SME Synergy All-In-One Turntable Sidebar: Perfect Partners

Sidebar: Perfect Partners

Who better to partner SME in the creation of a premium all-in-one vinyl solution than Nagra and Ortofon? But this is no mere coincidence, for the Danish brand's MC Windfeld Ti pick-up [HFN Jan '18] with its superb <0.1dB channel balance, minimal 6ohm coil impedance and low 200μV output (re. 1kHz at 5cm/sec) is well suited to Nagra's solution, based on the BPS [HFN Jan '10].


The BPS's batteries are replaced here with an external 12V PSU, but the custom step-up transformer and active RIAA stage look largely unchanged. It offers a fixed +67.8dB gain and a maximum output of 1175mV which, in practice, is determined by the input overload margin of 480μV. This represents a limited headroom of +8dB when teamed with the MC Windfeld Ti but indicates that audiophiles should not be tempted to 'upgrade' their Synergy with a higher output MC. At least, not before contacting SME and requesting that the phono stage's lower gain setting be accessed by a qualified service agent.

Otherwise, distortion is below that of the pick-up and scales with input/output level – from 0.03-0.07% at 500mV output [blue infill, inset Graph] to 0.09-0.18% at 1000mV out [red infill, above]. The phono stage offers a generous 79dB A-wtd S/N ratio while Nagra's recognisably sculpted frequency response [black trace] is retained, showing an extended HF (0dB/20kHz to +1.4dB/100kHz) and, more significantly, a gently shelved-up bass (+0.3dB/150Hz to +1.1dB/20Hz). PM

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