Sutherland Engineering

PhonoBlock

The PhonoBlock is the phono preamp I designed for my home system. Its design was a self indulgence. I built it to please me. There was no consideration to accommodate any market influences. That mind-set gave me the absolute freedom to build an uncompromised and, in my opinion, the best phono preamp.

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

Another path to the same destination.
Almost always, upscale designs are laden with features. More features are touted to represent advancement, product differentiation AND a rationale for the upscale price. The PhonoBlocks don’t play that game. Their elevated performance is achieved by NOT cluttering the signal path with deleterious features. Complexity is not the path to purity. Elegant refinement is.

Support

Sutherland PhonoBlocks Owner’s Manual

Testimonials

Simply the best phono pre I have heard

HI Ron,

This is simply the best phono pre I have heard in my system – and I have heard a lot of them! The Phonoblocks are open, natural and holographic with stunning detail. They get an 11 out of 10 from me. AND I really mean it!!!

Todd F. Green

PhonoBlocks tonight…….

Hi Ron,

I had a brief listen to the PhonoBlocks tonight and in this regard I make the following preliminary comments:-

It is very difficult to place my finger on the sound of the phonostage – it just seems to play the music in a very “gentle” way. Detail is excellent as is depth of image, width and height of soundstage. All comes through in a very unforced manner in that the music flows gently from the loudspeakers. I will change back to the Manley Steelhead soon for a more in depth comparison however initially I would say the Steelhead lacks the smoothness of the PhonoBlocks and emphasises the upper frequencies a little more than the PhonoBlocks.

I am struggling to fully interpret the smoothness of the PhonoBlocks which is still full of detail and perhaps the lack of harshness conflicts with so many phonostages which emphasize detail but introduce edginess in so doing – Steelhead, I think does this (by comparison). On first listen the PhonoBlocks seem to lack inner detail but yet everything is there easy to follow and in fact there is more to hear than initially thought.

It is something quite different from all other phonostages and I imagine a very difficult to get right smoothness with detail.

At this stage my only real dilemma is regarding the gain which seems less than I am used to. At first the I had the gain set at 55dB (same as Steelhead) but quickly increased this to 60dB and still I feel I need more. Cartridge is the Shelter Harmony – soon to be Koetsu Jade Platinum (0.3 mV) and my concern is I will need even more gain which brings me to a request.

I would like to try a gain of 65-70 dB and need some feedback as to how to achieve this with the blank supplied.

Many thanks,
Mike

Your phono monoblocks are absolutely fantastic…..

Dear Ron,

Thank you for the 70 and 72 dB gain cards. They arrived today. Your phono monoblocks are absolutely fantastic. Currently using the Merrill-Williams REAL 101 with Dynavector DV 507 11 arm and Dynavector XT1s cartridge. Speak soon. Have a great day and a great weekend.

Cheers,
George

Absolutely AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

Ron, thank you.

The system with the 2000ohm loading for the cartridge is nothing short of amazing, absolutely AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers,
George

I read the review and find it right on!

Ron,

I read the review and find it right on! I got to listen to the Phono Blocks extensively this afternoon and evening and these things really are quite incredible – very neutral, natural, quiet, dynamic and spacious. They have it all.

Best regards,
Bill