Soundsmith's New Hyperion Phono Cartridge

Hardly 90 seconds into the demo, the earthquake hit. No, not one caused by God and nature, or the vibrational residue from a huge subwoofer in the room above or below. Rather, this earthquake was courtesy of the huge industrial washing machine located directly below Soundsmith's fourth floor exhibit. And we are not talking minor stuff here, folks. Everything was shaking badly, including the sign on the wall, and it went on for several minutes.

Quickly, Peter Ledermann jumped to his feet, almost pushing me out of the way, as he barged toward his turntable, desperate to lift the cactus cantilever on his new Hyperion phono cartridge ($7000) off the record before damage was done. Then he ran to the corner, where he grabbed the dresser to ground himself before his vertigo kicked in. A lengthy product rap ensued until everything had righted itself. Amidst all the drama, it seems I neglected to pick up literature on the products in the room.

What I can tell you is that the Hyperion is Soundsmith's new top-of-the-line moving-iron cartridge (above), with different versions available for different arms. Listening through the smaller Dragonfly speakers and Peter's $699 phono preamp, the sound was extremely clear, colorful, warm and rounded, yet leaning more toward neutrality than overly romanticized euphonic sweetness. "Beautiful color saturation," I wrote in my notes. As in yummy.