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Insight Phono Preamplifier

by Sutherland Engineering

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$1,400.00
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Electronics designer and Manufacturer Ron Sutherland, who is surely one of the nicest and most upstanding people in our rather motley trade, brought to the show a sample of the brand new Sutherland Insight phono preamplifier ($1400). Essentially, an AC version of the battery-powered Sutherland Ph3D ($1000), the beautifully made Insight uses a well-screened switch-mode power supply, and offers a battery (sorry) of options with regard to gain and loading values, all selectable by means of gold-plated jumpers and pins—which, according to Ron Sutherland, are far better-sounding and more reliable than DIP switches.


Linear Power Supply Option

For many years now, switching power supplies have been used at many price points by many manufacturers of high-performance audio.   For adequate performance,  special attention must be focused on two aspects of mitigating the noise they inherently generate.   High frequency switching devices leave a high frequency ripple component in the DC output voltage.   It must be effectively removed.   Also of concern is keeping current spikes on the primary side from injecting noise into the AC power line.  If that is not dealt with, the switching power supply will pollute the quality of AC power available to all the audio system components.

Sutherland has been using switching power supplies on several models. In our designs, they have worked well.

There is always that urge to make refinements.   When designing the PHONO LOCO, there was an opportunity to try a new linear power supply design.   With no cost constraints or attachment to convention, it was the perfect place to explore.   It delivered an advancement in AC power line isolation, filtering and regulation.  Which, ultimately,  gave the audio circuits the best ever DC power foundation.  With that foundation, music flowed with purity and authority. 

That same power supply approach is used in the little LOCO. Again, performance was advanced.

Turns out the same power supply designed for the little LOCO could also be installed in the INSIGHT and the DUO.  Over the years, there have been inquires about using linear power supplies with those models.  It has taken a while to develop and refine this new circuit.   That option is now available.

Technical Overview:

The power transformer is toroidal for minimal radiated magnetic field.  The already low magnetic field is further reduced by connecting the primary windings in series rather than parallel.  The transformer flux density is reduced to half of normal.   There is still plenty of power for the job at hand.   

The transformer's AC output  is full wave rectified, current limited and applied to a first stage shunt regulator.   That not only gives the first stage of voltage regulation, it also smooths the current waveform drawn thru the transformer.   The usual current spikes become much more sinusoidal in shape.   Thus current spikes are not injected back into the power line or project a radiated noise field. 

That first cut at regulation is followed by several stages of R-C pi filtering.   A passive approach that has been well proven in other Sutherland designs.   There is another DC shunt regulator applied near the audio circuitry.    

This combination is new and incredibly effective.   It is also straight forward in it's simplicity.  Rock solid in performance, stability and reliability.   Nothing fussy about it.  No active voltage series regulators to add their colorations.  No switching regulator noise to deal with.

The above information is from the manufacturer.
Have a question? Connect with our Audio Gurus at 800-328-9973 or 215-862-4870 or Send email or use Contact form. You can also take advantage of our system matching expertise with a Free System Consultation.

Sutherland Engineering Insight Phono Preamplifier

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