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I took the plunge and bought a Sutherland 20/20 phono stage that I've owned for about 3 weeks and have to say I'm overjoyed with it's performance. It is dead quiet, produces very realistic & highly musical & rich tones I have even heard; has excellent detailing and sound staging while producing lots of air around instruments and singers and most of all sounds closer to live jazz, rock & blues or classical music than any other equipment I have ever owned. I also purchased a Benz Micro Wood SL cart.at the same time and used this new cart. in this evaluation. Please keep in mind that both the Sutherland 20/20 and my Benz Wood SL cart both probably still need to break in. The Sutherland more so than Benz as I have probably 50 hours of use on each although I did play the 20/20 with my former cart the Benz ACE HO for a few hours.
There are 4 really good professional reviews of this phono on the web I was able to find as follows before I bought this phono stage.
Stereophile: My personal experience most closely mirrors Brian Damkroger's experience and I must say I heartily agree with him when he states this phono stage was producing "more of everything"; "tonally rich images" and "felt as if it were actively re-creating the performance and placing in front of me" with excellent dynamics. No question with regard to any of this in my system. This is an exceptional phono stage IMHO.
TAS: Wayne Garcia called the 20/20 nature "consistently beautiful" it is and it's lack of "electronic glare" which I have never heard from it is most thankfully absent. I listen to a lot jazz and I must say that his comment that the 20/20 removes "that bit of bite the instrument (solo trumpet) has in life". I have no doubt that in his system he heard or maybe I should say didn't hear what hr previously heard from the record. In contrast I have heard in my system more bite, and much better and more fully formed and presented bite from many brass instruments than I did with my former tube phono preamp. In addition he indicated concerning a cut on Santana's Abraxas that "Would I prefer a bit more sting to Santana’s soaring electric guitar? Yes, I would." Again in my system on 2 different copies of Abraxas that I own I have not found Carlos' guitar sound lacking in sting at all.
Finally Mr. Garcia and I differ in his assessment of the 20/20 ability to
produce "the ultimate weight and power punch to raise the flesh at the most climactic moments, either during Petrushka or other Stravinsky ballet scores such as The Rite of Spring or The Firebird."
I do not today own either record, both of which I may purchase, however
with the various albums I own by: The Who, Zep, Johnny Winter as well as
by the many jazz artists I own I have not found the 20/20 lacking in punch or grunt; not once. I have heard better punch with the 20/20 than what I heard in the past and significantly so.
The other two professional reviews published are in Positive Feedback and Hi-Fi World and should be read by anyone even remotely considering purchasing the Sutherland 20/20 without ability to hear it first as was my case.
I offer this as a 'review' by a real world non-reviewer music lover first and audiophile second in hopes it may provide someone with another perspective that I was not able to find prior to my purchase. All of the above is based upon my system unless otherwise indicated. YRMV.
My system is as follows:
TT: Basis 2001 Signature with Basis Vector tone arm and Benz Micro Wood SL Cart.
Amp: Ayre V5X
Preamp: McIntosh C2200 used this phono stage (MM only) with a Benz ACE HO
previously and further in the past with a Grado Reference Master.
Speakers: Maggies 3.6R
Cables: Transparent Audio
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Topic - Sutherland 20/20 - owned since late Nov - Great Phono - Luvsmusic 21:25:40 12/12/11 (0)