Sutherland Engineering Launches "Spatial Edition" MC Phono Preamplifier at RMAF

Sutherland Engineering's Ron Sutherland entered the high performance audio market years ago with a costly phono preamplifier and an equally costly preamplifier that used a motion-sensing remote control. Since then Mr. Sutherland has ramped down the price points to more mainstream his products. Until now.

The new "Spatial Edition" is Mr. Sutherland's $25,000 assault on the phono preamplifier state of the art. He's attempted here to provide both a minimalist circuit path and ultra-user friendliness. The left pair of buttons scroll up and down through the parameters you can set while the right pair scroll through the setting values—and they are complete. But before those details let's have a look inside:

A 6 layer, 3 dimensional construct optimizes signal path layout. It's all point- to-point hand wired with solid silver wire with al signal path wiring elevated by Teflon stand-offs. There are two vertical relay boards: one for gain settings and one for loading. There's a solid copper ground plane and solid copper power planes (you cannot see multiple film and electrolytic power decoupling capacitors on the board's bottom side).

From the push button front panel you can chose loading from 10 ohm to 1270 ohms in 10 ohm increments (127 choices). Gain can be set at 55,58,61,64,67,71 or 75dB. Loading is via the Lundahl transformer's secondary coil. The settings are the resulting load "seen" by the cartridge at the primary so you don't have to do any math. You can adjust the panel brightness and even the large LED's color (green, blue, red, in-between).

Both single ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs are selectable via rear panel switches. The unit's thick copper front panel and sculpted wood case complement the design's good looks.

So how did it sound? I couldn't listen because the speakers hadn't yet arrived but I have a feeling this one will sound quiet, pure and transparent. I'll let you know.

Sutherland Engineering