Sutherland MCX phono preamplifier

The new MCX Phono Preamp optimizes the inclusion of moving coil step transformers in vinyl playback.

Using a transformer in front of the first gain stage offered a chance for some circuit simplification. Then the following stage was revamped for the best overall musicality.

Like so many people, I had assumed that moving coil step-up transformers were a relic from the past. Well-designed, modern phono preamps can achieve plenty of gain at very low noise AND a very intimate connection with the music. Adding a step-up transformer into the signal path seemed like an expensive, unnecessary, and detrimental complication. – Ron Sutherland

But, contrary to this, the popularity of SUT (Step Up Transformer) is on the upswing. So many people were telling me how putting a good SUT in front of their phono preamp brought out a rich, lush and emotive character that was completely seductive. People were passionate about the sound quality. I realized it was time to take a serious look at the role a SUT could play in vinyl playback

The Correct Question:

Since customers can always add a SUT in front of any Sutherland phono preamp, this approach is already available. Many people were doing just this and enjoying the results.

So the question became: Is there better way? This question was further modified under the Sutherland Philosophy: Is there a more direct, less complicated, minimalist way?

The Appropriate Answer

First, the SUT needed to sit directly on the preamp circuit board. This decision brought with it many advantages. The connections between the SUT secondary and preamp circuits were now as direct as physically possible.

The distance was minimal. The interconnecting cable was eliminated. Two sets of audio connectors were eliminated. The signal path was simplified and made more direct. Furthermore, the cost of cables, connectors, and transformer case was eliminated. But which transformer should be used? Although some preamp manufactures design and build their own SUT, that was never a serious consideration for this project. I would much prefer to incorporate the expertise of an established expert in the field. Lundahl has a well deserved reputation for good, solid engineering that delivers both quality and musicality.

Using a transformer in front of the first gain stage offered a chance for some circuit simplification. Then the following stage was revamped for the best overall musicality.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

GAIN SETTINGS:

Gain is determined by the resistor value installed in the GAIN resistor socket.
Dale/Vishay RN65-style resistors are included with the following values.

  • 221 Ohms for 60 dB gain
  • 110 Ohms for 66 dB gain
  • 56 Ohms for 72 dB gain

LOAD SETTINGS:

Cartridge loading is determined by the resistor value installed in the LOADING resistor socket.
Dale/Vishay RN65-style resistors are included with the following values:

  • 47.5k for 475 Ohm loading
  • 30k for 300 Ohm loading
  • 20k for 200 Ohm loading
  • 10k for 100 Ohm loading
  • 5k for 50 Ohm loading

SIZE:

  • 17” wide
  • 2 1/2″ high
  • 12” deep

WEIGHT

  • 11 lbs. net
  • 19 lbs. shipping

Power Requirements

  • 88 – 264 VAC
  • 10 Watts each

Hear Sutherland at Command Performance today!