Transfiguration Cartridges

allWhat an exciting time it is for analog playback! At a time when people thought it would be long-since dead, LP playback, like the legendary Phoenix, rises far above the digital domain. This is truly its golden age. LP playback technology has never been more vital. One might be grateful that digital playback has improved drastically since the time it was pronounced “perfect music, forever…” In fact, it was dreadful. Now, it almost sounds like music and is beginning to approach the realm where analog playback was back then. A huge improvement. However, in that same space of time, analog playback of the LP has seen far more drastic and rapid improvements. Thanks to dedicated, passionate and innovative designers, like Seiji Yoshioka of Immutable Music, producers of the Transfiguration cartridges, and Armando Conti of Basis Audio, LP playback has achieved heights never imagined back in the days that bit-counters and bean-counters were pronouncing it dead.

With his groundbreaking utilization of the yokeless ring-magnet construction, Mr. Yoshioka presented the LP world with a new window into the music buried in the black grooves of the vinyl LP. His first product, the Transfiguration AF-1, set completely new standards of transparency, naturalness and neutrality for phono cartridges of its day. Since that time, he has constantly striven to bring the listener ever closer to the sounds and emotions of the live event. Constantly improving materials and construction techniques, he has since set the pace and defined the state-of-the-art for natural-sounding LP reproduction. His Transfiguration cartridges, using live, unamplified music as their benchmark, do not take LP reproduction into the realm of the hyper-real, with sizzling technicolors, exaggerated leading-edge transients, “enormous soundstaging,” “pinpoint imaging,” or “lush warmth.” Instead, they deliver a very natural and alive-sounding reproduction of what the recording engineer heard, as he or she sat in the recording booth, listening to the master tapes. Audiophile language does not seem to apply, rather, musical language seems more apt. “Rhythm, flow, emotion…” are the kinds of words that come to mind, as one notices a foot is tapping and the head is bobbing and maybe even a few goosebumps are rising…

but, as always, the magic is in the midrange. Human voices take on a you-are-there sense of reality that raises those goosebumps. When you hear things you have never heard from your records before, you can be sure they will help to complete the musical picture, rather than distract with meaningless detail or artificial “air.” The transparency of these cartridges extends from the deepest bass notes to the heights of inaudibility. More than ever, they are able to track the micro-dynamic ebb and flow of the music like no other cartridge. The result is a sense of musical anticipation and excitement one normally experiences only at the live event. Listening to jazz, you can almost smell the cigar smoke and single-malt whiskey in the air; a classical LP calls forth images of rich velvet curtains and wisps of fine perfume; rock and roll brings back the moisture of the grass seeping through your jeans and the smell of sweat and something sweet upon the breezeā€¦