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Thread: Rothwell MCX SUT – My Experience

  1. #1
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,244
    I'm Oliver.

    Default Rothwell MCX SUT – My Experience

    What I really wanted to write was “WOW this has crushed the Hashimoto HM-3 and everything else I have put in against it” but I can’t. What I am going to write is yet another parable about how matching the SUT and Cartridge via Spec/data sheet is only going to get you part the way there. You NEED a synergistic match.

    On paper, The MCX is a perfect match with the Ortofon Kontrapunkt b, however, in the comfort of my listening space things haven’t quite worked out that way. Let me explain.

    Right from the off I didn’t like what I heard. I was convinced it was because the MCX was cold and sure enough tried to convince myself that when it was room temperature, things would get better, and to a degree, it did. The sound stage was huge, but everything felt a little bit all over the place and messy. The wonderful separation and organisation I had previously with the HA-5oo wasn’t there. It felt like I was sat too close to the screen at the cinema and I couldn’t take in all the picture. I needed to be another 4 feet back to get the picture in focus. A day or so later and I felt things had improved and probably due to A) My perception and 2) the MCX getting to room temperature, I was starting to see the qualities of the MCX. It is very fluid, and the soundstage suffers from no compression whatsoever. But there was a problem. Tonally I felt things had become a little anaemic, well, quite anaemic actually.

    I changed cable to pure copper and felt the body had returned slightly but that I was sacrificing some focus and detail. I made up a couple of different sets of cables and tried them all. Nothing has restored the body and timbre I felt i'd lost.

    I sat there a little perplexed as to what was wrong. Hum, buzzing, cable dressing was perfect. I have suffered NO HUM or buzzing with this unit, it the quietest SUT I have had here. No exceptions. Its well-built, the innards are beautifully laid out and by using Lundahl you are guaranteeing you have some of the best winding in the world. What is going on here?

    Out of pure frustration, I installed Jimbo’s Denon 302MKII and WOW ……………….

    Suddenly everything came into focus, the body returned, the soundstage was huge! Detailed, fluid, refined, expansive, jovial, you name it and It does it. I put the Goldring Eroica in and whilst it was rather good, it didn’t quite reach the heights of the Denon. Both the Denon and the Goldring did sound stunning though. The focus and pinpoint accuracy of the Sound stage returned. With the Denon there was clear definition between layers and everything was, for a moment.....perfect.

    On paper, I have no idea if the Denon and MCX is a good match or not, I haven’t looked. The truth is I don’t care! This combo is a killer and I am swept away by every track I play and here is the problem, I don’t own a Denon 301 MKII, I own an Ortofon Kontrapunkt b and this means the match isn’t a good one in my system. the Synergy just isn't there. Maybe its because the MCX is so transparent I am not really liking the Ortofon? Maybe I am hearing what the Kontra REALLY sounds like and the MCX is doing the exact job it’s designed to do and making absolutely no impression on the sound at all. I just don’t know. All I am sure of is when paired with the Denon 301, its purely stunning as a combo and when I paired the Kontra with a HM-3, I had the same feeling of euphoric ecstasy.

    So THE CONCLUSION – The MCX is beautiful, with the right cartridge. It’s worth every penny of the £335 I paid for it but I won’t be keeping it and will be getting some HM-3/7 (whatever I can afford) purely due to the synergy. I am gutted it hasn’t worked out because there is no doubt Mr Rothwell knows his stuff in the SUT world and his product is exceptional. Just hasn’t worked out in this instance. I can recommend the MCX on the basis of what I heard with the Denon because that combination was phenomenal.

    Synergy beats the spec sheet.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 & Monarchy Audio SM-70 Class A Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Yorkshire

    Posts: 7,281
    I'm AnDreW.

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    Good write up, s'pose some yeah win and some yeah loose!
    SS CD Teac VRDS25X(Audiotuned) DAC Caiman SEG+15V PSU DECK 1210 Mat Analog Studio Crystal Mods MN Base/Bearing/Platter+Ebony arm Board Feet Isonoe PSU Paul Hynes SR7EHD-27XL/DCSXL Ag DC lead/Jaeger(low-impedance) connector/3 StageRegs/Recapped PCB+No Pitch/Strobe/Light ARM SME V(Kondo Ag Rewire&Tags) MC Cadenza Black CABLES Arm Yannis SPD-4 IC Yannis 222 Litz+Ag bullets Power WAR PRE ATC SCA2 SPEAKERS ATC 50ASL STANDS Atacama PHONO Sugden Masterclass PA4 SUT Ortofon ST80SE POWER PSAudio P10

    Valve PRECroft Epoch(Mega Modded) AMP Sondex S100 SPEAKERS Tannoy 15"MG+RFC Warwick cabs+ Reference XO DECK Garrard301 Mat Teunto Bearing 401 Plinth Moldovan Arms 3009/3012(Ikeda Ag wired) PSUEagle+Tachometer MCAg Meister SPU v2 CABLES Arm Yannis 420.5 Litz+ Speaker VdH 6mm Blue IC Oyaide FTVS-510 AgWBT 0110Ag Phonostage Paradise (4 Box)


  3. #3
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,244
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by REXTON View Post
    Good write up, s'pose some yeah win and some yeah loose!
    Thanks,. Ye it's a pisser but not the end of the world. I'm happy I got the chance to try one.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 & Monarchy Audio SM-70 Class A Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  4. #4
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 3,462
    I'm jamie.

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    yep good write up mate,i took your advice and the ha-500 is on its way!
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers ,Pioneer PLC-590 turntable,Pioneer PA-5000 and PMAT-1010 Tonearms,AT-ART 7 Cartridge,Denon HA-500 Head Amp, John Wood KT88 Valve Amp, Nakamichi ca5 pre ampSony X555ES CD Player,

  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,244
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    I think you'll like it. I really like the one i have here albeit as good as new caps etc
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 & Monarchy Audio SM-70 Class A Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2018

    Location: Bucks

    Posts: 97
    I'm My.

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    Good info for someone with the DL301Mk2, of which I am one!

  7. #7
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,244
    I'm Oliver.

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    HA! I really rate the pair as a combination.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 & Monarchy Audio SM-70 Class A Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,932
    I'm James.

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    Nice write up Oli and glad you found the sweet spot/combination with the Denon 301 mk2. It sounds like you have found a better combination than I have to eek out the 301 performance. It's a frustrating process finding just the right SUT / Head amp /MC combination but when you get there it's worth it.
    VPI Scout 1.1 - Ortofon 2M Black - Croft 25R+ - Croft Series 7 - Spendor SP2

  9. #9
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,244
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    Nice write up Oli and glad you found the sweet spot/combination with the Denon 301 mk2. It sounds like you have found a better combination than I have to eek out the 301 performance. It's a frustrating process finding just the right SUT / Head amp /MC combination but when you get there it's worth it.
    Jimbo, You are more than welcome to bring the K&K SUT you have for a side by side. It really did give a perfomrance way above its price tag. It's still on my TT!!!!
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 & Monarchy Audio SM-70 Class A Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,932
    I'm James.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Jimbo, You are more than welcome to bring the K&K SUT you have for a side by side. It really did give a perfomrance way above its price tag. It's still on my TT!!!!
    Will do. I have had very good results with the K&K SUT and Denon 301 mk2. Got the Flu at the moment so best stay clear for a week or so!
    VPI Scout 1.1 - Ortofon 2M Black - Croft 25R+ - Croft Series 7 - Spendor SP2

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