Seeking advice on several specific MC Step Up Transformers


I am looking to change my MC Step Up Transformer (SUT) and am hoping some folks may have had some experience with one or more of these combinations...

I currently use a Silvercore 1:10 SUT. It is hooked up to my Garrard 301 turntable, Thomas Schick 12” tonearm and EMT TSD 15 cartridge. The SUT then runs into a Cary Audio PH-302 MkII Phono Preamp>Supratek Chardonnay Line Preamp>a pair of Decware SE84UFO2 monoblock power amps>Altec Flamenco Speakers.

I previously had a Parasound Halo JC3+ phono preamp in this chain, but, found that the Silvercore SUT was overloading it and causing significant noisefloor. Once I upgraded to the Cary phono pre (with a much higher overload capacity), the noisefloor disappeared. And, yes, on both the Parasound and the Cary I have tested just using the MC input but much prefer the overall sound/impact/dynamics that I get by running the SUT into the MM input.

Through several conversations with two differnt SUT manufacturers I have learned that due to the EMT’s output of 1mV and the higher overload capacity of the Cary pre, an SUT of 1:20 is more ideal. 

So, after that long-winded explanation, I am wondering if anyone has used the Decware ZMC1 SUT and/or the Bob’s Device’s Sky 20 SUT. 

The Decware is a 1:20, but, has the added capability of adjustable gain. Which, as I understand, can be nice for adjusting the impedance on the fly as some records may sound a little brighter than others. The Bob’s Devices is switchable between 1:10 and 1:20. The Decware is also about $400 cheaper (which is a major consideration currently).

Hoping someone may be able to shed some light on any of this...


128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xjvancamp78
I am in nowhere man's land with you. When it comes to SUT's, the often used BLACK ART phrase is pretty accurate. There are some who delve a bit deeper in to specs and matching... Dave Slagle and Bob Sattin come to mind. The A23 units are also an option. They make a (not new but) newer unit that is specifically for TSD-15 or Tsd-75. It sits below the Homage, yet above the basic units. The Silvercore is a nice unit... I had one for a while, along with a Hashimoto HM-7, and a few of the A23 units. While I like the A23 a lot, the Bob's and the Slagle do dig in to specs a bit more, and can open your door of options a bit wider. Of course with the TSD-15, that is one of the few proven options with the (high impedance) A23 units. If it were me, I would not want to reinvent the wheel unless I had a demo, which of course Bob offers. I hate to say it but the EAR MC-4 may be another interesting option. (-:
Dear @jvankamp78:  """  And, yes, on both the Parasound and the Cary I have tested just using the MC input but much prefer the overall sound/impact/dynamics that I get by running the SUT into the MM input ""

The JC designed Halo JC3+ is way way better that a MM + SUT. That you prefers this way does not means is rigth and the problem did not comes because the cartridge output level or the Parasound unit but seems to me came and comes from those tube electronics, it is here where the problem is ( no matters what. ).

With all respecto what you like it is wrong against how MUSIC sounds. Is wrong because maybe you can understand how a cartridge signal is " touched " and which kind of degradation levels happens at each single link in your system chain. MM + SUT against the JC3+ only means higher distortions/signal degradation levels.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

The output by MC cartridges is measured with different

test records and different ''speed'' so one can't  trust the

''ássumed standard values''. By your EMT TDS 15  is

the output value according to the producer 0,21 mV while

according to ''usual measure'' 1mV. This means that you

don't need an SUT for this cart.

If anything you need less gain not more.
1:20 means more.
There are some 1:7 types out there....
@jvancamp where are you located? If possible try and borrow some different SUTs
I'm been using a Cary PH302 for about 7yrs and like you I found external SUT's into the MM stage to work better with the cartridges I used (lower output MC's).
I've tried Bob Sattin's 3440A, Hashimoto HM7 and Lundahl 1941. The first two were 1:15/1:30 (from memory) and latter is pretty similar 1:16/1:32. 
I agree that a healthy input voltage to the Cary MM stage sounds more dynamic.
I never had any overload problems running a 0.4mV ART9 mc into the 1:32 setting which will boost that cartridge to 12.8mV.
However I found the ART9 to work better with 1:16 (6.4mV) and reflected loading of 184ohms.
You're talking about 1:20 which will boost 1mV to 20mV. I would think a 1:10 SUT would be more appropriate - but I don't know what the overload specs are for the Cary.
Assuming no overload issues, 1:20 SUT (26dB) will give 64dB total gain with the Cary MM (38dB) which may be excessive for your setup - but that will very much depend on the rest of the chain.
IMO 1:20 would be more appropriate with lower output mc's, say 0.3 -0.5mV range. But of course much depends on the individual cartridge and system specs.
I have a Bob's Sky10, which works quite well set at 5:1 with either of two cj phono stages.  I recommend that you talk to Bob about your application.  In my experience when it comes to SUTs, less is more.
Cartridges like the EMT TDS 15 are problematic because the output voltage is "in between" most modern MM and MC cartridges.  At 1:20 your SUT gain is way too high for 1mV output.  Something in the 1:3-1:5 range would be more appropriate.

You might consider using a phono preamp with switchable loading so that you can try and adjust for the perfect setting.

Just use a phono stage like Gold Note PH-10 with many gain option, fully adjustable. You don't need a SUT
Although I have no experience with the Music First line, I've always been interested and they'll make to your own specs.
"JC designed Halo JC3+ is way way better that a MM + SUT"
I would disagree with this from my experience, but some prefer phono stages with op amps.
So do both Jc3+ and gold noto p10 use opamps to achieve high gain for MC carts?
I owned a JC3 and thought it was noisy now own the PH10 and dead quiet. Yes the PH10 uses opamps.