High End 2017: Soundsmith hits the nail on the head

Down the hall there was a cosy booth with all things Soundsmith, including Peter Ledermann and his trusted director Chris Sommovigo. They invited us in for a listen, the lure was the 7th generation of the notorious strain gauge cartridge, which is actually more of a system as it requires its own specific electronics. On this occasion they brought the top of the line Signature 810 pre-amp which 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”, a frequency extension up all the way to 70KHz and no RIAA equalization as the SG system is a volume displacement one.

Coverage of High End Society 2017 in Munich, Germany was brought to you by VPI.

Rest of the system included amps and Monarch speakers by Soundsmith along with a gorgeous VPI HR-X turntable with Schroeder Reference SQ and VPI JMW 12 tonearms. While I can’t say I am familiar with Soundsmith’s amplifiers and speakers the system performed very well, with a sense of ease on female voices and chamber music that went down in my book as among the most fatigue-free sessions of the entire show. After listening to all those 6feet tall speakers trying to impress with the sheer volume and SPLs this was an audiophile’s oasis.

About Panagiotis Karavitis 212 Articles
Doctor and Editor @ Part-Time Audiophile Publisher @ Audiohub.gr


  1. Thank you for the comment on the Monarch’s; The Monarch’s MK1 were still priced at $2999 in 2014 as they were ONLY sold Factory direct. Later, they were put in our distribution line for the US and export, and if you are aware of export wholesale pricing, you realize the numbers are correct, as export pricing requires 65% off MSRP. In 2016, I also also re-engineered them as the Monarch MKII’s. – Peter Ledermann / President / Soundsmith

  2. How did the Soundsmith Monarchs go from $2999 in 2014 to $7999 today (price according to their website)? That’s a serious increase for something that looks identical to the one in the older reviews I looked at.

  3. If you have not heard the amazing gear coming from The Soundsmith you need to rectify this. The “big boys” with their big boxes could learn a lesson or two from the minimalist approach taken by Peter Ledermann., He is simply one of the true visionaries in this industry. And yes…I do own a Strain Gauge!

  4. This is by far the most transparent system I’ve heard in Munich! Some Rooms with Million dollars worth setup couldn’t keep me there for more than 3 minutes, and there’s Magic in this Soundsmith Demo Room…

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