Sutherland PhD MC phono preamplifier Brian Damkroger, December 2005
Though not obviously colored, the Whest PS.20 did sound a bit electronic—it simply wasn't as "free of electronic detritus" as MF had described the Sutherland PhD in his January 2004 column (Vol.27 No.1).
Perhaps the essence of this "Follow-Up" to Michael Fremer's review of the Whest PS.20 + MSU.20 can be gleaned from our comparisons of it and the Sutherland PhD. I agree with MF that some listeners will prefer the Whest's more dynamic presentation, others the PhD's purity and "mesmerizing flow." I infer from his comments that he's in the former camp, and feels that the Whest betters the Sutherland in most ways—save the latter's purity and flow. I'm firmly in the Sutherland camp. I think it's the better preamp in all regards but macrodynamics.
Our perspectives on how the Whest and Sutherland phono stages compare to the competition follow suit. MF opined that the Whest provides a balanced set of tradeoffs and is a spectacularly inexpensive entry point to the world of super-high-end phono preamps. He was troubled, however, by the Sutherland's dynamics. I think of the Sutherland as a true thoroughbred with a noticeable but insignificant softening of macrodynamics.—Brian Damkroger