The Sussurro ~ critical design decisions, realized. Lowest internal mass. Best damping. Esoteric stylus and cantilever. If you need to stay in constant contact, your cartridge has arrived.
Inspired by Frank Schröder, designed and individually hand made by Peter Ledermann, Soundsmith’s Sussurro is a cartridge designed to specifically address the most intricate and critical issues of cartridge design. The new MKII Sussurro has a newly designed moving iron element to reduce moving mass by 70%; extremely low stored energy, the new MKII damping system and an innovative energy distribution path to effectively transfer mechanical energy away from the cantilever through the cartridge body into the tone arm. So what does all this mean??
Low jitter. Jitter? You probably thought that was a term reserved for digital systems. Not so. Stylus jitter is responsible for loss of detail, and making a cartridge sound, well, like a cartridge. The Sussurro stays in constant contact with the record groove. If you are not in constant contact, you can’t hear what has truly been recorded.
Also available in dual-coil mono.
Stylus: Contact Line Nude, 0.100mm SQ
Radius of curvature: OCL (Optimized Contour Contact Line) SELECTED
Recommended tracking force: 1.8 to 2.2 grams
Effective tip mass: 0.30 mg
Compliance: 10μm/mN (low compliance)
Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz ± 1.0 dB
Channel separation (stereo only): 1000 Hz >34 dB, 50-15,000 >25 dB
Channel difference: <0.5 dB (Stereo) <1.0 dB (Mono)
Output Voltage: ≥0.4 mV
DC Resistance (DCR): 10-11 Ω each channel
Coil: 2.75 mH each channel
Suggested Preamp Gain: 58-64 dB
Soundsmith Recommends: MCP2 Variable Loading Preamp
Cartridge weight: 10.25 grams
Stylus to Mounting Hole Offset: ≈ 10mm (0.4″)
Loading: ≥ 470 Ω
Sussurro means “whisper” in Italian. I am not sure why Peter Ledermann (the designer) named it this because this is one monster of a cartridge! It completely fills my 14×22 ft. listening room with breathtaking sound. The Sussurro has a very wide and deep soundstage. Both micro and macro dynamics are outstanding. The bass is by far the deepest and most realistic I have ever heard from a phono cartridge. However, it does not sound overpowering because the top end extends just as far in the other direction. Based on how realistic vocals sound, the midrange is also excellent.
Peter Ledermann says that it is very important to get the azimuth correct or you cannot get the best out of this cartridge. I will be the first to admit that I no nothing about setting up a cartridge, but lucky for me my friend Andre is an analog genius. Andre uses the latest Feickert cartridge alignment software ( I know some people prefer the Mint Protractor), Peter said the Feickert software would get the azimuth lined up correctly. The stylus on this cartridge seems to be so precise that you will benefit greatly from taking the time to work on VTA and VTF. Small changes in these two things make big differences in the sound. Although the owners manual states 1.8 grams as the recommended tracking force, I found 1.72 grams to be ideal for me.
I can actually hear the sound of the Sussurro improving as my preamp and amp warm up. It continually gets more dynamic. When I played “Tin Pan Alley” from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Couldn”t Stand The Weather LP, I could not believe the difference in sound from my ZYX Atmos cartridge. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good with the Atmos. With the Sussurro the bass was so deep with so much more body to it. The drums had a slam factor that was off the charts! Stevie’s guitar was alive with a bell like clarity and bite. The texture of Stevie’s voice made me think he was in the room with me. What I really love about this cartridge is how I am sucked into the musical performance. Another LP that floored me was Ray Brown’s “Solar Energy” on Pure Audiophile label. I could clearly feel the bass in my listening chair. Gene Harris’s piano had a beautiful top end clarity with plenty of energy. As for female vocals, Shelby Lynne’s Just a Little Lovin’ LP sounded beautiful. I wish this LP was on an audiophile reissue label. There is some surface noise that detracts from Shelby’s great performance. This LP is mainly vocal, acoustic guitar, bass, and drums. Very simple musical presentation, but the Sussurro draws you close to the emotion of the music.
I am sold on this low output Moving Iron cartridge. I have owned low output Moving Coils for years and none of them are as good as the Soundsmith Sussurro. The Sussurro is a great match to my Ayre (modified) phono stage. I never thought I would find a phono stage that I would like better than the one in my Supratek Cortese. The stock Ayre was (in my opinion) no match for the phono stage in my Cortese, but after the mods that Andre did, it surpassed the phono stage in the Cortese. I don’t know what magic Andre performs on the Ayre, but when he finishes it weighs twice as much, is packed with goodies inside and it took my system to new dynamic heights. Match this phono stage with the Sussurro and you have a lethal combination.
So, is there any down side to the Sussurro? Not that I can find. However,if you don’t want to take the time necessary to really dial this cartridge in, then you may want to look elsewhere.
I think Peter did a great job with the Sussurro. Each one is hand made,shipped in a wood box and autographed by Peter.The serial number is also on each box.
Please keep in mind that this is a low output cartridge and will require a moving coil phono stage for proper gain.