Ex-IBM engineer builds innovative phono cartridges


The Sound Smith phonon cartridge is in action.

Peter Lederman is considered one of just a handful of highly knowledgeable people who designs and hand-builds phono cartridges. These tiny electro-mechanical devices are regularly laptop-made, but Lederman builds world-class cartridges with his hands and a microscope. Sound Smith also manufactures audio systems and amplifiers and sells antique Bang & Loosen and Tandberg merchandise.

Lederman’s resume is spectacular: He was the director of Engineering for Boaz, one of the United States’ major speaker producers in the Nineteen Sixties. For ten years, beginning in 1980, he was once an IBM senior research engineer and is credited as the main inventor of 11 IBM patents. He started Sound Smith through his IBM tenure, and Lederman currently employs 15 folks in his eight,000-square-foot facilities in Peekskill, N.Y.


For my part, Lederman builds and repairs all of the prime Sound Smith cartridge fashions. He and his workers may also repair brands of excessive-finish cartridges on the website. As we talked, Lederman didn’t strike me as a straight-laced engineer sort — no, the person loves track and takes real delight in his work. He strives to make cartridges that can so exactly trace an LP’s incredibly advanced, microscopic groove wiggles that you hear only the music. Lederman feels that with one of the best cartridges and turntables, an LP must sound like the master tape. “If it seems like a document, you’ve got blown it,” he mentioned.

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Lederman’s massive listening room — geared up with his pressure Gauge phono cartridge, SG-810 preamplifier, HE-a hundred and fifty amplifiers, and Monarch audio system — sounded excellent. His cartridges did decrease LPs’ ticks and pop to an outstanding stage; even old data were eerily quiet. I am no longer claiming they had been one hundred PCs noise-free, but unquestionably more peaceful than I am used to.

Sound Smith’s hand-constructed phonon cartridges start at $480 for the Othello and go as much as the excessive four figures. Phonon cartridges are regularly very subtle gadgets, as are most Sound smith cartridges, but the company bargains two “unbreakable” Iron models. They’re designed for folks who throw parties and play numerous information, blind individuals, or listeners with restricted or unstable hand movements. I know no other producer of excessive-finish cartridges that provides that version.

Lederman also has a recording and mastering studio onsite, where he information tracks without tape recorders. As a substitute, he records directly to the disc on a report cutting lathe. Lederman would not make records to earn a profit — the entire cash is earmarked to help rescue children worldwide working as slave workers. The Direct Grace information I listened to really is exceptional.