It’s probably best to ask Keith, or wait for one of our more knowledgeable members like Ralph or Al to chime in.
That said, I believe that your numbers are correct, that SUT would give you 3 dB more gain than the ones built into your Herron.
Still, I believe that any SUT is designed to be plugged into MM inputs, though I could be wrong. Most MC stages are simply MM stages with SUT’s built into the preamp. So I don’t think you should plug a SUT into another SUT.
Please let me know what you find out. I’m sure there are SUT’s out there with more than 24 dB of gain.
I have seen some with 30 dB of gain, like Bob’s Sky 30: http://www.bobsdevices.com/Sky-30-CineMag-1-15-1-30.html
I agree with @jmcgrogan2 that you should not run the transformer into the MC input on your Herron phono stage
From the review in Stereophile. The T-2000 transformer has 36 db of gain.
"At a ridiculous 0.05mV (50µV), there is no preamp with high-enough gain to accept this directly. In fact, there are probably zero head amps made that are quiet enough to be used with this cartridge, either, and that includes the MC inputs on preamplifiers (footnote 1). You must use a transformer and few of those out there are going to have enough voltage step-up for the MC-2000, You are pretty much obliged to use Ortofon's own T-2000—a veritable brick of a transformer, weighing almost 8 lbs!—which is (naturally) designed to be used with this cartridge."
Thanks, John (Jmcgrogan2).
Jeff, as the others have indicated SUTs are almost always designed to be loaded with 47K, and if improperly loaded can exhibit ringing or other undesirable effects. Since the MC input circuit of the VTPH-2 has a near infinite input impedance in itself, while providing connectors for external loading plugs, you could presumably load the transformer properly by connecting the 47K loading plugs Keith provides with each unit. With a 24 db SUT that would result in the cartridge seeing a load of about 187 ohms, not too far from the 10 to 100 ohm range that appears to be recommended for it.
***HOWEVER,*** 69 db + 24 db = 93 db, which would boost the cartridge’s 0.05 mv output under the standard test conditions to 2.23 volts, and the peaks of some recordings may result in levels as much as several times higher than that amount. Which in turn could very possibly overload the phono stage and/or the input circuit of the preamp. Keith could best advise on that possibility, of course.
So pending Keith’s advice my suspicion is that if you want to stay with the MC-2000 the way to go would be what was suggested by the others, namely using a higher gain SUT specifically designed for use with such a low output cartridge, connected into the Herron’s MM input.
One further point: Note that the capacitive loading recommendation for the T-2000 SUT, as shown in the datasheet Folkfreak provided, is 100 pf. That corresponds exactly to the specified input capacitance of the VTPH-2’s MM input, but the capacitance of the cable connecting the SUT to the VTPH-2 would add to that. So you would want to keep that cable as short as possible, and preferably choose a cable type having low capacitance per unit length. Capacitance on the secondary side of a high gain SUT can be an important consideration, because it will appear on the primary side (as seen by the cartridge), **multiplied** by the square of the SUT’s turns ratio, which for a 35 db SUT is very high.
BTW, I too use the wonderful VTPH-2, in its 64 db version, with an Audio Technica ART9 cartridge rated at 0.5 mv, with no loading plugs, and with great results!
Good luck. Regards,
I use my Ortofon MC200 with Luxman TYPE-8020 + TYPE-8030
MC transformer connected to JLTi MM phono stage (47k Ohm). The TYPE-8030 silver trans designed for cartridges with 1.5 Ω ~ 3.5 Ω impedance. I do not have a hum problems, but it is not the quitest cartridge and the volume control on my tube amp is a bit higher than with any other cartridges. My phono cables are Zu Audio Mission.
I think the T-2000 transformer is overpriced on the market, there are many other transformers you can use. Luxman is one of them!
The T-2000 is not ideal as stated in this Stereophile review:
"Even with Ortofon's own transformer, background hiss was a consideration, though not actually a problem. It was below, but not very much below, the surface-noise level of the quietest disc, and was clearly audible at "normal" listening levels when the arm was on its rest post.
Also because of the cartridge's low output, hum proved to be a greater problem that it ever had been with any other cartridge. The effectiveness of the cable shielding and the dress (orientation) of the signal cables is critical with a cartridge like this. When I first tried it, with Ortofon's own step-up transformer, hum was barely but definitely audible behind the musical program during any passages lower than moderately loud."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/ortofon-mc-2000-mc-phono-cartridge-page-2#omAueWq8yPrE1yJA.99
Still, I believe that any SUT is designed to be plugged into MM inputs, though I could be wrong.
ONLY MM (47k Ohm) input, right
Most MC stages are simply MM stages with SUT’s built into the preamp. So I don’t think you should plug a SUT into another SUT.
No, high gain MC phono stages with 100 ohm input (without transformers) are available from various manufacturers, some of them gives us optional loading, which is great.
There are MC phono stages available with built-in SUTs too.
Don't forget about the MC head-amps (pre-preamps) devices that are not passive SUTs, but an active devices designed to be used between the turntable and MM phono stage. One of the very best is ZYX CPP-1 headamp with 125 oHm input for MC.
Regarding hum this is an issue endemic to SUTs and the T2000 is limited in the facilities it provides to manage this problem. My preferred SUTs from Music First Audio provide a ground lift option (in the case of some of the models including a partial lift via a load) that completely addresses all of the hum issues I have in my current multi-cartridge set up
MFA offer a version of their basic 632 model specifically for the 2000 series with a 1:100 ratio -- cost is $759. Anyway if you do go this way work with Jonathan at MFA and he will build you what you need. I'm sure Bob's can do the same
Anyone know about this one? Fidelity Research
XG-5 moving coil step up transformer with selectable input impedance.
Low - 3 ohm or lower 34dB Mid - 3-18 ohm 26dB High - 18-40 ohm 22dB
I know nothing about Fidelity Research and can't find out any good or bad info on this unit, it's as old as my cart.
Probably a "swing and a miss" but thought I'd ask.
The XG-5 is a pretty re-saleable SUT so if the price is right why not give it a try, you can always resell? The 34dB/3 ohm setting would work
Remember to budget for a quality pair of interconnects (of low capacitance as Al notes)
There's more helpful guidance including specifics on this model herehttps://www.vinylengine.com/step-ups-and-mc-cartridges.shtml
I found one that's not pretty, but a super price. It's worth a try, let you all know what I find out, it will be a few weeks(coming from off shore)
Thanks for all your input
I think Al has it pretty much summarized. Most transformers are intended to be used in front of a standard MM gain stage, for two reasons: 1) matching of gain, and 2) transforming of load. A MC stage typically has an input impedance of around 100 ohms. A MM stage typically has an impedance of 47k ohms. Remember, the transformer doesn't just STEP UP, it transforms from a low-impedance, low voltage to a high impedance high(er) voltage. You need to match impedances as well as levels, and the 100 ohm MC stage would just bog down the transformer - it would effectively be driving a short circuit. I bet your MC stage can be configured as MM. All mine are - same basic circuit, different loads and gains.
To clarify regarding the Herron VTPH-2 specifically, the input stage it provides for LOMC cartridges utilizes a FET (Field Effect Transistor). Consequently, as I mentioned earlier, it has an input impedance that for practical purposes is essentially an infinite number of ohms, but it provides connectors on its rear panel for purposes of connecting loading plugs. 47K loading plugs are supplied as standard with each unit, and Keith Herron can supply plugs in any other values that may be desired. He recommends that with many and perhaps most cartridges the VTPH-2 will provide best results with no loading whatsoever, and I and some other members here have found that to be true with our particular cartridges. Even though, for example, my AT-ART9 has a load resistance recommendation from the manufacturer of "100 ohms minimum."
As you may have seen in the past, Ralph (Atmasphere) has stated in a number of threads here that the need for relatively low impedance loading, where necessary, is mainly due to sensitivity of the particular phono stage to RF frequencies, which can be introduced into it at significant amplitudes as a result of the resonance that is formed at RF frequencies by the interaction of the inductance of LOMC cartridges and the load capacitance that is applied to them. Apparently the VTPH-2 can handle RF frequencies in a more graceful manner than many other phono stages, meaning that such frequencies will have little if any effect on audible frequencies.
So as I had mentioned interposing a SUT between an LOMC cartridge and the LOMC input of the VTPH-2 can be handled in a reasonable manner from the standpoints of cartridge loading and transformer loading. But the concern that would arise in this particular case would be the possibility of a voltage overload in the phono stage and/or in whatever preamp circuitry may be "ahead" of the volume control.
Sometimes I feel like an idiot as I can only understand some of what is said here. :)
Not sure of the overall quality of the specific transformer, but a reasonable price and should be an almost ideal match in terms of gain (28 dB) along with the 48 dB from the Herron MM input.
Everyone needs to keep a gain cascade calculator handy 😉
28dB plus 48dB plus 14dB gives 1.58v out for .05mV in which is probably half what most power amps like to see (if we know your amps input sensitivity that would help)
another 6dB is ideal to get you up to 3V hence the T2000 or XG-5 at the 32dB up level
Anyway if the OP can give some insight into his power amp that would be helpful
Depends on the gain calculator you want to use. ;)
In multiple systems over the years, I've found the KAB calculator to be pretty much dead on and it suggests a phono gain of 76 dB for a .05 mV cartridge.
FWIW, using line level gain in the calculation is foolhardy in most cases IMO (with the exception of pretty unusual systems-those with passive preamps would be one).
Users of fixed gain phono stages or a combination of a fixed gain stage combined with a fixed gain head amp or SUT will never realize how absolutely critical gain matching is because they do not have the ability to adjust gain "on the fly" or have infinitely variable gain available. With a high quality stage with infinitely variable gain, one can realize just how critical and narrow the optimum gain window really is and how 1-2 dB variances in gain can be substantial in terms of performance with low output MC's. And how it can actually even vary from record to record, depending on how they were cut, if one wants to take it to audiophile nervosa extremes
Line level gain only serves to amplify further what the cartridge/phono preamp has sonically "created"; if that is not "correct" one is just further amplifying problems and the mismatch, (unnecessary noise, possible overload issues etc.) It cannot magically correct for either too little or too much gain at the cartridge/phono pre interface.
Plus the Herron MM gain is relatively high at 48 dB and the T2000, while it was designed to be used with the MC 2000, was probably designed with a much more traditional MM stage in mind, probably one offering a more typical 38-40 dB of MM gain.
Hence my recommendation of the Ortofon SUT above with lower gain. I'd be trying that at a reasonable price first before shelling out a couple of grand for the T2000 and very possibly having too much gain and a pricey piece of equipment to resell. Then again, I'm a cheapskate.
Regarding the adequacy of 76 db of SUT + phono stage gain, that is 7 db more than the OP presently has. For a typical rotary volume control, which when viewed as a clock dial can be adjusted between limits of say 6:30 or 7 o’clock at min and 5 or 5:30 o’clock at max, and is used in the upper half of its range, a 7 db difference probably corresponds to a bit more than 45 degrees of rotation. For example, see the dial calibrations shown in this photo
, although the photo is of an MFA passive (not active) preamp.
So **if** the volume control on the OP’s Herron preamp has similar rotational limits (approximately 6:30 or 7 o’clock and 5 or 5:30 o’clock or so) he should be able to approximately judge the effects on noise level of 7 db of additional gain by reducing the volume control setting by a bit more than 45 degrees, and seeing how that change in setting affects noise levels when no music is playing.
Also, I agree with Folkfreak that it in general it would be wise to assure that the combination of cartridge output rating, SUT gain, phono stage gain, and line stage gain is adequate to drive the power amp to full power. Even if the most power that is ever used is say half of the amp’s capability, that would only be 3 db less than full power. So if full power can’t be obtained even with the volume control at max (which is the position at which the preamp will provide its rated gain), 3 db less than full power may not be attainable at any volume control setting either. And regarding the KAB calculator, it can be important to note that the calculations of phono stage gain which it provides are based on boosting the cartridge’s rated output to only 325 mv.
My amps are Herron M1A mono's
Output Power150 watts @ 8 ohms, 275 watts @ 4 ohms (measurements at 1 khz)
Input impedance220k Ohms
150 watts into 8 ohms corresponds to about 34.6 volts. 24 db less than that is about 2.18 volts. 2.18 volts divided by 0.05 mv is a voltage multiplication of 43,600 times, which is about 93 db.
So to be able to drive the amp to full power when the cartridge provides its rated output you need a total of 93 db of gain between the cartridge and the input to the power amp. For that to be accomplished with the MM section of the phono stage providing 48 db and the line stage preamp providing 14 db, the SUT would have to provide 31 db (or more). Exactly mid-way between the value Hdm suggested and the value Folkfreak suggested :-)
So the XG-5 should work for me.
There are in and out ground lugs on the XG-5, would I be ok if I just went straight to the Herron phono pre with the output ground from the turntable?
@jdodmead regarding grounding I'd start by connecting the phono ground to the SUT and see how that sounds -- really it's a matter of checking what sounds best (most open and "solid") with least hum -- it may be the SUT, or leaving it unconnected. I'd be surprised if grounding to the phono stage rather than the SUT is best -- in fact it may induce a hum
If after all this you still get hum (and after trying moving the SUT around and away from transformers and power cords) you may need a more sophisticated SUT with a ground lift option. I'd be surprised however if you have these issues with an Ortofon -- I only have hum issues with my mono cartridge (which is another set of problems)
Dear @jdodmead : Don't pull the triger yet on that SUT. Gain and noise are only two SUT issues for you and that great MC 2000 you own. The FR XG-5 is and will makes atremendous /heavy degradation to the 2000 quality levelperformance. It's not the rigth SUT, it's a very low quality SUT.
Do it a favor and buy a different SUT because that is terribel.
Before you buy any SUT you have to look not only for the high gain the cartridge needs but the SUT frequency response that must be in the range: 10hz to 100khz at least and it has to stay flat and with very low noise/distortion levels. These are the SUT manufacturer specs.
If you can't afford the rigth spec SUT then stay away from low price SUTs. The T2000 was designed ( all silver wiring. ) expressely for the MC 2000 and the levels of noise depends not only in the SUT it self but if the additional IC cables has very god shielding or not and even the cable orientation in the system rack or if there are other electronics/active transformer around that induces noise.
If the Herron designer can help you in some ways for gain in that great cartridge then ask him directly before you make any choice. The MC 2000 deserves the best for it can shows it at its best.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
I did purchase the FR, but now I'm trying to see if I can back out of that purchase(if it hasn't shipped yet). I did previously send you a couple e-mails requesting your advice, but maybe you didn't receive them, that's why I posted here.
I don't know that SUT in particular but fidelity research is known for making very fine stuff. And as somebody else mentioned it is very saleable should you not like it. And the reason why it is very saleable is because it is very good.
Dear @jdodmead : Sorry to hear about those emails and you are not the first gentleman to tell me about. Sometimes my mail takes its own decissions ( always. ) and puts some mails in the non-desirable ones carpet that I never check out or I received ok. and did not answer what is not my usual attitude but could been my fault. Apologizes.
Again, try to have the best advise from the Herron designer it self and if he can't do anything additional of what you have then stay where you are till you have the money for the rigth SUT or a new phonolinepreamp.
I know very well that cartridge quality level performance and I know that even with high noise levels the quality performance is really fine and no one wants to perceive degradation on that well know high performance quality levels.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Hi Jeff,Don't sweat it, just get the sUTand try it. As long as you didn't overpay you should be able to get it out of it unscathed if you want to. Raul just hates SUTs in general and Tubes as well so I wouldn't give him too much credibility. He may be right about the frequency response not going out to 100 kHz but that's not important anyways. As long as it doesn't have a sharp cut off at 25 kHz like digital it's not gonna show any anomalies in the audible range. Specs only tell half the story but he seems fixated on them. Another thing to consider is back in those days manufacturers were honest about the specs whereas these days it seems numbers are just chosen out of thin air sometimes.
Also the Herron has two configurations as far as gain goes. You just have to switch the Tubes from 12at7 to 12 a X7 to make it the higher gain version. I'm not sure which configuration you have.
I got iPhono2 from a friend to try with my Ortofon MC2000, this phono stage has 72dB gain, so we will see how it works with MC2000 compared to the SUT i use now with this cartridge.
Dear @jdodmead : The T2000 made it expressely for the MC2000 goes from 8hz to 150khz ( -3db at 4hz. ) and weigths around 4k.
Ortofon was whom puts in the comercial market the first LOMC cartridge and certainly they knew exactly why that so very low output in the MC2000 and additional they knew how try to degrade the less the cartridge signal in those vintage times.
I own one of the best SUT ever that's the Denon AU-1000 that goes from 5hz to 200khz and weigths around 12 kg. Even today along the Technics exist no single SUT that can even its high quality performance levels. No, don't look to this Denon because has not the rigth gain for your MC2000.
That FR XG-5 was a FR entry level SUT in 1983 and weigths around 1 kg and certainly its frequenci range to limited but even the FR vintage top of the line in those years were an inferior SUTs design.
Always exist stupid people that knows nothing about and that talks only because they have a mouth but the audio world have people of all kind of knowledge/ignorance levels .
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
@jdodmead : Btw, MC2000 has response from 5hz to 90khz and in laboratory measured over 100khz. Very special design and SUT must be at least at the same level.
The best electronics for the MC2000 is an active high gain SS phonolinepreamp but are really expensive one of this high quality level/caliber.
I have no desire to spend another $1000-$1800 for a T-2000. That makes this cart really, really expensive. I'll keep looking and maybe eventually something will come up at a more reasonable price, in the meantime I'll live with it the way it is, the cart sounds great, just bothersome when there's no music.
In my experience once you get to cartridge out puts this low it's pretty much impossible not to use an SUT. Maybe I just haven't tried the right active device.
Analogluvr, No. You haven't tried the "right" phono stage. It IS possible to run the MC2000 without a SUT. However, I am not about to claim that my fully active phono stage is overall superior to any phono gain system using a SUT. I will just say it's silent and handles the output of my MC2000 with ease and headroom to spare. (It's an Atma-sphere MP1 that I modified based on the design of the input stage in Allen Wright's RTP3C.) Everything downstream from the phono input gain stage is pretty much as Ralph designed it.
@jmcgrogan2 , the best SUT for MC 2000 is T-2000 because
this SUT is made for MC2000 and 2000,mk2. Choosing a SUT
for a cart is not easy. Not only impedance but also inductance
matching is needed. However inductance is seldom mentioned
by technical specs. What does not ''match'' is the price of the cart
and the price of the SUT. Considering the price of the MC 2000
my suggestion is to try Jasmine lp 2 phono-pre. I used this one
before I bought Klyne. No problem to drive MC 2000 and impressive
considering the price (+/-$600). Besides it can be used with
whatever other cart.
Dear @jdodmead : Yes, it’s the best you can do for now because even with that noise level what you listen through the MC2000 is just very fine.
You own very good speakers that I listened many years ago, Unfortunatelly for that cartridge its sensitivity is a little low around: 88dbs.
""" That makes this cart really, really expensive. """, well things are that the cartridge is an expensive one when in those times was only one of two cartridges in the 1K price range.
Even with an active high gain SS phonolinepreamp something that you have to really care with this cartridge is that your TT and tonearm ( it self. ) stays perfectly grounded and very important is the cable between the tonearm and the phono stage not only the shieklding and cable quality level but its " orientation/route/directuion to the PS input connectors " that sometimes helps with that noise levels. I think you have to make some tests about and see what happens with.
Anyway, enjoy it !.
Dear @folkfreak : """
that will work and suit your price """
It's obvious that you have no single idea of the MC 2000 very high quality performance levels that even can/could outperfoms what you have with the right system.
I can't imagine ( but it can happens. ) that an audiophile can ( by ignorance. ) " destroy " the magnificent signal information coming from a 10K+ LOMC cartridge using a 700 dollars SUT where even exist not something as essential and critical as its frequency response range ! ! !
How can you recomend it? it does not matters what your SUT are developing in your system.
Obviously something wrong down there that added those useless STs with the Q3s.
For me as I told @jdodmead it's better to stay as he is than spend money in that way and in a company that are " experts " in transformers but can´t gives any single spec other than the ratio. ? ? ?
Yes, for you is not important but I'm talking about QUALITY LEVELS not on what " I like it ".
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
as you very well know (if you are as well informed as you claim) MFA is the hi-fi arm of Stevens & Billington, a long established transformer maker. MFA/S&B wind their own transformers to order. The base model, which the 632 series are based around (I believe) is the TX-103, specs on that are available herehttp://www.stevens-billington.co.uk/page103.htm
As all MFA products are built to order you can be sure they will match the needs of your cartridge (ratio, impedance, inductance etc).
Anyway I'm not trying to shill for MFA, I'm sure Bob's are just as good, but could not let Raul's slur go by
That's why I mentioned them as experts. I think that not you or me know if inside that is the TX-103 that's a good SUT but: is it the best out there?.
There is something where the designers of the 103 coincide with what I posted here:
to maximize bandwidth ", this parameter is extremely important in a SUT and the 103 is not near the Denon or Technics one, even the T2000 makes it better.
I posted more than once in Agon that if I don't owned my active high gain SS Essential 3160 ( up-dated. ) I can live easily using my modified Denon SUT as a fact time to time I use it.
Dear @folkfreak : Perhaps what has more influence in the cartridge signal degradation levels ( other than its limited bandwindth. ) with external SUTs are: additional cable/connectors and switchs like the ones in your unit.
@rauliruegas as in all things audio one has to make trade-offs. There was a long design conversation with Jonathan behind the particular decisions on what switching and functionality to include given my need for two cartridge inputs. In a purist world I'd have a dedicated SUT for each and no switching but as the phono stage I'm moving too (VOSS) only has one input I needed switching at the SUT. I did decide against switched gain which was another option. Needless to say all wiring and switch choices are as good as they can be. As to issues with length of interconnect I'm having no issues driving 2M of WEL Signature
Dear @folkfreak : With all my respect to you it's dificult for me to follow your " common sense " to achieve the best for analog. There is no doubt that you have the kind of money to do it but maybe not the rigth advisors to do it because you will add a VOSS phono stage that needs a SUT and al those will be connected to the AR tube preamp.
You said: "
In a purist world I'd ...."". For me in a " purist world " ( and talking of analog cartridge signal. ) what my common sense dictates is to own the best direct and shorter path for the LOMC cartridge signal and that is: an active high gain integrated PHONOLINEPREAMP with no single cable/connectors/SUT in between and this kind of units exist.
Let me ask: do you really want to achieve the very best analog quality cartridge level signal to listen to? because the " road " you choosed, and does not matters how many $$$$$ spend, just can't help you to achieve that " dream quality levels ".
Maybe I'm loosing something you know that I just don't know or understand.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
@rauliruegas do you have some sort of problem with me? Have I ever commented on your system or tastes? I’m happy to invite you round to hear my system if you’re ever in the Pacific NW but in the mean time could you do me the courtesy of refraining from insulting my audio preferences or experience.
That's what Raul does. Apparently him and a friend came up with a solid-state phonostage so now all tubes are crap and backwards technology. He focusses on the fact that the specifications of solid-state are better than Tubes regarding frequency response and distortion but conveniently ignores the fact that the ear hears different distortions differently.
He is probably one of the, if not the most annoying opinionated individuals on this forum.
Dear @folkfreak : No single problem with you or your system, I was only trying to help for its quality level performance be better if any.
You are rigth and my apologies to talk about in a public forum. I'm sorry for that, my fault because I took in count only what I was thinking with out take in count your legitimate side.
I know you are a decent, honest and mature human been and a true audiophile and music lover.
Again very sorry to disturb you in that way.
I have a Bob's devices 115/130 passive SUT running into the Herron VTPH-2 from a VPI Prime Signature with a Van den Hul
Stradivarius cartridge (.38mv) and it sounds terrific at 1.15 step up.
If you want talk with someone who KNOWS about SUT's talk with Bob at Bob's devices. He can be very precise about what will work with your cartridge and system.
I have no business connection with Bob or Bob's devices. I do own one.
Thought I would put out an update. I put it the FR XG-5 and it didn't stay in long, the noise was increased dramatically. Then I put in 4 Telefunken 12AX7 tubes which raised the gain on the phono pre and it did reduce the noise by quite a bit. Then I had a discussion with Keith Herron, he said he could increase the gain in the phono pre with some FETs, but wasn't a proponent of doing that. He suggested that I try rolling some 12ax7 tubes to see if I could come across with some that worked better. So I did some research and found some info that Gold Lions had higher gain and were still very quiet. So I just received a quad that I purchased on E-Bay, listening to them now and the noise is reduced to where it's almost unnoticeable. no worse than a noisy record. Granted they're brand new and we'll see when they see some wear, but right now things are sounding great.
I really appreciate the input from everyone.