TRANSFIGURATION: Proteus MC phono cartridge test review

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Michael Fremer (Stereophile Magazine) writes .....

I've lost track of how many Transfiguration cartridges I've reviewed over the years. In all that time I've never met their designer, Immutable Music's Seiji Yoshioka, but every year he sends me an exceptionally tasteful holiday greeting card. I've never reciprocated. The truth isn't always pretty.

The Transfiguration cartridges I've reviewed, too, have always conveyed a midrange musical truth that hasn't been flashy or pretty. But it's always been honest and convincing, particularly of the reality of voices. If you said that the Transfigurations lacked character, you wouldn't be wrong—unless you intended it as a criticism.

Transfiguration cartridges have always been more about getting out of the way than about making a "beautiful sound" of one flavor or another. Despite the many Transfigurations I've auditioned, if you were to ask me for a description of any characteristic "house sound" they might share, I couldn't name one.

Of the Transfiguration cartridges I've reviewed, the more expensive the model, the further out of the way it got, but always beginning from a core of honest reproduction of the midrange. In February 2014, I reviewed the Transfiguration Phoenix ($4250) on Analogplanet.com. Among other compliments, I wrote that it was a very neutral cartridge, but that you'd know it wasn't a "top-shelf" model because of its less than fully expressed sustain and decay—qualities whose importance was first impressed on me by TARA Labs' Matthew Bond. Better could be had, I wrote, but only for a lot more money.

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