Do I Need A SUT

I recently moved from a PS Audio BHK Reference pre amp to an LTA ZTOL pre amp.  I found the LTA pre amp to be more detailed slightly warmer and it just sounded better in my system.  I also noticed a big difference in the output volumes between my digital rig and my analog rig. At the same volume level, my turntable volume is now much lower than my streamer volume, as opposed to the way it was before.

Analog gear - Technics SL-1200G turntable w/ Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge and PS Audio Stellar phono pre.  Digital gear: Innous Zenith MK2, Matrix DDC, and PS Audio DirectStream DAC MK2.  Power amp: PS Audio BHK250.  Speakers: Tannoy DC8-Ti.

Before, I used all Transparent Super XLR balanced interconnects, except for the turntable RCA cable into the phono pre.  Now, the only balanced cable is from my DAC to the ZTOL, which has only one XLR input.  I replaced my Transparent XLR interconnects with Transparent super RCA interconnects.

Do I need a SUT to get a higher level of sound at a lower volume setting?  My budget is $1,500.  I know nothing about SUTs other than what I've read. I'm considering the Ortofon ST-7.  Recommendations welcomed.


The balanced outs are usually 4v and unbalanced 2v.

In my experience, that's not been an issue. I would expect the preamp to balance that before it's output. But that's the only thing that comes to mind. 

I would ask the folks at LTA. Very helpful people.

I see the LTA preamp only has RCA outs so maybe the balanced input is going to be louder. You might be better off going all RCA for consistency. It's not going to affect sound quality with short cables.

To the best of my knowledge, the Stellar phono stage has more than adequate gain for your Ortofon Quintet (Stellar offers 44 to 56db gain via MM inputs; 60 to 72db gain via MC inputs). Furthermore the LTA linestage adds additional gain to the signal passing through it. So, in a word, no, there is nothing to be gained by adding a SUT in between those two items. But you provide very little other information. Do you perceive a lack of overall gain in your phono system? How have you connected your phono cable (the output from the Quintet) to the phono inputs on the Stellar (MM or MC inputs, gain setting)? There seems to be a fad around using a SUT whether one needs to or not, which is nonsensical to me. If you notice that you have to re-adjust the attenuator(s) on the LTA for analog vs digital, that is quite the norm and not a reason for concern.  Could possibly be ameliorated by choosing a higher gain setting on the Stellar.

I thought a SUT was only used when using a MC cart into an MM phono stage. Is it used in any other way?  BTW, I have to turn the volume knob up on my analog than  my digital. No big deal really. Not like I’m switching back and forth. 

You only need an SUT when your phono stage lacks enough gain for a LOMC cartridge.