Dirt and grime in the grooves, scratches on the surface or even a poor pressing can result in a less than crystal clear listening experience when spinning an album on a turntable. Record cleaning machines can help, but if your collection is large and you don't have the time for regular vinyl maintenance – and have a healthy bank balance – the SugarCube SC-1 can help strip the signal of its snap, crackle and pop.
First introduced at Denver's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in late 2016, the SC-1 subsequently launched on Indiegogo and then became available for purchase by consumers. SweetWater says that the device is the first audiophile hardware to incorporate real-time, non-destructive click and pop removal technology that works on any vinyl album.
The clean-up process relies on 24-bit/192 kHz digital processing and a proprietary algorithm that combine to detect, isolate and remove unwanted noise without any sonic degradation, but which can be switched off using a bypass button when the listener wants to sacrifice clarity for a pure analog experience.
The user can control just how active the noise removal is, with unit status and click/pop removal strength displayed on the front display panel. Or remote adjustment is available via an iOS/Android companion app.
The SugarCube SC-1 has been available to buy in the US for a little while for around US$1,550, but has just recently made its way across the pond to the UK courtesy of Henley Audio. At that sort of money though, you may find yourself suddenly appreciating the charm of clicks and pops during playback of your vintage vinyl. The video below has more.
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