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'Music that I thought I knew very well consistently had new surprises for me' - 10Audio
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Testimonials (on all Sutherland Phono Preamps)
"Music that I thought I knew very well consistently had new surprises for me... There are two important goals for phono stage performance: resolution and low distortion. The Sutherland DUO excels at both." Overall Rating 9.5 LPS (out of 10).
- Jerry Seigel, 10Audio.com
"If one were to describe any character beyond the word "natural" to the Sutherland 20/20's overall nature I would call it beautiful. The 20/20 is consistently so... the sheer beauty of the 20/20, its amazing instrumental separation, and wide-open staging are wonderful things."
- Wayne Garcia, The Absolute Sound
"...the 20/20 persuades the listener in a very subtle, almost subliminal way, of the 'rightness' of the sound emanating from the speakers, I felt it was well balanced, with a tight and seemingly accurate description of the sounds relayed through it, and an almost hedonistic delight in that hard-to-define essence of music... I would certainly put this high on the auditions list if you're looking for a flexible and musical phono stage."
- Tony Bolton, Hi-Fi World
" But just as a $243,000 Porsche GT2 RS isn't only the best Porsche 911, but one of the very best cars ever made, the Phono Blocks aren't just the best Sutherland phono stage, they're one of the very best audio components in the world. Absolutely, positively, and very highly recommended."
- Brian Damkroger, Stereophile (read the review)
The Sutherland DUO two chassis Phono Preamp is derived from the cost no object Sutherland Phono Blocks and the cost-optimized Sutherland 20/20. No expense was spared in the design and construction of the Phono Blocks. The Phono Blocks are at the pinnacle of Sutherland's phono preamp performance. It just doesn't get any better. The one chassis Sutherland 20/20 was designed to get the most performance possible at its predetermined price point. To get there, extra was spent to get premium parts and circuitry into the signal path. Consequently, some expenses were squeezed out of less important areas. Those trade-offs have worked very well. The Sutherland 20/20 delivers an extremely high level of performance at a reasonable price. It is an incredible performance value.
What if all the price constraints in the 20/20 were lifted? The price goes up, the performance goes up. It starts looking a lot like the Sutherland Duo Phono Blocks. The actual signal path of the Sutherland 20/20 is quite good. It uses a circuit very similar to the Phono Blocks. In critical positions, it also uses the same premium quality (and high cost) components. Very little was held back in that area. The opportunity for upgrade is focused on a more refined power supply, improved circuit board properties and dual chassis construction.
Power supply discussion: The 20/20 uses external, bench-top power supplies. They are cost effective, reliable and offer good performance. Each supplies output is extensively filtered and regulated into one +/- 15 volt source for both of the gain stages. The Phono Blocks have built in AC power supplies. There is an IEC power inlet on each chassis to accommodate the user's personal power cord choice. Two completely separate power sections (each providing isolated +/- 15 volts) are provided for each channel. One for each of the two gain stages. Each is independently filtered and regulated to provide the ultimate foundation for the gain stages. Each DUO has a built in AC power supply. There is an IEC power inlet on each chassis to accommodate the user's personal power cord choice. The shielded power supply module has one output. That output is split into two branches. One for each of the two gain stages. Each of those branches is independently filtered and regulated to provide a substantial foundation for the gain stages.
Circuit board properties: Circuit board dielectric properties can introduce detail damaging artifacts into the signal, The DUO mitigates circuit board dielectric properties using the same approach that has worked so well in the Phono Blocks. Circuit board thickness is doubled from the standard 1/16" thickness to 1/8" thickness. Not only is dielectric absorption addressed, but further advantages are realized with an extremity rigid platform for component mounting. It is the cost-no-object, preferred way to go.
The physics applied: Anytime two conductors are at a different voltage potential, there is an electric field generated between them. The dielectric (the insulation between conductors) within that field become involved in charge storage. If not carefully considered, that extra charge storage can time smear details of a musical signal. Circuit board material is a dielectric. With normal double-sided construction, there are copper conductors on each side of the board. Unintentionally, a new capacitor is introduced into the circuit, formed by top surface copper, bottom surface copper and the circuit board dielectric sandwiched between the two. It is NOT the quality of capacitor we want to have in a high-end signal path. Some manufactures make the situation even worse by going to multi-layer boards in the analog audio sections. Instead of two layers of copper, there are four or more layers of copper. Even worse than that, the dielectric between layers is much thinner and the undesired capacitive effect is inversely proportional to thickness. At best, some manufactures make small, incremental improvements by using exotic board material. The Duos addresses the issue of circuit board dielectric by doubling the thickness of an FR4 fiberglass circuit board. Just that one choice reduces electric field strength by one-half. Additionally, the area of copper interacting with board dielectric is also reduced in critical regions. Signal lines are kept narrow. Power lines are extremely wide. Such choices get us refined performance. Good solid advantages based up the application of good solid physics.
Dual chassis construction: A sense of space and dimensionality is conveyed by the difference in the left and right channel information. To preserve those auditory clues, each channel must be isolated from the other and not spill over. Both the DUO and the Phono Blocks use a stack of two mono phono preamps for stereo. Absolutely nothing is shared between the left and right channels. Each channel is a completely free standing mono phono preamp. That is the ultimate in channel separation. The ultimate in spatial listening involvement.
PARTS QUALITY FR-4 fiberglass circuit boards, Double-sided with plated thru holes. 1/8" thick for extra rigidity and minimal dielectric influence. Dale/Vishay 1% metal film resistors Wima Polypropylene capacitors for power supply bypass and DC servo Custom wound, 1% polystyrene film capacitors for equalization 14 gage cold rolled steel base baked epoxy powder coat finish 1/2 " thick anodized aluminum panel anodized in front panel artwork gold plated, Teflon insulated RCA connectors gold plated configuration headers and shunts
Specifications Gain Options
- 40 dB
- 46 dB
- 52 dB
- 58 dB
- 64 dB
- 47.5 k Ohm
- 1 k Ohms
- 475 Ohms
- 200 Ohms
- 100 Ohms
- 17" x 2 ½" x 12 each DUO
- 23 x 18 x 9 each DUO, packed in shipping box
- 11 lbs. each DUO
- 19 lbs each DUO, packed in shipping box
California sales subject to sales tax.
Audio Revelation, Carlsbad, CA 92010
760.434.2625. 9am-6pm PST Monday through Saturday. Visits by appointment only please.
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GET A FASTER RESPONSE! It's easier if you email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org rather than thru the Audiogon system. We are a VERIFIED AUDIOGON DEALER and pay a fixed monthly fee and therefore no commissions on sales. Thanks in advance!