Soundsmith - Thank you to everyone.



Too beautiful to go back to sleep

The morning sprite before the sun

black silhouetted trees that edge the world

respeak stillness as night’s undone


in quiescent twilight day is birthed

So perfect in its offering

infinite outcomes by love conceived

Immaculately separate from our suffering


To taste the dew that’s offered up

One would have to sacrifice

The comfort of one’s darkened view

The tradeoff believed that will suffice


So it’s a crow that breaks the dawn

Unravels peace that must unwind

And signals end to mornings birth

To usher deeds of manunkind


Too beautiful to be believed

timeless in its continuing

Miraculous to be conceived

So fragile in its offering



Peter Ledermann


Showing 11 responses by retipper

My love does not set me free

But holds me down upon my knees

Upon the dirt, amongst the shoots

Hidden here within the trees


To weep so deep inside of war

To cry so loud outside of love

Till I become a river flow

Which into all other rivers go


If I could cry to water Spring

To wash each seed and whisper (grow!)

And thus become part of nurturing

So all the spring my heart could know


Through deepest soil my soul bestowed

If I could feel each shoot break free

I would feel the ice and snow

Recede into eternity

Peter Ledermann   

I love it. Yours?? Beautiful. I get it.
Mine for Sprout. She stuck around after my wife died to take carer of me. Now I have Azul - a mystical Blue Merle Aussie who got loose at 12 weeks old and trekked more than half a mile through brambles inside of 80 acres, to pass out on my porch. Best part - a psychic told me two months before, that a new dog was coming into my life. I asked him where did I have to search - where to go to find it? He said - "Do nothing. He is coming to find you." I cannot describe how bonded we are. He came to rescue me and my soul and heart after so much loss.

Peter Ledermann
"Proof of God is necessarily limited to a triad - 100% Kona coffee, Cheese and Dogs".
Obviously Strain Gauge designs, although none have survived well, which is why I don’t work on them. Early Fairchild Stereo units. Some still are fantastic. Stax, for its cleverness, Dynavector 23 and similar, due to low mass (but terribly fragile), some Ortofon MI designs, Grace, and of course the B&O, upon which my line has evolved from. I have to say that as a person, VDH has befriended me from the beginning, and upon meeting and seeing my work, asked me "Are we competitors, or colleagues?"

I said it would be an honor to be considered a colleague; so he said "GOOT!" and shook my hand heartily and said - "What ever you need - always call me!" I have never taken him up on that, but I am always warmly welcomed by him whenever we happen to meet. The generous invitation was more than I needed or deserved. Indeed a gentleman and innovator, at a minimum. There is much to the man.

Peter Ledermann
Maybe some people have not looked hard at my last name. Ledermann. My parents were holocaust survivors. My family tree goes back in Germany to the 1500's on both sides. And there were some very fascinating and innovating members; in law, government, science and more. My Grandmother (Lisbeth Ehrlich) was a blood relative of Paul Ehrlich I am told, who cured millions of people with his synthetic antibacterial, long before the discovery of penicillin. He eschewed formal education, preferring to intuit the chemical and microbiological world. I seem to have inherited a drive for preference of intuition over formal education as well, and a deep desire to understand the natural and mechanical world. That drive has aided me in my developments, discoveries and work. The SG DOES have more of its DNA in the camp of scientific instruments than musical instruments like magnetic designs must, due to the design. They are mandated that way due to the moving mass. But by no means think the SG is easy to build due to low mas - it is anything but. It is far, far more difficult to build. It took me years (many)  to make it a repeatable, predictable design specifically because it is far more of a scientific instrument being a displacement measuring device as opposed to a magnetic velocity generator. Is it ALWAYS the best cartridge to play? No - as is being said some pressings are less than perfect and a magnetic design will sound better.  Many systems I have set up for customers have two arms, an SG on one and Hyperion, Sussurro or Paua on the other. For myself,  I play the SG on about 90% or more of my recordings in part because I am addicted to it. But very often, I use the Hyperion for many and especially certain records. The Hyperion is the closest Magnetic design to the SG in the world. That explains some of its popularity I believe. If I had to only live with the Hyperion, tears.     Peter Ledermann

There is a love that is not love

It is not the kind that makes you weak

It makes you rise so far above

It takes your breath, it makes you weep


There is a love that runs so deep

Makes all you do seem merciless

It implores your soul rise from its sleep

And all life’s plans superfluous


There is a love you cannot touch

It is not a kiss on fevered brow

It gathers all but won’t hold much

And hitherto sworn you’ll disavow


But it exists outside of time

Yet there’s nothing that’s not held within

It cannot die, it needs not find

what it gifts it does not rescind


One cannot look away or fake

but makes you stop and gather heart

you cannot give, you cannot take

it’s the reason to stop, the reason to start


I met a woman who had this love

It was loaned to her and to keep her well

It was not hers, but she stole it not

To guard her soul from living hell


Steel shining swords in crosses were

Across her eyes and down her breast

And o’er her head in midday sun

And I that sight forever blessed


I know she lives - it matters not

It makes the world make sense of pain

Redeemer of the senseless caught

Makes every struggle not in vain


For the sake of others, I could see

For safekeeping’s sake she held it true

It was not for her, it was not for free

It was not for me.


It was for you.



(peter ledermann 4-27-20

Thanks for your post. The problem with vintage cartridges is that unless they have been traveling at a substantial fraction of the speed of light, they have aged - and part of that depends on the environments they are/were in, and also on the specific formulations used for damping materials. I have even seen NOS EPC451 SG units (Panasonic) where the ultra thin aluminum cantilevers are mainly corroded - just by time/environment.

Damping materials are VERY tricky. I have the distinct advantage of personaly having rebuilt many, many thousands of cartridges. THAT is an education for which there is no equal, or shortcut. I have seen some damping materials in MC designs turn to cracked stone in 2 years, ones I assume worked extremely well when new. Others are 40 years old and work perfectly. I am very, very careful to use formulations in my designs that are proven to last 20-30 years or more. Are there a bit better materials that have somewhat better visco-elastic properties right out of the box? Sure. You bet. Will I use them? No. I get away with NOT using those unproven materials because when you reduce the moving mass dramatically as I have done and cannot be done in MC designs, damping becomes orders of magnitude easier and more efficient. A win-win.

So there is no telling - even if I DO tell you of some I love, how you will find good ones? It's like hooking you up with an old girlfriend who is looking for love that I have not talked to in 30 years. I have no idea what time has done to her. Its certainly done a hell of a job on me.

So forgive me my vagueness - I just don't want to misdirect. What I CAN tell you is what a wonder it is to find a well designed MM, MI or MC that HAS been traveling at 3/4 the speed of light, and after rebuilding, it plays so well........  

Peter Ledermann - (NOT aging so gracefully in certain respects)
Suspensions tended to fail with long term age. They WERE great carts. My favorite comment was from Walter Stanton, who during a large meeting with sales reps, was asked "Why do the diamond styli cost so much?"
Walter responded properly.

Peter Ledermann
So many little time or room. First; my preamps. They are very high end designs, but we don’t make much $$ on them. Why, you may ask, do we make them. For the same reason that I do many things that don’t translate into money. It is for the music and my customers. In a way, I am glad it’s not too popular. I would start losing lots more on them. Fremer and Holmes BOTH got what I did when I designed them and in their reviews of the original Sussurro and MCP-2 said the same thing: "If you have X $ to spend, don’t split it on a cartridge and preamp, buy the Soundsmith Sussurro and MCP-2 - you will be far ahead of the game". I made our preamps high end but low cost them so folks COULD save $ and move up the food chain in our line of carts and get far more result. I listen to and demo the Hyperion with the MCP-2 ($1199) - which has compared favorably to preamps costing 4X as much. I also introduced continuously variable loading - on the fly - from 10 Ohms to 5K - so you can tune it by ear to what sounds good to you.

Now on the point of different cartridges for different music. MOST cartridges are not neutral. Neutrality however, is my design goal always, above everything, regardless of products I make - speakers, amplifiers, preamps, cartridges, etc..... . The technical. reasons for LACK of neutrality are many, but let me put it this way. If you were to take a Grace F9, and look at the "sine" wave produced, you would be shocked. It is NOT sinusoidal. How does it sound? Great. One must separate the wheat from the chaff.

When I was director of engineering at Bozak, Rudy Bozak taught me an important lesson regarding loudspeaker design. He said "There are 10 things you’d like to do when designing a loudspeaker - you’re only going to get to do 3 of them. You’d better pick the right things".

So linearity in and of itself is not the whole key to sonics, but does cause coloration when its bad. Many people don’t know HOW to listen to a cartridge. The same could be said for me in the sense of art - I LIKE art, and own some, but I don’t know how to look at it - NOT like an artist. A cartridge has it’s WORST moment when things get busy. That tells you about transient performance, and certain aspects of the design. So you have to look at the whole elephant. Good for riding through a riotous crowd, getting rid of excess peanuts, helping you wash your car, not good as an indoor pet. The Grace is like tube gear. If you do a harmonic distortion analysis on tube gear, you see LOTS of distortion. What kind? even order (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc....). Many solid state designs? ODD order. Even order is MUSICAL, and adds pleasant harmonics. Odd order? Horrible. Is a tube amp/preamp "accurate"?

No.Is it nice to have as a pet?Sure.

I am the last one to tell folks what to own - that they MUST own something "totally" accurate. I made an audio discovery 45 yeas ago of a device that puts you in an alpha state after 60 seconds of listening to music with it. It is "linear"? No. Does it make you smile? You bet. Will I ever bring it to market? No - I don’t have the resources. It, like over a hundred inventions I have, will go with me to the next world, IF they let me take any baggage. You know how airlines keep changing the rules.

Because I do what I do, and have the philosophy I do, I am compelled to yearn for truth and accuracy and to discover how to accomplish that. That requires years, much thought, experimentation, failure, intuition. Is extreme accuracy always the best? Hard to answer. In life, one often needs to find out what it’s NOT, before one can know what it is. Same for engineering. So what happens when you play a less than perfect record with a very accurate cartridge? Well, it’s the same as getting too close to a fallen goddess. You will be awash with imperfection. What happens if you were up front and close to her before she fell?~
It would take your breath away.~
Peter Ledermann
Above someone asked my about my family. My father and family was from Breslau, my mother from Frankfurt-am -Main. My father and his sister fled in 39; their parents escaped in 42 - a miracle. My paternal Grandfather - Georg Ledermann, was major industrialist. He was "protected" by "friends" - and although sent to a camp for 8 weeks in 1940, was "returned" home, starving, by means he never discovered. They nearly starved till 42, when by a miracle my father got them visas to Cuba. The US was NOT allowing refugees into the US by then, they were considered "enemy aliens" and were not allowed into the US - even though they were fleeing for their lives. They took a train from Breslau, to Barcelona, and before boarding the boat were stopped and "arrested" by German soldiers who asked them to produce passports. For those who are not aware, those passports were stamped "JEW" in red. A priest who was across the street came over and told the German he could not arrest them - did he not SEE the medal my grandmother was wearing? She wore a small gold chain with many tiny medals, each the size of a dime, that had belonged to her grandfather. ONE medal was the Isabella award, (Wikipedia) given to her grandfather by the king of Spain for his 30 yeas of service as German council. It meant, technically, that he, and ALL his descendants, were "honorary" Spanish citizens. He let them go. I have the award. They spend 14 months in Cuba, and when entering the US, were detained for days and shown maps of Breslau, to point out what was made in each factory - something my grandfather well knew. The US and British soon leveled Breslau to six feet of rubble. The rest of the Ledermann and Ehrlich families died in concentration camps.

My mother’s father was a general, and head legal council to the German army in WW1. By WWII, many of the military brass that has served under him - who were now Nazis - "protected" him, his wife and my mother till 42. He was a "war hero" and also a war criminal, as all German generals were after WW1. His name is on the treaty of Versailles. In 42, my mother was crying as she left a government office, and was grabbed by a Nazi who recognized her - he had served under her father. He helped arrange a bribe to a fellow in the Visa office, but they were discovered by another in that office who demanded that my grandfather "defend" his brother, a murderer of his own wife and daughter. Jews had been stripped of their right to practice law, medicine and more many years earlier, But in 1942, my grandfather, Adolphe Solomon, defended a murderer in a Frankfurt court. The judge didn’t have the guts to tell him - "I’m sorry Dr. Solomon, you are not allowed to practice law in this court". He won, or I would not be typing this that you are reading. He fled to England with wife and my mother. His son, Gerard, had fled in 39, missing the Nazis that came for him by 30 minutes. My uncle Gerard fled to Paris, where he designed/sold a folding boat that could be carried in two small briefcases. I often wondered why he did that. Then it hit me.

He realized that if/when the Nazis came to Paris, Jews could paddle across the channel to England. He moved to the US, married a Jew, and converted to Christianity. Changed his name to "Sandersen" and tried to pass himself off as a Swede. He knew there was a lot of antisemitism then in the US, and he was "done" being Jewish. Thank God there is no more antisemitism now here or anywhere. He lived in Aspen Colorado, - He was "Sandy, the silversmith. An artist, poet, inventor, silversmith, stained glass creator, painter, architect, musician, teacher and more. I loved him.

I knew three out of four grandparents. It should not have happened.

Peter Ledermann

Dear John;

It has long been part of my audio faith tradition to never tell anyone what they are going to, or are capable of hearing. That is in part why my responses are sometimes possibly not understood or appreciated if one does not consider the position I speak from.

That said, you will hopefully understand that I cannot tell if you will notice a difference from the ES series to the Aida you currently have. I have a customer who has bought much from me (Strain Gauge and more) who insists that I am the absolute worst salesman in the world. I am not sure if he appreciates that I take that as a compliment. It’s sort of like feeling good about failing the test to become an insurance salesman. That said, I pray you are NOT an insurance salesman or I have lost you forever or longer.

Do we rebuild from one design into the other? No - too many changes. Too much to do to "convert". If you love your Aida, enjoy it. And then get it fully rebuilt by me for 20% when it wears out or breaks.
What is MY personal philosophy (not for everyone) when I find something I enjoy, whether it’s an audio design, dinner dessert or woman? Don’t look around too much. It runs the risk of taking the joy out of what you hold in your hand.

Peter Ledermann
It is a sad story about the Boheme. That cartridge punched so far above its weight class for performance that it confused the entire lineup of models we make. So under great duress (from my marketing manager at the time) we discontinued it.

That would have been the closest thing to the original SMMC2 we made. Right now, there really is no equivalent in our lineup. Maybe the Aida now, for the SMMC2, and now, absolutely the Voice for the SMMC1.

But bear in mind that these B&O models we make are high compliance and very tricky to use with medium mass or especially high mass arms. One would have to pay VERY VERY close attention to anti-skating (directions on our website), avoid eccentric records and beware of rumble/low frequency sources to use them with our 1/2" adapter on NON-B&O tables with medium or high mass arms. .

Peter Ledermann