Transfiguration cartridges are excellent values for the money. They are easy to listen to and just seem to make the music sound right. They do not focus on one aspect of Lp playback but seem to do alot of things well. The Phoenix is the 2nd in line and I feel it competes with the Temper V very well. The music just flows and the cartridges all track very well. The Orpheus is their top of the line and is an excellent all around performer. It just gets out of the way and lets you enjoy the recording.
bear in mind that the Tempers are no longer and even the Phoenix is in Version 2 mode. The new cheaper Axia is considered a step above the older Phoenix.
I lived with a Temper-V for four years.Before that,the Temper Supreme.On a Graham 2.2 arm,and Sota Cosmos Series IV table.
The Temper-V was as great an improvement over the fine sounding Temper Supreme as the Orpheus is over the "V"!
The "V" is a wonderful cartridge,regardless of other possibly superior designs.It has fabulous detail and is very neutral.It does not have high gain,so your phonostage should have some good output.
If you come by the "V"(it is no longer made)you will surely love it!Of that I am sure.
I have no experience with the Allaerts.Sorry.
I know several people who have very expensive Allaerts (one person's cartridge is over $10k) and they all love the cartridge. In just my casual listen, I think they make terrific, natural sounding (not flashy) cartridges. But, they do have very precise requirements for loading and the particular phonostage/step up transformer that is used. One friend is currently working on optimizing it into the Boulder phono stage (this is an incredibly flexible and adjustable stage, so, having difficulty with this stage says something about how touchy this cartridge can be).
I have two friends with Orpheus cartridges and I had the Orpheus in my system for two weeks (replacing a Lyra Titan) just to hear how it sounds. This too is a fantastic cartridge. It is, compared to the Lyra, just a touch midrange prominent and not quite as open and "fast" sounding on top. It was, overall, a bit less detailed, but also not as dry or analytical sounding. Great cartridge. I also got to listen to a Phoenix cartridge in a familiar system, although the table/arm combination was new to me (Linn/Naim Aro). This vinyl rig sounded fantastic. Very dynamic, vivid and lively (also a touch midrange prominent).
I like the current Orpheus and Phoenix a LOT better than the Temper series. The Tempers I listened to sounded a bit too polite and drab for my taste.
Thank you for your informative posts.
I have an opportunity to purchase a NIB(I think)Temper V at a fair price.but I have wanted to try an Allaerts for some time now.The price differential is considerable,so I'm stumped.
If a specific phono amp is required for the Allaerts then I guess the choice might be made for me.
Larryi,do you know which phono stage that might be.
Having just bought my first Allaerts cartridge,I am a little biased.I have heard any number of cartridges ranging from $3-10K.Clearaudio,Symphonic,Levenson,Myabi and a few others.
I must admit that I wish I had taken the plunge much sooner,it would have saved me a lot of money.The performance of the entry MC-1 eco has been an eye-opener,it is lively and detailed without losing its' musicality.As you progress up the line,the output goes down.At .5mV,it is an easy cartridge to amplify.I have found the Aqvox phono stage a good match with the "eco",as well as being an affordable option.
Just my two-cents from a very satisfied Allaerts owner.
Best of luck in your search-Happy Holidays!
I believe that what Larryi is referring to, is the warning about what phono preamp characteristics can damage the cartridge, in a review on 6moons.com
Here is link to the review in question. 6moons review of MC2 Cartridge
And, here is a portion of the review, if you don't want to go to the site.
"And now for a dire word of warning: your phono stage may well be an Allaerts killer. All of them from the MC1B up have incredibly thin coils. If there is any DC kickback in your phono stage or other funny stuff, it will melt the coils and you are looking at a seriously expensive rebuild. Melt the coils? Yes. They are 20 micron thick pure 24 carat gold. I wouldn't even hold them too close to a hot lamp.
The melting coil issue has happened to several owners. It is your responsibility to make sure the phono stage you use is going to leave the cartridge intact (see what I mean about high maintenance?). Now of course I worry about lightning storms. There must be DC kickback there so I unplug from the phono stage. And with the Groove, I turn it on at least 2 hours before connecting up the cartridge leads. So far, fingers crossed, that seems to work. If in doubt, get in contact both with your phonostage designer and with Jan Allaerts to see if there are issues before there are issues. Then there is the phonostage loading issue. Both the Finish and the Formula One are very choosy about phonostages. They want to see an imput load of 845 ohms (pretty exactly) and can be very unhappy if they don't. In fact they can sound thin, compressed and lifeless if not looking at close on the right load. But the gains when getting it right are in the 'promised land' territory. These cartridges have some very serious following. Isenburg in Germany is so obsessed that he built a state of the art (15,000 euro) phonostage specifically for these two cartridges. That's how deep the devotion for these cartridges can go."
I too have read nothing but glorious reviews of the Allaerts, and a friend (from another city) has one and loves it. (I have not gotten to listen to one myself, although I wish I could!) Also, realize that the Allaerts have really, really low outputs, (usually around 0.1 to 0.2 mv) so a really high gain (70db+) are required. This "usually" means using a solid state phono preamp.
Good Luck in your search.
The Allaert works well with the very expensive step up transformer from Audionote (uk). I don't know if it works well with others. The two Allaerts I heard have very low outputs that require really high gain and/or a step up transformer. The distributor for the Allaert said that the loading (impedance match) must be pretty much exactly as specified, which, for the Boulder owner, means getting a customized card (even then the gain of the Boulder is not enough).
The Temper V is a nice cartridge, but, if you can swing it, the Phoenix should be on your list. That is a pretty nice sounding cartridge for less than the Orpheus.
Kurt tank,Thank you for your time and effort in giving me the excerpt needed from this review.
I will be contacting the maker of both the cartridge and phono stage for further advise.However I enjoy sleeping peacefully so the Transfiguration may be the way to go.
Just a thought. If you use a SUT, that should protect the Allaerts from DC coming back from the phono stage. In an SE phono stage, the cartridge is wired between the grid of the input tube (or the gate of the transistor) and ground. Don't know about SS, but there will always be a small DC voltage differential between the grid and ground in a tube preamp. How much DC is considered to be a danger to the Allaerts coils? Most LOMCs have very delicate coils, and I have never heard of such a problem with any of them.
Good point. I forgot about the issue of the Allaert having very thin coil wiring, and therefore, being prone to damage from any current from what it is connected. A transformer would cure any DC offset issues.
The super fine coil windings of my "Orpheus" is the main reason(aside from not really needed,with this cartridge)that I sold my Flux Buster demag unit.I too remember reading about the sensitive nature of the Allaerts,but I'd bet many of the top tier cartridges today must be considered similarly.Just a hunch.
Btw,Larry,I found the Temper-v to be quite dynamic.My pal owns a Titan-i,which I LOVE(btw),and I did not get the impression that the Temper-v missed dynamics or slam.Not polite to me,but my phonostage has 75 db of gain.Yet...the Orpheus IS in another league TOTALLY from the Temper-v(which I loved,and would have held onto longer had the importer not been SUCH a nice guy,in giving me the old pricing,so I HAD too move fast).
From what MF stated about the Allaerts(I believe Raul loaned him his MC2 Finish for the review.....and BTW WHERE IS RAUL THESE DAYS??...I hope all is well!!!!!)it was on the polite side,and was recommended with acoustical music,or small ensemble pieces,for best results.That was only what I read,so it is meaningless if there are those owners who "know better".
I have owned four different generations of Transfiguration cartridges(before that four generations of Koetsus,hmm).Each generation of "TRANNYS" was decidedly better than the last,but none was so decidedly superior to the last generation as the Orpheus!!STUPENDOUS!!!!
One important point about the Transfiguration line,as I have friends who have owned more than me...."You cannot kill them".They are like an old Honda!!They will perform "like new" for way longer than one would think.Both I and a friend had the original Temper for eight years.The ONLY reason I moved up,from there,was a "sweetheart deal" on the next generation.NO service problems,over 9 different cartridges,between us(and we were clutzes at times)!!!!!THAT should say something!
Best to all,and a "healthy, happy" holiday season!
If you use an SUT and you want to end up with a load of 845 ohms, you will need to use an SUT with a turns ration of 1:10 giving you 20db of gain in addition to that of your phono stage which should be at least 40dB. The resulting 60dB of gain might be enough depending on your listening habits, overall gain of your system and sensitivity of your speakers. You will then have to change the input load resistors in the phono stage from 47k to 84.5k in order to end up with an 845 ohm load.
Wow,Its great to see so many thoughtful comments.
I have a Temper V and find it to be far superior to the Benz Ruby it replaced.The output is on the lower side but my phono stage's gain is 73db and i experience the same results as Sirspeedy,dynamic with slam.I heard the Orpheus but cant comment on it.It just happened to be used when i was listening to a preamp at a dealership.I did think it was the best preamp I have ever heard but the cartridge could have more to do with it then i thought.
i haven't heard the Allaerts,but the importer is a first class guy.
I hope this helps.Good luck with your decision
The Allaerts carts have a range, some of which are more sensitive to loading, VTF and require high gain phonos.
The one which is less sensitive to these factors and yet still sounds very good is the MC1B, which has 0.5mv output. I believe that price-wise, it is also in the same ball park as the Temper was. IMO this is the sweet spot in the Allaerts range. Of course as you go up the line, you get more refinement, but at a much higher cost. YMMV.
I have used/owned three Allaerts cartridges including the Mc2 Finish gold that I am now using.
I have never experienced any breakdowns using these cartridges and feel that the Allaerts range is very special indeed.
I too heard that the higher up models in the range do not play Rock music so well?
This however I have found to be utter nonsense,on my RockV/Phantom TT the Allaerts has amazed me on ANY kind of musical programme I can throw at it.
If you can accommodate a cartridge like the finish,my guess is that you will be extremely satisfied.
I know I am,And as for Mr framers review.........
UKtel,may i ask what phono stage you use with the Allaerts
I use Tom Evan's Groove+ srx loaded at 1000k
I agree with everything you say. It's not that I am slamming the Temper V, it is just that I prefer something a little more dynamic, which is what the Orpheus happens to be. My Titan is too new to justify replacing it (besides, I like its virtues too), otherwise the Orpheus would be on my short list.
The top of the line Allaerts are VERY special -- refined, detailed (without being strident) and musical, but yes, perhaps a little dynamically laid back. The setups with the Allaerts that really sounded good to me were custom designed and built horn systems.
I know people who have had both Transfiguration and Lyra cartridges for a long, long time, and both brands seem quite reliable and do not wear out very quickly. But, frankly, that can be said of any high quality cartridge. Many, many years ago, when I was using cartridges, such as the Shure V-15-V, I recall having to replace the needle at surprisingly short intervals, which was not that big a deal given the price. Still, my Lyra cartridges last many times longer before the needle shows signs of wear.
Larry,I never felt you were slamming the Temper.Of course you are entitled to any opinion you want to express.My opineing in an aggressive/antagonistic way was from long ago,in my "idiot era"!!I cannot believe some of the dumb posts I made!Some 'Goners will probably never forgive my stupidity!Can't argue that either.
I do believe the lack of dynamics,you experienced,with the Temper-V,was aided by the particular phonostage employeed.Remember the Titan(which has fabulous dynamics,and amazing detail...actually I cannot find anything to criticize with that design,as my friend owns one)has almost twice the gain of the Temper-V.
As stated,my hybrid tube/SS phonostage has 75 db of gain,and both myself,and a close friend had the Temper-v on the exact phonostage.Trust me,the Temper-v likes a nice high gain phonostage.The dynamics,driven this way,are absolutely first rate.Everything in a high end system is dependent on careful component matching,as I am sure you know.
I did hear an Allaerts on a very fine set-up last year.There was nothing about the system sound that would lead me to believe it was anything less than a wonderful cartridge.
There are SO many fabulous cartridges around today,that I truly envy those "sort of" collectors,who have multiple arms.Hey,if my dad could collect eight thousand "airline twizzle sticks"(a great hobbyist,was he,who donated to the Smithsonian his Charles Lindberg sheet music collection)then there is nothing wrong with owning multiple cartridges.
As to the Orpheus,which I have(but am still awaiting my Graham Phantom,which should come next week,I HOPE)it absolutely "smokes" the Temper-v.I simply cannot convey how great I think it is,without coming off like some kind of ego nut,about my own stuff.It IS an amazing design,and does everything superbly(actually beyond belief).I have heard it in two different systems,alot!With all my reference LP's...AMAZING!!
Though, it too was employed with a high gain phonostage."Scary" good!!!
The Airtight also really intrigues me.I will definitely get a full "personal" report from my friends,in due time.Of course the press has raved,here,but to get the scoop from reliable friends doesn't hurt.
Albert Porter has some very interesting,and surprising comments about the Airtight,ZYX UNI,and Koetsu Platinum Jade on his "equipment" threads.Very interesting,as Albert is a very honest and down to earth hobbyist,IMO!
He also states(this really intrigues me,as I love cartridges,and think they the most important part of a good set-up,but that's just my opinion)he will be scoping out a "new" unheard of high end cartridge,from Japan,that has the potential to be amazing....Gotta love it!!
Sorry for my long rant...well,not really-:)
...."My Titan is too new to justify replacing it"...
Larry,I hope you did not get the impression that I was implying you "do" this(or anyone,for that matter)!!!
My observations about the Orpheus only applies to my personal experience,in "my" system,compared with the Temper-v!..No more.
The Titan,you own is a fantastic cartridge,and I have heard it on many occassions,in my friend's superb system.It seems to do it all!
Oh no, I fully realize the context of your statements. I find your comments to be well informed and reasonable.
Phono involves balancing so many variables that is hard to be certain ANY comment on sound quality has some universal "truth." Yes, I do recognize certain characteristics of various cartridges that appear whenever I hear that particular cartridge, but, I am often shocked at how different systems can sound by small changes. I could drive myself crazy, I suppose, just swapping different brands of tubes in my phono stage (three different types are employed) or changing the loading (requires opening up the case and soldering resistors across the input terminal while avoiding a whole bunch of very thin wires).
I end up liking a lot of different gear, even when they can sound dramatically different. I liked the Orpheus when I had it in my system, I like my Lyra, I liked the Phoenix in a Linn/Naim system I head, I liked various Allaerts in the systems I've heard them in, and I was even intrigued by the explosive dynamics of a Colibre (I don't think I want to live with it, but I've tried to convince someone else to buy it just so I can listen to it more).
I have not heard the Soundsmith or the Airtight yet. Both sound intriguing.
Larry,don't start to check out different NOS tubes in your phono section!!!It could lead to bankruptcy,and rather quickly!
I have tried 7 different tube families in my stage.Wound up going for my "lungs" with a hyper low noise set of Siemens 6922 CCas.They truly are superior,in my rig.
I very well might sell a kidney,and try out a set of Amperex "pinched waist" 6922's at some future point.
Sadly,like you,I will on occassion recommend a friend get something(only if I know it to be great),so I can hear it.
Don't get me started on the "minutiae" of what changes our set-up sound.I cannot tell you how many times I have demonstrated how literally half of a pinhead of damping fluid changed the sound of my LP playback,with my old Graham 2.2!
Hopefully my Phantom will arrive soon.I am beginning to like my CD player a bit too much!!
I'm too lazy to do much more than tube swapping. I have experimented with different 12AX7 variants. The "crazy expensive" pair for me was a set of Telefunken ECC 803Ds. As it turned out, I prefer a "free" pair (given to me by a friend) of Telefunken ECC83s.
Good luck with the Phantom. A friend of mine runs an Orpheus on the Phantom (Basis table). That is a very nice sounding combination.
Larry,"laziness" will soon become my moto,as I have done just about everything I can possibly think of to my existing system.Other than installing my Phantom I "HOPE" nothing else intrigues me.See...rationalizing can be a good thing.
Larryi and Sirspeedy.I'm really enjoying your conversation,although it does make me feel like a voyeur.
So i thought I would jump in.
As you are aware top line tubes have become obscenely expensive.About two years back I was with a friend visiting his father whom happened to be an antique radio collector.Tubes Galore.I had to leave the premises for fear of becoming a Cat Burglar.
On one occasion I also spent most of the night adding and subtracting damping fluid to my 2.5T.The following morning my wife told me my obsession is driving her crazy so to make thing right i sold the tonearm.Guys keep it going,really good stuff
I think many of us cannot wait for you to get your Phantom
I personally can't wait to share experiences with you on this matter!
I recall your input regarding fluid levels a while back regarding the 2.2 and managed to coax better results from that arm than I was previously getting.
I have owned the Phantom now for about a year and a half and feel it is a very special tonearm.
Lucky for me my wife hasn't noticed that my JA carts seem to sound ever better but still appear to look the same!
Thanks Jan for that one!
I will be very interested on your findings with the new Graham arm.
Good luck all and wishing you all a happy new year.
Folks,I will probably not get my Phantom soon,as they are on back order.I had hoped this would not be long,but cannot do anything but wait it out.Sorry.
Also,I cannot see myself giving any meaningful input,about the arm,or my Orpheus,as these products have been covered aplenty.I just don't want to go off,on some ego trip about the "fabulosity" of what I own.I assume I will be totally happy.Though I have been told there will be a new,lower viscosity fluid,and will start out with very little,and work up from there.Owners of the arm or cartridge already know this stuff,I am sure.
If some thread appears referring to these products I will probably add something,but there are posters who truly have way more technical input than me.
Goldeneraguy,funny you mention your friend's father,who collects antique radios.In my audio/music room I have a beautiful(very well made)RCA reproduction of their 1932 model Cathedral Table Radio(of course I did some modification to the inner cabinet,for rigidity)!It is an absolutely beautiful piece,that sounds absolutely fabulous,for a table radio,as long as it's not played too loud."Nothing like a wooden cabinet"! I use this as my,"sort of" tuner,for listening to late night am/fm stuff.Love it,alot.
I have scoped out many antique radio sites,in the past.If I had the cash,and time,I think I would love to display some of the "magnificent" early era cathredral table top radios.GORGEOUS stuff!!I took my daughter to a party,some time ago.At a restaurant which had a huge collection of these early era radios on display.Really interesting,and beautiful.Very collectible!
PS-I spoke to my dealer this morning.He tells me that I will have my Phantom in three two five weeks.If I want it in GOLD,I could have it much sooner,but I like the silver,so will wait it out.
Blame Albert Porter,for his "anti gold" taste,which has impacted me....Just kidding(well, not).I like the silver look,due to it's more massive build.The gold(just to my taste,as my friend has gold)is a bit too much,due to the more massive look compared to my old 2.2.
I'm really getting worried,as my digital is starting to sound too good!!-:)
Sirspeedy.my 2.5T was gold (Albert forgive me.).I think it was about $100 extra but I didnt want to wait any longer.Anyway its been long gone.
At my friends fathers home he showed me what he said was the first of its breed portable radio(circa 1948.)I'm not sure of the brand,as my head was spinning from my evil thoughts about all those tubes, but I think he said it was a Bendix.It weighed about 30 lbs.Imagine a 30 lb.portable radio.
Just reading the word digital hurts my ears.Hopefully the time will pass quickly and the Phantom will arrive save and sound.We await your thoughts.
What did you end up with after selling the Graham arm? I wonder if the fact that it is easy to fiddle with adjustments on a Graham actually encourages obsessive behavior and so a difficult to deal with arm would be the answer (Shroeder?).
I have a Vector arm so I almost NEVER fiddle with it. It is almost impossible to move the counterweight in small, predictable increments, mine has no VTA calibration device, the arm is tricky to remove to change the level of the dampening fluid, etc.
Hi Larryi,You are correct.The Graham's as good as they are, can drive one to be obsessive.Because it is so easy to re-adjust you can spend your time tweeking instead of listening for pleasure rather than to hear which sounds better.Outstanding arm though,if only i could have let it be.
I went to a Kuzma Reference arm and now enjoy the Basis Vector 3 without the add ons..Do you have the 3 or the 4?
I am not certain of which iteration of the Vector I have, except that I know it is not the latest. I've been told that the reason to upgrade to the latest is for the better tonearm wiring. I would probably also opt for the VTA adjustment micrometer if I ever upgraded the arm.
I have very carefully set up the arm, although once set, I generally don't fiddle around with adjustments. My Titan cartridge is extremely sensitive to VTA setting, so I did do that carefully. I use homemade spacers cut from 1/2 inch PVC pipe, that fit under the fluid well part of the Vector arm. I prefer this type of spacer to things like a deck of cards because the deck of cars approach is not particularly repeatable (the cards compress too readily). I have spacers that go up in height by about .5mm increments. It is easy to hear that little difference in height at the armpost.
What I find interesting is that adjustments of VTA is sort of interactive with changing other aspects of the system that relate to tonal balance. For instance, if I change cartridge loading, I often find that the ideal VTA setting has changed slightly as well. The same is true when I change tubes in the phonostage. Just think of how crazy you can drive yourself by juggling three variables.
It just goes to prove everything makes a difference.Any change that is made effects something else in the chain.
I have a tech that installed the arm and cartridge at my home.He stops by at times just to listen.All i do is sit back and smile.
I haven't heard the Fono but I listened to the Linea preamp and fell in love.If the Fono is even close to the Linea then I wish i were your neighbor.
Have you heard the Linea ? If so,how would you compare it to your Emotive.
Oem i'm sorry for hi-jacking your thread.Experienced analog and tube lovers are a treat to speak with
Its quite alright.I find it all a learning experience and at my age thats something
I have not had the opportunity to hear the Linea. I got the Emotive Audio linestage first, and then went looking for a phonostage. In any event, I would not have the room for the Linea, which has a monster-sized power supply unit (just like the phonostage).
The Viva fono is so dead quiet and I bet the Linea shares that characteristic. The Emotive Audio does have a little bit of sputtering, and unless one selects the 12B4 tubes for no noise, the tube will put out a soft "ping" once in a while. But, this is simply one of the best sounding linestages I have heard in the not-overly-romantic/warm category of tube linestages.