Channel D Lino C vs. Sutherland Little Loco


Did anybody have chance to compare above two phono stages?
ilaz
I have a Lino C for over a year. And I have not compare it with the Little Loco. Both are trans- impedance  phono stages in very similar price range.

There is on feature of the Lino C which I would like to highlight. It is a battery operated device unlike the Little Loco. As soon as the stylus hits the vinyl, the charging mechanism is disengaged. And one can listen for 24 hours on a full charge. 15 - 20 minutes after a listening session, the charging mechanism kicks in. The charging design works flawless. 

However, I use a Trans - Fi Terminator linear tracking tonearm. The phono cable runs nude from cartridge to phono. As the cable is unshielded, the charging mechanism will not kick in. The shielding solution proves elusive thus far. I need to manually unplug the cable after each listening. I doubt this will be an issue for 95% of you. But it is an issue with me. 

I, too, would be interested in hearing comparison between the two phono stages. 
Thank you for your post, ledoux1238!
May I ask what cartridge(s) you use with the Lino C and how do you like the sound of it?
ilaz, I am a real Channel D fan. I have been using Pure Music and Pure Vinyl for years. The Lino C is an excellent phono stage. It has several advantages over the Sutherland Little Loco. 1st is the battery power supply. It is by far the best way to power a phono stage unless you are using a tonearm with an unshielded cable. The Lino C has balanced inputs. Phono cartridges are naturally balanced devices. Most of the finest phono stages now have balanced inputs. The Lino C has can bypass it's RIAA correction circuit. This allows you to use the extremely accurate ultra low distortion computer based RIAA correction in the Pure Vinyl program. Pure vinyl will play and record your records to your hard drive and catalog them automatically. This is very useful for several reasons. As an example if you want to compare a reissue to an original pressing you record both to the hard drive then you can switch back and forth as many times as you need to make a determination. You can compare cartridges and turntables this way. Some people record all their vinyl and store or even sell the records. I personally prefer to play records the old fashion way. I use Pure Music (part of Pure Vinyl) to catalog and play digital files. 
I also like the fact that Channel D goes out of it's way to explain it's technology http://www.channld.com/seta/linoC2.html  Very few manufacturers will give you a dissertation like this. 
Sutherland has a reputation for making excellent products. I have never listened to a Little Loco. It's build quality looks fine but the Lino C is even better using a nicer chassis and surface mount technology. Sutherland uses the old through hole system. The Lino is certainly a better value. You definitely get more for your money. 
I plan on getting an ultra low impedance cartridge in the near future and will most likely get a Lino C to run it. 
@ilaz  Currently a Audio Tekne MC 6310, internal impedance: 2 ohm, output : 0.1 mV, is in use. I pair the Linco C with a Lightspeed Passive Attenuator. The gain on the Lino C is set to +12db ( max setting ) which translate to gain in the high 70’s dB. I find with my set up I have to the max gain setting.

The sound with the newly installed MC 6310 is frankly the best from vinyl by far. The soundstage is wide and deep. The instruments within the sound stage have snapped into place. I now know what is meant by the ‘air ’ between instruments.  It is sense of 3 dimensional volume, a kind of ‘halo’, that has emerged around each instrument. This is especially evident on acoustical jazz albums, both multi- instrumental bands or small quartets. Albums that have been played for thirty years have now revealed their true nature. This vinyl experience is set against the previous cartridge, the ZYX Ultimate 100, internal impedance: 4 ohm, output: 0.24 mV. In retrospect the ZYX is / was very good for the money. The Audio Tekne is a step above. The much lower internal impedance is meant to work better with the Lino C. And you hear it.

My sense right now is that the Lino C will keep step with even higher quality cartridges, especially of the low internal impedance kind. And that is how is should be paired. If you follow Framer’s reviews, he has lamented on several occasions that most with the means to acquire ultra  expensive, low impedance cartridges will mostly likely not use a Lino C. And he thought that was a shame. This is coming from a guy who owns a CH Precision, among others!

Thank you very much, mijostyn and ledoux1238, your posts were very helpful. I ordered the Lino C today, can't wait to try it!
@ilaz 
How exciting!
Rob is super responsive. We spoke a couple of time over the phone. And he walked me through a few impasses when I thought I was in over my head with the new toy. 

Do share your listening experience when you are all set up.

Yeah, I also talked to him and he was very supportive, answered my questions and gave a lot of useful information and advice.
Great thread! I'm planning on purchasing a lino C, my shelter 501 mkii is slightly right at/slightly above the threshold to take advantage of the transimpedance current power, same with the madrigal carnegie 2...  Mijostyn - have you narrowed down any choices for an ultra low impedance cartridge?   Are the Lino owners still getting good results?  Thanks.
@ ilaz,  I am curious to know if the Lino C has been delivered and operational? A brief summary would be appreciated.

@ Mikld,  There is an additional issue to consider with this phono stage. The battery pack is best used under 80 Fahrenheit degree. In my part of the world, we are over 85 Degrees almost five months per year. I wrote to Rob about this, and the hot weather will shorten the life span of the battery, although the 2.2 version has an additional mechanism to allow the battery to tolerate  higher temperature. 

During the past two listening sessions, my three month old cartridge suddenly clicked into place. Within the span of a single side of a record, the music came to life. The sense of a 'holographic' sound-stage deepened, the low mid and upper bass regions have solidified even more than before, and the sense of hearing into a 'live' venue has intensified. Granted it is the synergy of the cartridge and the phono-stage at work. But to experience a 'sudden' jump in Sound quality is a new experience to me as the  usual cartridge break in is a gradual process for me. No desire for the near future to experience anything except other LOMCs with low internal impedance into a trans-impedance phono-stage. 


Another great current-injection type MC phono stage for low impedance cartridges is 47 Labs Phono Cube


*more in this thread 
@ chakster I know you have been  long time advocate of the virtues of MM's and NOS MC's. And I do recall coming across  threads where you mentioned 47 Labs electronics, but did not know until now it included their current mode phono stage. I have a few questions:
1. Have you heard other current mode phonos?
2. Do the current mode phono exhibit less of a sonic signature?
3. Vis-a-vis your arsenal of MMs', how does a LOMC through a current mode phono compare?
4.  For a MM guy, why did you venture into current mode phono territory?

I know these are very generalized questions, but would appreciate some feedback.

BTW, I had been interested recently in a ZYX Ulitmate Dynamic, .15 mv output with a 12 ohm internal impedance. Rob Robinson, the designer of Lino C, claims that it would be compatible. However, i use a passive preamp and would be a bit concerned with not enough gain.
Post removed 
Plenty of these current mode around
Goldmund
Van den hul
CH Precision
Nibiru
BMC phono

Beware though with current mode input there is a risk of micro currents running back through the coils of your precious MC and burning them out.

Allaerts in particular warns about this, he uses super fine coil wire.

I've heard the Nibiru & BMC - they are very sensitive to cartridge impedance, you really need ultra low impedance cartdiges, above 7-10 ohms internal impedance they become flaky.
@ chakster I know you have been long time advocate of the virtues of MM’s and NOS MC’s. And I do recall coming across threads where you mentioned 47 Labs electronics, but did not know until now it included their current mode phono stage. I have a few questions:




1. Have you heard other current mode phonos?


47 Labs is the only current-injection phono stage in my arsenal, but I have current mode power amp (fist watt F2J).


2. Do the current mode phono exhibit less of a sonic signature?

The signature of the current mode (current-injection) itself, in my opinion, is superb resolution, the rest is depends on a cartridge. Using a current mode require a low impedance cartridge (about 2 Ohms). Using a current model power amp require high efficient crossover-less speakers. So practically those devises have some limitations and they are good only with the right cartridge (for a phono pre) and the right speakers (for a current model power amp).



3. Vis-a-vis your arsenal of MMs’, how does a LOMC through a current mode phono compare?


Nearly all my LOMC cartridges are low impedance, but not all of them are quiet via current-mode phono stage (or other phono stages), while the best of my MM are dead quiet and without any esoteric devises they are excellent to my ears.

4. For a MM guy, why did you venture into current mode phono territory?

The statement in the beginning of your question is incorrect :)

I use all type of cartridges and all type of phono amplifications (active gain, SUT, Headamp... and current-mode). It would be correct to call me "analog guy", because I do not listen to digital in my system at all.

It’s true than my recommendations on this forum is pretty much MM or MI from the ’80s (NOS on MINT-), because this is a change to buy some exceptional stuff in this category (without paying too much compared to modern MC) and with a chance for a spare genuine (user replaceable) stylus that makes such cartridge exceptional. Unfortunately it’s impossible with MC because retipper’s parts are way different from the original parts. So MC is an expensive game full of disappointment compared to MM/MI.

However, my MC "cart of the month" is Miyajima, this is not a low impedance cartridge, but the cross-ring method is something special, this is a giant killer MC.

The rest of my MCs:

- Miyabi Standard,
- FR-7fz,
- FR-7f,
- Klipsch MCZ-10 Ruby,
- Miyabi MCA,
- Ikeda 9c III,
- Dynavector KARAT 17D2 mk2
- Shelter 5000
- Phasemation PP-300
- Ortofon SPU Spirit Ltd.
- EMT TSD 75th Anniversary
- Miyajima Kansui
- Edison Standard Wood
- Denon DL-103D
- Ortofon MC2000

.... and more (some already sold).

Not bad for "an MM guy" ? :)



But it’s true that collection of MM and MI and spare styli for them is much bigger than all my MC experience.

Some premium ZYX models were in my list of MC too, the last came from Mehran, when I realized the cost of exchange (they do not repair) for a new one (when the stylus is worn or cantilever is broken) is 60% of retail price again - I gave up! It was $5000 cartridge. Later I discovered much better sounding MM cartridges and some exceptional MC for lower price. 





@chakster , unless you have no music recorded after 1985, of course you listen to digital on your system. The DAC is before the phonostage instead of after the file.

Mikld, right now I am leaning towards the My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum. 
But now something totally different, I own two phono-pres;
Basis Exclusive and Klyne 7PX3.5 both with multitude of
amplification stages. Basis with 4 , Klyne with 3 . The sense
is to use the lowest possible by each cart. The ratio is ''the
higher the amplification the higher distortions''.The choices
 are: 40 dB ( for MM) than 50dB , than 60 dB and 69 dB. 
For those among us with many cartridges with various ouputs
this looks very attractive. What about you chakster? 
@nandric 
What about you chakster?

A provocative post, you know that everything Chakster owns is the best ever made....








until his next purchase.

His moniker should be Raul Junior.



@chakster , unless you have no music recorded after 1985, of course you listen to digital on your system. The DAC is before the phonostage instead of after the file.


Luckily I don’t care about most of the music recorded even in the 80’s.

90% of my records are from the 70’s if you read my posts on audiogon you should know!


I don’t care about reissues and digital.


My passion is true analog, so my records are records, not CDs pressed on vinyl :))
A provocative post, you know that everything Chakster owns is the best ever made.... until his next purchase.


@dover You know more about my next purchase than myself? Because my best list of cartridges does not changed. I’m open for new discoveries, but my top list of MM is hard to beat.

The sense is to use the lowest possible by each cart. The ratio is ’’the higher the amplification the higher distortions’’.The choices
are: 40 dB ( for MM) than 50dB , than 60 dB and 69 dB. For those among us with many cartridges with various ouputs this looks very attractive. What about you chakster?

@nandric  Gold Note PH-10 MM/MC phono stage with optional gain is universal, but I use high gain only for Ortofon MC2000 cartridge (exceptionally low output).

I have no gain in my line level preamps (they are passive), but my speakers are ~100db (super high efficient) and my power amps are under 2 watts (Triod tubes) or 5-30 watts (Solid State).

Gain is not my problem, volume control knob at 50-60% max with any cartridge.
Dear Dover, I think Marx invented the expression ''accumulation of
capital''. But, in some sense, every collector ''accumulate'' his
''darlings''. Now regarding my slavic brother I am not shure which
are his darlings?  Anyway he is my darling; the younger brother. 
However he is not younger Raul but new Raul.
The 47 Labs phono cube is very interesting, as current-drive phono stages go, but sadly it is out of production for at least a year or more. What makes it interesting is that, although many manufacturers claim that their current mode phono stage has "zero" input impedance, in fact none of them achieve that goal. (To their credit, the Lino people do not make that claim.) In fact, it would be impossible to achieve it, since zero impedance is tantamount to a short circuit to ground, a mute switch. There has to be at least some very low impedance at the input. With that said, the 47 Labs cube comes closest to a true zero input impedance of any that I investigated a few years ago. The closer you can get to zero (without actually getting there), the more it can be said that the unit is current-driven or to put it another way, the more efficiently will the current output of the cartridge be converted to a voltage at the output of the phono stage.  If it were me, and if price was not an issue, I would take a shot and go for the Lino, assuming you own a second phono stage to accommodate any cartridges that do not qualify for current drive. (I guess that is also assuming you use more than one cartridge, like most of the rest of us crazies.)
His moniker should be Raul Junior.


However he is not younger Raul but new Raul.


Being probably 40 years younger that Raul I still can’t hear a distortion in your systems, only Raul can hear it all the way from Mexico. So I must disappoint you, even with better hearing abilities at my age, I can’t hear that far :(( 
Post removed 
Well chakster try to look modest in comparison to Raul. In particular
reg. his hearing capabilities. This means that Halcro or Dover
don't need to fear critical remarks about their system all the way
from (big) Rusian Fedaration. However he deed not answer the
question which ''darlings'' are his ''real darlings''. As far as I know
he collects: cartridges, TT's, tonearms, records and (SILVER)
 SUT's.
Then we don't have anymore the ''cart of the week'' as in the past
but ''only'' cart of the month. The other question is how chakster
get the ''capital'' in Marx sense to buy all this stuff? What he said
to me is to me familiar from the first Dutch economist. Their idea
how to become rich nation was: ''buy cheap and sell expensive''. 
Alas Ricardo en Smit asked the question: ''what will be the case if
we all try to do this''? The Dutch forget to mention monopoly position
of their VOC company . (Re) inforced with wooden ships but
bronzen cannons.  The ''added enigma'' is why he needs even
silver SUT's next to his best ever phono-pre? 





@saburo Thank you for your cartridge recommendations. ZYX U Optimum is a bit out of my range. When I had the Ultimate 100, the ZYX dealer recommended a Ultimate Omega as the next jump in SQ. The Benz Ebony TR is new to me.
Correct me if I am wrong, but you have owned both a early Lino and a BMC MCCI and you feel the BMC to be a step above? Would you elaborate?

@chakster Many thanks for you detailed reply. I have completely misrepresented, and severely underestimated your extensive collections of MM and MC. The MC list you posted will be a guide to me. Though I am curious, there are a few in the list, EMT in particular, with internal impedance in the teens, I think there is another in the twenty’s range. They work with the 47 Labs unit? 
@chakster Many thanks for you detailed reply. I have completely misrepresented, and severely underestimated your extensive collections of MM and MC. The MC list you posted will be a guide to me. Though I am curious, there are a few in the list, EMT in particular, with internal impedance in the teens, I think there is another in the twenty’s range. They work with the 47 Labs unit?


Since it was recommended for low impedance cartridge I use it only with low impedance cartridges (under 5 Ohm) and it's excellent. At the moment my FR-7f cartridge (on FR-66fx tonearm) connected to 47 Labs Phono Cube and the sound is wonderful. 


I use genuine 47 Labs Phono Cube with Power Humpty. Not interested in clones of whatever products in audio, in case with 47 Labs products I really like the aesthetics, those units are state of the art design in my opinion. Someone posted a links to high quality pictures of the 47Labs PhonoCube and PowerHumpty. Beautiful gear!

Regarding the clone (and its circuit) read this
Saburo, thank you for your comments on the 47 Labs, BMC, and Lino current driven phono stages. Can we assume your opinions of one vs the others are based on listening to each on your own system? After doing my homework I had concluded that the BMC was my preference among all available options, based on hearsay and theory only. I was stymied with respect to an actual purchase by cost and lack of passion. Subsequently Dave Slagle of Intact Audio and Emia built me a kind of current driven pre-preamplifier to plug into the MM section of my Manley Steelhead so I could enjoy perhaps the lowest output low impedance cartridge ever made, the Ortofon MC 2000. It works very well.
I forgot to add a link to picture gallery of 47 Labs Phono Cube and Power Humpty.
There is also cheaper version called Shigaraki 4718 (on top of the expensive 4712 here, not sure why there are coaxial "in", it must be RCA).

This is phonocube with one power humpty (on the right), but user can add another power humpty for one phonocube (optional upgrade).
Chakster.  4712 is no longer for sale.  Not too hard to find on the second-hand market, if one is patient.  Not cheap either, once you add Humpties.
It’s cheap and NOT hard to find, several items available right now, I am thinking to buy another for myself. Retail price was stupid, second hand unit are reasonably priced. I don’t care about production, even if it’s discontinued why should I bother ? $1500 for current-injection phono stage like 47Labs Phono Cube with Power Humpty is bargain! For $2000 they are available more often. Retail was much higher for new unit and I wouldn’t pay such price!
Perhaps my memory if faulty, but I found one or two on Hi-Fi Shark for about $1500, but without Humpty.