SweetVinyl SC - 1 and SC - 2 Up And Running At C.E.S. 2017 

AnalogPlanet has covered the design and development of these two unique products since they were in the breadboard stages. The are finally ready for production and sale.

The SC-1 is 192/24 bit ADC/DAC that includes a switchable and very effective "non-destructible" pop and click remover as well what's claimed to be a transparent "pass through".

The SC-2 is a far more sophisticated "full service" vinyl ripping device that includes both the SC-1's functionality as well as an online metadata retrieval system (and much more).

For instance, I played a vinyl-ripped track from my USB stick and it correctly identified it and the Frank Sinatra album from which it came.The back panel indicates a "full-service" device" with Ethernet, USB and HDMI connectivity. There's also a built-in headphone amp with front panel volume control.

In addition to this new video featuring SweetVinyl principals Leo Hoarty and Dan Eakins, watch this previous show report as well as this one and you'll become a Sweet Vinyl expert!

OldschoolE's picture

I heard them demoed at the last Newport show and was amazed at the lack of anomalies or degradation of dynamics and such that usually comes with trying to filter out noise. Everything sounded as it should. I wonder if they have settled on a price. They deliver as claimed no "ifs" "ands" or "buts" and that is what matters.

J. Carter's picture
my new username's picture

... it's called "processed" because a A-D, D-A process is a change :)

Semantics aside, these guys really seems to have some good and exciting ideas. Looking forward to it.


re: setting a max recording level with a test (or, reference) record (or, where's my 1812 Overture LP??)

Just the other day I was playing with my audio interface (tc electronics Impact Twin). Instead of connecting the phono pre's output to the Impact Twin's mic preamp, I tried the line-in instead.

The meters in my software showed me decent amplitude, not quite as high as I'd perhaps like, losing that "last digital bit" or whatever of A-D resolution.

But, doing so meant I could afford that extra amplification stage. Choices, choices ... or at least it was a choice until I swapped out that cart for one with half as much output. All part of the fun.

Ktracho's picture

Any chance it could be used to create MQA-encoded rips? Also, I would imagine it could be used to digitize (cassette) tapes, no, perhaps with a hiss removal app?

Keen Observer's picture

"MQA is patented, commercial, and proprietary" -- run away, run away!

The back panel has line-in inputs, so it should be able to digitize cassettes or any line-level audio source signal.

infohou's picture

I disagree about MQA. It is being adopted by several of the major labels as shown on Tidal. It has a clarity that is quite striking.

It is not however a normal encoding process. It takes into account the non-linearities of the AD converter used and attempts to correct those linearities. Both Stereophile and TAS have explained the process. JA even did measurements that show it works.

Do I still prefer analog? Sure. MQA can put one so close as to sound unnatural and so far I am not convinced that the sustain is as good as analog. I am using an Explorer2 and plan to get a better MQA DAC to further compare.

Y'all take care,
Robert A. Ober

infohou's picture

"correct those linearities" of course should have been "correct those non-linearities".


Rudy's picture

Yeah, now that you mention it, MQA does start to reek of a money grab. I still have yet to see or hear anything other than vague marketing-speak and audiophool doubletalk on exactly how it works, what it does, what its true specs and technologies are, etc. (The old phrase "baffle 'em with bulls**t comes to mind.) I'll sit this one out, thank you.

Glotz's picture

We really don't need more jaded, negative types enjoying themselves.

Glotz's picture

Again. Lol.

Keen... pffft.

my new username's picture

MQA is a licensed product. A license agreement would allow the MQA folks to know about the ADC and DAC in these boxes. The rest is just a firmware edit.

The other, larger implication is that MQA isn't in the business of providing its tech to end users who create content. I don't know that it would necessarily be an impossibility in this kind of situation, but more along the lines of something that wouldn't be on their radar now. Just a guess.

I do however love the idea of being able to store "better than 24/48" LP rips at only 24/48. Hard disks have sorta stopped getting cheaper every year.

Keen Observer's picture

But then you're always tied to using specific hardware to properly decode MQA.

4TB are relatively cheap (can be had for less than what 500GB drives once were) and 5, 6, 8TB drives are readily available at reasonable prices (especially when discounted). If you were to rip at 24/192, and store as wav files, 4TB drive would hold over 1400 LPs (assuming 40 min length). Store as flac and the number should at least double. Use only 24/48, and that drive will hold about 11600 LPs as flac. Assuming you'd buy two drives (one for use and one for archiving), at not the best price of $240 for the pair, that's a storage cost of about 2 cents per LP -- contrast that with the days of dubbing your LPs to metal alloy cassette tapes.

Chemguy's picture

Your update was excellent. I guess I could have waited; I emailed the Sweet Vinyl team just this morning to ask when my beta was going to arrive of the SC – 1. Your report has given me my answer… A February delivery. Obviously I am very excited about this!

Ortofan's picture

... 300 different pre-RIAA EQ curves?!?
If so, how many of them can MF name?

J. Carter's picture

I am one of the lucky ones to have backed their Indigogo campaign and will be receiving a beta SC-2. I can't wait to get it in my system and start ripping my vinyl and letting it do all the time consuming work of splitting tracks and putting meta data on them.

OldschoolE's picture

That's great! I use a professional stand alone CD recorder for my needle drops, but it does not do what the Sugarcube does. It does the splitting and line control, but I have to do almost everything else back on the PC. It's not a big deal to me though because I am experienced. However,.....having seen this demoed in person twice early on, talking with the gentleman in charge and reading up on it and now seeing Michael's video here, I have the mind to try to save up for either the non-recordable unit or go for broke and save for the recordable one. I just need to find a way to use the apps they announced as I do not have nor want a smart phone. If they work on a tablet, I'm set. I'm old school.

J. Carter's picture

Pretty sure you will be able to do everything from the device but I won't know for sure until I get it. I have been using a pro ADC in to my computer for recording. It does a great job and I get hi-res but parsing out the tracks and adding the meta data and artwork takes forever. I can't wait for something that will do these things for me.

infohou's picture

And a CD recorder is low res.

OldschoolE's picture

Personally, I am not all that impressed with high-rez. Not saying it is bad or anything, just my personal taste. So I don't worry about it. It's there if I choose it or not. CD is more than fine for needle drops.

Glotz's picture

How is less resolution a 'personal taste'?

Sounds more like stubborn 'hairshirt' to wear on Sundays...

OldschoolE's picture

Just saying that to me personally having heard Hi-rez files on everything from gear barely able to play them to decoders costing $6000, I find no difference in sound quality between hi-rez and a well made CD on a good system. Of course, there is a grand canyon of difference to me between MP3 and Hi-rez, then there is that same difference between MP3 and CD to me. I hear no more detail in Hi-rez than I do CD. I am not stating fact, only my own opinion of and to my own ears.
Vinyl beats all three to my ears.
I'll never understand why some people have to be the "audiophile police".

Like I said, it's a matter of personal taste. I've known folks who are happy as larks with MP3s and earbuds or the like. Personally, I don't see how, but who am I to interfere with their happiness? My job (if such) as a music lover is to lead them to better sound, whether it is vinyl, Hi-rez, CD whatever, but I can't force them to want it or pursue it, that is up to them.

Dpoggenburg's picture

Michael, thanks for your coverage on this (and everything else!). I was immediately intrigued about this product when you first wrote about it, and thanks to your latest piece I discovered they are still running their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. If you're certain you're going to buy this product I think it's crazy to miss the opportunity at putting up a deposit now to get a SIGNIFICANT discount. I can't wait to try this on my much loved Julian Bream Bach Recital on Westminister (good luck EVER finding a clean copy of this 1950s mono gem).

SeagoatLeo's picture

I am very interested in using this device for LPs and 78s; however, would you use this device in your $250,000 analog system for noisy records (if you have any, such as due to bad vinyl)? I have 37,000 LPs and 78s and cannot clean away bad vinyl, used vinyl damages or many 78rpm surface noise. It sounds nearly perfect for those records. Would you also use it without a loss of sonic quality from your best records? My own analog system costs only $28,000 (mod VPI TNT VI, mod SME IV, Benz Ruby 3, isolation bases, EAR 324 and my custom tube phono-pre/SUT

Also, if you would use it, would you prefer to only insert it into your tape monitor so that it will only affect defective recordis?

Minn Mark's picture

Great looking. I can afford to wait until the products go into distribution. The follow-up software and updates sounds great. Did they mention anything about the baseline warranty? Sounds like the distributer will be ready to accept returns, but would like to know if warranty is one year, more??

Still using my old SAE 5000 until the future arrives. Also have a CD recorder, but still prefer to listen to LP. These units will enhance the noisy LPs in my library. Looking forward to the rose floor clean up as well as the clip-pop removal.

As always, Thank you, Michael !


gbougard's picture

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan during his trip to France last Summer. I ordered the unit with the recording capability on Indiegogo, I was their very first contributor! I can't thank Michael enough for sharing his discovery of this promising device. I have tons of Jamaican presses with clicks, pops and surface noise galore so I am waiting on this like a musical messaiah...

bondmanphil's picture

I also snagged one of the SC-2 beta units. I have never bought any gear this way. I always want a return option and the chance to hear it in my system before committing. But after seeing the demo at the Chester Audio show in NYC in November, I couldn't help myself. Also, the discount through Indiegogo was too good to pass up.

Although I like the metadata feature, and will finally be able to rip to higher than CD res without a computer (well, the SC-2 is a computer, but a dedicated one), the biggest feature for me was the promised automatic track-splitting. If you have ever used a CD recorder and tried to insert track divisions on the fly as you record, you will understand why this feature is such big deal.

As to the questions of MQA, or any other enhancements, the Sugarcubes are Linux-based stand alone PCs. So, any new software updates can be downloaded via the web. If the developers want to add MQA, although it might not be free, they can do it, if they have the licenses.

I am extremely excited about this product, even if the SC-2 shipping date has been pushed out to April (there were some board changes).

Chriswilford1's picture

I first heard about this unit here and then got the chance to see and hear it at the NY show. Hoping to pick one up after they are released later this year.