SUT decision: Ortofon Verto vs Ortofon STA6600L


Friends,
I am considering adding a SUT to between my Lyra Skala cartridge and RCM Sensor phonostage. I have noticed that even with a cheap vintage Ortofon SUT there is a clear improvement in terms of musical flow and drama when compared with using the phonostage standalone. At the moment I can get a Ortofon Verto which is a new generation SUT by Ortofon (using Lundahl inside) or I can also get a vintage STA 6600L which uses an original Jorgen Schou SUT inside. Which of them is preferable ? Will the old tranny hold when compared to a latest Lundahl tranny ?
pani
Not sure Pani. The Verto is very good. I have one that I am not using, so if interested let me know

Cheers
I've had great luck with a EAR MC4 paired with a Lyra Atlas...might be worth considering...
MC4 is very expensive. I am looking for a cheaper alternative.

I am trying to understand if the old Ortofon original Jorgen Schou SUTs are worth considering over the newer Ortofon.

I am also considering the Auditorium 23 SUT (SPU version).
Have you checked out the Bob's devices 1131 blue?
One you audition on of Bob's blue series SUT's (the 1131 or Sky 30) running into the MM section of your phono you will be amazed at the improvement. Built & backed in the USA & Bob is a wealth of information. {Check Art Dudley's Stereophile review.]

Go a set further: Try Bob's amazing cables. The synergy between Bob's cables & his SUT's is perfect harmony.

If you act quickly, before RMAF closes, Bob may extend to you a "Show Discount."
[My 10-13-13 post was filled with embarrassing typos. I am hoping that the moderator(s) will delete that post in favor of the corrected version below.]

Once you audition one of Bob's blue series SUT's (the 1131 or Sky 30) running into the MM section of your phono you will be amazed at the improvement. Built & backed in the USA & Bob is a wealth of information. (Check Art Dudley's Stereophile review.)

Go a step further: Try Bob's outstanding cables. The synergy between Bob's cables & his SUT's is a perfect harmony.

If you act quickly, before RMAF closes, Bob may extend to you a "Show Discount."
The issue here is that the RCM phono stage has 52-76db of gain.
Even at its lowest gain setting a transformer with a ratio of 1:20 or more will end up with too much gain and possibly overload the phono ( its solid state, they dont have a lot of head room ).

1:10 turns ratio which will give you 20db plus 52db = 72db.
Cartridge will output 0.5mVx10=5mV into the phono

1:20 will give you 26db plus 52db = 78db.
Cartridge will output 0.5mVx20=10mV into the phono.

As a comparison my Marantz 7 ppreamp will amplify an MC with 0.3mV output with no noise and gain to spare with 60db including the line stage.

None of the responses above have considered these issues.

06-18-10: Jcarr
Hi Rene: Normally I wouldn't recommend a step-up transformer with the Delos unless your phono either has low gain or good overload margin.

The 0.6mV output from the Delos is high enough that it caused clipping when we matched it up with a Nagra BPS, which (according to Stereophile) has 51dB gain in fixed-coil mode and 62dB with the built-in stepup transformer in the circuit. Jumpering out the transformer cleared up the situation. I presume that the 9V power supply of the BPS is to blame, and that using a different phono stage with a higher power supply voltage would avoid the problem.

If you use a transformer, I suggest 1:10 ratio, loading at the secondary, and very short, very low-capacitance cable connecting the transformer to the phono stage.

Boosting the output from a Delos with a 1:10 ratio will present your phono stage with a 6mV input, which should be quite comfortable for all MM and MI-level phono stages.

If your phono stage has 60dB gain or more, you won't need a transformer (unless you have very low preamp/power amp gain, or very inefficient speakers). If your phono stage gain is in the 40-some dB range, you will probably need a headamp or stepup transformer. Again, your results will be affected by preamp/power amp gain and speaker efficiency, but likely not enough to let you get by without the extra gain stage.

The situation is more unclear with phono stages in the 50-some dB range. Here I don't have any firm recommendations, other than suggesting that you compare with and without a transformer or headamp. Perhaps you could first find a vintage unit of low price and the right properties, then change to a higher-quality unit once you've verified that things work.

FWIW, we also make the Erodion (www.lyraconnoisseur), which is a stepup device, but this has a 1:20 ratio, so I wouldn't recommend it for the Delos unless your phono stage gain is in the low 40-some dB range.

hth, jonathan

My suggestion - get a better phono stage.
Dear Pani: ++++++ " I have noticed that even with a cheap vintage Ortofon SUT there is a clear improvement in terms of musical flow and drama when compared with using the phonostage standalone. " +++++

IMHO a good designed and excecuted active high gain PS normally outperform a SUT. It is not easy to find out that well designed/excecuted PS. Probably your unit is not on that league.

Now, your Skala is a good performer and deserve the best amplification alternative.

A SUT is not a rocket science and forgeret about those transformer names as the ones you named. I think that if you want to experience the SUT alternative then there are some things you need to be informed.

If I was you I will look for a Denon unit. Denon is a dedicated ( for sevral years that I can't remember when started. ) manufacturer not only of first rate electronics and digital equipment but more important first rate: TT, tonearms, SUT, LP recording and especially cartridges ( mainly LOMC ones. ). IMHO these people knows exactly the cartridge needs by first hand experiences.

A good example of Denon knowledge level and skills on the SUT regards is the AU-1000, a stae of the art work. This " bay " weights 12 kg and its frequency response goes from 5 hz to 200 khz, this fr spec is critical when we are talking of SUT's. The AU-1000 is a vintage one but today you can get Denon newes design: AU-S1.

Now, you can get first quality performance with a Denon AU-340 after some modifications you must do it.
What do you get with the AU-340?:

a SUT that permit you connect two different cartridges/tonearms ( two internal transformers for each channel. ) at the same time, each one can be loaded in independent way for 3 ohms or 40 ohms and obviously with each one diffrent gain and additional to these in both cases you can by-pass to use a MM/MI cartridge with.
So, this kind of flexibility makes that unit a welcomed user friendly SUT.

Is there any problem with this kind of vintage units?, yes: internal quality wiring and input/output quality of the connectors and that's why I said: " with modifications ".

As the SUTs are not a rocket science neither the modifications. Simple as to unsoldered, solder and carefully ( make a diagram for you can know wich wire goes where and connect with. ) when you ( or a technician ) do it.

Of course that here you have another advantage that's that you choose the IC cable and its kind of quality connectors ( RCA or XLR. ) quality you want or match the best your audio system signature.
Those input and output IC cables must be soldered directly to the Denon inside board and from there directly to your PS and tonearm(s).

Other good alternative is the Entré ET-100 that permit not two but three toneamr/cartridges, by-pass on each one and three different loads and gain on each one.

IMHO these vintage alternatives not only even the best today ones but in several ways outperform it. I know because I own it and already heard it against other vintage SUTs and today ones.

I started a process to know at what level could be possible to go with SUTs against active high gain units. The ones I modified ( Audiocraft between others. ) told me that we have " something " here.

Don't worry that today SUT design advocates can tell you that the today core ( niquel ) or other SUT build material are way better because is not true: are different but not necesary better. You want niquel well you can get in a Luxman unit for less than 500.00. Do you want silver? well you can get for over 5k+ dollars on the Audio Note ( the AU-1000 beats it. ) or an Ortofon 3000 for 1K.

+++ " Check A.Dudley? " ++++, who is he? what knows he that you or me did not?

regards and enjoy the music,
R.
I have heard about Bob's product. I know they have good reputation. However, how good are they compared to an Auditorium23 or a Ortofon Verto? Has anyone made a direct comparison ?
Dear Pani: ++++++ " I have noticed that even with a cheap vintage Ortofon SUT there is a clear improvement in terms of musical flow and drama when compared with using the phonostage standalone. " +++++

IMHO a good designed and excecuted active high gain PS normally outperform a SUT. It is not easy to find out that well designed/excecuted PS. Probably your unit is not on that league.

Now, your Skala is a good performer and deserve the best amplification alternative.

A SUT is not a rocket science and forgeret about those transformer names as the ones you named. I think that if you want to experience the SUT alternative then there are some things you need to be informed.

If I was you I will look for a Denon unit. Denon is a dedicated ( for sevral years that I can't remember when started. ) manufacturer not only of first rate electronics and digital equipment but more important first rate: TT, tonearms, SUT, LP recording and especially cartridges ( mainly LOMC ones. ). IMHO these people knows exactly the cartridge needs by first hand experiences.

A good example of Denon knowledge level and skills on the SUT regards is the AU-1000, a stae of the art work. This " bay " weights 12 kg and its frequency response goes from 5 hz to 200 khz, this fr spec is critical when we are talking of SUT's. The AU-1000 is a vintage one but today you can get Denon newes design: AU-S1.

Now, you can get first quality performance with a Denon AU-340 after some modifications you must do it.
What do you get with the AU-340?:

a SUT that permit you connect two different cartridges/tonearms ( two internal transformers for each channel. ) at the same time, each one can be loaded in independent way for 3 ohms or 40 ohms and obviously with each one diffrent gain and additional to these in both cases you can by-pass to use a MM/MI cartridge with.
So, this kind of flexibility makes that unit a welcomed user friendly SUT.

Is there any problem with this kind of vintage units?, yes: internal quality wiring and input/output quality of the connectors and that's why I said: " with modifications ".

As the SUTs are not a rocket science neither the modifications. Simple as to unsoldered, solder and carefully ( make a diagram for you can know wich wire goes where and connect with. ) when you ( or a technician ) do it.

Of course that here you have another advantage that's that you choose the IC cable and its kind of quality connectors ( RCA or XLR. ) quality you want or match the best your audio system signature.
Those input and output IC cables must be soldered directly to the Denon inside board and from there directly to your PS and tonearm(s).

Other good alternative is the Entré ET-100 that permit not two but three toneamr/cartridges, by-pass on each one and three different loads and gain on each one.

IMHO these vintage alternatives not only even the best today ones but in several ways outperform it. I know because I own it and already heard it against other vintage SUTs and today ones.

I started a process to know at what level could be possible to go with SUTs against active high gain units. The ones I modified ( Audiocraft between others. ) told me that we have " something " here.

Don't worry that today SUT design advocates can tell you that the today core ( niquel ) or other SUT build material are way better because is not true: are different but not necesary better. You want niquel well you can get in a Luxman unit for less than 500.00. Do you want silver? well you can get for over 5k+ dollars on the Audio Note ( the AU-1000 beats it. ) or an Ortofon 3000 for 1K.

+++ " Check A.Dudley? " ++++, who is he? what knows he that you or me did not?

I forgot, Audio Technica was and is an especialist on analog too with real good vintage and today SUTs designs: you can check it.

regards and enjoy the music,
R.
Obviously that Ortofon is very good alternative. I think that you need to know exactly what you want about the SUT flexibility on load impedances and gain because today you have the Skala but maybe in the future your needs could be different.

Ortofon has a vintage and today alternatives depending on your needs. Other than the Verto you can look for the t-2000, t-3000, t-5000, etc, etc.

R.
Dear Pani: I don't know but because your thread could be that you are not satisfied by the RCM and as Dover said maybe is time to change it.

The RCM does not needs a SUT to handle any LOMC cartridge and if a cheap SUT ( your words ) outperform it then you are in " trouble ".

A well designed and executed active high gain phonolinepreamp is an expensive unit, only your wallet could tell you on a change about.

In the other side and if you want to add that SUT your RCM can handle with the options I nemed because the Denon and Entré/Audio Technica lower gain option gives you 20db with a load impedance of 40 ohms. Your RCM handle 8 mv, so you don't have problem with but as Dover posted you have to check with other SUTs.

The J.Carr post is useful on the regards.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.
but depends on the unit overload margin at each gain. Maybe the best idea be to contact directly to RCM asking for advise on what you are trying to do.

R.
Pani: You have to take care to even SPL when you are doing comparisons because small differences in SPL couild be take it by our brain as : more alive or dull sound when the only difference in reality is that SPL difference.

An example of that could be and you can test trhough your RCM: load your cartridge at 1 kohms and then change it at 50 ohms: other than difference in frequency response you will have a lower SPL at 50 ohms set up. When you change to n external SUT you have to be sure to even the SPL.

R.
Thanks for all the suggestions folks. I enjoy reading sincere recommendations like the above.

Raul, I will definitely check the Denon SUTs. I like the RCM phonostage a lot. I especially love it with ZYX cartridge. But with Lyra I find that the music gets a bit mechanical when used without SUT. Without the SUT the music is very clean and noise floor is very low, frequency extension is also very clean and deep. However I dont get the same flow of the music which I get when SUT is in place. This happens most with the Lyra. I dont know whether it is a matter of compatibility or anything else.
Has anyone heard Bob's 1131 SUT against Ortofon SUT or the Auditorium 23 SUT ?
Has anyone heard the Intact Audio (Slagle) SUT ?
Another option is the K&K step-up. It uses excellent Lundahl transformers and has adjustable gain. You can also ask Kevin to supply slide-in resistors to give you loading options.
Dear Pani: +++++ " However I dont get the same flow of the music which I get when SUT is in place. " +++++

I can't know what you are listening in your system but ZYX " signature " is different from Lyra.

Now, there could be some reasons your Lyra performs in that way: not a very good match with the tonearm is mounted, needs a different load impedance value ( you have to check with different values. ), colored IC phono cable, some set up parameters as VTA/SRA/AZ/VTF where the cartridge is not " confortable ", SUT own distortions or is the way the Skala sounds.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.
I Don't know if it is ok for me to discuss my own product here, but since it is moderated, I will let the moderator decide. I will not give my personal opinion but just refer to a few reviews of the 1131
http://cinemag.biz/news/STRP-120500.pdf
http://www.10audio.com/bob%27s_devices_1131_step_up.htm
http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue61/reader9.htm
I believe in Art Dudley's column he compares it to the Lundahls.
Pani: Could me " healthy " that you contact directly to Lyra looking for a best advise to achieve the " best " the Skala can shows you.

R.
Hi Raul,
Lyra will recommend their own SUT which is the Erodion. This is out of my budget.

Raul wrote:
I can't know what you are listening in your system but ZYX " signature " is different from Lyra.

Now, there could be some reasons your Lyra performs in that way: not a very good match with the tonearm is mounted, needs a different load impedance value ( you have to check with different values. ), colored IC phono cable, some set up parameters as VTA/SRA/AZ/VTF where the cartridge is not " confortable ", SUT own distortions or is the way the Skala sounds.

Raul, I have been using this phonostage for the last 2 years or so and I have been very happy with it. I have tried many different cartridges, many interconnects, different tonearms and different settings all throughout my analogue rig. It has been a common observation that my phonostage sounds absolutely glorious with ZYX cartridge but not as good with Lyra. I dont know why. I have three Lyras till now and 3 ZYX. The result is consistent. With a SUT, things are different, the Lyra sings. Which tells me that the issue is mostly about loading. I could not get that same flow at any of the load settings on the phonostage. There must be something more to it but I am not a techie to be able to open the phonostage and check inside or modify. BTW, the Lyra sings really well with the 47 Labs phonocube and even Lehmann Audio Black Cube. So it likes direct input inside the phonostage, that is clear. Cannot blame any one component here.
10-18-13: Pani
Hi Raul,
Lyra will recommend their own SUT which is the Erodion.
Pani - clearly you did not read my post above. JCarr does not recommend the Erodion for phono stages that have a gain of 50dB plus.
06-18-10: Jcarr
FWIW, we also make the Erodion (www.lyraconnoisseur), which is a stepup device, but this has a 1:20 ratio, so I wouldn't recommend it for the Delos unless your phono stage gain is in the low 40-some dB range.
I suggest you go back and read my post. There is some useful information there.
I have written a short article on impedance loading that may help explain the differences.
http://www.bobsdevices.com/What-about-Impedance.html
I have to revisit this thread, especially after suggesting Lundahls earlier. Since then I bought one of Bob's Devices SKY 30 SUTs for use with my Miyajima Kansui. I'm shocked at how good it is, even before full break in. Huge, deep soundstage; rich yet accurate tonality; outstanding focus and detail; very open and dynamic. I'd never been completely happy with the Kansui before, and I've used it through a Steelhead RC, my VAC Phi Beta pre-amp's internal MC (with unlimited loading options), and the MC input on my current Allnic H3000, which employs its own multi-tap SUTs. The Kansui always seemed closed in no matter how I played with gain and loading. Through this Bob's SUT, on high gain (30x) into the H3000's MM input at 47K, I finally get what makes this cartridge special. Perhaps 30x is just the perfect gain for it and that's what I'm hearing, I'm not sure. But I have a feeling the difference is these blue CineMag transformers and the way Bob utilizes them. (I have no affiliation beyond being a pleased new customer.)
Thanks Wrm57, thats an interesting observation. This goes to show more very important thing, with most phonostages a good SUT into the MM input sounds better than going direct into the MC input. There would be exceptions I agree, but most as I said could be behaving this way. So, I guess it would be interesting to look for a very good MM phonostage and look for a matching SUT for the cartridge.
Pani, I've come to that conclusion myself, namely, that SUTs into an MM phono stage is the way to go for me. The Allnic H3000 is by far the best phono stage I've had in my system, and it is essentially a tubed MM phono stage with built-in SUTs for MC carts, offering four windings (13x, 20x, 26x, 40x) and four secondary input impedance options (in mine, 30K, 47K, 75K, 100K). Two MC inputs go through its SUTS; two MM inputs bypass them and lead directly to the secondary impedance options, so you can use MM carts or, for MC carts, stand-alone SUTs with other windings. The 30x winding that seems ideal for the Kansui isn't offered by the Allnic, hence the Bob's SKY 30 through MM inputs is best for that cartridge. It's an elegant approach. But a similar result could be achieved less expensively via a high-quality MM phono stage and SUT matched to the cartridge, as you say. Bob is very helpful in this regard: give him the specs of your cartridge and he runs the calculations to determine the best windings match.
Thanks Wrm57. I was thinking of the Leben RS-30EQ or an Allnic H1500.