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Strain Gauge Cartridge



preamp close-up

cartridge close-up


From the review by the director of the Italian Magazine Fedeltà del Suono ~ the most popular Italian magazine for hi-end 2 channel

 "Discover what may be the Phono Cartridge of the III Millennium.."

"True technical innovation in a stagnant sector..."

"The systems' linearity...may be considered virtually perfect....virtually free of distortion"

"We can’t refrain from crying for joy, and shout for this miracle."

..Unconditional applause to the creator and designer of such a “good monster”

click here to download PDF of article (Italian & English translation)


The Strain Gauge on

a VPI HRX turntable
* * * * *
The Soundsmith is proud to be a VPI turntable dealer, and will be glad to perform a custom set-up with any VPI turntable of your choice. We offer the Strain Gauge cartridge system, as well as a variety of ultra-low moving mass "moving iron" cartridges, including "The Voice", our recently developed and acclaimed
"MM input" compatible cartridge.

The Strain Gauge - Full Featured Models

 patents pending

Click this to see our NEW ENTRY LEVEL systems; SG-200, SG-210, and NEW SG-230


“Now, with one giant leap, your strain gauge cartridge has leapfrogged the finest moving coil cartridges..... I was completely stunned....” (Ijaz Khan, M.D. ~ Mid-Atlantic Audiophile Group)

« click here for more testimonials »

CLICK THIS TO WATCH HOW TO REMOVE and INSTALL a Stylus in a Soundsmith SG cartridge!

CLICK THIS to read our NEW REVIEW in "The Absolute Sound" ~ by Tony Cordesmann - March - 2010 -

CLICK THIS to read our NEW REVIEW in "HI-FI News"

 The Strain Gauge cartridge is not at all like any other cartridge. The Soundsmith is proud to announce our new MKIV dfesign for all Strain Gauge Models.

 All other cartridges, whether moving magnet, moving coil, or moving iron, are "generators" - that is, you put motion in, and you get energy out... a tiny voltage that you amplify and send to your speakers.

 The key here in describing all other cartridges is in the word moving.

  All other cartridges need to move a mass around - a mass that is attached to the stylus and cantilever.....either a magnet, an iron core with wires (moving "coil") or a piece of iron.

 They are all magnetic generating systems, which require a mass to be constantly moved to generate a voltage. In the Strain Gauge, this mass has been all but eliminated, allowing the stylus to move much more quickly, therefore staying in intimate contact with the groove walls......

« click here for more »

  • Frequency response, DC to 70 Khz (rumble filter at 12 Hz.)

  • No "RIAA" filter multi-stage preamp circuitry is required or used in our preamp - We have just one ULTRA clean gain stage between you and your music          (RIAA compensation IS required for "velocity" sensitive magnetic cartridges - The Strain Gauge is a "displacement" device......which automatically compensates for the RIAA EQ, thus allowing for an elegant, ultra clean preamp design - the "Less is More" audio philosophy...)

  • Compatible with standard "4 wire" tone arm wiring - no special wiring required


  • User Replaceable stylus assembly - automatically aligns when inserted (varied styli types available) - a feature unheard of in high end cartridges

  • System Price includes Strain Gauge Cartridge and Soundsmith SG Preamp model of your choice

  • All models feature "Fixed" Line level outputs AND +10dB variable outputs (controlled by front panel volume control); all outputs are Balanced and Unbalanced via RCA jacks for maximum hookup options -

  • High Compliance design and freedom from low frequency saturation assures excellent tracking ability and compatibility with any tone arm

  • All models feature touch-switch toggling between the Strain Gauge function and single or (multiple) line inputs for maximum hookup flexibility to your equipment

« click here for more »

“In short, this is one of the handful of high-end products so good and so different, it really is worth serious travel to hear.” - Tony Cordesman -

The Absolute Sound - March 2010

click this to visit
The Absolute Sound
magazine website
HiFi NL review (.pdf) [translated from Dutch]   |   Pure Sound BE review (.pdf) [translation]

The Strain Gauge Preamps below come as a system WITH our cartridge....
SG-810 Our top model is a multi-function preamp and full function Strain Gauge Preamp; It features the SG function plus 4 line inputs & tape monitor, Front panel "touch" & Remote control input switching, volume, mute and power with full Strain Gauge performance displays and lighting intensity control
SG-610 Dedicated Preamp for Strain gauge - Front panel "touch" & Remote control for volume, mute and power; full Strain Gauge performance displays; lighting intensity control (auto room adjust or manual "linear control" from lights off to full bright)
SG-600 Dedicated Preamp for Strain Gauge - Same as 610, no remote control
SG-510 Dedicated Preamp for Strain Gauge and full function preamp - SG input plus 4 line inputs & tape monitor; Front panel "touch" & Remote control for input switching, volume, mute and power, no displays
SG-500 Dedicated Preamp for Strain Gauge and full function preamp - same as SG-510, but no remote control
SG-410 Dedicated SG Preamp - Remote & Manual control for Volume, mute & power
SG-400 Dedicated SG Preamp only - Manual Volume, mute & power

SG-200/210 & NEW


SG-200 ~ fixed level outputs; SG-210 fixed and +10dB variable outputs via Volume control; NEW SG-230 ~ fixed & variable outputs, single ended and balanced +10dB outputs, Remote Control for 4 line inputs, volume and mute.
Replacement Styli
SGS-1 Bonded Shibata/Aluminum Cantilever
SGS-2 Nude Elliptical, Aluminum cantilever
SGS-3 Special 1 mil radius conical (for vintage 48-49 records)
SGS-4 78 RPM stylus - special Soundsmith EQ in line circuit must be used
SGS-5 Nude Contact Line/Ruby Cantilever (Our "standard" that is supplied with the cartridge)
SGS-6 Nude "Optimized Contour" Contact Line/Ruby Cantilever
More Information:
Additional Options:
  • Wood Front available in Walnut or Mahogany
  • other woods can also be special ordered (Ebony, Rosewood, and others...)
  • Available in 120 or 230/240 volt power (our external power supply is internally switchable)
The Strain Gauge :

  • Models SG-810 through SG-400 are 16" x 16" x 3.5" high; external power supply is 8" deep x 3" tall x 6" wide.
  • SG-810 - $33,900
  • SG-610 - $29,900
  • SG-600 - $27,900
  • SG-510 - $25,900
  • SG-500 - $23,900
  • SG-410 - $19,900
  • SG-400 - $17,900
  • SG-230 - $12,900
  • SG-210 - $9,590
  • SG-200 - $8,590
  • Prices-Styli:
  • SGS-1 $349.95
  • SGS-2 $349.95
  • SGS-3 $549.95
  • SGS-4 $749.95
  • SGS-5 $749.95
  • SGS-6 $949.95