Soundsmith’s Hyperion phono cartridge (with cactus needle cantilever!)
The Hyperion, Soundsmith’s new top-of-the-line moving-iron phono cartridge, utilizes a cactus needle cantilever. (That’s a cantilever made of a cactus needle.) Inspired by (the always dapper) Frank Schroeder and designed by Peter Ledermann, the Hyperion’s cactus needle cantilever provides both stiffness and dampingqualities which, according to Ledermann, had previously been mutually exclusive.
Superior cantilever designs, Ledermann explained, have traditionally been tapereda technique that’s difficult to accomplish with aluminum and even more difficult with extremely hard and durable materials such as boron, ruby, and diamond. Cactus needles, however, are naturally tapered, stiff, and durable, while their stacked fibers provide natural dampening.
The Hyperion moving-iron phono cartridge ($7000) is available with Soundsmith’s CL or OCL styli, has a recommended tracking force of 1.8 to 2.2 grams, an output of 0.3mV, and is compatible with MC phono preamps. It is also available in a linear-tracking version, the Hyperion LT. Soundsmith guarantees the Hyperion for 10 years, and Peter Ledermann will retip the cartridge for free if it wears out within that time.
“Other cantilevers are synthesized,” said Ledermann. “We grow these.”
We listened to some music. The sound was not prickly or thorny at all. It was clean, clear, and immediatebold and well-controlledwith vibrant colors and good senses of rhythm, touch, and scale.