Soundsmith Progression: MIMC Star > Sussurro Mk II


Hey Folks--the discount now available on the Sussurro Mk II has me considering the jump from the MIMC Star. Has anyone made the leap and/or done a direct comparison in their own system and, if so, how would you characterize the difference in performance? Thanks for your input.
dodgealum
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I just ordered a Sussurro Mk II. Will share my thoughts once it’s had time to break in. I just couldn’t resist the discount price. Nearly 50% off of retail, and I have always wanted a higher end Soundsmith. Had the Carmen and Boheme. I will probably use a SUT with the Sossurro
Cool. Would love to hear your impressions!
I've wanted a SS cartridge for several years. I just bought a Moerch DP8 w/ blue armwand. I have a trusted friend who told me the Sussurro was THE best cartridge he has heard. Given that this cart will mate perfectly to the blue armwand and the price, and it's really a lifetime cart w/ the $650 rebuild price, I think I'll go for it. Don't know when I'll get everything mounted though. 
It's now official...a Sussurro will be shipped soon.
Mine will be arriving today 😁
I have been listening now for one week, and it’s a nice sounding cartridge. I am comparing it to my Kleos and Koetsu Urushi Black. I would say it falls in the middle of both. 
@hcalland ,

The (key) that comes with it.....(it comes in a very nice box, but no manual) is this to be inserted into a USB port? I’m not very computer literate. If so, I assume this will reveal the online manual.
@slaw 

I have no idea what that key is for. I was wondering as well, but just put it in the nice box, and put it away, It doesn’t appear to be a thumb drive. 
Yes put in a USB port it has all the manuals for all the catridged
Thank you @jtsnead .
This thread has gone quiet. I own the MIMC Star and love it, but am also tempted by the Sussurro. Is there a significant jump?
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I just received my Sussurro and it sounds great out of the box. Tracking at 1.85 and experimenting between 470 and 1k loading. 1k sounds more lively, and 470 more even keel. Too soon to judge these settings as it should settle in more before giving judgment. Noticed that 150-180 gram lp’s sound fulller while 200 gram sound a little less lively. It could be that the Sussurro is very sensitive to VTA. I have it mounted on a SME V arm with Aesthetix IO signature phono amp and transrotor Apollon turntable.
going from a Benz LPs and as stated out of the box, this cartridge nails it. Holographic soundstage to die for. What is everyone else loading their cartridge with? Enjoy
Got this a few weeks ago but won't be able to mount on FR64S until arm comes back from rebuild at Ikeda/Japan. Will be mounted to freshly acquired Technics SL1000 MK3.
Would love to read more!
@audioquest4life ,

Although your explanation of your experience was short...it had enough realism to make me want to hear mine even more. Good luck!
I load my Paua at 470. I moved up from the Mimc (non star first version) and I’m quite pleased. Does everything I liked about the mimc up a few notches. 

Peter recommenced I go worh the Paua over the new star version and the sussoro given I wanted to retain some warmth in the sound. 

Would love to hear the new Hyperion one day. 
Congrats on the sussero, looking forward to hearing your impressions.


And if you don’t mind, I’d like to know any thoughts on the Star vs sussero etc since I have a star on the way. From the reviews I’ve read it’s a full, organic, and dynamic cart and not at all bright (though PL has been quoted saying it’s less warm than some others). Any thoughts on diminishing returns as you go up the line would be great. 


Not quite broken in, at 30 hours, but starting to get a taste of the sound, and it’s sweet. When new, I tried the recommended 470 ohms, then 1000, and up from there all the way to 47k....then back 470, this on an Aesthetix IO Signature tube phono stage. All along, The Sussaro had an extraordinarily extended highs, but being still new, a little dry and analytical sounding. Stayed at 470 for a about 10 hours, and while the resolution was excellent, it still seemed to be somewhat shouty, and a just a tad dry. I went to 243 last weekend, and wow...loss of that last bit of dryness and shouty sound, now it’s sounding like it found its groove. Perhaps, the phono XLR (Silver Breeze) cables added a touch too much capacitance, but for now, very Benz LPS like, but with added dimensions, width, and details. So, liking this so far based on the direction it’s going. The stereo separation is way beyond any cartridge I have ever heard in my system, or at trade shows, it is one of its strong points for sure. Listened to the new Stevie Nicks Crystal Visions, Very best greatest hits LP, and it sounded fantastic. Also, played some old school Santana, 45 rpm edition, and it was also great, with cymbals extremely clear. Played a Doobie Brother LP, and the song it keeps you running, is a benchmark song for me, as I play this a lot...man, the spaciousness is incredible, and before, it was already great. This is my first Soundsmith MI cartridge, but for anyone not used to it’s stereo spaciousness, you may be alarmed in a good way, that sound is extending to the far left and right of your speakers. It makes for listening to the same old music sound like a new listen. I will stay settled in a 243 for a while and see what happens after about 10 more hours. Will post a follow up after that.

How about anyone else, what’s been your listening impressions? Eager to hear your experience and to what cartridge you compared with or replaced.

Ciao
@audioquest4life ,

That sounded great! It's interesting you made a comparison to the Benz LPS. My (trusted friend) has that same cart.
The LPS has been my go to cartridge for years....I was saving for a Koetsu Onyx, but, might not have to anymore😀

Sure digging the sound from this Soundsmith. 
I've used a Voice(ebony) for about 8 years now. The Soundsmith cartridges deserve the best turntable, arm and phono stage one can provide them.
Finally installed mine just now.
How is it sounding Slaw? 
@boxer12,

1st of all, it's a breeze to set up! Initially, I have it running @ 500ohms. Granted, I just installed it so it's going through the normal back & forth, and I haven't yet tried it on many different genres, but it just seems right and I get a feeling that it will settle in to be a great cart.
Good to hear (pun intended) slaw! Keep us posted 
Some really good things are starting to happen now...………...
transients are profound, yet not in your face
soundstage is wide and very natural
dynamics are better without any brightness
before there was a distinct pocket of center stage and R & L, now they are still easily delineated yet are melded into a very enjoyable ONE.
the outer edges of the music you never knew was there, is suddenly placed in the soundscape so naturally

a very smooth yet proper presentation. nothing missing
………………………………….
instead of one portion/instrument overtaking a part of the soundstage.. it's still there just integrated to a degree that is so natural....
@audioquest4life, I know slaw asked a little while ago, but any further observations you have on the sound of the Sussurro MkII compared to the LP-S would be most welcome. I use a Wood SL right now, and was looking for a step up to either the MkII or the LP-S. I chose the MkII, which is on its way to me.

@tonyptony,

Sure. Well, if you like the LPS, the MKII is an LPS turbocharged or taking all of those excellent qualities we like from the LPS and amplifying them to at last 3-5 times better. That’s just direct LPS traits comparison. Further, the way that the MKII digs out the clarity, resonance, and harmonizes human voices has me shaking my head in disbelief. The voices just seem to stand out in a way that is just plainly more real and human. While the LPS is great, it is no match to the way that The MKII extracts the human vocals from a record. Additionally, the separation and soundstaging are better, with distinct separation of musicians on either or left or panned in the sound field, the MKII does this better than the LPS. Jazz ensembles or rock where flute, horn, or cymbals are part of the song, also exude a form of naturalness to the music that when all of these attributes combined, and your system is able to take advantage of what The MKII has to offer, you will close your eyes and either fall asleep from the enjoyment and ease of the music, or think that the musicians and the band are in the room. I have been playing the MOFI edition of Marvin Gaye, what’s going on, and Marvin’s voice is so clear and articulate with the resonance of his breathing distinctly showcased with the MKII. The songs What’s going on and Save the Children connect with me way more emotionally with the MKII than the LPS, and the LPS is no slouch either. 

Another song I play often for sampling new equipment is from Supertramp, ,another MOFI, Breakfast in America LP, the song Child of Vision. This song has it all, drums, saxophone, piano, cymbals, and excellent voicing. What I look for in this LP is two things,,,the staging of the piano, and the sax at the end. The piano used with the LPS while sounding great, depicted a front soundstage with the keys being hit at varying intensity panning somewhat from left to right. With the MKII, the piano is clearing panning from front to back in a different way...away from the center but you know the keys are being hit acrosss the keyboard in a direction, and you can track it, perhaps the wider stereo separation and/or I am hearing the layout of the piano as if is angled towards the center, not sure, but it makes me feel as if the piano is being struck there and I am hearing the panning across the keyboard from either left to right, or right to left in a way that seems more realistic. The saxophone at the end seems to resonant louder compared to the LPs, also with more saxophone bite and edge. 

The Three Blind Mice 45 rpm box set is another benchmark LP for me as well. The Blow Up sessions, with the song Aqua Marine will have you just sit there in bewilderment as at first the bow instruments cut across the air like a knife, then they roll into the drums, cymbals, and several crescendos, will have you scratching your head as to what the heck you just heard. Not just for the song, which is very eclectic, but the way the instrument portrayal hits you. I was amazed the first time I heard this song with the LPS, and I am even more amazed with this song using The MKII. 

I am setteled at 4.75k ohms with the Aesthetix IO signature for now and have around 55 hours so far, and climbing. 

Thinking about installing my Benz Ruby Z to see how this compares to that as well. 

I don’t know if the new D series Sussaro is way better than the MKII but I know the MKII is better than the LPS, at least in my system. Not sure how Soundsmith could make the Sussaro better, but maybe it sounds different in D series configuration. This is first MI cartridge and first purchase from Soundsmith. I can wholeheartedly state that I am more than satisfied with this cartridge. Happy listening. 
Fantastic! Thanks @audioquest4life . You have a Ruby Z too? That's another Benz I was lusting after! From the sound of it, though, I should be pretty happy with the MkII. It arrived today!
So my primary cartridge is a Lyra Kleos, which is almost new.  My backup is a first generation SS Zephyr.  I understand that SS provides for a substantial trade up credit.

I was thinking about the MIMC STAR.  Comments and advice would be welcome.

Thanks

BIF  
@tonyptony 

Great and  good luck Good luck installing. Listening to Sade Promise LP and it’s quite fantastic with this cartridge. Again, voicing is so uncanny accurate and instrumentals so lifelike as well. The first side with Sweetest Taboo is so awesome, lots of saxophone. 
I think I have around 12 listening hours on the Sussuro MkII now. Here are the main attributes I experience now compared to any other cart I own. This cart originally cost twice, at retail, to any other cart I've ever owned. At the price I paid,  it was an absolute steal.
1. Ease of set-up. This is key, because it speaks to the quality of the parts used and the builder's expertise. This really inspires confidence for the end user. It's the end user's first impression, so to speak.
2. The soundstage is huge and presents more naturally than I've ever heard. It's all of one piece.
3. The tonal presentation of every voice, every instrument is superior. Playing PF "The Wall" (2016 re-master)… the bass drum and bass guitar have superior fullness. This lp is absolutely awesome.
4. It seems to have all of the positive attributes of MM and MC, melding them together for a perfect cart.

One of the best purchases I've made.
A couple other points...

The way the cartridge body extends down to surround the cantilever on both sides, aides in the set-up process, while adding protection.

This cartridge plays dead quiet.
@slaw 

concur with you on all points. Going to dig out my Pink Floyd and give it a spin now. We are definitely getting something that literally has changed my perspective of listening. This is my new benchmark...,and I don’t think I am being too optimistic, but now, I don’t feel like saving up for a stone body koetsu anymore. I always stated that the LPS was a lesser version of a koetsu stone, namely the onyx, but the MKII takes it to the top. When I first heard the Onyx, I thought I just have to have it, but years later, I believe the MKII cuts a note like no other cartridge at this price point, or even two or three times. 
Good discussion here...thanks everyone. Just to add for those thinking about the MIMC Star. I would echo the list of points made by Slaw for this model as well. Ease of set up, love the wings protecting the cantilever, very quiet, incredible staging--very wide, deep with excellent location. Tonally spot on--very clean but also faithful to the tone across the board. I liked the MIMC Star very much until I replaced my speakers with a pair from the same manufacturer--Daedalus Audio. The new Apollo's have the same house sound as my old pair but are more resolving and a little leaner in the mid bass region. My respect for the MIMC Star has jumped considerably--this is a cartridge that can really be partnered with some great equipment. It will deliver the goods and then some. I can only imagine what happens with the Sussuro MKII. 
This is really a great read!
I purchased a Sussuro MKII a couple months ago but have not had the time to mount it and wont for a little while...

Enjoying this thread very much!
Yes. Good thread. I'd love to hear the SS against my Decca Super Gold (paratrace tipped from the Reference). Like most of us, I wish you could try before you buy.
The absence of “try before you buy” with cartridges, seemingly more so than with other components given the sheer variety, their delicacy, and the difficulty of setting them up in demos, has led me to a virtual choice paralysis.  Not much to go on beyond reviews. Not such a big deal on the low end of the price spectrum, but it’s a real issue when you are looking at cartridges that cost $$$. 
You're telling me! If there wasn't the risk of Elusive Disc running out of stock on the Sussurro I'd still be questioning making the move, even with all the good reviews it's got. 
Motivated like the rest of you by the great promotional pricing, I went whole hog and bought a Hyperion MkII.  Phono Stage is a Conrad Johnson TEA1series3.  The high gain stage has a fixed loading of 430 ohms.  Right now it is mounted in my Technics SL1200GAE.  The choice of headshell, proved tricky.  It turns out a Zupreme sounds lively, a Yamamoto HS-4S sounds dull and lifeless.  Still can't figure out why.  Anyway, the Hyperion is really amazing as you would expect.  I have been using an Ortofon Per Winfeld (original), which is also a very nice cartridge, but the Hyperion is just a whole new ball game.
I really never thought of a cartridge as a component until now.
@billstevenson

“ Motivated like the rest of you by the great promotional pricing, I went whole hog and bought a Hyperion MkII. Phono Stage is a Conrad Johnson TEA1series3. The high gain stage has a fixed loading of 430 ohms. Right now it is mounted in my Technics SL1200GAE. The choice of headshell, proved tricky. It turns out a Zupreme sounds lively, a Yamamoto HS-4S sounds dull and lifeless. Still can't figure out why. Anyway, the Hyperion is really amazing as you would expect. I have been using an Ortofon Per Winfeld (original), which is also a very nice cartridge, but the Hyperion is just a whole new ball game.“

I was tempted to purchase this as well but opted for the Sussaro MKII. I was concerned and a bit intrigued by the cactus cantilever...how is the sound transmitted compared to metal and would I need to worry about the cactus cantilever falling off..,is it mounted the same as a metal version, all of these questions had me opt for The Sussaro. Wife said this is the best setup we ever had, and that it blows the LPS out of the water, so glad I made that purchase. 

Have you you had a chance to compared the Hyperion against other cartridges and what sound superlatives would you use to describe it. Happy listening
The mounting of the cantilever is essentially identical to a metal one.  I examined the construction and paid particular attention to how the stylus is mounted to the cantilever using a Wild-Heerbrugg microscope.  Everything looks good.  Can't comment on how the cactus will age, but the 10 year warranty is there and I don't expect trouble. 

I have several other cartridges, the most similar being an Ortofon Per Winfeld, which has been my favorite cartridge of years.  I prefer it to the A95, which would be a good comparison to your Sussaro I'd think.  The Winfeld is more laid back, smaller sound stage, very neutral, some would call it boring.  The Hyperion, opens up the sound stage, has an uncanny way of separating every instrument and voice, almost like a pointillistic painting, textures are palpable.  It takes rosin on the bow to a whole new level, almost like you can count each vibration of the bow string separately.  The goose bump factor is off the charts.  I have never heard anything like it.  Life like doesn't even begin to cover it. 
Very nice...and intriguing as well. Everything you describe is pretty much what I am hearing with the MKII. It is without a doubt the best my system has ever sounded. Also, I believe If one has a high resolution system, that these descriptors are more easily discernible. I would definitely like to test drive and listen to the Hyperion in my system one day. For now, I have achieved a level of listening nirvana that is beyond whatever I experienced before. Happy listening. 
I agree with you that it would be so nice to be able to hear and compare these things.  Soundsmith is active at the audio shows.  Perhaps that would afford the best chance for an audition, although I find it difficult to evaluate anything when everything is different, but that is me.  As you say the other components, not to mention the room itself are all factors that make it difficult to evaluate audio components.  I rely on reviewers, and Anthony Cordesman has been a consistent advocate for Soundsmith for years.  Another credible guy, IMHO, is Mikey Freman and he, too, has consistently spoken highly of Soundsmith. 
I’m right at the 50 hour mark now. I’m so involved in the music There’s no hint of brightness or etch and all the while every part of the frequency spectrum is presented so real and full. If things get better, I’m all for it Otherwise, I’m very, very happy.

For me, it has boosted my confidence regarding the years I've spent building my system and now, finally hearing what it is capable of. So rewarding!