Sutherland Engineering

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There is an almost irresistible urge to add complexity to any endeavor. The result is a tangled knot of disparate good ideas. Because there is always more that could be added, there is never an opportunity for long-term satisfaction. Never enough.

Sutherland offers a different vision. It is a very disciplined approach that refines design to the essential elements, and then executes the design to perfection. There is no allowance for superfluous clutter. Nothing extra will be allowed between the listener and his music.


PhonoBlock Phono Preamp

The PhonoBlock is the phono preamp Ron Sutherland designed for his home system. Its design was a self indulgence. There was no consideration to accommodate any market influences. That mind-set gave Sutherland the absolute freedom to build his the best phono preamp to date.

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.

Much of the PhonoBlock’s effortless musicality can be attributed to power supply capability. The power supply is not ‘sized’ for the gain stage’s load. On the contrary, gain stage power requirements place an insignificant load on the power supply’s capacity. The power available to the amplifier section is a bedrock solid foundation. Precisely defined by fixed current regulators, shunt voltage regulators right at the load and over 100,000 microfarads (per mono chassis) for energy storage. It takes nearly 20 seconds for this huge reservoir to fill up when AC power is applied.

For a design guided by simplicity, the PhonoBlock’s power supply may, at first, appear plenty complicated. Admittedly, it is both simple AND complex. It is a long chain of individually simple elements. Each element has a function of either filtering or regulation (also doing a filtering function). Each element inserts a level of isolation. The accumulated isolation is unprecedented.


Stereophile - Phono Preamp Reviews By Brian Damkroger, Jan 2012
Download the PhonoBlock Owner's Manual


    50 Ohms
    100 Ohms
    200 Ohms
    475 Ohms
    1k Ohms
    10k Ohms
    47k Ohms
    blank card, can be configured for 1 to 47k Ohms plus capacitance
    45 dB
    50 dB
    55 dB
    60 dB
    blank card, can be configured for 40 to 70 dB
  • SIZE:
    17” wide
    17” deep
    3.25” high
    24” wide
    24” deep
    11” high
    Net 21 lbs each
    Shipping 26 lbs each
    110 – 120 VAC, 10 watts, each
    220 – 240 VAC, 10 watts, each


  • DUO
  • DUO Phono Preamp

    The DUO is derived from the cost-no-object PhonoBlocks and the cost-optimized 20/20.

    Each DUO has a built in AC power supply. There is an IEC power inlet on each chassis to accommodate the user's personal power cord choice. The shielded power supply module has one output. That output is split into two branches. One for each of the two gain stages. Each of those branches is independently filtered and regulated to provide a substantial foundation for the gain stages.

    The DUO mitigates circuit board dielectric properties using the same approach that has worked so well in the PhonoBlocks. Circuit board thickness is doubled from the standard 1/16” thickness to 1/8” thickness. Not only is dielectric absorption addressed, but further advantages are realized with an extremity rigid platform for component mounting. It is the cost-no-object, preferred way to go.

    Reviews / Downloads online review - July 2014
    Download the DUO owners manual


      47 k Ohms
      1 k Ohms
      475 Ohms
      200 Ohms
      100 Ohms
      64 dB
      58 dB
      52 dB
      46 dB
      40 dB
    • SIZE:
      17” x 2 ½” x 12” each DUO

      23” x 18” x 9” each DUO, packed in shipping box
    • WEIGHT:
      11 pounds each DUO
      19 pounds each DUO, packed in shipping box


  • Argentum
  • Argentum Phono Preamp

    The Argentum Phono Preamp delivers the advantages of a silver signal path.

    The best starting point was the PhonoBlocks.
    For many years now, they have performed beautifully, setting a very high standard. They compare very favorably with cost-no-object phono preamps. Just buying a roll of silver wire was not good enough. This was an opportunity to refine and optimize every aspect of signal flow.

    There was no concern for cost or construction effort. That is not to say it was a ‘blank sheet of paper’ starting point — anything goes. Not at all. Quite the opposite. It was very disciplined and focused on ONE thing. Figure out the very best way to bring a silver signal path to the phono block.

    In the Argentum all the socket disruptions are eliminated. That is, the socket is eliminated and the silver wires are soldered DIRECTLY to the IC pin. There are no circuit board traces or anything else introduced in the signal path.

    Reviews / Downloads

    Analogue RMAF 2015 - Michael Fremer, Oct 2015 RMAF 2015 Show Report by Rafe Arnott October 20, 2015 RMAF 2015 on Youtube Video with Ron Sutherland
    Download the Argentum owner's manual/brochure


      Dale/Vishay RN65-style resistors are included with the following values:
      47.5k Ohms (4752)
      1000 Ohms (1001)
      475 Ohms (4750)
      200 Ohms (2000)
      100 Ohms (1000)
      49.9 Ohms (49R9)
      The Argentum is shipped with loading set to 200 Ohms.
      Dale/Vishay RN65-style resistors are included with the following values:
      121 Ohms for 45 dB gain (1210)
      75 Ohms for 50 dB gain (75R0)
      40.2 Ohms for 55 dB gain (40R2)
      20 Ohms for 60 dB gain (20R0)
      15 Ohms for 63 dB gain (15R0)
      10 Ohms for 67 dB gain (10R0)
      The Argentum is shipped with gain set to 60 dB.
    • SIZE:
      17” wide
      17” deep
      3.25” high

    • Shipping Box Sizes
      24” wide
      24” deep
      11” high
    • WEIGHT:
      Net 21lbs each
      Shipping 26lbs each
      110–120 VAC, 10 Watts — each
      220–240 VAC, 10 Watts — each


  • MCX
  • MCX Phono Preamp

    The MCX Phono Preamp optimizes the inclusion of moving coil step transformers in vinyl playback.

    Popularity of SUT (Step Up Transformer) is on the upswing. A good SUT in front of the phono preamp brings out a rich, lush and emotive character that is completely seductive. Sutherland realized it was time to take a serious look at the role a SUT could play in vinyl playback.

    The best stereo phono preamp is actually two mono phono preamps. With a stack of two mono phono preamps, all the most subtle space and dimensionality cues are preserved. The MCX is just such a mono phono preamp.


    MCX Owner's Manual / Brochure


    • Load Settings:
      Cartridge loading is determined by the resistor value installed in the LOADING resistor socket.
      Dale/Vishay RN65-style resistors are included with the following values:
      47.5k for 475 Ohm loading
      30k for 300 Ohm loading
      20k for 200 Ohm loading
      10k for 100 Ohm loading
      5k for 50 Ohm loading
      Your MCX ships with loading set to 200 Ohms.
    • Gain Settings:
      Gain is determined by the resistor value installed in the GAIN resistor socket.
      Dale/Vishay RN65-style resistors are included with the following values:
      221 Ohms for 60 dB gain
      110 Ohms for 66 dB gain
      56 Ohms for 72 dB gain
      Your MCX ships with gain set to 60 dB
    • Size:
      17” wide
      12” deep
      2.5” high
    • Shipping Box:
      24” wide
      24” deep
      11” high
    • Weight:
      Net 11lbs each
      Shipping 19lbs each
    • Power Requirements:
      88 – 264 VAC
      10 Watts each


  • N1
  • The N1 Phono Preamp

    The advantages and enjoyment of vinyl are more treasured now than ever before. The N1 is a phono preamp, a line stage and a power supply, like the old fashioned days, all in one box.

    The N1 includes what one would expect from a modern design. It has remote control of volume, input and mute. Each component is carefully selected to bring you closer to your music. AND it uniquely incorporates Sutherland circuitry derived from the cost-no-object Destination series.

    To fully appreciate the heart-felt passion that went into every detail of the N1, you also need to study the thoughtful, meticulous layout inside the case. Every detail makes for ‘pride of ownership’. The machined aluminum front panel, the tempered glass display window, the understated minimalism — all speak of old fashioned pride of craftsmanship.

    Reviews and More

    The Absolute Sound equipment report by Wayne Garcia Nov 08th, 2016
    AvShowrooms RMAF 2014 on Youtube March 2014
    Sterephile CES 2012 'Return of the Nixie Tube' by Larry Greenhill, Jan 16, 2012
    Sterephile CES 2012 by Larry Greenhill, Jan 16, 2012
    Sterephile TAVES 2011 - Robert Deutsch Oct 2, 2011
    Sterephile from Robert Deutsch on the "Nixie tubes" Oct 2, 2011
    Enjoy The Interview of Ron Sutherland By Phil Gold, Nov 2011
    Sterephile RMAF 2011 by Stephen Mejias, Oct 19, 2011
    Download the N1 Preamp's Owner's Guide


      12 dB (max, display at 99)
      0 dB (display at 76)
      45 dB,
      50 dB,
      55 dB,
      60 dB
    • INPUTS:
      Input 1 is phono
      Inputs 2, 3 and 4 are line level with adjustable volume
      Input 5 is unity gain pass thru for Home Theater
      Input 6 enables a built in white noise generator
    • OUTPUTS: Two paralleled per channel.
    • SIZE: 3.5” high X 17” wide X 18” deep


  • 20 / 20
  • 20 / 20 Phono Preamp

    The 20/20 phono preamp is AC powered and it is quiet! It starts with separate external AC power modules for each channel, followed by 10 sections of passive RC filtering and finalized with local constant voltage shunt regulation.

    It is derived from the best elements of the PH3D and the Hubble. The signal path is almost the same as the Hubble; the construction is as simple as the PH3D. It has an elegant esthetic of performance, value, craftsmanship and minimalism.

    The 20/20 comes as close as possible to offering an equivalence of battery isolation from AC line power. It is literally two identical mono phono preamplifiers. Each channel is on its own circuit board, has its own shielded compartment, power indicator, its own AC power supply and its own power cord. It is the ultimate in channel separation.

    Reviews and more 20/20 and the DUO July 2014
    The Absolute Sound equipment report by Wayne Garcia, Sep 20th, 2011
    Positive Feedback Issue 51 by Tom Lyle, Sept. 2010
    Download the 20 / 20 owner's guide
    - The Absolute Sound Buyer’s Guide: Spring 2016 Buyer’s Guide – The Best Audio Products – 20/20
    - The Absolute Sound #247, November 2014: Spring 2015 Buyer’s Guide – The Best Audio Products – 20/20
    - The Absolute Sound #241, March 2014: 20/20 Editor’s Choice Award in the Phono Stage Category
    - Stereophile, 2013: Class A Recommended
    - Stereophile, 2012: Class A Listed


    • Gain settings :
      40 dB
      46 dB
      52 dB
      58 dB
      64 dB
    • Cartridge Loading :
      100 ohms
      200 ohms
      475 ohms
      1k ohms
      47k ohms
    • Size :
      17” wide
      2 ¼ “ high
      12” deep
    • -external power supply (each) :
      5” deep
      1 ½” high
      2” wide
    • Weight :
      11 lbs. net
      19 lbs. shipping
    • Power Requirements :
      Power: 20 watts (10 watts per channel)
    • Operating Voltage: :
      100 to 240 volts
      (universal, no adjustments)


  • PH3D
  • PH3D Phono

    The PH3D is a high-value example of high-end performance. There are no frills – nothing fancy. The parts budget all goes towards putting really good parts into the signal path. Those quality parts, combined with refined circuitry have given much listening pleasure to its happy owners.

    Reviews / Downloads

    HiFi Plus by Chris Martens Dec 11, 2008
    The Absolute Sound by Chris Martens Dec 11, 2008
    Download the PH3 Owner's Manual


    • Dual Mono Design
    • Gain Settings:
    • Cartridge Loading:
      100 ohms,
      200 ohms,
      1K ohms,
      10K ohms,
      47K ohms
    • Power Requirements: 16 Alkaline 'D' cells
    • Battery Life: greater than 1200 hours (actual power-on time) w/ stainless Steel Thumbscrews for easy access
    • Size: 17" wide x 2 /14" high x 12" deep


  • Line Blocks
  • Line Blocks

    The Line Blocks are mono line-level preamps — two of them for stereo. You can carry the advantages of true mono construction all thru every element of your system (that is, everything but the cartridge!).

    The 3 chassis system has one chassis for input and volume controls and the display uses Nixie tubes. The remaining two chassis are for signal buffering and amplifcation.


    The Absolute Sound CES 2012 show report exerpt


  • Insight
  • Insight

    There comes a tipping point of accumulated knowledge that insists upon a new product. Insight gained from the design of preceding phono preamps opened up a new possibility.

    The Insight is a combination of solid, thoughtful engineering with an artisanal attention to every design decision. Every detail matters! Good enough is NOT good enough.

    All the areas of performance, aesthetics, reliability, circuit design, circuit board layout, parts selection, packaging --- ALL of those aspects must seamlessly dovetail into one expression. For those with a taste for understated elegance, the Insight will deliver an enduring pride of ownership.

    The physical artistry is a means to solid, reliable, musicality. There is no affectation. Just a simple, pure link to your recorded treasures. It faithfully delivers musical joy, year after year.

    Pride of ownership and sublime performance–way beyond its modest price.

    Reviews and more

    Stereophile, October 2016: Class B Recommended, Editor Tested, Audiophile Approved, A-OK Product
    Stereophile by Michael Dudley Aug 1, 2013
    Positive Feedback Iss. 66 by Peter Davey March 2013
    Stereophile RMAF 2012 by Art Dudley Oct 19, 2012
    Download Insight Owner's Guide / Brochure

    - Stereophile, December 2014: Stereophile’s Products of 2014 Analog–Insight, Runner-up
    - Stereophile, April 2014: Class B Recommended, Editor Tested, Audiophile Approved, A-OK Product


      40 dB
      45 dB
      50 dB
      55 dB
      60 dB
      100 Ohms
      200 Ohms
      1k Ohms
      10k Ohms
      47k Ohms
    • POWER REQIREMENTS: 86 to 260 volts AC, 5 watts - universal, no adjustment required
    • SIZE:
      Insight - 17” x 2 ½” x 12”
      Shipping Box - 23” x 18” x 9”
    • WEIGHT:
      11 pounds Insight
      19 pounds Insight packed in shipping box


  • Timeline
  • Timeline Timing Strobe and Clamp

    As an instrument designed to keep the finest of turntables running at exactly the correct speed, there is simply no equal. With a time-base accuracy of 2 parts per million, the Timeline is the very definition of precision.

    The Timeline flashes its laser at precisely 33 1/3 (or 45) times per minute. If your turntable is rotating at exactly the correct speed, the dot is stretched into a line segment that is projected to the same place on every revolution. If, however, your turntable is too fast, the projected line segment will drift in a clockwise direction. If too slow, into a counter-clockwise direction. Adjust your turntable speed accordingly. The Timeline will also reveal any loading effects of stylus dragging forces.

    The Timeline has also been designed to serve as an indispensable record weight that will effectively dampen the vinyl, providing quieter playback. Its machined Delrin lower section couples into the vinyl. That interface section is then tightly constrained by the rigidity of the machined aluminum upper section. Playback will be significantly improved by leaving the Timeline in place during playback.

    Reviews and More

    Sutherland Timeline on Youtube 'how to' use the timeline

    Stereophile Recommend Accessory - 2016
    ★Sutherland Timeline:
    The Timeline is a device for testing a turntable's accuracy of speed. Housed in a solid disc of aluminum and Delrin that fits over the platter spindle, the Timeline uses eight laser-projected timing marks with a claimed accuracy within two parts per million. "Unless your wall has hash marks, there's a bit of subjectivity involved, and at $400 the Timeline isn't cheap," said MF. "Indispensable," said BD, who used the Timeline to measure, set, and monitor the speeds of his Spiral Groove SG-2 and VPI HR-X turntables. (Vol.33 Nos.3 & 12 WWW)
    Also made Stereophile's "Recommended accessory" list for years 2012 - 2014 and Stereophile’s Products of 2011 Joint Accessories of the Year–Timeline, Runner-up.

    Positive Feedback 2011 Editor's Choice Award Winner!
    The Absolute Sound Editor's Choice award - 2010
    Stereophile Review By Michael Fremer and Brian Damkroger, Dec. 2010
    Positive Feedback Online Issue 43 reviewed by Peter Davey June 2009
    Download the Timeline owner's manual


    • Batteries: 2 N size alkaline
    • Battery life: greater than 800 hours
    • Laser:
      650 nm, less than 2.5 mw output
      spot size 1/4 “ at 15 feet
    • Size: 3” diam, 1 3/4 “ high


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  • IMPORTANT: Products and specifications are subject to change without notice.