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Transfiguration Cartridges

Discussion in 'audio' started by DimitryZ, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Among my 30+ cartridges is Trans Axia S, which I bought a couple of years ago and started listening seriously recently, on a Sony PS-PB80.

    Though it is the least expensive of the company's offerings, it is remarkable. Spooky real. Musically revealing. Dynamically stunning.

    I looked at acquiring the next cartridge in the lineup for my P9, and found that this great company seem to have curtailed its business after the death of the founder.

    Is this true? A great loss, if so.
  2. Wilson

    Wilson SCTV half wit

    They have been unavailable for quite sometime now.

    I had an Aria on an ET2 years ago; nothing like it.
  3. harmonica98

    harmonica98 pfm Member

    It is indeed a great pity they are no longer available. I have a lowly Spirit III and love it - detail without being etched, great tracking, easy to setup, just on the warm side of neutral, exactly what I like.

    Does anyone know of other cartridge brands that are still manufactured that have a similar sound signature?
  4. Neiro

    Neiro pfm Member

    Hana would be a good replacement for a Transfiguration
    harmonica98 likes this.
  5. Spd

    Spd pfm Member

    I took the plunge and bought one of the later Transfiguration Proteus cartridges, yet to hear anything like it either. Dread the day it needs replacing would be very interested if anyone has any alternative suggestions.
  6. monty

    monty pfm Member

    Love my Proteus which needed repairing. did a great job on it recently.
    Still have my Phoenix which is sitting unused but can't bring myself to part with it.

    Apparently ZYX or Dynavector would be the way to go when replacements are needed.
  7. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    Not Dynavector IMO. Any of the Ortofon 'bronze' range depending on budget. The Quintet is 90% of the Cadenza. Hana maybe or an AudioNote Io Gold if you have a SUT to cope with the low output.
    harmonica98 likes this.
  8. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    i agree with Rocky and partly with Monty. A Zyx, I would think, would be similar tonally. Hana? I'd be happy if true, but surprised nonetheless.

    I tried to buy a used Orpheus but that failed, then picked up a new Proteus just over 5 years ago (gosh, THAT long ago?). It replaced a lovely Benz Ebony and the outstanding thing about it (as others have found) is that it doesn't actually HAVE a tonal signature. It's simply transparent in the true sense. Neutral? Warm? Nope, none of these, just a totally open and thrilling window. Impossible to pigeon-hole or criticise.

    Other benefits, I've found, are that the stylus rarely needs brushing/cleaning, and, at around the 800 hours mark, it still sounds as good as when run in. That exemplary 1 ohm internal resistance must be largely responsible for its performance, yet the output is still perfectly adequate at just under 0.3 mV (at 5 cms/sec). Graham Tricker, who's had a few upmarket cart's, rates the Proteus very highly indeed. This may have been (shame it's in the past) their flagship, but the rest of the range displays similar attributes.

    Like Dimitry, I'll be at a loss when it needs attention; Monty (I remember his thread) has at least found an answer but what a pity it's in the States.

    Looking at my records, it seems that I had the Proteus on my 12" PU7 initially but changed to my 12" Ace Anna in 2016. Very different presentation but equally beguiling. Changed back to PU7 sometime later. My comments on each session simply ran out of superlatives, even vis S'capped Superline/552, but when I went valved pre. with onboard stages, things even got better..

    Need to move it back to the unipivot soon, just to reacquaint myself with my long-resting Urushi Vermillion (which prefers gimballed arms). Chalk and cheese cart's, those, but in the nicest sense!
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
    DimitryZ, Rockmeister and harmonica98 like this.
  9. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    I am also at a loss to ascribe a sound signature to my Axia. It sounds VERY different than other carts I have, both MC and MM. I will try to find a new or lightly used Phoenix...
  10. Orbe Chaser

    Orbe Chaser pfm Member

    Totally agree, I have a Axia S here & I find it superb, so much so I am considering selling my Sumiko Pearwood Celebration ii as I have stopped rotating them.
  11. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Not for the Proteus. Not a chance.
  12. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

  13. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    The Phoenix S was, I believe, better than its predecessor.

    As a Zyx agent (I think), Graham, would a 4D, Universe or whatever satisfy after having an upper level transfig? I know the Zyx to be fast and neutral, but as transparent?
  14. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    They also command high prices. There is one available at $4.5K now.
    I am not used to this price range. My Axia S came essentially new at $700. I am not cheap, really, but...

    I wonder if Lyra is a potential replacement?

    If it's the 1 Ohm internal impedance of the Trans that makes it sound so special, there are some out there with this sensible price.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
  15. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    I recall reading an online review of the Axia S. Seems it had an Ogura Vital PA stylus fitted to solid boron cantilever.

    With Ogura, 'Vital' refers to a rectangular shank (half the mass of an equivalent length square cross-section of same width), with 'PA' referring to the r/R, 3/30µm (0.118 x 1.18mils) in this case.

  16. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Hyper-elliptical, in other words...
  17. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Listening to Axia again, the adjective that comes to mind is "liquid."

    I have very little idea as to how it's accomplished.

    I hear groove noise, but it's well bellow the music. And it's separate from the music.

    How is this done? It sounds very live.
  18. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    The Phoenix S was well under the £3K mark when around; the Proteus was only just above (ish) £3.5K. N.o.s. usually commands lower prices, not higher !

    PS Groove noise? Can't say I've heard that from 'normal' records with Benz, Lyra, Koetsu etc. cart's. Doesn't sound right to me.

    I've had both the Clavis D.C. and the Helikon, and heard my friend's Titan i on my 12" unipivot for a few days. Nothing wrong with Lyra, but they lack that delicate transparency of at least, my Transfig.

    Wow ! 1.2 ohms! Strange that a Jap cart., sold in the States, should advertise output at the European standard (0.25 mV @ 5 cms/sec). That's on a par with my Transfig. (rated 0.2 mV @ 3.5 cms/sec). That really does look interesting, though I've never heard of them.
  19. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Yes, possibly the 'sharpest' one ever.
  20. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    You would need to look at the Ultimate Dynamic, Ultimate Diamond or the Ultimate Astro to get the same level of performance as the Proteus.
    Mike Reed likes this.

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