SUT n°3 – We (don’t) like easy wins
Updated: Jan 16, 2019
The step up transformer for Moving Coil cartridges (SUT from now) is one of the most mysterious objects in Hi-Fi. Some time ago, several audio companies had in their catalogue several SUT models, characterized by:
- different gains, in order to interface correctly with the multitude of MC cartridges, many of them from the Japanese school;
- various alloys for the magnetic core of the transformers (nickel, amorphous, more or less precious ferrite); - copper or silver windings.
Generally most of the SUT’s on the market, with few exceptions, are equipped with RCA/unbalanced inputs and outputs: SUT’s with balanced input and output are really rare.
The balanced connection would be desirable in the SUT: the signal coming from the cartridges is, by its nature, balanced and consequently an xlr connection allows to maintain the signal poles separated, a more effective management the mass loops and signal screening.
Around the end of the '80s, with the proliferation of high-gain solid-state circuits, the SUT market fell dramatically. The SUT market remains alive only in Japan and with a few enthusiasts in the rest of the world.
In the last decade, thanks to the possibility of buying online, there has been a great competition to buy vintage SUTs such as Koetsu, Denon, various Kiseki, Cotter, Ortofon, etc. After several years, the audiophiles realized the superiority of the SUT compared to active stages, when well interfaced with the MC cartridges.
Generally it’s a common belief that vintage is better, even in this area. The current step up production represents today a really good alternative to those of the past, for a number of reasons: availability of high quality cores, higher quality magnet wire and an increased experience in transformer winding, thanks also to the support of software simulation.
SUT n°3 represents the entry level of Audiodinamica. It is made from permalloy laminations (50% nickel-core). It is equipped with XLR and RCA input and output and uses high quality components such as GrayHill rotary switches (with gold contatcts) and 0.1% precision low noise metal film resistor.
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Author: Francesco Matera