Ex-IBM engineer builds innovative phono cartridges


The Sound smith phonon cartridge in action.

Peter Lederman is considered one of just a handful of highly knowledgeable people on this planet who designs and hand-builds phonon cartridges. These tiny electro-mechanical devices are regularly laptop-made, but Lederman builds world-class cartridges together with his hands and a microscope. His firm, 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 among the United States’ major speaker producers within the Nineteen Sixties. And for 10 years, beginning in 1980, he was once an IBM senior research engineer and is credited as the main inventor of 11 IBM patents. He began Sound smith all the way through his IBM tenure, and Lederman currently employs 15 folks in his eight 000-square-foot facilities in Peekskill, N.Y.

phono cartridges

Lederman, for my part, builds and repairs all of the prime Sound smith cartridge fashions. He and his team of workers may also repair different brands of excessive-finish cartridges on web site. 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 together with his pressure Gauge phono cartridge, SG-810 preamplifier, HE-a hundred and fifty amplifiers, and Monarch audio system — sounded excellent. His cartridges really 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 pc noise-free, but unquestionably quieter 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 movement. I do know of no other producer of excessive-finish cartridges that provides that kind of version.

Lederman also has a recording and mastering studio onsite, where he information tracks without tape recorders. He, as a substitute, records directly to 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.