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Sutherland Little Loco problem


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Went to see Bruce at Stereo Unlimited in San Diego today, ostensibly to cruise for records but then got to talking about phono stages. I have a Rogue Audio Ares Magnum with Telefunken NOS tubes but have felt like the vinyl isn't keeping up with streaming quality. Bruce suggested VTL, BAT, and then offered to loan me the Sutherland Engineering Little Loco, which uses a very different technology than most phono stages. I don't really understand it but the result when I took it home was:  (1) no DIP switches to set, as it adjusts to the cartridge impedance or capacitance more-or-less automatically; and (2) it sounds great, much better than the Rogue piece.

littleLOCO-Mk2-Hero.jpg

Until, that is, I shut off the Rega Neo turntable power supply sitting atop the Sutherland phono stage—a huge pop came out of the speakers. So I moved the power supply and had the same problem; I moved the cables for the TT PSU so they were as far as possible from the phono stage and still heard a rather scary pop. Of course if I switch the preamp to a different source this goes away. The Sutherland is so austere it doesn't even have a power switch,  so there's no way to make this not happen, so far as I can tell.

I've got the loaner until after Christmas or whatever, so if anyone has any suggestions on how to make this problem go away, I'd love to hear them. I don't want to have a system where doing ordinary turn-on/turn-off stuff results in frightening noises unless you do it in the right sequence. The BAT and VTL phono stages are substantially more expensive, but also seem to have more substantial cases. I'd have thought that the 24 vAC from the Rega wall-wart wouldn't really have a big impact on any other device, but we live and learn. I'm also open to phono stage suggestions beyond these three.

Hope everybody has a merry Christmas, and first-world problems no more substantial than this one!

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12 hours ago, John Gallup said:

Went to see Bruce at Stereo Unlimited in San Diego today, ostensibly to cruise for records but then got to talking about phono stages. I have a Rogue Audio Ares Magnum with Telefunken NOS tubes but have felt like the vinyl isn't keeping up with streaming quality. Bruce suggested VTL, BAT, and then offered to loan me the Sutherland Engineering Little Loco, which uses a very different technology than most phono stages. I don't really understand it but the result when I took it home was:  (1) no DIP switches to set, as it adjusts to the cartridge impedance or capacitance more-or-less automatically; and (2) it sounds great, much better than the Rogue piece.

littleLOCO-Mk2-Hero.jpg

Until, that is, I shut off the Rega Neo turntable power supply sitting atop the Sutherland phono stage—a huge pop came out of the speakers. So I moved the power supply and had the same problem; I moved the cables for the TT PSU so they were as far as possible from the phono stage and still heard a rather scary pop. Of course if I switch the preamp to a different source this goes away. The Sutherland is so austere it doesn't even have a power switch,  so there's no way to make this not happen, so far as I can tell.

I've got the loaner until after Christmas or whatever, so if anyone has any suggestions on how to make this problem go away, I'd love to hear them. I don't want to have a system where doing ordinary turn-on/turn-off stuff results in frightening noises unless you do it in the right sequence. The BAT and VTL phono stages are substantially more expensive, but also seem to have more substantial cases. I'd have thought that the 24 vAC from the Rega wall-wart wouldn't really have a big impact on any other device, but we live and learn. I'm also open to phono stage suggestions beyond these three.

Hope everybody has a merry Christmas, and first-world problems no more substantial than this one!

Some circuits can be sensitive to switching noise from motors going on and off and different power supplies.  Easiest thing to do is leave the Rega power supply on as it draws very little power, and it will last longer.

RV

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4 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Some circuits can be sensitive to switching noise from motors going on and off and different power supplies.  Easiest thing to do is leave the Rega power supply on as it draws very little power, and it will last longer.

RV

Ha, thanks—just reinstalled the old Rogue phono pre and now it pops too. The problem is, though, that it's switching off the turntable motor that causes the pop. 

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Also wrote to Sutherland and got this response from the big boss. Yes this is a lot more effort than listening to Spotify on Airpods, but it's a lot more interesting too.

Quote

 

hi John
 
i'll do some inquiries.   a quick google indicates other folks are getting pops from their rega PSU.
 
looking as if there is not a suppression RC on the rega power switch.
 
back with you soon
 
Ron
Ron Sutherland
Sutherland Engineering, Inc

 

 
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This is what is great about the board.  We can get correct advice about most technical things between posters and Richard.  I'm LOVING my digital now that I have the right DAC adn such a great server/streamer, but man do I miss vinyl.  living vicariously through all you guys, so thanks for the problems, but also for the good stuff you share.  LOVE the record threads too.  Keep up on what you end up doing.  I would love to know how that Sunderland sounds. I've always enjoyed their phono stages.  

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A current amp amplifies current irregardless of the output impedance… and input impedance.

From a high school level it makes sense that a dynamic microphone which produces a current, that one would want to work in the correct domain.
And while I do not understand speakers beyond a HS level, they convert current to magnetic forces, which then applies a pressure to the cone.

So it “May” be the case that a current amp would be less sensitive to a speaker with wild impedance fluctuations?

But I dunno for sure…
The idea of measuring the voltage that the current produces across a fixed resistance, sort of seems to make an input amplifier tha is voltage based indistinguishable from a current based amp at the basic level. 

@John GallupHow does the Sutherland sound?

Edited by Holmz
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On 12/25/2021 at 4:13 AM, TomicTime said:

Likewise John ! i am up the road Carlsbad way……


Please let me know if you have a listen.
As I keep thinking about replacing the AudioResearch PH2 (SS) - mostly because it is only 43dB of gain and I sort of want to try LOMC.

(I should probably put the AR2 up for sale, then I would have to make a choice.)

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12 hours ago, ctsooner said:

Have you had the LOMC in the house to hear it vs the AR gear?  The PH2 is a bit long in the tooth I guess compared to the newest designs, but it's still a great phono pre.

I don’t even know if, or where, I could find it in Australia.
I have not been unhappy with the AR… I just picked it up used in ‘98 along with the Audible Illusions above the ballet studio in Santa Monica, from Randall Cooley.
And I ran a Blue point special on it.
Then there is also the fact that it is the only Balanced piece of gear I have… so it is a bit of a mongrel in terms of wiring.

But I like the idea of a Hana ML, so I would need more gain.

I have stacks of boxes that a coworker picked up from the post office, and the SOTA belts, Amazon stuff, and some VSMs arrived… So I guess I run the Garrott Bros for a while.

I am trying to align a work trip to when the AudioCon in SoCal is happening… If anyone finds out the new dates, then maybe I can hear the lil’ Loco there?

Edited by Holmz
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