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Thread: Opinions on Tribute SUTs

  1. #11
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

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    I'm Andrew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alcarmichael View Post
    Why do you say 'especially when not true'?
    Here's a quote from the link in post #2

    "In my experience, every active moving coil input stage degrades the sounds way too much. While it is possible to do active stages today, which have practically no detectable noise, it is the bass region and the bass quality where the problem lies. Active devices are drifting with temperature, operating point and under work, and if input signals are smaller than 1mV, the drift gets into the way of the music. Bass lines are muddy then and drum players seem to play like if they are drunk. So the music is lacking immediateness, and rather sounds hollow, uninvolving, uninteresting."

    Convincing people like that that headamps are superior to SUTs is going to be a hard job. Of course, there's been a similar debate for years about valves and transistors, and things like distortion measurements don't seem to have any impact on the debate.
    Anyway, to some people it will be true that SUTs are superior to active headamps. To others it won't be.
    Personally, I think good examples of either technology can sound great. Bad examples of either technology don't.

  2. #12
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

    Posts: 4,165
    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anubisgrau View Post
    do we really need this kind of commercial interference, especially when not true!

    btw, there's quite some toroidal step up transformers out there, tribute, luxman, fidelity research are certainly not "nobody there"
    I can assure you that the best head amps are easily as good as the best SUT's and in some cases better. As always in our hobby "Chinese whispers" are spread and "urban myths" abound, many of them completely untrue. There are very few head amps around for comparison to SUT's and many of those are not particularly high end. How many head amps have you tried before coming to the conclusion that SUT's are better? Or did you, as is usual in these cases, read it somewhere?
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
    ReVox PR99, Studer B62, Ferrograph Series 7, Tandberg TCD440, Hitachi FT-5500MkI, also FT-5500MkII
    Digital: Yamaha CDR-HD1500 (Digital Swiss army knife-CD recorder, player, hard drive, DAC and ADC in one), PC files via 24/96 sound card and SPDIF, modded Philips CD850, modded Philips CD104, modded DPA Little Bit DAC. Sennheiser HD580 cans with Arkless Headphone amp.
    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  3. #13
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

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    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RothwellAudio View Post
    Here's a quote from the link in post #2

    "In my experience, every active moving coil input stage degrades the sounds way too much. While it is possible to do active stages today, which have practically no detectable noise, it is the bass region and the bass quality where the problem lies. Active devices are drifting with temperature, operating point and under work, and if input signals are smaller than 1mV, the drift gets into the way of the music. Bass lines are muddy then and drum players seem to play like if they are drunk. So the music is lacking immediateness, and rather sounds hollow, uninvolving, uninteresting."

    Convincing people like that that headamps are superior to SUTs is going to be a hard job. Of course, there's been a similar debate for years about valves and transistors, and things like distortion measurements don't seem to have any impact on the debate.
    Anyway, to some people it will be true that SUTs are superior to active headamps. To others it won't be.
    Personally, I think good examples of either technology can sound great. Bad examples of either technology don't.
    Absolute rubbish to the first highlighted bit.

    The second I agree with. The thing that bothers on this is that, to follow on from my last post, "Chinese whispers" from people without the technical knowledge to hold an opinion one way or the other on which is theoretically better, are being propagated, without any comparison with top quality head amps (rare on the ground) and used to build a weight of incorrect opinion that SUT's are better, which is a falsehood.

    I'm not claiming any huge superiority for head amps over SUT's, just that when done optimally they are at least as good.

    Comparing 30 year old £60 head amps from ebay with £1000 SUT's is not exactly a fair comparison and yes one would expect the SUT to win here.

    I have not done any sort of search as to what's available new today in the realms of head amps and the only "high end" head amps I personally know of (I'm sure others will enlighten me on this) are the one I make and an even more expensive one from Paul Haynes designs. I recall in a long phone call from Marco a fair while ago him saying that both mine and the Paul Haynes unit had convinced him that a good head amp can be a least as good as the best SUT's... and this was in comparison with the top of the range Ortofon ST80 at around £1400. Marco actually bought the Paul Haynes unit! (double the £750 which mine costs).
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
    ReVox PR99, Studer B62, Ferrograph Series 7, Tandberg TCD440, Hitachi FT-5500MkI, also FT-5500MkII
    Digital: Yamaha CDR-HD1500 (Digital Swiss army knife-CD recorder, player, hard drive, DAC and ADC in one), PC files via 24/96 sound card and SPDIF, modded Philips CD850, modded Philips CD104, modded DPA Little Bit DAC. Sennheiser HD580 cans with Arkless Headphone amp.
    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  4. #14
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

    Posts: 4,165
    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alcarmichael View Post
    Yes, outstanding SUT, for me it bettered the highly acclaimed Hashimoto H7's.
    Alex, you are maybe in a relatively rare position of owning a high end head amp (an Arkless MkI) and having experience of top end SUT's. From memory, you said at the time that you bought the Arkless head amp that you compared it to the Hashimoto HM7's and had a big preference for the Arkless head amp...
    I believe you have done further experimentation with head amps since... Maybe you could add your own experiences here as I am in an unfortunate position of course that, as a manufacturer, everyone will always take the "you would say that" view to anything I say!
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
    ReVox PR99, Studer B62, Ferrograph Series 7, Tandberg TCD440, Hitachi FT-5500MkI, also FT-5500MkII
    Digital: Yamaha CDR-HD1500 (Digital Swiss army knife-CD recorder, player, hard drive, DAC and ADC in one), PC files via 24/96 sound card and SPDIF, modded Philips CD850, modded Philips CD104, modded DPA Little Bit DAC. Sennheiser HD580 cans with Arkless Headphone amp.
    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  5. #15
    Join Date: Jul 2012

    Location: Benson, Oxfordshire

    Posts: 394
    I'm Alex.

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    I've had a play with some very nice kit in my system for someone relatively new to vinyl, transformers used were the Hashimoto H7's found in the Choir Audio SUT-H7 and the Tribute SUT. Active stages were the Denon HA-1000 and the Arkless Mk1.

    I liked every single one of them and would've been happy to keep any of them. For me though the Arkless was the best for me in my system. It's an outstanding bit of kit and enables me to enjoy the music how I prefer it. It has bags of energy, drive and balls, the bass produced is phenomenal, deep, powerful and tuneful, it's also delicate with softer music and vocals sound so realistic.

    For what its worth my research also led me to believe that an SUT was the way to go. When I first heard the H7's I was a very, very happy man. I had absolutely no belief that the Arkless head amp would sound better than what I was hearing with the Choir Audio in my system. I was wrong.

  6. #16
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

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    I'm Andrew.

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    As far as I'm aware there aren't many new headamps around at all. There's the Graham Slee Elevator, the Lounge Audio Copla and of course the one I make, the Headspace. There's also an unbelievably cheap one from Little Bear. A google search for "headamp" turned up nothing but headphone amplifiers until my Headspace on page 4 of the search results.
    Jez is absolutely correct that very few people have had the chance to compare directly headamps and SUTs (ie using SUTs and standalone headamps into the same MM phonostage) simply because there are so few headamps around, but many people have used mm/mc phonostages set to mc operation and also tried a SUT into the same phonostage set to mm. That does give some level of comparison but it's when a SUT and Phonostage A is compared to Phonostage B (set to mc) that comparisons start to become tenuous.
    Just to add to the confusion some people will say that they have used their cartridge with a SUT and Phonostage A and compared it to Phonostage B and preferred one or the other - then point out that the cartridge load in one instance is (say) 400 ohms and in the other instance is 100 ohms, therefore the optimum load for that cartridge is 100 ohms. There are too many variables there to draw those types of conclusions imo.

  7. #17
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

    Posts: 4,165
    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alcarmichael View Post
    I've had a play with some very nice kit in my system for someone relatively new to vinyl, transformers used were the Hashimoto H7's found in the Choir Audio SUT-H7 and the Tribute SUT. Active stages were the Denon HA-1000 and the Arkless Mk1.

    I liked every single one of them and would've been happy to keep any of them. For me though the Arkless was the best for me in my system. It's an outstanding bit of kit and enables me to enjoy the music how I prefer it. It has bags of energy, drive and balls, the bass produced is phenomenal, deep, powerful and tuneful, it's also delicate with softer music and vocals sound so realistic.

    For what its worth my research also led me to believe that an SUT was the way to go. When I first heard the H7's I was a very, very happy man. I had absolutely no belief that the Arkless head amp would sound better than what I was hearing with the Choir Audio in my system. I was wrong.


    I just wish more people who make claims along the lines of "everyone knows SUT's are better than head amps" would have a think as to how they "know" this... (usually I'm sad to say this is "where they read it") and maybe seek out one of the (admittedly rare) high end head amps for comparison

    For the record, my own view is that:
    1/ The very best head amps and SUT's are comparable... I'll admit a slight personal preference for the best head amps but we're talking Nth degree.

    2/ When it comes to comparing mid priced or "less than the very best available" head amps and SUT's, the head amp will usually beat the SUT's.

    3/ Head amps are vastly more flexible when it comes to cartridge matching etc. Just set the loading with the loading plugs (or small switches in some head amps) and that's it. New cart? Change the loading plugs or switch settings to suit. There's non of the fecking about with matching turns ratios etc....

    4/ Head amps are also far less fussy in getting minimal mains hum than SUT's.

    5/ SUT's win in terms of low noise. BUT... a good head amp will be quiet enough for it to be purely academic as the noise from the head amp will be much lower than the "vinyl roar" etc anyway. They do vary significantly in this parameter and in the case of some head amps which are less than optimal in this area, the noise can be a limitation in ultimate low level detail retrieval. With the best of head amps though this is just not an issue. I can make a head amp that is quiet enough and has enough gain for an Audio note Io for example, and due to the large turns ratio needed in a SUT for this job I would expect a clear win for the head amp here!
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
    ReVox PR99, Studer B62, Ferrograph Series 7, Tandberg TCD440, Hitachi FT-5500MkI, also FT-5500MkII
    Digital: Yamaha CDR-HD1500 (Digital Swiss army knife-CD recorder, player, hard drive, DAC and ADC in one), PC files via 24/96 sound card and SPDIF, modded Philips CD850, modded Philips CD104, modded DPA Little Bit DAC. Sennheiser HD580 cans with Arkless Headphone amp.
    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  8. #18
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

    Posts: 4,165
    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RothwellAudio View Post
    As far as I'm aware there aren't many new headamps around at all. There's the Graham Slee Elevator, the Lounge Audio Copla and of course the one I make, the Headspace. There's also an unbelievably cheap one from Little Bear. A google search for "headamp" turned up nothing but headphone amplifiers until my Headspace on page 4 of the search results.
    Jez is absolutely correct that very few people have had the chance to compare directly headamps and SUTs (ie using SUTs and standalone headamps into the same MM phonostage) simply because there are so few headamps around, but many people have used mm/mc phonostages set to mc operation and also tried a SUT into the same phonostage set to mm. That does give some level of comparison but it's when a SUT and Phonostage A is compared to Phonostage B (set to mc) that comparisons start to become tenuous.
    Just to add to the confusion some people will say that they have used their cartridge with a SUT and Phonostage A and compared it to Phonostage B and preferred one or the other - then point out that the cartridge load in one instance is (say) 400 ohms and in the other instance is 100 ohms, therefore the optimum load for that cartridge is 100 ohms. There are too many variables there to draw those types of conclusions imo.
    All good points Andrew. Plus of those that have compared head amps against SUT's how many have had access to a similarly high end head amp to compare to the maybe £800+ SUT's?
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
    ReVox PR99, Studer B62, Ferrograph Series 7, Tandberg TCD440, Hitachi FT-5500MkI, also FT-5500MkII
    Digital: Yamaha CDR-HD1500 (Digital Swiss army knife-CD recorder, player, hard drive, DAC and ADC in one), PC files via 24/96 sound card and SPDIF, modded Philips CD850, modded Philips CD104, modded DPA Little Bit DAC. Sennheiser HD580 cans with Arkless Headphone amp.
    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  9. #19
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

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    I'm Grant.

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    People are entitled to voice their opinion. Just as long as they dont force it on anyone.
    Regards,
    Grant ....
    Sometimes incompetence is useful. It helps you keep an open mind.
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  10. #20
    Join Date: Mar 2008

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    Would agree both are equally good, just a little different. I've heard an earlier version of Jez's head amp, own Denon HA 500 & 1000 and also have a Firebottle built with Z foil resistors. I find head amps in general to have a slightly more up front sound, the best SUT's by comparison are a little more laid back by comparison.
    There are times when you canít do the sensible thing, when you canít act like a responsible adult at all; you just have to do whatever insane thing comes into your head. When bad people do it they end up murderers, when good people do it they end up heroes, and when the rest of us do it we end up looking like total idiots. But whenís that ever stopped us?

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