to know is the turns ratio.  Knowing the turns ratio or voltage gain afforded by the SUT, you can easily calculate the load seen by the cartridge, if you know the value of the fixed load resistance built into the phono stage (typically 47K ohms, which is what Ypsi uses).  If you can find a SUT with a 1:5 turns ratio or a 5X voltage gain (there are calculators on line if it makes you feel better to convert voltage gain to db), the load R seen by the cartridge is 47K ohms divided by the square of the turns ratio.  Thus for 1:5, the quantity is 47K/25 = 1880 ohms.  For a 1:10 SUT, much easier to find, you have 47K/100 = 470 ohms.  Both loads should be easy for the vdH to drive.  If you don't like the idea of replacing your linestage, I would suggest you borrow a SUT with a 1:10 ratio and see how it goes. 1:10 might be fine.
It's something like EMT output
So stepups used for EMT should work well. Like this one:

Any suggestions for silver SUTs. Are silver that much better than copper?
@lewm thanks for all the explanation.

I have read about 10-20 articles detailing all about impedance (47K)/square of turns ratio and how to modify the load using parallel resistors at the out put and in put.

If I use 1:10 turns ratio, the cart sees 470 ohms. I also know that, I can calculate the parallel resistors I need to use to decrease the loading.

What I am struggling to understand is the following, what is the best loading for a given cartridge. 

For example: the VDH Crimson Stradivarius says optimal load impedance of 20 - 600 ohms, which is such a large range.

I contacted VDH to tell me the exact internal impedance of the cartridge.

If they say the internal impedance of the VDH is 20 ohms. Then how do I use that number to come up with the best loading. 
There is no one single best load R.  The only rule of thumb is you'd like the load to be about 10X the value of the internal resistance of the cartridge, or greater.  When you go below the 10X ratio, you begin to lose both gain and HF response.  The lower below 10X, the worse the phenomenon. And paralleling resistors on either side of the SUT is fraught with compromises and side issues; I wouldn't do it.  I hope you do also know that if you start at 470 ohms, using a 1:10 SUT, you cannot achieve any load R greater than 470 ohms.  Any resistor you  place in parallel at the input will lower the load R.  Some swear by silver transformers and others prefer copper windings.  There is no consensus on that except silver is apt to cost a lot more than copper. Ypsi make a 1:10 SUT that is likely to be well suited to your phono stage; that's what I would recommend if you are willing to spend the big bucks.  Personally, I think the SLP05 is the weakest link in your chain, and I would go for a slightly higher gain linestage, if it were me.  But maybe I am being unfair; I haven't heard a Cary preamp in years.
Yes, I realized that one cannot increase the impedance by connecting resistors in parallel.
I have a Ypsilon MC26L SUT for Ikeda Kai cartridge which has 1:26 turns ratio. 57K||26x26= 84ohms. 
I belive the internal impedance of VDH could be 20-40 ohms and 10 times would be 200-400 ohms.
In my case, the ratio is much less and what I am hearing is very high, high frequency response and decreased bass. 
I am not considering changing the line stage because I read good things about the SLP05 and does a good job with other cartridges.

@bukanona I could not find any EMT STX 5/10 for sale. Is the EMT STX20 silver coil? It has 10db gain and will be enough gain for the VDH Crimson cartridge.

Kanchi647, when you connect resistors in parallel you drop the impedance, always. I agree entirely with lewm. You have an excellent phono stage. You do not need a SUT. You need a preamp with more gain or amps with higher sensitivity.
As for SUT's what you use for wire make very little if any difference except with price. You are way better off spending that money on a better cartridge or tonearm.  

lewm (and others here) know this far better than me, I’ll do my best.

you asked "what is the difference between Impedance selector and load selector?"

look at all the KONDO photos, the lower controls inside, they have pre-wired 5 different resistors each side. you simply spin the front selectors (two selectors: l/r are separate), the individually selected resistor’s loads are indicated on the face.

open/40k/30k/20k/10k/normal. Perhaps lewm can translate those front load #s to a level of understanding.

note: less costly units involving various resistors might have internal parts/dip switches/resistors ... some that need to be soldered in individually after chosen, cost saving methods whereby you do the work, avoid shipping back to OEM for a change.

the KONDO’s upper front settings relate to typical cartridges listed, 6 selectable x factors, again, perhaps lewm could clarify the numbers on the face.

I do NOT understand SUT front indicators given in ohms, my FRT-4 face shows 3/10/30/100 ohm positions. WTF? I want/need to know the x factors which are only found on the spec sheet: 35.84x/20.68x/18.27x/10.55x It is inverse, lowest ohm setting = highest x factor; highest ohm setting = lowest x factor.

You are seeking the best COMBINATION of both signal strength and impedance out of a SUT presented to your MM phono input (typically 47,000 ohm).

Signal Strength

Your .95mv signal strength is uncommon as you know, so low x factor setting is needed, most SUTs are far higher x factors.

i.e. .95mv. x factor 5.0. Signal strength 4.75 (allow for some loss) lets say 4.5mv. I agree with you, 5x is good, 10x = 9.50mv is too strong.

i.e. allaso 6x would give you 5.7mv, some loss, lets say 5.5mv for round #s. I like that too.

i.e. my cartridge .3mv using my much larger x factor 20.68 = 6.3mv, say 6.0mv

5x or 6x? Having two arms, change headshell, another cartridge, to avoid adjusting preamp/amp volume when switching, I would choose the x factor 5x or 6x to get the closest matching signal strength of the other cartridge.

Impedance. Even trickier.

You do need to find out your cartridge’s coil’s ohms _____?

SUT Output Goal/Rule of thumb: cartridge’s coil’s ohms 10x or a bit more.

i.e. my coil: 10 ohms 10x, goal 100 ohm or more.

SUT Actual: 47,000 divided by SUT’s x factor squared.

working backwards: allaso x factor 6 squared = 36. 47,000 divided by 36 = 1305. 1305 divided by 10 x = ideal coil impedance of 130 ohms or a bit more. what is your coil’s impedance___?

i.e. my SUT’s optional setting 10 ohm equals x factor 20.68. squared = 428. 47,000 divided by 428 = SUT actual 110 ohm (a bit more than the rule of thumb for my coil’s10 ohm 10x =100 ohm).

perfectly clear?


all well as SUT math, but lewm’s comments and suggestions regarding equipment change/avoiding using SUT need to be seriously considered, as I say, I just got into MC/SUT a few months ago.

Kanchi, as you already know, your present SUT is a very bad match with your cartridge and phono. With a 1:26 turns ratio your cartridge is seeing 69 ohms. Thus you’re losing gain and should be experiencing an attenuated treble. But probably there are other issues causing an exaggerated treble. Would your dealer or Ypsilon maybe offer you a trade in, your MC26 for an MC10 (or even a lower ratio SUT, if Ypsilon make one)? That would be the way to go if you don’t want to alter your downstream components.
All the comments greatly appreciated.

Can you please suggest a good line stage/Pre-amp.

Wow Kanchi647, there must be 1000 of them out there. How much do you want to spend? Tubes or SS? Digital or analog? Are you using an Ypsilon amplifier? Answering these questions will help us narrow it down. 
if to count on fingers we have to agree about certain numbers
if to look here into vdh specs  example
you can see that output written like  - output voltage 0,65mV.
So measuring conditions are unknown and this figure is indicator. 
For example Ortofon writes in specs  - Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5 cm/sec; Lyra  5cm/sec., zero to peak, 45 degrees (CBS test record, other test records may alter results). So IMO trying it at first with 1:10 SUT is very good idea, it can be that cartridge output is lower or maybe even higher - you never know... 
@bukanona mine is Crimson Stradivarius which has an output of 0.95 mV. At the bottom of the page, it says Stradivarius specs coming...
@mijostyn currently using Cary CAD 211FE monoblocks. I also have Conrad Johnson LP260M SE monoblocks. KEF Blade speakers.
I don’t have any new experience with line stage, I’m using vintage McIntosh tube tuner/preamp mx110z, love it’s 2 MM phono inputs, so I went for a SUT to simply boost signal strength to preserve the existing phono sound.

It seems all their current cartridges are ,65mv, they must have realized the resultant limitations involved with higher .95mv. a more common 10x factor to current .65mv gives 6.5mv, some loss, say 6.0mv, high but not too much, allows preamp/amp to operate at lower volume settings!

also, .95mv needed more windings for that stronger output, thus a smidgen more weight of their internal coil, perhaps a smidgen less delicate movement, and less than common coil resistance.

you could try selling your strad and get their current Colibri

that opens up your options significantly.
Is MC2300 a good pre-amp compared to Cary SLP05? and MC275 version VI compared to Cary CAD 211FE. One of my friends is trying to sell the pair.

Post removed 
Before you invest in another line stage, you need to be sure that it has more gain than your present line stage. I would suggest at least 3db or 6db more gain, and then you could do away with any SUT. I would not go with the McIntosh, but that’s just an opinion. I also notice that Ypsilon  makes a SUT with a step up ratio of five, the MC5. That would be another good solution to your problem, if you can get a trade-in on your MC 26. I already mentioned the MC10.
I just had an idea I should have had at the outset.  You might consider consulting Dave Slagle of EMIA.  Dave is the man when it comes to SUTs and their design and build.  He can tell you what you need, or if you need it, and then make it for you. Be sure to tell him the whole story, including all your equipment.  He is a nice guy and totally honest. (Needless to say, I have no financial relationship whatever with Dave or EMIA.)  His SUTs are as good as it gets.
Another source to consider is Bob’s Devices. I have his Blue Sky 10 SUT that is switchable between 1:5 or 1:10.
With a $30,000 MM phono stage like the Ypsilon, you want the best possible SUT, which might mean spending some bucks. Likewise if you go the route of a line stage with more gain than the Cary. Either way. I’ve heard the Ypsilon and it IS special. Dave Slagle can also be found at Intact Audio.
Has anyone compared Audionote ANS7 vs Head TX4 vs Audio Technica AT1000T vs EAR 100.

Dear @kanchi647 :  Your Cary line stage has other 7db of gain ( 24db. ) connected balancved.

You don't need any SUT even with 17db in the preamp you don't need a SUT.

The only reasons of why you are thinking the SUT need is because the cartridge has lower output than the specified by vdH or that your Phono Stage is out of specs that it's not given you those 39db on gain.

Any SUT will degrades the cartridge signal  if the signal must goes through the Cary preamp.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
EMT STX 5/10 will be a good match for your vdH cartridge. you can use it at 1:5 ratio (14dB). it has silver transformers and I really like it's sound. another option is Kondo CFZ or SFZ with 1:10 ratio  (20dB) and if you wanna go a little bit further you can consider getting a Kondo GE-1 phono which has 34 dB gain.
Raul, You make a good point that the Cary can give 24db of gain if connected in balanced mode.  I guess you may be suggesting that the Cary could drive the amplifiers in balanced mode.  That is a good idea if the amplifiers have a balanced input circuit.  I am of the same mind as you; if it were me I would not want to add a SUT, but the OP seemed to be bending in that direction.  I am doubtful that the amps have balanced input, but the OP can tell us.
Yes, my amplifiers have balanced inputs. I am going to try using balanced inputs.
@kanchi647   :Ok, then do it your self a favor and try it. Through a test you will know for sure before you pull the trigger for a SUT.: 

I used XLR cables from Ypsilon VPS100 to Cary SLP05 and from Cary to CAD 211FE. The sound was very low. 
I wonder whether the "balanced" outputs or inputs on the Cary gear are just XLR inputs that feed single-ended circuitry.  (I don't know this for a fact, but Cary is not known for balanced circuits.  On the other hand, I am no expert on the current marketplace.)  Nor did I think the Ypsilon had a balanced circuit, other than possibly XLRs for use of balanced cables.  The VPS100 uses an LCR type RIAA circuit.  It is very difficult to implement LCR in true balanced mode; it would require very closely matched parts to work well. Also, a check on the Ypsi website says nothing about balanced circuits in the VPS100.
Kanchi my friend-you are drowning in high-priced shots in the dark that don't mate well. Imagine trying to decorate your own living room with a mix of post-modern, Danish, Queen Ann, and Victorian furniture, all bought blind because you thought you were getting nicely built stuff at a good price. Your domicile in Appallachia does not help (that is a joke-I love Louisville to your south). I gave you some names to call. You need ONE person who knows his stuff to guide you through the morass and integrate your system to something that is coherent and compatible. Personally, I would ditch the Cary gear, stay away from SUT's, and buy better cabling. Then get Brian Walsh over to make sure TT set-up is optimum. 
You have great equipment. My advice:

I cannot tell you how many times I have been reminded: KISS, keep it simple stupid. I suggest you simply solve your signal strength issue, change nothing else now.

Your original post was straightforward, and you already knew that wonderful cartridge's .95mv output is a difficult middle ground.  that is the ONLY problem.

You started asking about x factor of 5. That is the simple solution, KISS, pick a SUT with 5 or 6 X factor, keep your existing Phono Stage. 

SUT's do not change the sound, they are not powered, they get MC signal 'proper' (strength and impedance) for MM input of a Phono Stage which you already have.

Optional loading regarding impedance separate from x factor is a wonderful thing, probably more important for your cartridge.

I found one with future flexibility, 4 optional impedance settings (1 specific setting mathematically 'correct' for 'this' cartridge), and 3 other optional/future options, and 3 inputs, and importantly: PASS for MM (or high output MC). All front selections, no rear ..., no dip switches, IOW, flexibly simple!

I just added a 3rd tonearm, now MC; MM; Mono. balanced, ready to go. A simple switch on the face of the SUT, off to a single MM Phono Stage.

I retain the wonderful sound of my McIntosh preamp's phono stage for all 3 arms.


Hey I'm late to the game on this one but I have a customer who was using a Lyra Etna (0.56mv) with a 1:20 into his VPS100.  He wanted a bit more system gain so he went for a 1:40 and things went south quickly.  The highs got ragged and the sound brash and he thought the SUT was broken.  Since there is not much you can do to "break" a SUT I met up with him and put the setup on the test bench.  A 1kHz sine wave was fin in both setups but moving up to 10kHz showed what was happening.  The 10Khz into the 1:20 showed a slight increase of higher harmonics and moving to the 1:40 showed a dramatic increase which nicely coincided with what he was hearing.  

All phono stages distort at frequencies first and the onset of this distortion tends to be rather abrupt.  The nature of it is quite dissonant and it gradually shows up on dynamic peaks of hot recordings so it is elusive to track down.  I find that the current trend of high output (0.5mV-1mV+) cartridges and the typical high ratio SUT's do not play well together and a 1:26 into your VPS 100 is not a good combination.  This is not an issue with the SUT of the phono, it is an issue pairing the two with a cartridge with 1mV output.  Feed it with a cartridge with a 0.25mV output and it would be a beautiful combination.

I heard magic today!!
I set up Ikeda Kai with MC26L, VPS100 and used smartractor and Analogmagik to setup the cartridge.
It was pure magic.
The best setup I heard so far!! (my sound memory is not that great!!)
I would like to thank @fsonicsmith for letting me listen to his system which encouraged me to go for that magic. I had listened to a 1000K Greg Beron system 1 yr ago. 
Analogmagik really helped me to setup accurately.
I used my DIY Cables using helix geometry (I compared mine to high priced cables three different brands in total in 5-20K range), I don't want to reveal names and step on anyone's toes.
I made DIY sound absorbers and diffusers.
I leaned so many things in the last 3 yrs from all your help in the forums, articles, etc.
My VanDen Hul crimson is in for tuneup and I will report once it returns in a few weeks.
Great news that you found the magic.  The Kai with its 0.19mV output is a good match for your particular SUT / Phono combo.  In order to hear the VDH in a similar situation you would need to use it with something like a 1:5 ratio SUT.  The sound you had with the VDH and the 1:26 was simply the phono stage being overloaded at the input and is not the sound of the cartridge.

I heard magic today!!
I set up Ikeda Kai with MC26L, VPS100 and used smartractor and Analogmagik to setup the cartridge.
It was pure magic.
The best setup I heard so far!! (my sound memory is not that great!!)
I would like to thank @fsonicsmith for letting me listen to his system which encouraged me to go for that magic.
I am thrilled for you and for me. For me that you were not too pissed off at my dismissive post above. I suspect that Dave of Intactaudio is right about what went wrong with your previous attempt at using an SUT but we still have no insight as to what went wrong with all of your previous attempts to get good sound. The alignment only accounts for the very last 5-10% and as I have told you many times-most times you can slam your cartridge all the way forward and as long as you have VTF, azimuth, and SRA correct, you will get very good sound. So forgive me if I doubt that the alignment software is what got you over the hurdle. 
I continue to think that your Cary preamp must be part of your previous problems. I continue to think that the IC's from phono stage to phono pre must be top-tier. You may be getting great sound now but how will you be feeling about the sound two months from now with continued listening? 
At the level of price you are working with it is a shame not to use component synergy to your advantage rather than working against it. 
But truly, I am still thrilled for you that your efforts have finally begun to pay off. 
Kanchi, I don’t know why this is some sort of revelation. Even you in your opening post suggested that the MC26 might be a bad match for your new cartridge. I’m glad Dave and fsonic joined in to nudge you into proving it for yourself. The pathway for a permanent cure, if you want to continue to use the high output vdh, is now laid out before you.
@lewm i always knew that VDH is a poor combination with MC26L. Which is why I asked which was the best SUT.
then I went on and learned about impedance matching, what exactly it means, etc
i had email exchanges with Dave who even sent me different data how SUTs work..
I even experimented with changing the input loading and output loading..
I am learning and having fun!!
@fsonicsmith even though your post sounded dismissive, your intentions behind the post was for me the get the best sound out of my system..
when I met you, my skill and audio knowledge was let’s say 1, now I have come a long way.
of-course I spoke to many you referred me and learned form many on the way..
I learned about room acoustics, made my own diffusers and absorbers.. I will compare mine to still points in the future..
I learned a heck of a lot about cable design, material, dielectrics and terminations.. experimented and made my own DIY ICs, speaker cables and power cables..
I also ran 3 dedicated 20amp lines..
that’s my personality, learn and improve!!