Sutherland PhD MC phono preamplifier Brian Damkroger, December 2005

Brian Damkroger wrote again about the Sutherland in December 2005 (Vol.28 No.12):

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

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Jack L's picture

.... at all. Period. Instead, the power for the Ph.D. is 16 alkaline "D" cells." quoted Mike Fremer

AC-DC power supply + associated ground noise are very hard, if not impossible, to eliminate unless using battery supply. Such noises are a pain in MC/MM phonostages.

So battery is the ultimate free-power/ground-noise solution for MC/MM phono design.

Likewise, my MC head amp is also battery powered: +/- 6V = 8x D-size batteries. So why so low voltage? Because only discrete bipolar junction devices are used, no op-amp chips there.

Though the USD3,000 PHD phonostage used op-amp chips may sound superb to many, my ears just can't tolerate any chip sound, sorry. Maybe my ears are too spoiled by tubes used in all my phonotages & power amps.

Listening is believing

Jack L