Hand-made in the USA for over 40 years, SoundSmith has outstanding sonic quality and extremely high-value cartridges. Their Moving Iron, fixed coils cartridges typically out perform cartridges 2-3 times their price.
As many know, cartridges are a very personal preference. they have to be carefully selected for the arm and style of music. Historically, there were 2 directions: Moving Magnet and Moving Coil. Each with their own pros and cons.
Trying to find a solid line of cartridges that allow an audiophile to reach a higher level of performance without the price penalty has been an incredible challenge.
After years of listening to just about every line of cartridges we are confident SoundSmith fulfills that criteria.
To quote Peter Ledermann, the mind and ears behind these cartridges:
Fixed Coil vs. Moving Coil – what are the advantages of this different technology?
For the reader to better understand the vast advantages, I will list them and then elaborate.
Far lower internal “generator” moving mass, resulting in:
far lower stored energy
lower reflected energy
far higher natural resonant frequency/lower amplitude resonance
Much more robust suspension, allowing:
elimination of azimuth drift
greater repeatability in production
ability to be rebuilt multiple times
far greater likelihood to survive an "accident" without distorting the internal suspension and critical cantilever alignment.
SoundSmith moving iron also have 5-8 times less mass than a Moving Coil. Those that are more interested in performance than specs, it simply means far better performance with a higher sample rate due to the way these cartridges hug the grooves.
These cartridges are also quite durable. When the time comes to re-tip your cartridge you can send it to SoundSmith in New York and they will handle it. Did we mentioned SoundSmith is in the U.S.? That means a more secure turnaround time than sending it to another country- if the service is offered at all.
Warranty? Perhaps the best: Their cartridges are guaranteed for one or two years, with the exception of the Hyperion and Helios, which are covered for a full 10 years, including free re-tipping to the original owner. An absolutely unheard of warranty for cartridges.
The prices fits every budget, table and arm. Their cartridges go from $290-$4500. High output, medium and low output. Or up to $8600 with for the legendary Strain gauge cartridges with zero mass.
We are completely confident you will be thrilled by a SoundSmith cartridge. Or as Michael Fermer, the analog sage, writes: "This thing stopped and started faster than any cartridge I've ever heard. The speed and precision of its instrumental attack set new standards for phono cartridges, in my experience, as did its overall transparency and its rhythm'n'pace. In the best sense, it made my Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX 3 speakers sound like electrostatics, but with full bass extension and dynamic capabilities."