Soundsmith cartridges

What are the differences between the SoundSmith Hyperion MKII - MR (10k) vs the Hyperion MKII (8k)? From SoundSmiths website can't tell.


The difference has been stated to be a reduction in the internal moving mass and the addition of a micro ridge stylus.  The original Hyperion already had extremely low internal moving mass and an Optimized Contour Contact Line stylus so the engineering in that area makes this an interesting item.  My original Hyperion is currently at SoundSmith for an evaluation and possible rebuild.   

Thanks @drrsutliff can you tell me what cartridges you have compared your Hyperion to? What tonearm is it mounted on? I've only heard some lesser SM cartridges not in my system, and thought them very musical, also they seemed to track very well.

@rsf507 I have used among others the Ortofon Cadenza Black, Ortofon Winfeld Ti, Miyajima Madake, Kiseki Purpleheart, and Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum in the past. I currently also have a SoundSmith Paua II. The Hyperion has an ease that is beguiling as within its “musical ease” there is excellent separation, wide and deep soundstage, along with great detail that combine to create a beautiful presentation.   

The Ortofons had excellent detail, but were not as musically involving in my system. The RSSP was special and I do miss it but it did not outperform the Hyperion. In my system the Madake was a little fuller in the lower mids and provided a lot of midrange meat but sacrificed some soundstage and detail in that process, while the Purpleheart was just a great and fun presentation at its price level and continues to perform well on my friend’s setup who insisted that I sell it to him.

I have been using Origin Live turntables and Tonearms for over 15years. Currently  an Origin Live Sovereign Mk3 with dual tone arm plinth employing an OL Enterprise mk4 tonearm and an OL Conqueror mk4 tonearm.  My phono preamp (Dynamic Sounds Associates Phono 2) has loading options from 25ohms to 1775ohms in25 ohm increments. I find the SS cartridges like a lighter (high number) loading. Recommendation from SS is greater than 470ohms. Prior to sending the Hyperion in for a tune up I loaded it at 575ohms.  My Paua II is currently loaded at 700ohms.  Hope this helps.


I too have a Hyperion and agree with Rick's description of the sound.  Mine is an original and is installed on a VPI HW-40.  Prior cartridges included a Cadenza Black, and an original Winfeld.  Before settling on the Hyperion I also seriously considered an Atlas and an AT-1000.  While all three had considerable merit, the sheer practicality of the SoundSmith made it the best option.  My Hyperion is so good that the next step has been a new Conrad Johnson ART phono stage.  The cartridge is good enough.

I loved the Soundsmith Voice which is also making a friend very happy. I gave it to him for his 70th birthday. I am just shy of jumping for the Hyperion MR myself. I have an email out to Peter Ledermann asking how he thinks it will perform with a current mode phono stage, the Channel D Seta L Plus. At 10 ohms it might make it, but it is close. 

I have Auditioned the regular Hyperion at Soundmith's music room using my own records and could not come close to making it miss track. It smoothly handled passages that can come across sibilant with many cartridges. Knowing the Voice really well the only question mark is how well it does the 3rd dimension and I won't know that until I play it on my system. The Voice was mid pack in that regard. The best in my system has been the Lyra Atlas SL followed by the MC Diamond. Both are expensive to rebuild. The beauty of the Soundsmith cartridges is that the rebuild cost is very low in comparison. 

I'm not sure the upgrades to the Hyperion MR will make much of a difference. Soundsmith was already using an excellent stylus and the lower moving mass might improve tracking, but the Hyperion's tracking abilities were already excellent. It will handle groove velocities higher than any cartridge currently made. 

I might also add that dealing with Soundsmith has always been a pleasure and Peter goes out of his way to make sure you are happy. 

Mike, have you been using the Voice in current mode? Otherwise I’d think the inductance of the Hyperion might present a problem in current mode. DCR may be 10 ohms, but its inductance causes AC resistance or impedance to rise with frequency, which is why they recommend a 470 ohm load, minimum. So current output goes down as frequency goes up.

I’ve never been a fan of MC cartridges after owning many and prefer Soundsmith or Grado on my turntables. As mentioned above, Soundsmith offers the best value of any cartridge manufacturer due to its very generous rebuild policy.

Those that use Wally Tools and view their informative videos know that stylus mounting in cantilever errors (zenith) are fairly substantial in many cartridges with no correlation to price and with 14 degrees being the highest they measured. In fact, some of the worst errors have been with the most expensive cartridges tested. In general, they have stated that the best results have been with Soundsmith and Ortofon cartridges, a compelling reason to go with these brands if you aren’t willing to spend the $800 or so to send your cartridge to Wally Tools for measurement of zenith error so you can correct for it when mounting the cartridge with their zenith tool (included with the first cartridge you have measured).

I had Wally Tools evaluate my Soundsmith Sussurro MkII Gold cartridge. They found a 4.49 degree error, about twice the average and just under the maximum of 5 degrees that most tonearms will allow for correction. So much for generalizations and disappointing since Peter Lidermann hand built this expensive cartridge and must have noticed this error prior to shipping..

I’ve attached an informative video.

Stylus Zenith Error - What is it? Why is it a problem? How common is it?

Zenith error is a huge issue because most don’t know their cartridge has it, how much of it, and the capacity to correct for it.  Not many will send every cartridge to Wally. A 2 degree error will destroy alignment accuracy if ignored.

Hopefully there is a way to upgrade the latest Mk2 ES to the new MR version.  Haven't seen any reviews on the new MR though.


I just asked Peter that question and he responded yesterday, on a Holiday no less. He does make a Current Mode version of the Hyperion but he prefers the Voltage Mode version. When I had the Voice I was using an AR phono stage. My Seta L Plus has both TI and Voltage operation, switchable on the front panel. The loading switches for Voltage Mode are on the back panel. 


You sure can. The coils and magnets are identical. A rebuild replaces everything that moves. I do not think there will be much of a change. The Hyperion already has an excellent stylus. The micro ridge stylus might track very high frequencies better, but we can't hear that high. 

One wonders what the inductance of a low output MI might be, to render it useable with current driven phono stages. Very interesting.


I was wondering that also but I did not feel like bothering him asking for the specifics. He thinks the voltage mode works better so I went with that.

I’m thinking if you reduce the voltage output significantly, so that fewer turns of wire are needed to generate the lower signal voltage (and also resulting in a lower internal R and inductance), then it might be possible to mate the Hyperion to a current driven phono, but as you reduce voltage out, you need to hope for a greater loss of internal R and inductance, so as to get a net increase in current output at audio frequencies. You did the right thing; just use conventional voltage drive.

I was underwhelmed at first by the Sussurro MkII ES. I played with the loading and found it helped a bit, but it never really came alive until I used an SUT. At that point it became a very neutral but detailed cartridge, not quite as dynamic as a Decca, not as rich and warm as a Benz, but worth hanging onto for when one of my mainstays goes for a re-tip.

@dogberry, which SUT if you don’t mind my asking? I’m using the same cart while SS is looking at my Benz LP-S. I have it loaded at 825 Ohms with my XP-17 and I’m enjoying it very much.

Not at all, @tonyptony , the VAS MC One MkI. The LP-S is still a better cartridge to my ear, but not by a long way.