SoundSmith Sassuro Paula and Manley Steelhead

Is it possible to use SoundSmith Sassuro Paula with Manley Steelhead? Paula has recommended loading from 2 to 4K and 0.3 mv output while Steelhead loading options for MC are much lower (25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 Ohms).
Any experiences/opinions?

Love the Paula sound by the way!
It's absolutely possible! Just use the MM inputs, which avoid going through the step up transformers and you can then access the MM load settings. In the manual they state that you should feel free to use either input regardless of the type of cartridge being used. I checked the specs for the cartridge, and if it has a 0.3mV output as I found you will want to set the gain control to one of the upper settings, i.e. 55, 60, or 65 dB. I am not alone in strongly preferring the sound of the Manley Steelhead using the MM inputs even with low output MC carts. Give it a try and let us know how it works out for you!
Soundsmith's recommendation is for 2-4K loading. I'm loading mine at 2.2K and it sounds great. Don't know what would happen at 400 ohms but I suspect it wouldn't be good.
Why not speak to Manley to see if there are more loading options. That seems kind of restrictive. Even when I was running a Koetsu I was loading it at 1K.
Good luck.
Doesn't seem like a great match. You could try it into the MM inputs at 47K but the results would probably be suboptimal. For an otherwise versatile phono stage, the Steelhead's loading options are frustratingly limited. I say that as an owner and fan.
Although the loading options are limited, I did get good result with the Dynavector XV-1s. I used the MM input. Wish you could borrow one to try out.
I own a sussuro paua and am using a rogue ares phono loaded at 2.5k and am really pleased with the results. The previous owner of the cartridge was using it loaded at 2.8k.
The New Hyperion, Paua, and Sussurro can all be ordered at 470 Ohms loading option. This will soon become the new "standard" order for all these models - That will largely broaden the preamp capability.

Peter Ledermann/Soundsmith
Just to clarify, I wasn't at all suggesting that the MM inputs on the Steelhead are inappropriate for MC cartridges. My point is that the loading options jump from 400 to 47K ohms, both of which would probably be suboptimal for the cartridge in question.
Correction: the MM loading options jump from 200 to 47K ohms.
Dear Retipper, if there will be any sonic degradation if using 470 Ohns Paua with 400 ohm MC Manley Steelhead MC input?
No - none whatever. The 470 Ohm models of Paua, Sussurro, and Hyperions will have a bandwidth of 28KHz at 400 Ohms, so more than enough to cover normal bandwidth AND using even more loading (if desired) to tune the top end down if needed for your taste.

Peter Ledermann/Soundsmith
For the Soundsmith Hyperion, Paua or Sussurro:

More information: You can go into the MM input, set the gain at 60 or 65 and the loading at 47K, and use a dual "Y" RCA adapter at each phono input jack. By soldering a 1K (or whatever you choose) resistor across a male RCA plug and inserting it into the open female jack of the "Y" adapter, you can set the loading to whatever you wish!! NO COMPATABILITY ISSUES AT ALL.

From their website:

Manley Steelhead

It has two Moving Coil inputs with selectable impedance load 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 Ohms via Mr. Clever "Steelhead" transformer/autoformer. It also has variable and selectable Moving Magnet input impedances too 25, 50, 100, 200 Ohms and 47 kOhms.

It's got selectable gain 50, 55, 60, 65dB on a switch that even auto-mutes as you change it so no nasty bangs. Gain switch markings are referred to from the input of the 1st active electronics at 1 kHz to the fixed output @ 10k load, regardless of whether source is MM or XFMR stepped-up MC.

Peter Ledermann/Soundsmith
Thank you for your response and suggestions, dear Peter!
And..I think that for VPI the load resistors could be installed right inside of the Phono Interface Box
Finally got Soundsmith Sussurro Paua with 470 Ohm load option in my hands!!!

1. Installed it yesterday on my SSM/RIM VPI 10.5i tonarm using Soundsmith EZ-Mount screws and dialed it in with Mint protractor - the point of the needle is just a bit behind the white dot on the VPI aligment jig. VTF set at 1.7 g - no tracking error on the Ultimate Analogue Test LP!
Same with anti-skating force - very little antiskating delivers no audible distortion in L/R channels on test LP
2. On Manley Stealhead tried 2 connection options -
a) MC input with 400 Ohm load and 60 dB gain
b) MM input with 47k load, 60 dB gain and dual "Y" RCA adapters at each phono input jack. I soldered about 10 pairs of low-noise audio-grade 0.5% metal film resistors across gold plated Neutrik RCA plugs (R values from 200 Ohm to 1.5 k) to insert them into the open female jack of the "Y" adapters (per Peter Ledermann's advise) to adjust the MM loading to any value I wish.
c) Headshell set in parallel with the 180 g LP surface
d) Once again verified azimuth (set with the clear plastic block with fine horizontal scale/markins). Also used Fozgometer and voltmeter - both channels are dead even

3. Finally - time to listen!!! And...what a dissapointment it was....Sound was cardboardish, very forward - right in your face, thin and non-involving at all :-(

4. It took about 10-15 hours for the cart to start to breath! I had never heard so much details from my TT! Soundstage became soo whide that the speakers literally dissapeared in the room. Positions of instruments/soloists are dead-spot now! Distinction beetwen instruments is very apparent and instruments are surrounded by the air. Strings and piano - oh my! Images are three-dimentional and very stable. Bass is soo tight and punchy that it makes me to believe that one room resonance node I used to have in my room totally dissapeared! With the yees closed I could see movements of the double bass' bow!

5. Loadings and MM vs MC inputs
a) So far MM input produces the most natural sound at 60 dB. Swithchig gain to 65dB makes the sound a bit punchier but introduces a bit more noise (not very prominent anyway). Best loads for my taste - from 800 Ohm to 1.33K (not much audible difference in this range)
b) MC input with 60 or 65 dB of gain and 400 Ohm load sounds puncher and just a bit less natural than MM one

So - I'm sticking with Manley's MM input with 1K load for now and will wait for an extra 25-25 hours for the cart to break-in.

So far Soundsmith Paua has: a very natural timbre, excellent channel separation (40 dB per specs provided) dynamics/speed to die for, neutral and a very detailed though non-fatuquing sound with just a bit of a warmth, very well defined and tight bass, excellent tracking and no hum whatsoever with 65 dB of gain.

Love it (as well as my VPI SSM with RIM drive)! i'll post an update later as cart will fully break in.

- VPI SSM with RIM Drive and 10.5i tonearm
- Soundsmith EZ-Mount screws and Counter Intuitive
- Soundsmith Sussurro Paua and Lyra Argo i carts
- Hovland Music Groove 2 tonearm-to-preamp cable
- Manley Steelhead phono preamp
- McIntosh MC402 power amp
- Mcintosh C2300 preamp
- Sonus Faber Cremona-M speakers
- Analysis Plus Solo Oval Crystal interconnects
- Audioquest Volcano 72V speaker cables
- PS Audio Power Plant Premier
- Shunyata Black Mamba and Black Mamba-HC power cables
Krell303 please explain are you setting steelhead - MM with 47K load and using Y jumper with 1K load resistors ?
I am not new to phono but always had used MM with std load and MC with transformer or selections on pre amp.
Thanks David ps I wish I had all the information from this site 50 years ago.
Jeadac, SoundSmith Paua is moving iron cart, not MM or MC type one. Mine is 470 Ohm type with low output of 0.3 mV

Standard MM load of 47K does not sound right with this cart.
Y-jumper allows you to add whatever resistor value needed in parallel to the standard 47K. For example, using 1K resistor gives approximately (1K + 47K)/(1K x 47K)= 1.02 K cartridge load value which is not a standard option for Manley Steelhead MM input.
Hi, just an FYI, that value should be 979 ohms. A good rule of thumb is that the resultant resistance whenever you parallel values will always be smaller than the lowest resistor value :)

the formula should be
Rt = R1*R2 / R1+R2
1/Rt = 1/R1 + 1/R2
Audiofun, you're absolutely correct