Has anyone listened to the soundsmith Paua cart

I was in the market for a new cartridge for my classic 1. I originally wanted a soundsmith zephyr. I then found a soundsmith sussurro Paua with low hours on the classifieds. I went ahead and purchased the Paua because it wasn't that much more than a new zephyr.. It seems the Paua and the zephyr have nearly identical weight and compliance. I talked with Peter at soundsmith and he said the Paua will be a good match on the classic 1 arm. He also said my phono loading must be 1000 ohm minimum as this is a low output .3 mv cart. The only differences I can see between the zephyr and the paua is the output and the stylus shape. I have been using a soundsmith boheme with good results. The boheme has a contact line stylus like the paua. I have always wanted to try a low output cartridge so, I opted for this used paua over a new zephyr. I haven't seen much talk about the paua on the forums here. I just wanted to know if anyone has listened to one. What cartridges would you compare it to? If anyone else owns one, what loading are you using? Thanks a lot.

You own it. Why not listen to yours and tell US what it sounds like. It seems the Sussuro and the Paua are rather rare birds, which is why there are probably not to many reviews available. I thought about buying that one myself. The reason for using a 1000R minimum load has nothing to do with the low output, mostly to do with the internal resistance of the cartridge and its inductance. Obviously, you should take Peter's advice on that.
I suppose I should have said I don't actually have it in my hands yet. Sorry for the confusion. I intend to post my thoughts of the cart when I actually get it setup and playing. I am going to follow peters advice on the loading. I was just asking what load others have used because I have read reviews that have used different loadings. Hopefully I will have it by the end of the week.

Andy, looking forward to reading your comments on the Paua. Did you ask Peter how much he charges for the re-tip?

I had given some thought to picking up a Paua, but my phono pre only puts out 58bd of gain, plus 12db from the line stage, or 70db in total. The Paua output is only .3mV. FWIW, ARC said I would need a SUT, which they don't recommend because it adds a coloration to the playback.

I'm sure the use of SUTs is a controversial subject, so please, no one start a ruckus on this OP about SUTs.
I am not sure a conventional SUT would mate at all well with an MI cartridge, such as the Paua, because of its likely higher inductance and possibly higher internal resistance than that of any LOMC cartridge.

The low output SS carts can use a SUT, you just need to be aware of the 1000 ohm maximum load. Assuming the 47K input impedance of a phono stage this limits you to a 1:7 step up ratio (I'd look at 1:5). The other option is of course to yank that silly 47K out and replace it with the largest value you can so you can more freely choose SUT ratios for your LOMI and MC carts.

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1K is the MINIMUM load. Some have reported this cart sounds best at 2800ohm. I will find out soon.

you need to place the word "value" after the word minimum to make your statement correct.

"1K is the minimum value load" or conversely you could say "1K is the maximum load".

It all comes down to the proper definition of minimum and maximum load.

A maximum load has a low value. In order to increase the load you decrease the resistance. Think about what you need to do to load something down.

A minimum load has a high value. In order to decrease the load you increase the value. Think about how you reduce the load seen by the source.


Actually we are on the same page. It is just another one of those situations like electrons flow from negative to positive yet current flows from positive to negative.

Peter said that the paua rebuilds for $450.00 when the time comes for that.

I was just going by what peter told me. He said the loading needs to be 1K ohm minimum and not to be more than 5K maximum. One review I have found said the reviewer preferred it at 2800 ohm which made it a bit brighter. My system is a bit bright so, I plan on trying my phono loaded at 1100 ohm. If it doesn't suit me then I am going to send my phono back to the manufacturer to have the loading altered to allow a higher setting. I will hopefully have the cartridge on friday. I will make a new thread with my impressions when I get it up and running.

Peter was referring to the value of the load. I was referring to the magnitude.

Again. While 1K represents a "minimum value" it the absolute sense, it is the maximum load.

Andy . . . so did you get the Paua??? If so, how does it sound? Btw, teh re-tip charge is a bargain compared to the retip/exchange prices of other high end carties.
I bought Peter's prototype Sussurro at RMAF. I mounted it up yesterday and listened all evening. I still have some tweaking to do, but the results so far are very promising. I can post more when it's more dialed in and I've had time to listen to more records.
I did end up purchasing the paua. I have started another post where you can read my thoughts about it. In short, it is a great cartridge. It really exceeded my expectations.
I purchased a Soundsmith Paua a little over a year ago and couldn't be happier -- it's gonna stay in my system for a long long time...