My new Soundsmith Straingauge cartridge

Well, after a bit of dillying and dallying, I finally got 'round to trying a home trial of this cart. After a couple of hours dialling in vtf, and esp. azimuth, it basically sold itself, and I bought it an hour later!
It's without doubt the fastest cart I've ever experienced, surpassing the Decca London Reference, but with none of that cart's tipped up 'whiteness'. But this blazing speed is combined with the natural sweetness of the Lyra Parnassus. It has the neutrality of the Transfiguration Orpheus with the dynamics and involvement of the ESCCo-modded Zu Denon 103. So, fast AND sweet, and neutral AND involving, combinations often too challenging for other so-called SOTA carts. All the carts I've mentioned I've had in my system over the years. But I admit, I haven't heard current contenders to the crown (Lyra Titan/Atlas, Ortofon Anna, Clearaudio Goldfinger etc) to make comparisons.
It's tracking really is superlative, 3d soundstaging/dimensionality is beyond the room constraints, and I really believe it has the least artifact-laden sound of any cart I've heard, with NO aural evidence of a diamond carving thru wax. It's really complimenting what's already a neutral, fast and dynamic analog rig in my system (Trans Fi Salvation direct rim drive tt/Trans Fi Terminator air bearing linear tracking arm)

Showing 5 responses by proftournesol

Hi Spiritofmusic, I've just read through this sometimes bad tempered thread with interest as I've had a SS Strain Gauge cart for almost 2 years now, recently upgraded to the latest Mk 4 spec. I agree with your impressions of the SG, all I would add is that one of the most prominent attributes of the SG is it's really accurate reproduction of timbre in musical instruments, this is almost its most amazing quality for me. I'm interested in your experience with the Black Lightning PSU.
I must say that I was bemused at some of the comments regarding RIAA accuracy. Unless you are listening in a very well treated room, the room induced artefacts will contribute way more deviation from a flat response. Strangely, it does sound a very neutral cart on a number of turntables, arms and rooms. Mine os currently mounted on a Thales TTT-C and Simplicity arm.
Hmmm... I was hoping that you would say that it made no difference:)
I think that one of the problems with Strain Gauge sales, like with active speaker sales, is that us audiophiles get attached to our gear and it means changing an expensive phono stage or getting rid of a power amp in the case of Active speakers. If you want to change again then you have to re-purchase them again.
Unfortunate really as like you my SG is a destination component, just like my active speakers.
My experience has been that some LPs that sounded terrible with my previous Airy 3 sound fantastic with the SG and vice versa. Most LPs sound fantastic, especially mono LPs