The SugarCube SC-2 Is Here At Last...Clicks & Pops R.I.P.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DigMyGroove, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident

    There's many a naysayer polluting this thread that have never heard the product and are making assumptions based entirely on ignorance of said product. If you haven't heard it, why are you assuming the worst? Gotta love the internet sometimes. Just because you heard a different product that didn't work, or you just think it's a bad idea, doesn't mean anything and isn't helpful. It also doesn't make you correct.
    keiron99, jriems, Tony A. and 11 others like this.
  2. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    The theory of how to do this processing has been known for 40 years or more. Three audio manufacturers made versions that I noted above, during the peak of 1980s hifidom, and those three companies went out of business. Tiny electronic kits companies made versions for do-it-yourselfers to assemble and solder. And later Marantz did one, and that unit just didn't sell. And one model is still available new from Esoteric Sound - halfway down this page, for $425. This has been available for sale new (I won't say "in current continuous daily active production") since 1999.
    CEDAR, noise reduction, hiss reduction, click reduction, sound restoration

    There are 50 or more software programs that do it on a PC.

    They all work. Of the software, some are poor, most are pretty good, a few are better. Any of those could have been licensed or ...

    As these things go, the click and pop reduction is not "difficult". The Marantz (Philips) version, around 1992, also did it digitally - convert to digital, process, convert back to analog - it didn't sell in Europe, or Japan, and I don't think it was ever released in US. Even the older analog units 1979-1982ish did the sensing in a way we now might recognize as digital sampling, but always kept the signal in analog.

    The new thing in the SC-2 is storing the files, and with internet-found metadata. That's not really new either. Your phone can basically do that and has for 10 years. Putting it all together in the SC-2 could be useful, but not really new.

    I really want to hear comparisons, with not only the old analog units, but a good selection of available software. I'm open. If this is "better", I want proof. If it is "as good as" something generally available, that's ok too. I want to see files, from the same record/turntable/cart/preamp, before and after the SC processing, so I can look at them myself.

    I'd like to hope this is better than what has been, I just don't really see/hear/think how it could be better. I'm not trying to be negative, I think and hope this is good - it is just not new. The indiegogo page says "A new category of audio component for the Vinyl Lover" - the click/pop reduction SC-1 is not; maybe they mean the SC-2 package in one box.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  3. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles, CA
    Sounds like a fine idea, PM me.
  4. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles, CA
    They. Have. Jumped!
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  5. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles, CA
    I checked out the samples posted at the CEDAR listing you linked too, not impressive at all. The SugarCube actually works, the CEDAR not so much. When I have time this coming weekend I'll make some comparison recordings and post them.
    BrokenByAudio and Chemguy like this.
  6. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Yes, because those do create the clicks and pops. As I mentioned, my SC-1 will not completely eliminate groove damage that is buried inside the groove. But it gets rid of the scratch noise, and even dust noise.

    It is awesome.
  7. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    South Bend, IN
    The flaw in this logic is that new algorithms as well as ADC and DSP are always being designed. Advancements in processor speed and DSP processing abilities may make these new products surpass the stuff that's previously been used. I look forward to hearing this device and will make my judgement when I have listened to it for a few days in my own listening room. I hope that they'll sell this very exciting new product through dealers that will allow one to audition these and return it if it's not acceptable.
    BrokenByAudio and Mike from NYC like this.
  8. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    JohnO, I can appreciate your skepticism, I really can. I’ll tell you personally: I’ve used my SC-1 for 9 weeks now...there is absolutely no sonic degradation. I have played over a hundred albums, and a ton of 45s. I’ve auditioned it for family and friends...they can’t believe it. But it’s not some unexplainable weird-science, nor is it any confirmation bias thing, either. It’s good science, lovely software engineering, and a solidly built component. I have a ton of used lps that I am now enjoying without background interference, and that is a pleasure.

    It’s truly what some of us have been waiting for.
  9. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    I’ll probably get around to it sometime, but you can go to and do a search for the SugarCube and watch one of these filmed by Michael Fremer.
  10. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    There should be a dial for attitude adjustment.

    There is also the bozo list.
    jon9091 and Bananas&blow like this.
  11. vwestlife

    vwestlife Well-Known Member

    New Jersey, USA
    Anybody remember the SAE 5000 Impulse Noise Reduction System? I have one. It kinda works. It can filter out minor ticks and clicks, but pops punch holes in the audio, and if you turn it up too high, it starts removing the intentional impulses in the music.

    stuwee likes this.
  12. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Surprise, AZ
    I would buy one.
  13. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles, CA
    OK folks, here at last is a recorded sample of the SugarCube SC-2 in action along with a recording of the un-repaired audio. Each sample of the Door's "The End" is just over 3 minutes long, I've provided unedited FLAC files direct off the thumb drive to which the SC-2 recorded them. I set the click repair level to 6, one higher than the default 5 since this is a particularly noisy pressing.

    The G+/VG pressing is from 1967: The Doors - The Doors

    The record was played on a circa 1979 Kenwood D-5070 turntable with an Audio Technica AT33EV MC cartridge out to a Vincent Pho-8 phono stage and on to the SugarCube SC-2.

    First is a sample starting with un-repaired audio for 30 seconds, then switching to repaired audio for 30 seconds. This continues throughout the sample, 30 seconds off, 30 seconds on:
    Dropbox - 1_The Doors_The End_30 Seconds Off-On Audio Repair Sample.flac

    Here's the complete original audio sample:
    Dropbox - 2_The Doors_The End_Original Audio Sample.flac

    And the complete repaired audio sample:
    Dropbox - 3_The Doors_The End_Repaired Audio Sample.flac

    I'll be looking forward to your comments...
  14. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Didn't know what to expect but I am wholly impressed!

    I'm sure some people will invent or try to find something wrong with it but it sounds stellar on my equipment. Frankly, I find the 30 secs on and off in real-time pretty darn conclusive.
  15. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Fascinating - thanks for posting.
    DigMyGroove likes this.
  16. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

  17. Ninjur

    Ninjur Member

    Karlstad, Sweden
    Have you tried this on
    1. Songs with added vinyl noise/clicks? Do it also clean these? Like Portishead and many 00-hip hop music.
    2. How does it work with noise music? There are music that sounds like noise and clicks. Will it clean this too?
    Jimi Floyd likes this.
  18. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    I think it works greatly. I ran the files though Click Repair, and I would say SugarCube works considerably better. So, not bad.
  19. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    I saw it at the 2016 NY Audio Show, and also got on the list, as I was immediately sold on the idea. Somehow, though, I never got the email from them, or perhaps it just went to spam, and I missed it. No matter now.

    In retrospect, I have grown to doubt the value of the SC-1 for playback, and here's why. The clicks/pops are not removed by magic, what happens is the sound is first digitized on the fly by an ADC, then the data stream is filtered of clicks/pops, and the resulting data is then converted back to analog by a DAC. So, in the end - what do we really get? - Digital. And the sound is only as good as the DAC they have inside that gizmo. So much for analog, eh? Why lie to oneself, why run an analog turntable through a digital gizmo and pretend you're listening to analog? It's cheaper and simpler with a CD.

    So - I have happily abandoned the idea of getting an SC-1 (playback only). The SC-2 is a different story - I do see it's utility of effortless needle drops plus noise filtering. But, at $2,500, it is not a cheap gizmo to have. I achieve close enough results with a cheap manual vacuum RCM plus a decent USB phono pre. I would buy one, though, if I had money to burn.

    There is an analog solution to surface noise, by Esoteric Sound (the current owner of the Rek-O-Kut brand). Not sure how effective it is, but it's the only option I would agree to try for vinyl playback, given it's analog.

    CEDAR, noise reduction, hiss reduction, click reduction, sound restoration
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  20. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Seems pretty silly considering you're talking about added vinyl noise. This is specifically for live vinyl playing.

  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    You're missing the point,

    Tons of mastering aren't available in the digital world. If I want to listen to, say, Kevin Gray's mastering of Boston's S/T album, it ain't available on CD or hi-res files. Plenty of albums and 78s just aren't available in digital formats either.

    That's one part of the answer. Here's the kicker... It doesn't matter if it gets converted AS LONG AS YOU CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE! Sorry for the use of caps but it seems I need the subtlety of a sledgehammer to drive this point home to a number of people who seem to use their eyes to read specs and processes instead of their ears to listen to the end result.

    Did you listen to the 30-sec on/off file kindly provided by the OP?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
  22. BrokenByAudio

    BrokenByAudio Forum Resident

    Maybe listen to it? Or accept the reviewer's judgments on that score?
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  23. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    I listened to it at the source - at the show, which is better than the 30 sec clip by the OP. If you can't hear the difference - you might be the lucky one, or the unlucky one, depending on how one chooses to take it. Saying you can't hear the difference attempts to re-start the old argument of digital vs analog. There is no right or wrong answer here, just what sounds better to you. When I just want the convenience of noise-free music - I listen to CD's, of which I have plenty. But when I want analog - I will play vinyl the way they were intended to be played, and I CAN hear the difference.

    I'm in the analog camp, and no amount of sledgehammer diplomacy is going to change it for me.
    Nielsoe likes this.
  24. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    Besides, I don't believe I am missing the point. If you noticed - I was speaking of myself only. I never said the gizmo is not useful to others. Many people will love it and swear by it - the more the merrier. I'm not trying to discredit the unit, just saying it's not for me.
  25. BrokenByAudio

    BrokenByAudio Forum Resident

    Yes, let's just assume that all of our electronics color the sound in some way and that that is inherently not just a problem, but an inescapable fact of existential EVIL.

    Then we can all play musical instruments in a live setting for each other whenever we want to hear music.

    amgradmd and Strat-Mangler like this.

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