Any of you vinyl guys every use one of these? Seems like if you are willing to pay the 4k price tag to get rid of pops and surface noise, you would be better off finding a nice used DS and a collection of well mastered CDs.
I like my hair shirt vinyl, pops and surface noise included. Zero interest in putting this box in my analog signal path. Still, SweetVinyl must be selling these gadgets to somebody. Only, nobody I know.
Somebody willing to pay that much to remove the pops and noise, you have to wonder if vinyl is really meant for them.
Pops and clicks depend on a number of factors, top of which is the stylus cut and record wet cleaning. The latter is a joy for analogue lovers. But still your stylus determines a lot in terms picking surface and dust noise.
PS: people could pay that much on a short cable! Not to mention cartridge upgrades.
I chatted with someone who used one of these units and said that it was really good at removing the pops and clicks but also mentioned it seemed like it took some life out of the music. But I haven’t tried one for myself so this is second hand feedback.
It’s hard to see how it would not take some of the life out of the vinyl.
There are a number of software declicker plug-ins and stand alone products which remove vinyl noises, both automatically like this hardware and manually with a great deal of fine control.
They work because the waveform shape of a vinyl click or pop is different from a musical waveform. However one still needs to be judicious with the settings so that one does not lose the transient attack of the notes being played.
It is very telling to listen to what is being removed. If you can hear bits of musical sounds your settings are too aggressive. The happy medium for automatic settings typically is to allow some of the noise through and to be pleased with the improvement.
When working through the noises manually you can remove just the noise but it can be tedious work.
I have tons of vinyl I have collected over the years, but I rarely if ever play them anymore. It would probably cost me 50k for a vinyl setup that would get close to how my digital setup sounds. DS and PWT combo with well mastered CDs, who needs vinyl? There was a time I never thought I would hear myself say that!
Rega P10 with Aphelion 2 is about $8,500 + Rega Aura reference phono stage $5,500 would do an amazing job. Aphelion 2 and Apheta 3 have great stylus diamonds that minimize pops and clicks.
However, the convenience of digital cannot be surpassed. Analogue use requires passion for the format and what it represents.
I’ve ripped about 1900+ LPs with the SC-1 and have used it for general listening as well. For me this device has been a game-changer. I have an extensive collection of LPs many of which have never been reissued and likely never will be. After extensive and repeated cleanings some records still have a fair amount of surface noise not related to scratches or stylus gouges. The SugarCube removes virtually all of the noise without any significant loss of musical or ambient signal (if used judiciously).
Best $2100 I’ve spent on audio equipment.
Do you set it by listening to what is being removed and backing it off until all you can hear are clicks and pops?
Thanks for sharing your experience MatthewNZ2.
not gonna lie, I have been tempted by this piece of gear.
I don’t think one would need to use it always. Seems easy to bypass. But there are always some records that need help, to some degree.
I guess the big question is how good is the bypass? Like, for those pristine albums, I totally get not wanting anything to interfere with the signal chain.
Would be a good reason to own a second turntable, for those less-than-perfect records.
You say without any “significant” loss. Does this mean that there is some detectable loss in quality but is not significant enough for you not to use the SC?
Actually I approach the settings from the opposite direction. Starting at the minimum setting and increasing the noise reduction level until an acceptable result is found.
I am not aware of any detectable loss in sound quality whether the unit is in-line with my playback system or when using to rip records (to be played back on DVDs in a 24bit/96Hz PCM format).
I have read at least one professional review of the device in which the reviewer mentioned loss of soundstage depth using the SC-1. My modest playback system has not revealed any degradation of SQ however.
What do you then hear when you listen only to the noise removed, especially when you turn up the volume a bit?
Only random noise, pops, clicks, and a low-level “white noise”.
I’ve never used the noise removal strength past the default level (5 on a scale of 1 to 10).
It sounds like they have done a great job with their algorithm. Neat.
I did not expect it to address continual noise also.
here’s Michael Fremer’s review of the SC1 from a couple of years ago.