Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby Drew769 » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:32 pm

Has anyone here used/owned an Audience A23 Hommage SUT? It’s a Stereophile “A+” rated component year after year, German-made and modeled after vintage transformers. I borrowed a buddy’s T2 to play with, and it sounds pretty good. Of course, it should sound pretty good at roughly $5,000 for a component without a power cord!

I’m of the mindset, though, that the SUT is the most important part of the analog chain when using a LOMC cartridge.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby Brf » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:42 am

IMHO, the use of a SUT is a personal preference. I have not heard the Homage but I’ve used (borrowed) the regular A23 SUT many years ago. It was excellent when used with the correct cartridge.

You are very fortunate to be able to borrow and try one out in your system before contemplating a purchase. Any hum or placement problems?
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby Drew769 » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:59 pm

No hum issues. I’ma big believer in a separate SUT for LOMC cartridges. I’ve been using a VAS for a couple of years, and it’s an excellent unit. This Hommage, though, just brings such realism to the music, especially acoustic or vocal music.

To give you an example, I had Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” on last night, and at the end of I.G.Y. (What a wonderful world...) there is spoken word in the right channel towards the end of the song. It usually kind of blends in with the music, like a background vocal. This time, though, the voices were so distinct and clear that I thought someone was talking behind me. I think a good SUT to a gain stage in a phono amp is kind of like comparing a great fixed prime lens to a zoom - the image snaps into focus with the prime lens.

Anyhow, I did have an email exchange with one of their distributors, and the T2 model is the correct match to my cartridge, despite the high resulting gain. I’m running through a bunch of albums to make sure that nothing is distorting, but almost everything I’ve played so far has resulted in a “The best I’ve ever heard this album sound” moment.

I just wish the thing wasn’t so expensive.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby tom collins » Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:45 am

The late, great Art Dudley (RIP) owned one and swore by it. Not for the feint of wallet however.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby Drew769 » Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:22 pm

tom collins wrote:The late, great Art Dudley (RIP) owned one and swore by it. Not for the feint of wallet however.


It is hard to get your head around the price of some of these things. I struggle with it especially if I compare the purchase price to something outside of high end audio. Heck, even compared with other audio purchases. My preamp which is a really nice preamp was around the same price. Can a transformer in a simple little box with no moving parts and not even a power cord cost the same thing?

Of course, some spend more on a power cord. Or a tonearm. Or whatever. The thing here is that this SUT is not a tweak or a subtle difference, even when compared with its little brother A23 or my VAS SUT (both of which are excellent, but 1/5 the price). Unfortunately, this is a crazy difference in performance. I understand why Mr. Dudley was so fond of it. Now, if I heard the same level of difference in, say, a different phono stage that cost $5,000 more than my current one, If probably get my head around it much easier for whatever reason. I guess you can maybe appreciate the intrinsic value in something that is a tangible machine as opposed to a really good part.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby Fishflood » Thu Mar 04, 2021 8:30 pm

Just my 2¢ but I think you would get more out of spending $5k extra on a phono preamp. I went from a Herron VTPH-2a with NOS tubes to an EAR 324 and finally to a Lamm LP2 (the older model) and each step was just a lesson (less so with the EAR than the Lamm) in how much better vinyl can be. The difference is that with a $5k more expensive phono pre, you have flexibility in case you want to swap cartridges. Maybe you want to try a Decca London? Or a HOMC or just a different LOMC. Then the A23 isn't going to help you. I've decided after a thousand years in this hobby that the phono preamp and the tonearm are the two most important factors, given everything else, like in your system, is good too.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby tom collins » Fri Mar 05, 2021 7:52 pm

Drew: It's audio, it's not supposed to be rational. I look at it like this: A: Do I hear an improvement? If no, stop. If yes, then B; is the improvement worth X dollars, yes or no. If no, stop. If yes,then C; can I really pay that much for something with just 2 basic parts? If no, stop. If yes, then D; buy it and don't look back.
I mean, if it is an improvement that you would have had to have spent the same amount of money on for some other more complicated and heavy piece of equipment, do I care that it is just something so simple? We all have to answer this one for ourselves.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby bhjazz » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:29 am

No luck here trying the A23, but I will say that after adding a SUT to my lineup my Lyra Delos sortof came alive. Outside all of the other audiophile problems with high priced gear, I'm guessing the A23 is probably hand wound and has some other custom magic going on. I think there is a lot to matching the transformer specs to the cartridge, and imagine this is why some people love SUTs while others wonder what the fuss is all about. If folks didn't like it I'm betting what they heard was probably that the SUT was not loading their cartridge to it's best settings. (IMHO)

I waded carefully into these waters by buying a kit from K&K Audio. I enjoy building these kits so it was a simple way to see what was inside it and save a couple of bucks. Kevin (of K&K) steered me towards the right transformers (he sells a half dozen or more specific models) and helped me understand the math to get the most out of my other gear. I can also change the cartridge loading so that I still get the ability to make some adjustments. I'll be keeping my SUT for quite a while.
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Re: Audience A23 Hommage T2 SUT?

Postby Bob » Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:37 pm

You have to be careful. The Hommage is a 1:40 step up. Art Dudley used a Shindo Phono stage which is overload proof. Most phono stages will overload at 10mV. You have to use a factor of 10 for peaks. So, for example, if the phono specs say it will overload at 70mV, you should not send a signal over 7mV. You also need to consider the loading of the cartridge.
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