The SoundSmith Launches New Website and Revamped Cartridge Lineup at RMAF 2015

Recently appointed SoundSmith North American distributor Rutherford Audio displayed much of the SoundSmith cartridge lineup at its Atrium table and showed a new cartridge brochure that represents a clean graphic break from the company’s cluttered past.

What’s more the SoundSmith website, once a cluttered, confusing and nearly impossible 1980’s place to negotiate, has been completely rebuilt and is now visually pleasing and refreshingly easy to use.

Peter Ledermann, The Soundsmith President and Chief Engineer in conjunction with Rutherford Audio chose recently to change the cartridge line’s technical description from “moving iron” to “fixed coil” in an effort to clarify the technology and highlight its considerable advantages.

For those unfamiliar, a “fixed coil” design is, as the name implies, one where the coils are fixed, but so are the magnets. A precision made, low mass iron element attached to the stylus/cantilever assembly moves, positioned between the two fixed ones, which varies the magnetic field flowing to the coils. Thus there’s no penalty paid for either more coil turns or larger magnets.

That is one reason SoundSmith has been able to offer low medium and high output options on the same model cartridge, though these wide ranging choices can sometimes produce buyer confusion.

Among the cartridges SoundSmith produces are two high output “IROX” models priced at $850 and $1850 that are guaranteed to be unbreakable.

At the top of the company’s low output line is the $7500 Hyperion that outputs .4mV and requires 60dB of gain and 400 ohm minimum loading. It utilizes as a cantilever a cactus spine—not as a gimmick, but because it makes an ideal cantilever with a naturally tapered shape, stacked columnar fibers and desiccated resin damping. It is low mass, extremely rigid, internally damped and extremely strong. It’s available with two stylus types.

With the new website up and operating you can easily discover all that’s in between.

Rutherford Audio also imports and distributes Vertere, Thorens, Roksan and T+A turntables.

Particularly attractive and obviously superbly made was a massive, gleaming $8000 one that appeared to be a rim drive, but upon further inspection was really a quasi-rim drive, belt drive that begs for a review. I visited the multi-story T+A factory some years ago (and reviewed an earlier turntable) and I hope to soon post the video.

CarterB's picture

The new website is very nice. Are you going to review the Irox? I'm curios by it given I've a 2&4 year old. Seems like it might be a decent replacement for my 2M Bronze.

audiof001's picture

Great looking new website for Soundsmith! Peter offer a great service and his older website didn't match his abilities. He's rebuilt my Glider 3 time and my brother in law says his Benz Silver sounds better than new retipped by SS.

Glotz's picture

Love the 'what they say?' section... great way to interest browsers a chance to read reviews in an organic process.

Having Soundsmith refurbish my Carmen for 20% of the original cost is part of the reason I went with Soundsmith in the first place. The other reasons are well-documented in many reviews. They are true in my listening- Amazing value for the investment.

mobileholmes's picture

The moving iron is also called an "induced magnet". The magnet is located above, or inside of, pole pieces that transfer lines of flux through the gap where the tiny piece of iron is located, inducing magnetism.

The misconception held by most is that moving coils have the lowest moving mass, and they don't. A tiny piece of iron, as "heavy" as that might sound, can be lower mass than a former holding windings, connected to wires that tend to be "springy".

I don't know if Grado, Soundsmith, etc.. reveals what magnet they use for the permanent magnet, but it can be very heavy compared to the piece of magnet used in a moving magnet, and it can induce a very powerful magnetic field (same for the exotic magnets used by MySonic, which squeezes out decent output from very few coil windings).

Cartridges are interesting, don't you agree?

mobileholmes's picture

Also, Peter not only has the ability to fine tune performance with the choice of magnet, but the choice of "iron" he uses. The purer the iron, the greater the permeability. Or you can use an alloy, like Metglas. Even the way these various materials are quenched/tempered/annealed (and if they are annealed in a magnetic field) will affect the performance. And, the interaction of the "iron" and magnetic field affects the damping of the cartridge (not just the piece of rubber).

Iron is interesting too.

Oksana's picture

How is one able to compare the cartridges? I'm moving from a Benz LPs and would like to compare The Sussuro $4,799 to the Hyperion $7,499.