My Sonic Lab Platinum v Gold Signature

Has anyone compared them? I’m tempted by the Platinum but a little concerned it might edge into hyper-detail, which is not my happy place. The Gold reputedly has more body, but I’m wondering whether this comes at the expense of hard-won things like nuance and dynamics.

From what I can tell the main, perhaps only, design differences are cantilever and body material. The Platinum features a boron cantilever and titanium body; the Gold sports Duralumin, a form of aluminum, for both. Myself, I’ve never heard an aluminum cantilever that didn’t color or soften the sound somewhat, but then I’ve never heard one on a top flight cartridge like the MSL. Both have a DCR of 1.4 ohm and an output of 0.5mV.

The tonearm is a Graham Phantom Supreme; the phonostage is an Allnic H3000, probably via its 13x SUT. Based on MSL’s recommendation, the ideal load impedance is around 3-400 ohms (surprising for such low DCR), so this ratio should get me pretty close to what either one needs. Turntable is an Artisan Fidelity SP10R. Music is mostly jazz.

I'm especially interested in direct comparisons, but I also welcome experiences with either cartridge, and thoughts on how they might mesh with my arm and 'table.

Thanks in advance.



I was looking at the two MSL cartridges below the Gold and Platinum. The Hyper and the Ultra Eminent. I may have the model names off, but the former is $5500, and latter $8,000 US dollars. I found the Hyper did give up some detail to the Ultra. But I found the bass on the Hyper to be more satisfying for my taste. The Ultra was more detailed in the mid- bass, while the Hyper was a bit more fleshed out with more overall punch. They are both excellent cartridges but I chose the Hyper.

I've heard both the Gold and Platinum at my dealer but not at the same time maybe 4 - 6 weeks apart. Both were stunning wish I could afford either but with that being said the Gold just moved me had a more musical presentation. Maybe the Platinum wasn't fully broken in it was only about 3 weeks new. Just my own view and experience.

Good info, guys, and just the kind of feedback I was hoping to get.

@blisshifi, I can certainly understand why you would think the Platinum could be a better match with my phono stage. The Allnic H3000 is refined in nature, as you say, and most people describe it as being on the warm side of neutral, attributes that could synergize well with the Platinum's higher resolution. But after nearly a decade with the Allnic, I can say that the disconcerting thing about it is the extreme degree to which its sound is dictated by its external power supply. Rolling the rectifier can radically change almost every aspect of its sonic presentation. And the warmth people hear? A lot of it comes from the rubber footers on the PS. Not the phono stage itself, mind you, but the footers on the PS! I actually don't love the H3000 with the stock footers on the PS, finding the sound a tad bloated in the midbass and closed-in on top. Replacing those stock footers with Stillpoint Ultra SS (only on the PS), however, really opens it up, increasing HF detail, air, and neutrality, and thinning the bloat. Albert Porter turned me on to this tweak and he was so right. It's the only place I've ever liked Stillpoints. The improvement is big but not without cost: some of that desirable warmth and bass-weight is lost; and the overall tonal character shifts upward a bit. All this is to say, given the way my H3000 is tuned, I am a little apprehensive that the Platinum could tip it a little further in that lean and revealing direction. The Gold, with its musicality and body, and perhaps minor softening of edges, might turn out to be the better compliment,

@wrm57 Fair points. In all honesty I’m 100% satisfied with my Sig Gold. I’m happy that it costs a bit less as well. :)

I have a thought on the Gold that is a bit off topic of this thread, so I will message you directly. Look out for that if you can. 

@vonhelmholtz , Some years ago I owned Mac 501 monoblocks and a C2300 tube preamp. Driving PMC IB2i monitors (big things with transmission line woofers), the sound was rich and musical. I've never heard the M12000 but it looks to be similar in concept: a preamp based on 12AX7 tubes, with beefy solid state amplification based autoformers. I can imagine the higher resolution of the Platinum being spot on for the alluring Mac sound.