Tranfiguration Orpheus description

This is the first detailed description I've seen of the new Transfiguration Orpheus:

Anyone run across other info?

Here is a translation of the review in the German magazine Image HiFi:

With the previous top of the line Temper, one faced the painful choice between the V or W version; either somewhat higher or lower output and thereby somewhat higher or lower moving mass. The Orpheus now spoils you with more powerful output with lower mass.

It goes without saying that Seiji Yoshioka’s latest creation also comes with his patented generator with ring-magnet construction and, as with the Temper, the coils sit inside the magnet. With this, the designer guarantees himself a more intimate coupling between the coils and th magnetic field, ultimately leading to reduced over-modulation and distortion and also avoids the rising top-end comment to conventional design moving-coil cartridges. A neodymium magnet provides energy and the Ogura stylus is mounted on a boron cantilever tht, according to manufacturer information, is newly designed.

The most notable innovation involves the body shape: finally there is a flat front surface, which makes mounting, not only with the Dennesen jig, considerably easier. Enabling the relatively high output as well as an internal resistance of barely 2 ½ Ohms are the already mentioned neodymium magnet, as well as, primarily, the material from which the coil former is fashioned. The designer speaks of an “ultra grade SS μ-metal,” that raises the sensitivity of the generator by 35 dB. This recalls the “sx-μx,” used in the My Sonic Lab cartridge, a metal with extraordinarily high permeability, with which so good as no saturation effects should occur, and which helps the cartridge to achieve such high output with such a low impedance. How much these metals resemble one another, and whether they might even come from the same source was unfortunately impossible to determine. On the other hand, Seiji Yoshioka no longer makes any secret of the wire he uses: He employs 7n quality copper.

As far as loading is concerned, the german and Austrian distributor provides more concrete information than the manufacturer, who simply states that it should be greater than the impedance of the coils. Since the sound of the Temper (see Image Hifi 50) can be heavily influenced by loading resistance, I begin by ignoring the recommendation of the distributor and use 40 Ohms. At that loading the Orpheus already makes music very convincingly, having just completed its break-in period. With the Concierto Andaluz (reissue of the Philips 9500 563) it images orchestra and soloists in both a big and unusually gripping manner. The entrances of the orchestral groups are impressive and also, whatever the dynamics demand, the Transfiguration is no sad stepchild. It brings the listener truly close to the musical event, which is also finely articulated in the deepest bass. The Orpheus exudes power and warmth. Just 45 more ohms move one a few rows back and allow the concert hall to deepen a good bit more. Also, the Transfiguration can now count itself within the categories of speed, openness, and finesse. All in all, the reproduction appears a bit more light of foot, but also a touch lighter tonally. At 150 Ohms, one can lose oneself in a huge virtual space, and dynamic events come on with an explosiveness that seems, to me, just a bit over-the-top. The imaging achieves less body and is less connected, threatening to slip into the ethereal. Therefore, I switch back to 85 Ohms. And that is, not coincidentally, the value that comes closest to the recommendation of the distributor.

Sina Kovacevic not only recommended a load of 100 Ohms, but also to hear the cartridge in combination with Tom Evans The Groove +, with which the Orpheus was supposed to harmonize particularly well. At least in my system, I was unable to uncover any special synergistic effects. The Groove lends itself to somewhat more reserved tonal colors, suspends very believable, enormous recording spaces before the listener and, for example, makes Gounod’s Funeral March of a Marionette Reissue of LSC 2449) an impressive experience. Indeed, the piece does not draw the listener any further under its spell than when the Einstein takes over the phono-preamplification. In Fact, the Einstein pampers you with minimally more resolution and a breath more air around the instruments.

Much more important to me than the differences between the phono stages is the insight that it takes some little time until the superior characteristics of the Orpheus make themselves apparent. It is fortunately neither hyperdynamic, nor super-spacious, nor even mega-technicolored. The Transfiguration achieves more in all the named criteria than at least 95 percent of all cartridges, but nowhere does it allow itself the least extravagance. I must acknowledge, that years ago, cartridges fascinated me that brought extreme performance in one category, thereby however, exposing small deficits elsewhere. Perhaps it is due to such “grown-up” loudspeakers as the Lumen – and in this case the Avalon – or such accurate cartridges as the My Sonic Lab, that my sensibilities have shifted and I now no longer run the risk of under-appreciating a world-class phono cartridge like the Orpheus.
Thanks Aoliviero. It sure would be hard to part with my Tranny W. Hmmm, I wonder what I could get for it ;--)

I'll trade you my Shelter 901...
Just a note about output with Transfiguration products: they use the JVC test record. Most other manufacturers use the CBS test record which gives values 1.6x the "JVC" values. In addition, most phono preamp gain specs are tied to outputs based on the CBS values.

So to make a fair comparison with (most) other cartridges, and also to determine what kind of gain will be required from the phono preamp, it's necessary to convert the JVC derived values to the CBS value.

For instance the Orpheus is rated a 0.48mV output, but if it had been spec'd using the CBS record, the output would actually be 0.77mV -- fairly healthy by most MC standards.

My pal is about to move up to an Orpheus.He,like me,has a Temper-V,which I set up for him.We both have very similar systems,with identical phonostages/pre's(actually everything is exactly the same,except speakers.He Kharma.Me Avalon),so I will do the new set up,in the very near future.
I will post my opinion,as well as the other listeners,who are present,in a future posting,and will try to be completely independent as to opinion of sound.

The review in the German magazine was woefully incomplete.What did we learn?
Here was another reviewer "making nice",to a new product!What else is new?
We have FAR better input from posters in this "analog" forum,about their opinions,and observations!!
Aoliviero,please don't take my comments as a criticism of your really nice,and good intentions,in posting the review.I thank you for that.
Yet,the review told owners(like me)of the Temper model absolutely nothing,as to a meaningful comparison!Poor audio journalism.Or incomplete,at least!I "SO" wanted some more meaningful feedback,other than "if you play around with loading,you get different musical perspectives"!WHEW!!


No offence taken. I agree that magazine reviews are typically incomplete and this one does not give any indication on how it compares with other Trasfigs. I was thinking about not posting this but ultimately I thought that an additional data point, good, bad or indifferent could be considered.

I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts from the upcoming experiments. Have fun,

Andrew,I hope to install the Orpheus,for my friend,sometime in September.I'm really pushing him,to upgrade(?)sooner,due to selfish reasons.He is very interested in making this change.
Before the installation,we all go over to my friend Sid Marks,for an afternoon of INCREDIBLE LP fun.Sid is a "GOD" when it comes to great,rare,hard to find,MUST HAVE LP's.Of all types.He sports a superb system(really full range/convincing)anchored by the Lyra Titan cartridge.
We will then go to my Temper-v/Orpheus pal,Ed,and play the same LP's that we heard at Sid.Then move to the Temper/Orpheus comparison.Maybe a "spritz" of a Titan comparison,but it will be a different set-up,there.It's fun,anyway.Even if the Titan/Orpheus semi-comparison is not really valid.We all love this stuff anyway,and nothing is written in stone!
We usually come to an agreement,after much posturing,as to the ideal voicing of the cartridge,in Ed's fine set-up.I am the set-up "sucker"(I love it,but get up and down,"ALOT"),while the "GUYS" sit on their TUSH and tell me how to voice the arm bearing fluid/downforce/vta,until Sid,as usual,gives the thumbs up on the musical passages he is SO VERY familiar with.Boy,am I sick of Pavarotti on the SAME disc,everytime we make a change!!!!Or the Prokofiev Pno cto #5,or a host of other discs I have to bear,over and over,and over again.This certainly is the way to voice a good cartridge/arm/set-up,but I hope I get it close,the first "shot" or fifty!
I'll then post the observations,and try to indicate the discs and preferences.I'll try(everything is opinion)to make a meaningful comparison to the Temper-v,which I,too,own!
Obviously I am "selfishly" hoping to push my pal into a quick move,but he is "sold" on doing this anyway!


Sounds like you have a good process for comparisons. Too bad you're doing most of the work:) We're looking forward to the results.

Well,I do believe my pal is about to order his Orpheus!I have a few questions,and do believe Nsgarsh may be of help,if you can.Please!
Nsgarsh,you make mention of the dealer,selling this design,new,for 2650.Is this the same guy who has been E-mailing me his extensive listing every few months?He also sells Koetsu/My sonic Lab,Benz,as well as selling stuff like CAT/Avalon/MBL/Purist etc,all at a really compelling discount.
The guy seems legit,as he's been E-mailing me for about two years,and I have been forwarding his listings(I forgot his name)to my friend,who is now ULTRA HOT(thank goodness) to go Orpheus REAL soon(like in the next week or two).I know the regular dealer trade-in,against already owning a Temper-v/w is 2550 PLUS our cartridge.If this web dealer is legit(he claims to have great feedback)I see no reason not to give him some business,and sell the Tranny's my pal and I have privately.A great deal,all the way around,I hope!
Also,as a starting point,for me to begin to make some meaningful comparisons,to the Temper-v(which my pal and I both have,and like)if anyone can shed some light as to the differences in design(there does NOT seem to be much,here,other than output and resistence,which may equate to "whatever")to the Temper,I'd be most beholding.
The info,on the Orpheus states a newer non resonant body,yet I wonder if it is actually a new material,or simply newer shape.Also,I am having a hard time discerning(I never claimed a high IQ)if the Orpheus' specs declare this coil/magnet design to be more advanced than the Temper-v/w,or basically the same design(yokeless ring magnet),with a bit more output,and a gram more weight.
Obviously I will find out real soon.Actually my friend has already gotten the wine,to be served,in his little "rack"(not equipment rack,btw).I think I'll be goofing off that day,and leaving work early.Thank goodness I'm the boss.I really can't wait,for some fun in my life,these days!
Well,I want to be very careful,and guarded in any comments I might post,so any meaningful input will be of help...Thanks!

Best to all,
Speedy, I'm available to attend all wine/listening events -- let me know.

As for the Trannies deals, yes Tommy is the guy, although I just heard from someone who spoke w/ him recently that the O is $2750, not $2650 (which is what my latest price list says.) I bought my Tranny from him (as did two friends) and he is a totally stand-up guy.

As for the cartridge itself -- not having seen design drawings ;--) but based on the specs, particularly the output and the coil resistance values, it looks to me like the Orpheus has (essentially) the same ouput as a W but the (fewer) coil windings (therefore better transients?) of the V.

To accomplish this feat, they'd have had to come up with a stronger ring magnet and then tighten up the tolerances between magnet and coils.

Sure, if you can sell your V for $2k and trade up for another $750 I think that would be the way to go. I'm not ready to do that yet (waiting to see what all the big spenders have to say ;--) however, except for the no-yoke Decca, and the half-yoke Colibri, I think Transfiguration has made the biggest leap forward in cartridge design in the last two decades. All the other current "hot ticket" cartridges are, to me, just variations on an old theme, and therefore simply don't interest me, since I feel that envelope has been pushed as far as possible and its limits reached. Therefore, I think it's exciting (nor does it surprise or upset me) that Transfiguration has found a way to push their unique design even further, though they introduced the V and W roughly two years ago.

I always went w/ Ford over GM because, though I felt GM was built with better fit and finish, Ford had more design and engineering innovation. Transfiguration does both.
Nsgarsh,for my business,I had five Taurus wagons,over thirteen years(leases).Total repair costs,from defective problems, was literally less than 150 dollars,combined!!
As to the cartridge issue.THANKS!!This "IS" the guy,and the 2750 price is not a problem,though my pal will ask only about 1350 or so for his perfectly operating Tranny-v!
As to the "design factor" being the "telling" factor when chosing a cartridge,I really could care less.It's ALL about performance,and a pin on a string would be fine with me,if it sounded the way I like.
Actually when I viewed(sight,not sound)the ZYX Univ,I thought to myself "what a cheapo looking casing,that deserves a more cache look",based on the price of five large!!Yet the SOUND,believe me,was CACHE,and BIG TIME!That's how I heard it,and I have no clue as to it's "uniqueness" of design,and could care less.It was "fabuloso"!BTW,so is my friend's Titan,and another friend is "APESHIT" over the performance of his Koetsu Coral.This guy has the Titan,and Olympos,but swears the Coral,with it's zillion year old coral stone body,is unmatched.Especially on vocals.I guarantee it would be even better if it was made of fossilized eggroll shells!!But what do I know?
Who knows,as to "the design parameters" of these cute little transducers,and their performance,based on design(?).I just want the musical facts,and hope to NOT rationalize my own opinion(I'm not accusing you of anything,btw,just my usual rant)when I give the Orpheus the "go round"!
I'll be doing the set-up(yutz that I am,while my friends "work me" like a marionette...get up,tweak/sit down...get up tweak/sit...over and over and over.Until I literally want to strangle one of them).Of course,I love it,though,and put on my own little "tired act",in order to snag some quality vintage wines,out of my usual reach.Heh,heh!
I have a sneaky suspicion that this Orpheus will be a better match for my Graham 2.2,than the Temper-v.I'll do cartwheels if so.Just a hunch,but if I am correct my fanaticism with the fluid/vta/downforce may vanish.I HOPE!!!
As of the here and now(in my pal's set-up,since mine has been down,but I did FINALLY get my amp back yesterday,and it seems to weigh about thirty pounds more,so we'll see soon)I have ALWAYS detected a very subtle dryness in the 2.2/Temper combo.I recall,also being aware of this in my set-up way back,when I had music.Though I have just ordered a new PS-Audio P-300 line regenerator,for line source components,which may put the kabbash on this(possibly).Also,the addition of two Hi Fi Tuning fuses in the pre/phono,of my pal(I have the exact same)was HUGE in aiding performance.I was really against this,but there was NO denying the improvement.Much to look forward to.
If the Orpheus is less resonant(a claim they make)and tracks better,as well as having a tad more cartridge weight,it will most likely mate with my 2.2,a bit better( I don't care about output,as my phono section has LOADS of really clean gain),then I may have a nice fall/winter listening season ahead.Trust me,I deserve one!!

Best!...And thanks for the quick response!!
Speedy, you can take an old established design and push it to the absolute limit of possible performance, using painstaking craftsmanship and the very best materials in fabricating that design, and what you wind up with (in the world of cartridges) are the very most expensive versions of Koetsu, Allaerts, ZYX, van den Hul, Dynavector, Magic Diamond, etc. etc. And you can vary some of the materials and/or dimensions to produce different sonic qualities that you like in combination with different tonearms and kinds of music, leading of course to multiple cartridge/tonearm ownership ;--)

In all the above cases, this kind of (necessarily expensive) refinement has led to highly articulate but rather low output devices. And only the advent of (necessarily expensive) new technology, that provides "LOADS of really clean gain" (as you put it) has saved these feeble little gems from the ravages of the step up transformer!

Now, suppose you hit on a new mechanical design that produced a cartridge with the excellent tracking and transient accuracy of one with a light weight coil, but provided the healthier output of a heavier coil with more windings? The result is the Transfiguration W. I decided there'd be no real need to buy a V because it wouldn't track any better than a W. The coil weight in both cartridges is so light it's negligable compared to the weight of the coil former itself, and which is also a newer lighter material, super mu metal, I believe it's called.

So now you have a cartridge with great articulation, transients and trackability, along with enough output to produce a useful signal with less gain and less noise. That's why one of the first remarks folks make about the Trannies is how QUIET they are! Well Duh!!

There is so much room now to improve and refine this smart new Transfiguration design. By comparison, the traditional designs have basically hit a performance ceiling IMO, unless they can obtain more powerful magnets at a competitive cost. Otherwise you're going to continue to see the folks at Dynavetor twisting themselves into pretzels trying to get a little bit more out of the conventional magnetic yoke design -- or maybe Dr. vdHul will next come up with a vertical assembly so he can shorten the cantilever some more ;--) or maybe someone will figure out a way to make coils out of conductive films that don't weigh anything at all!

In the meantime we have now advanced to the Orpheus, further combining and improving on the innovative mechanical design of the Temper V and W, and making it obvious (to me anyway) why there's only one model of the Orpheus and not two!
"There is so much room to improve and refine this smart new Transfiguration design.By comparison,the traditional designs have basically hit a performance ceiling."!!

TRADITIONAL??.. BOY,Nsgarsh....I'm not SO convinced it is really all that academic.Especially in the field of Hi End Audio.
If that were the case I guess all my tube loving friends should just sell out,and go all solid state!BTW,I have only three tubes,in my set-up,so am merely making a point.
You simply cannot assume design, alone,as in the case you make for the "automatic" superiority of the Orpheus(have you heard it yet?),will prevail.
I totally trust your general knowledge,and almost always agree with your solid reasoning,BUT...even though I am INCREDIBLY interested in the Orpheus,I STILL have to have my musical senses convinced,which will only come from an audition.A very long one,at that!!I mean no disrespect,and understand your scientific approach.Yet....
Sorry,but since I am very possibly(no guarantee)going to obtain one,should I like(alot)the results we get at my friend's place,then, and ONLY then will the "superiority of the design",from a technical aspect,interest me.At that point I'll begin to get excited about "coils,and tolerences etc",as then it will all make sense to me.

I have been at this game a long time,as I am sure you,and many have.I love the technical advantages so many components offer as "better",yet not all that many "really" ecclipse their competitors.Lots of stuff performs great,and gets better,when put into a set-up that has the appropriate synergy of componentry.You know this too,btw.
So, as for the Orpheus,I'm taking more of a wait(with baited breath)and see approach,before I get too excited.
I hope your enthusiasm for it's technical superiority is correct,and I will LOVE to say I'm sorry,for not giving it the automatic "thumbs up",you seem to be doing so,as of now.
BTW,I have heard the Dynavector(xv-1s),and it was magnificent.I don't think it's owners are too worried about what's new on the horizon.Same should go for the vast majority of the great designs.Though I had a fleeting listen to an Allaerts,which was really nice,but too short a listen.Which brings us to the Orpheus....
I mean,let's face could not possibly be as good as the "other cartridge" favored on this forum. Heh,heh,heh..... -:)
Speedy - if you factor trade-in and cost out of the equation, what does your experience tell you about the differences and strengths between the Orpheus and the XV-1s?

Speedy -- let me clarify/restate my position. I'm NOT saying that the Tranny V, W, or the Orpheus raise the bar on the other fine "traditional" cartridges I mentioned. They can all hold their own quite nicely for now, given high quality preamplification.

What I AM saying is that the traditional (yoke) MC cartridge design, which (except for the Decca) has been with us since the beginning, has been refined/modified as far as it can for getting the absolute maximum performance from it (or so it seems to me, however informed debate is always welcome ;--) Maybe some designer out there yet plans to try titanium coils or rare earth supermagnets.

So my assertion is simply that the V and W and Orpheus are already in the same league as the other hot ticket cartridges, but unlike the others, the Tranny design still have much unexplored room for improvement; and the fact that the Orpheus was introduced so quickly on the heels of the V and W is to me, living proof of that hypothesis.

As a matter of fact, I'm a reluctant to invest in an Orpheus right now, and here's why:

1.) I really like my W a LOT!
2.) Unless you guys say the Orpheus is VASTLY superior to the V or W (thus automatically making it better than every other cartridge on the market!) I expect that:
3.) There will soon be an Orpheus MkII (or a Pegasus, or a Thaedra or whatever) and/or:
4.) Others manufacturers will begin making their own version of the Transfiguration design, which IMO is just begging to be copied.

My remark about "much unexplored room for improvement" is meant to suggest that ultimately, and if the will exists, I believe we may see a MC cartridge that has MM output, but using an ultra-lightweight coil found today only in .24 mV output MC cartridges. Wouldn't that be cool!
Nsgarsh,Oh "now" I get it!Sorry if I seemed a bit slow,on the uptake.

Tim,I have no idea,as of now,but am setting up an Orpheus very soon.I'll post my "opinion",at that time.

BTW,Nsgarsh...I love the bass enclosure configuration,you use with the "Classic"(fabs)Martin Logans.Sort of reminds me of my old(yet not forgotten)Infinity speakers,which my friend was smart enough to keep,and modify.Still SOTA in SO many ways.

Speedy, I believe you are referring to the Kinergetics SW-800 towers in the pic, however it's an old pic. Those now live in Scotland, and have been replaced with a Martin Logan Depth which I like way better.
Well,my friend has tried to obtain an Orpheus.He is running up against the "scarcity" factor.
It seems the distributor is on back order.Are the audiodudes in Europe snatching these up?Are they on to something,that we are not privy to?
Well,my pal is a pit bull,and I'm sure will come up with one very soon.
Just a bit of conjecture,by me......I have been looking very carefully at the difference between the Orpheus and Temper-V,on paper(which cannot be conclusive without a good listen,but does tell me something).
The only meaningful "specs" that stand out are the fact that the Orpheus is 1.5 gms heavier,has a very slightly different body shape(NOT new material),has an internal resistance of 2.5 vs the Temper's 3.0 ohms,and has an output of .48 vs the Temper's .38.That's it!!Hmm!!!

Of course I'm just being very scrutinizing here,and it may mean little,once I set-up my friend's arm,with one.Yet with the marketing done,in the high end,I can't take anything for granted.
Ex:as for the supposedly important internal resistance issue,the ZYX Univ specs at 4 ohms,and 8ohms,based on model selection,while the Myabi Ivory specs at 2 ohms!

I guess it will be all in the LISTENING,but I'm suddenly not so hot to jump on the "new product" bandwagon,just because a new model has come out.
Time will tell,and my Temper-V,with only 250 hours on it,is looking pretty good,with any leftover dough possibly going for the Townshend Super Tweets,that sounded SO amazing at Cello's last fall!I don't REALLY need those either,but they have fascinated me,ever since.Can't shake the possibility!

Mark, you can search til your eyeballs fall out but you won't find another MC cart with the (low) coil resistance (i.e low coil weight)-to-output ratio of the Orpheus. BTW, the outputs for Tranny (and ZYX) products need to be multiplied by a factor of 1.6 for comparison with (most other) cartridges that use the CBS test record. So a V is really .61 mV, and a O is really .77 mV.

These kind of specs are yet unheard of in the world of MC cartridges. It's gonna be a killer! Over three times the output of ANY cartridge with such a lightweight coil. C'mon!

Oh sure, the 2 ohm Miyabi Ivory = .2 mV output. Fabulous!
The 4 ohm ZYX UNI = .38 mV (corrected by 1.6) Terrific!
The 8 ohm ZYX UNI = .77 mV (corrected by 1.6) Amazing!

B. F. DEAL!!

I mean let's look at this. The UNI has the same output as the O, but the O's coil is 1/3 the weight (and probably 1/3 the windings) of the UNI. So which one do you think will sound more like an EXTREMELY QUIET .77 mV version of a .2 mV Colibri??
Dear Julian Hersch,I mean Nsgarsh.....I'm not so sure it really is such a "B F Deal",as you put it.
That is my point!AND believe me,I hope the Orpheus blows away my Temper-V.I will certainly get it immediately,if that happens.BTW,don't be so quick to dismiss the Univ,or some of the other designs,for "features sake".I have heard quite a few of these,and could easily live with them.With a smile on my face.To be honest,the Univ(though it has been talked about "ad Nauseum")is everything stated about it,based on my few hrs spent with it.The Dynavector is almost perfect,to me,with the Titan coming close,and the Myabi is fabulous,too,but a bit romantic.YMMV.All this is only my opinion anyway,which means "nada"!
Do you know for sure,if the "O" Has a much more refined coil "Schtick" as opposed to the Temper-V?
It is also no stretch to see how the Mfgr decided to increase the output a "smidgen",change the body(same material),and go from the Temper's 3.0 ohm resistence to the new,and not so much better 2.5 ohms.Then you have the 1.5 grm increase in weight,and a price increase of 1500 dollars.There's not alot "there".But I did not design it,so maybe I'm being too sceptical.I think my approach is healthy.
Of course,I hope it comes out way ahead of what I already have,but I don't think my way of looking at this(before I decide to invest,and I am "really" ready here)is out of line.It's my money on the line!!Money I will be happy to spend for a real improvement.NOT specs,on paper!!
BTW,when I do set up my friend's "O",I will be completely open minded,and just let the product speak for itself.Besides There will be other ,very experienced hobbyists there.
Let's hope the supply opens up soon,so I can find out,and I will be honest in "our" opinions!
Mark, your response indicates a slightly different understanding from mine.

Once again, I have no reason to diss those other great cartridges;--) However, in terms of further design innovation or performance improvement, I see nowhere for them to go.

The following comment (of yours) is why I get the feeling that you're just not pickin' up what I'm puttin' down, as they say:

"Do you know for sure,if the "O" Has a much more refined coil "Schtick" as opposed to the Temper-V?
It is also no stretch to see how the Mfgr decided to increase the output a "smidgen",change the body(same material),and go from the Temper's 3.0 ohm resistence to the new,and not so much better 2.5 ohms."

OK, first of all, I don't think the mfgr simply DECIDED (i.e. as part of some marketing plan) to bring out the Orpheus. Nor do I think they just DECIDED to increase the output a "smidgen" or reduce the coil weight by 20% while increasing output 25% over the previous model. You can't just DECIDE such things, wave your magic tonearm, and have them come to pass!

What they did, they were able to do because of what they learned from making the V and the W; Obviously, they have to respect electromagnetic laws just like any other cart. mfgr. So if you want more output with fewer coil windings, there's only one way: get a stronger magnet (with a more focused flux field, if possible) In the Orpheus, the ring magnet's size/strength has obviously been increased enough to achieve respectably modest output using a coil which, in other (conventional) cartridges, would produce just a low output (around .2 - .3 mV)

The Orpheus combines the (I assume better) tracking and transients of the V, with the healthier output of the W -- and makes it unnecessary to offer two versions of the Orpheus. And I don't believe this was all the result of some marketing "decision" -- where they already had the technology in place. No no. I think once the W and V were in production, they realized how close their specs actually are, and started looking to see if there was a way to make the W's coil lighter, and the V's output higher, and then combine it all in a single cartridge. Answer? Bigger magnet.

Now, to address an obvious question: So why doesn't using a bigger magnet work to improve the conventional yoke designs?

Answer: Because no matter how much stronger the magnet, the flux field itself (in the gap between the poles where the coil sits) is only useful just where the coil is immersed in it, the rest is wasted. That's why the folks at Dynavector have gone to extraordinary lengths using multiple Alnicos, "flux shaping" coils on the front poles, and a "shaped aperature" on the XV-1s front pole, all in an attempt to focus the flux field on the coils. But it's still a low output cartridge ;--)

In the Transfiguration ring magnet design, they've basically set the coil down into cylinder-shaped magnet with a hole just big enough to receive the coil without it touching the sides of the cylinder. With the suspension rubber on the bottom of the can and the cantilever sticking out the open end, the coil is literally immersed in a magnetic flux that's totaly concentrated on the coil. This arrangement also solves eddy current problems, etc. and I'll bet the magnetic "can" helps to shield the coil from RFI/EMI too ;--)

I guess what I'm trying to express is that the introduction of the Orpheus wasn't just some "planned obsolesence" marketing strategy -- any more than when ZYX brought out the UNIverse so soon after the Airy 3. They just discovered a way to do something better and said, "Why not?" Don't we wish more manufacturers felt that way?
The real reason for the increased output vs. impedance is a new core material (around which the coils are wound). This material was introduced by MySonic Labs' Matsudaira (formerly of Audiocraft) on his Eminent cartridges from a few years back.

One of Ortofon's newer SPU series (which I believe was also designed at least partly by Matsudaira) shares the same core material, and has similar output voltage vs. specs (something like 0.5mV with an internal impedance of 2ohms).

I believe that MySonic Labs shares a builder-craftsman with Immutable, hence the transfer of core materials.

Although the Eminent is highly regarded in Japan, production is very limited, so it may not be well-known in other countries yet.

Incidentally, both the Eminent and new SPU model use a traditional "Ortofon-style" magnetic circuit (with polepieces aka yokes and all), so it is doubtful if the choice of magnetic circuit has much to do with the increased output efficiency.

IOW, give ZYX or other cartridges the same core material and chances are that you'd get similar increases in output vs. impedance efficiency without much redesign effort required at all.

hth, jcarr
Jcarr -- with all due respect, I think you have it all backwards ;--( Here's some technical background for your edification. BTW, the new core material only helps improve the signal to noise ratio, it doesn't increase the output:

The moving coil cartridge has become to be accepted internationally as the ultimate transducer of these and other fine analog recordings. However, despite increasingly sophisticated cartridges being developed there remains a number of aspects that place a ceiling on the quality of the reproduction: the prime cause being the yokes and pole-pieces of the magnet, which focus the field around the coil. The yoke system is unable to focus the full power of the magnet into the coil affecting both the strength and the accuracy of the signal. The resulting distortion inherent in most moving coil designs shows as a high frequency rise, ringing and a high level of both distortion and tracking distortion. There is also a masking of the frequency response, especially in the high range. The inter-relationship of magnetic field and coils is simply too "loose". The magnet and coils are too far apart to be able to capture the very subtlest details. On the other hand, very dynamic passages tend to cause coil saturation, especially if the coils are wound on formers. Increasingly powerful magnets, or special coils, bodies and suspensions, are in themselves no solution.

"Accuracy" defines precisely the ability of a cartridge to recreate the original recorded sound. Greater accuracy provides more of the music - the direct sound, and the myriad of recording environment subtleties that are the intimate detail. Ultimately, a more musical sound. Indeed, it seemed the ultimate moving coil design was already with us. Only to be continuously re-refined.

Design Concept

Now, in these final days of the glories of analog, there is a whole new frontier to the music of recorded music. The great complexity and crudeness of magnetic fields, yokes and coils is replaced by a new concept. The vast and costly magnets, magnetic-field-dispersing yokes and coils suffering variable magnetic influences of all other moving coil designs are replaced by a single assembly.

No yokes
Coils inside the magnet
No magnetic irregularities
Coils at the crux of magnetic focus
Intimate coil/magnet coupling
Low internal impedance
High output
Elegantly simple body design

Technical Features:
• Unique ultra grade SS-µ-metal core for coil assembly. Newly developed ultra grade SS-µ-metal square core increases sensitivity by 35dB, improving the signal to noise ratio and eliminating a usual source of distortion.
• Special 7N copper coils. A newly developed 7N copper wire used in the coils eliminates a common source of distortion and increases transparency.
• Push-pull damping. A special quality compound has been meticulously designed and fabricated to provide total stylus/coil alignment and control. Its non-sensitivity to temperature change keeps the damping co-efficient stable and improves trackability.
• Anti-resonance cartridge body shape. A resonance controlled 'simple' design for lower tonal colouration and a new-generation image.
• Boron cantilever. Newly developed rod for a more natural sound.
• Low mass tip. Ogura PA (3 x 30µm) tip. Its function is to reproduce the character of the original recorded sound - not add or subtract its own deficiencies.
• Ultra tight magnet-coil coupling. The coils are not just close but literally right inside, with coil-magnet proximity of only a few thousandths of an inch. With the precision magnetic field focusing possible only with a ring magnet and superbly accurately wound coils, the ultra tight magnet-coil coupling enables far greater electromagnetic efficiency.
• Dynamic mass minimized and coil saturation eliminated. Much faster, more accurate stylus response to groove formation. Rising dynamics or sharp transients never mask detail.
• Twin coils on cantilever fulcrum. Ultra low dynamic mass and mechanical impedance for instant, accurate reaction to every groove detail, including the ability to handle massive transients without overshoot or break-up.

excerpted from Elusive Disc:
Nsgarsh,firstly,you know I love ya,so don't take me too seriously.
Anyway,alot of your comments,admittedly,are based on conjecture,and from my years in the hobby,I have seen LOADS of "advanced" products sink,like the Titanic.
I have NO doubts that the Orpheus will be a fine performer,but am not convinced it will "meaningfully" outperform the competition,until I hear it.Been down this road,alot!
Let's face it,I am the one who turned my friend on to it,and would not really expect him to spend his cash,if I did not think he would benefit from it.
Also,I AM absolutely ready to try to obtain a unit,and have already spoken with a fine dealer,about this.Should it "clearly" outperform the Temper-V!
I STILL stand by my scepticism,and will be happy to let it pass,if the "O" passes the test.In reality,not on paper.
Please don't take my comments as any sort of a "diss".You know this is all fun,anyway,and I have not had too much of a good time,in the last month,so I need to Pick on You a bit -:)...You can handle it anyway,as you are armed with knowledge.

That ain't technical background, that's marketing speak :-).

Again, both the Eminent and Ortofon SPU Synergy (you can find these on the site) have a 1.8-ohm coil impedance and produce 0.5mV (measured at 5cm/sec). If we apply the sqrt 2 conversion factor (3.54 vs. 5cm) to the coil impedance, we see that putting a 2.5 ohm coil into the SPU Synergy or Eminent would yield 0.5mV @ 5cm/sec. No need for a yokeless magnetic circuit, just a suitable core material (and appropriate coil design) :-).

And FWIW, since the diameter of the coil wire can be either thicker or thinner, you cannot simply look at the coil impedance and deduce that the coil weight is lighter. A higher-impedance coil could be the one that's actually lighter, depending on the coil wire diameter specified.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to knock yokeless designs (I like them, too). But trying to draw a connection between yokeless and greater efficiency (output vs. impedance) isn't warranted, IME.

regards, jcarr
Jcarr, you're quite right re: the wire diameter used to wind the coil -- after all, the number of windings is directly proportional to the current produced when a coil is moved through a magnetic field. I only was using the impedance spec as a rough indicator of how much wire was actually in the coil (it's weight.) My assumption being that a cartridge maker would employ the thinnest wire he could possibly work with, in order to get the maximum number of turns with the minimum weight.

As for your comment about marketing speak, well say what you like, but the ring magnet concept eliminates several sound-degrading electomagnetic irregularities (as detailed in the above descriptions) that do not attend the ring design which has obvious advantages, both mechanically and electromagnetically. I think the advantages are a reality one can't reasonably avoid.

My contention/speculation or whatever you wish to call it, is that unlike the Colibris, UNIs, Allaerts, etc, the ring concept has a lot of room for refinement, and yet it's already neck and neck performance-wise with the (maxxed out, IMO) conventional designs.

As I stated somewhere earlier in this thread (and as Speedy just commented) I'm not about to put my W up for sale. First I want to sift (for authenticity) through the rave reviews we'll no doubt be hearing from some of our beloved early adopters. Then I'll decide if the Orpheus represents enough of an improvement, or if I should wait for the further development that will undoubtedly take place.

One thing is certain, I won't have egg on my face, or yokes on my tonearm ;--)
Ultra tight magnet-coil coupling. The coils are not just close but literally right inside, with coil-magnet proximity of only a few thousandths of an inch.

It may be 'marketing speak' but it certainly is sexy, and I, for one, am intriqued. ;-)

My question is this: with such fine tolerances, what does that mean for the suspension and its lifespan?

Whew,Nsgarsh!Now you are looking much more credible,in your way of approaching whether you,yourself,would spend this kind of dough.Me too!!And I can easily see doing it,in lieu of the admitted fact that I have been down for six months,and want to make some major,"meaningful" moves.Soon.Yet and yet?
Jcarr,has some very valid input,that has to be given consideration,as well!
I mean,if we simply took the technical approach,we would all have sold our analog rigs around 1982,and gone the "Digi" route.No?
Actually in '82,the Princeton Record Exchange had SO vast an analog "stock",of everything viable,that with some inner voice speaking to me,and with the marketing speak,for CD in full gear,I went NUTZZZ collecting the "Primo" lp's we all lust for today!I simply was not "automatically" jumping on the digital bandwagon,at that time,though five years ago I got a fine player,simply because I like alot of the new avante garde stuff,like John Zorn/Pendrecki/Rousse/Terry Riley yada yada.
But...the stuff found on some old lp's will never be recorded again.There is some amazing stuff to still be found.
I love to still look for offbeat stuff,and my friend Sid is "stacked" with Lp's to "really" die for.
BTW,you simply know the "O" is going to garnish raves,from the press!Doesn't everything?
I mean,when I look at some of the reviewers in Hi Fi News and Record Review,many are,already,showing the "O" in their own systems.But I'll bet they did not dig too deep for them.I can just see their own input,when it comes to print.No surprises,I'll bet.So I will still be just a little suspicious.Just a little.But....YES bet that it is totally possible that this "tweener" design could have very likely come about to specifically fit a product line category.Business works that way,alot!Do you think Koetsu accidentally discovered some zillion year old coral,while an employee was scuba diving,and inadvertantly put it on a cartridge out of curiosity.Then decided to ask fifteen thousand dollars for one?"IT LOOKS DAMN GREAT",and the "marketing machine" knew it would sell,to the Rolex/Breitling crowd.Afterall there are not alot of bad sounding Koetsus out there.I should know.I had four models over ten years.
Sorry for my lengthly rant,BTW.I won't argue my case anymore either,and will just wait for my friend to come up with it,which is inevitable.Very soon!I HOPE you can say "I told you so",after I audition it,but you had better be prepared to loan me some cash,or maybe feed my family for awhile -:)

The diameter of the wire is also a component in deciding the sound, so rather than using the thinnest possible wire, a cartridge maker is likely to use whatever wire diameter that he (or she) thinks will give the right sound. In production you can go down to 15 micrometers (or even 12 if you don't mind somewhat higher than normal wire breakage), but based on my personal experience, I'd estimate that the Eminent, SPU Synergy and Orpheus all use considerably thicker wire - probably something on the order of 40 micrometers or even 45.

I quite agree with you that yokeless designs have certain advantages over traditional designs with polepieces (yokes). I simply don't agree that higher output efficiency is one of those advantages. Actually, if it is only output efficiency that you are pursuing, a traditional polepiece architecture is the easier one to do, first because the size of the magnet in a polepiece-based design can be far larger than what is practical in a yokeless design, and on top of that, the polepieces offer a greater degree of flux focusing than a magnet by itself can.

Incidentally, yokeless cartridges have been out on the market from the late 1970s, while as a subset of yokeless, designs involving ring magnets that fully surround the coils have been out since at least 1981, possibly earlier. So already a bit of time has elapsed since their introduction, certainly enough to refine the general concept :-). I do reckon that it is possible to refine the yokeless concept further, but then the same thing can likewise be said about polepiece-based designs. IME, neither one is maxxed-out yet, and each has a distinct set of trade-offs (advantages and disadvantages). A cartridge designer may validly prefer either, depending on his design goals, insights and resourcefulness.
Speedy, I could go along with the O being a tweener marketing ploy if they were asking like DOUBLE the price of a V or W (remember the huge jump in price from an Airy 3 to a UNIverse?) but at a mere 20% more, no I think it's simply going to turn out to be 20% better -- which IMO (based on the already amazing performance of my W) will automatically put it out in front of the competition.

The only cartridge I'd currently cross a state line to hear is the Magic Diamond Blue, and the only person I know that uses one is Rushton. I don't know where he lives and his wife won't let him say ;--)
There is no scarcity problem in the US. The distributor has cartridges in stock. If a dealer is telling your friend this is the case, he is misrepresenting for some reason. Could be that grey-market sources are scarce ($2750 for an Orpheus...), but one should also bear in mind that they will not be able to provide any warranty coverage (which those of you who have had any long term experience with delicate mc carts will know is very important--having a real dealer and a distributor who will take care of things if/when problems arise).

To quickly address some of the other issues mentioned above:

The V and W are not "just introduced". the V has been around since about 2000 and the W was introduced 3 years ago. The Orpheus design has been in progress for almost 2 years, with numerous delays.

While the two look fairly similar on paper, in cartridges, where they are mechanically transducing incredibly large amounts of information at radically high speeds, the slightest differences can be huge sonically.

I would agree that the Tempers are among the best in the world and did not expect much difference...some slight improvements here and there. To some extent, this is true, except that the improvements are substantial and in almost every performance category. More macro-dynamics, slightly improved micro-dynamics (always the Temper's strong point), considerably more resolution, though with a somewhat more relaxed and natural-sounding presentation (yes, a seeming contradiction). More transparency. Quieter. Deeper and better bass articulation. So far, I have not found a record that will saturate the high-frequencies, including piccolo blasts. Tone and timbre are dead-on neutral. At first, I thought the balance might be slightly warmer than the W, but, upon extended listening, realized that the balance is the same, there is just a bit less smearing on top (which tends to whiten up the sound) and there is more resolution in the mids/lower-mids, which allows you to hear more harmonic texture in that range, which comes across as warmer. The main noticable difference is a musical one, however. I find myself following rhythmic and emotional lines in the music that I had never noticed before.

The Orpheus is a significant improvement over the Temper series. However, if you have a Temper V/W that is still performing well, you might want to put that money somewhere else in the chain, for example, a better tonearm or table, or phono stage, as these things can effect very large changes in the character and quality of a system.
Well I lied,when I stated I'd not post again.Sorry!

Nsgarsh,I have heard the Magic Diamond in a very high quality setup(walker/Lamm/Kharma)with my own British Decca pressings.It is a wonderful cartridge.IMO,it is NO better than the other fine designs,which overcrowd(not really)the high end.That is NOT a criticism!To me,and the way it sounded on my own vinyl,it is no better than the Temper.It IS a wonderful cartridge,though,but you can save alot on gas,by not having to cross over any state lines!See!!I already saved you money.
In honesty,the two standout cartridges I have heard,in the last year are the Dynavector,and Univ.Followed closely by the Titan-i.All this means NOTHING,though,as it is only my own tastes and perceptions,as well as types of music I like.
I don't include the Temper-v here,ONLY because to me,when some hobbyist "toots" about what they own(human nature)there is a credibility issue.As you know,the Temper "series" is absolutely competitive with the best.
I never A/B'd it with the rest,but have to go,solely,on how I perceive musical "convincingness" when hearing a specific design.
Bc3,I decided NOT to go grey market,as did my friend,in scoping out the "elusive O"!Sorry,but elusive it is,and the fine dealer who sold us the Tempers,as well as the previous Temper Supremes states there is a short supply,though this will sort itself out in a few short weeks.
I find it hard to believe he does not know what he is talking about,as he can make an instant sale,with my friend.He has always been completely honest with us,and is one reason I like to deal with him.
As to the grey market issue...There is a good reason it exists."Cost Savings"!Yet to me,as of my last conversation with my own little hobbyist group,and common sense,I see no reason to take such a chance with a "pricey"/delicate investment.The regular dealer "way",with a fair trade-in,seems to be the way for me.Just,please don't go over the top with the trade-in costs,or you risk the possibility of making it viable to sell the Temper,used,and buy a different attractive design,based on some particular dealer wanting to gain a sale,with ahealthy discount.this happens alot.I mean no disrespect here,and hope your own input holds up,when I do finally check it out.
sirspeedy, I wouldn't say it means NOTHING... all of the cartridges mentioned are truly wonderful. What a luxury of riches at this point in time, when analog is supposed to be dead and buried...the technological and performance gains in cartridges/turntables/tonearms since 1980 (Sony Discman...) far, far outstrips the gains made in the digital realm. That is, analog started out way better and the delta for analog improvement in the intervening 25 years has been quite a bit bigger... I find it amazing that so many still pour so much creative energy and passion into refining a technology pronounced "dead" a quarter century ago. And bless them all for doing so, since we get to reap the benefits. jcarr, the Suganos, Matsudaira, aj vdH, Albert Lukascheck, Seiji Yoshioka...and these guys do it for love of music. I don't think any of them are getting rich off of phono cartridges.

You are correct that, at this level, it becomes a matter of taste and/or system-matching. My taste also runs toward the Transfiguration balance, but I could very easily live with/love any number of others (Dynav., AirTight, ZYX, big Koetsu's...they all have their strengths and attractions.

btw, the U.S. distributor has several Orpheus in stock and has not been backordered since April.
Jonathan, I wouldn't presume to question your historical perspective ;--) Though I've been intrigued with the MC cartridge (design) since the early seventies, I just can't recall which cartridge you're referring to that had an actual ring (doughnut?) magnet around the coil. (And wouldn't that require a rather long cantilever?)

For a long time, I thought the Colibri, with its ultra-short cantilever and no front pole was as far as the pole design would go, even if it meant settling for low output to get maximum benefit from the short cantilever. And along with the front/rear discs of the the Lyras, and the incredibly complex magnetic structure of the Dyna, represented three interesting variations on the pole design.

I've always assumed (am I wrong?) that a low coil resistance, assuming a given wire dia., is indicative of a coil with fewer windings and low(er) effective mass. So is there a flaw in my coming to the conclusion that the new Orpheus' (high-ish) output combined with its (low-ish) coil resistance means the magnetic field surrounding the coil must be extremely strong? I just can't understand how else those specs could be what they are.
OK Bc3,I'll bite.Firstly, your description of the differences in musical presentation of the "O" over the Tempers(around later than 2000,btw)is a "glowing" testimonial as to it's clear superiority!I don't detect the word "subtle" anywhere.I hope you are right.
The comment about not over-saturating high frequencies,like "piccolo blasts",was a cold splash of water to me!It is just here,where the big boys stand apart from the wanna be pretenders.NOT necessarily in the actual cartridges we sport,but the hobbyist's ability to actually get that particular parameter "right".I can't!I think I know what I'm doing,too.This has ALWAYS been a "sticking point" with me,and I have heard few systems that can really "do piccolos",at volume,using the LP.DAMN HARD!!
Surely,you must be a better man than I,and if you have not overstated your pride of ownership in the "O",you are on "Holy Ground"!Piccolo blasts at high volume,on classical repertoire,as recorded on the much sought after,early pressing discs we all have come to love(I'm talking of English,not Dutch,Deccas,EMI,Lyrita,Argo,Orig early Shaded Dogs,some black label Vanguard Stereolabs,and the Early maroon label Mercury series lp's)are almost "impossible" to get right,from disc to disc.I have heard only one system,owned by a friend that can do this convincingly,and consistently.And I really believe that owner's room is located between two black holes,where the laws of physics break down.It has almost been my own personal "Holy Grail"!Are you claiming the average yutz,like me,can,maybe gat this?"I dunoh about dat"!You better re-read your post,and maybe make an appology,for getting my blood pressure up!
NOW,your comments are,in actuality an endorsement of something that I may have to kill for,if true,and I don't want to break any laws,or hurt anyone.I hope you fudged your findings a bit(C'mon,admit it.You did.Right?),or possibly you had a bit too much Merlot,when you claim to have heard such piccolo at volume,performance.Flutes maybe?I could live with that-:)
BTW,it would be quite interesting to know what supporting componentry allowed for such observations,that have me "running for my checkbook"!


Hey,is this my pal,Eddie,kidding around with me? -:)
Surprised me too, which is why I remembered it and mentioned it... I suspect it is a combination of ability to track and no saturation. System was fairly modest and at a local dealer: all Quad electronics, the new (Chinese) tall Quad speakers, Basis 2200/Vector. He also had the new Airtight cartridge (I believe this is built by My Sonic, but Mr. Miura of Airtight was very involved in the design), which was also wonderful and could do this too, however, that system was much more money (SME 30, Avalon Diamond Eidolon, Wavestream electronics mostly).

Partly related, in response to ngarsh's discussion of resistance/output, I think much is due to the new coil former material. Immutable claims that the coil former itself is responsible for some gain in output. Perhaps jcarr could verify whether this is possible, though it makes sense. I know one of the drawbacks of the theoretically great idea of the ruby coil former in the Benz Ruby/LP/Cardasheart was the fact that without any magnetics, they have to use a bunch of windings to achieve a usable output. Yes, he avoids eddy currents, the moving mass is exceedingly low, but internal resistance is fairly high. The earliest ruby's from Benz (1.8mV ?) were wonderful, but needed a lot of phonostage oompf and quiet. If my years of listening to tube amps taught me anything, it was that magnetics are THE most important thing...acrosound, today, with the tango, tamura and viva transformers, using permalloy and amorphous core materials. This was the reason for the big initial jump in performance, I think, when the W arrived, as it got some of it extra output (according to Immutable) from the new coil former material (the V originally used permalloy). Later (post 2004) V's switched to this material too, bringing output up from .25 to .34, with no change in internal resistance. This also brought the V back to a position of expected sonic superiority (very slight) over the W (given the right phonostage), which the W had held before the change. Just like the apparent edge that alnico seems to hold over other magnets...hard to explain, but easy to hear (sweetness of the big Dynavector, the Olympus from Lyra (this only by hearsay...), the phy-hp drivers...)

Subtle/not subtle? I would say that the improvements in most of the categories of performance I mentioned are relatively subtle (except macrodynamics). Also, upon first listen, the difference is relatively subtle, because the Orpheus is a more subtle/refined/natural sounding cartridge, but, the sum of all those subtle improvements brings about a very un-subtle net effect in terms of musical and emotional connection. You will see/hear.

nope, not Eddie...

re: piccolos

A few weeks ago Dan_Ed and his wife rendezvoused at my place with Nick Doshi. The occasion was the delivery of Dan's new preamp.

(I invited you but you were busy in FL - and please accept my belated condolences. I only just noticed that your Dad passed away.)

Since it was near the 4th I had Sousa marches spinning (on a really great old London LP). Dan's wife enjoyed them and I played 'Stars and Stripes Forever' twice, because she loves the piccolo solo. It was July 4th/live band concert loud and absolutely clean. It can be done.

You're right that it's hard, and of course it takes more than just a great cartridge. The entire amplification chain and all the signal path wire must be very good. Not easy, but doable, and a thrill to hear.
Bc3 -- everything I've read about the Tranfg. coil former material speaks of a 35dB increase in sensitivity:

"Unique ultra grade SS-µ-metal core for coil assembly. Newly developed ultra grade SS-µ-metal square core increases sensitivity by 35dB, improving the signal to noise ratio and eliminating a usual source of distortion."

So far I've not read anything that indicates it actually increases the (voltage) strength of the output signal. Though I suppose a better S/N ratio might increase the "perceived" output?
I am just not sure on this. To me, the output voltage increase on the V, when all that changed was the core seems some evidence of this. You are correct, though, on the Orpheus, that they have also increased magnet strength, as well as going to "ss-u-x" (whatever that is...) material for core, so that windings could be reduced from even the V. Listening outcome is, indeed, better S/N...sounds quieter in the groove and there is definitely more low-level resolution. Again, one could say objectively that the improvement is subtle, but there is a definite increase in "musical" as opposed to audiophile detail. Harmonic and spatial (venue space) clues that you often do not notice, but are part of live listening experience.

However, I must defer on technical aspects of whether core materials can increase electrical output. I only know from the ironless Benz cores that they can decrease it.

Either way, they have come a long way now from the AF-1 in terms of usable output. Also, the top end of the Orpheus now surpasses that of the AF-1, whereas one might still have argued that the V and W did not. The AF-1, at the time a major breakthrough, was also nowhere near the newer cartridges in correct timbral and dynamic areas. Still, it was the first time I heard a human voice on LP that sounded "real"...funny how those firsts stay with you. Like the first time I heard Quad 57's, or Klipschorns, or the big SoundLab's.
Doug,thanks SO much,for the kind words.Much appreciated!You are a great guy.Sorry I like the 2.2 better than the "Tri"-:)
However that won't excuse you(I'm still "me").I stated doing piccolos at "volume,consistently,from disc to disc!C,mon!!Sorry,but maybe I need to actually take a trip to Conn,because it's a toughy,for me to swallow.Just kidding!I really do believe you.
BTW,this "Nick Doshi" guy must be special.I could swear he was a chef,at "Benehana" when I was last there.-:)

Bc3,I think the Temper-v,of old,you refer to was the Temper Supreme.A very nice design,so I thought,until the "V" made it's presence felt.Your observations are interesting BUT,all this on a dealer's set-up???
Try Tchaikovski's 4th, 3rd movment. This is the solo that strikes fear in the heart of piccolodeum. Only 21 notes at forte, but they require delivery in a scant three seconds. Done at volume with proper tonal inflection and nary a whiff of smearing nets a check in the plus column for the system that can. true!"The heart of piccolodeum",ILOVE that!!
Actually as to all this piccolo business,I'm not talking about recognizing the instrument,as such.It is clear,on a good set-up,as to "it" being a piccolo,What I have never heard,is the correct timbre of the instrument(in playing lp's),as well as the actual bit of air,and slight vibrant,almost rich, etheral quality that is seemingly imposible to get.Almost a roundness to the frequencies.Sorry,but it is hard to describe,and easy to actually think we have it right.The piccolo analogy is "Perfect",for such a difficult performance parameter,with the best "tiny transducers",and other reproducers of musical signals.
I have only heard this on my friend's system,with the Air Tangent,and his Titan/Art/ultra modded Infinity speakers.I cannot get this,to the degree I am talking of,with my own set-up,even though,on paper,my system stands up to my friend's.Previously,I would have to adjust for vta frequently,for each disc,whereas my friend can simply sit back and have it,almost dead on,CONSTANTLY.Lp to Lp,and label to label(the Black Hole thing,I guess).The lucky bastard!Maybe my new audio "gizmos",and the new,more accurate stylus pressure guage can aid me,but I'm not holding my breath.
BTW,who am I to doubt if any of you guys can obtain this!!Sorry for my arrogance,here.It has just been SO damn hard to get this parameter "really right" for me,the way I "need" to hear it,as well as another frustrated audio pal of mine,that I don't want to have the "I can recognize it's a piccolo",confused with "WOW,listen to that breathy timbre,and natural TOOT,on that darn piccolo".There IS a difference!That difference seperates really great musical reproduction from merely very good.Trust me.All of my variables,as to other components are in order.Cables etc.It's a "tracking/voicing/intricate setting" thing.Of that I am sure!If the Orpheus can ameliorate this,for me,I will consider myself set,in this hobby.
Boy,I'm getting carried away,and I'm sorry,but ponder this piccolo business when some of you fine 'philes are fotzing around with voicing.It can be a big help,over time.
No, the Supreme was an earlier cartridge with an aluminum tube cantilever and silver coil wire. The sound was very pleasant in the midrange, but the top end was a little "papery" (sorry, that is the only way I can think of to describe it, like a paper-cone driver trying to go too high up) The first couple years of production of the V (boron cantilever, back to copper wire) had permalloy coil formers, then came the W with ss-u (mu) material, then the V was changed to this material and gained about .1mV output, plus improved sound. I also did have two of the older supremes which, as you state, were nice at the time, but not in the same league as the v/w, and probably not quite as refined (though slightly more natural sounding) as the original AF-1. Over the years I have also tried numerous Benz' and Koetsu's, Spectral, aq7000, audionote, linn, kiseki...all the way back to the first cartridge that "opened my ears" back in the early '70's and actually got this cartridge passion started (after several empire's), the microacoustics (1001? 2002? or something...that was over 30 years ago). Never had a supex and missed the real early m/c revolution, as, even though there was a lot more info, the tonal balance just sounded too much "audiophile" (as I would now call it) and not enough like what I heard at the concert hall (sounded more like the sports arena...). Since the V/W series, though, I have been pretty settled in the Transfig camp, as just about everything else, no matter how great the positives, has too many negatives, usually a veering away from the timbral accuracy that got me there in the first place. On certain recordings, I long for the seductive sound of the Koetsu Rosewood Sig. Platinum, but that is mostly the need for a band-aid. Before the Orpheus, I also found myself thinking the explosive dynamics of the Magic Diamond would be nice, but, again, there seem to be phase/timing things going on with most of the yoked cartridges that bug me more and more over the years, as I get more and more used to hearing the Transfigs.

The piccolos I heard on the dealer setup. All the other comparisons are based on listening to my own Orpheus, which I have had since April, in my own system. My own system is quite a bit higher res than the dealer's (again, why the passage caught my attention), though, I have to say, I was very impressed with how musical that system sounded, considering its (relatively) modest (ok, let's face it, how nuts does this make us?) cost. Just haven't listened to anything with loud piccolo passages (not something I often listen for/to) on my own system. Though I will, now, just out of curiosity.
Thanks. Will do.
I don't want to have the "I can recognize it's a piccolo",confused with "WOW,listen to that breathy timbre,and natural TOOT,on that darn piccolo".

Speedy - yes exactly. Piccolos (and flutes) have their timbre - and that of breath across a hole in *metal* is unique and not quite as sweet as wood. Bodies can be wood or metal. I agree it is indeed tougher to catch the breathy quality of a piccolo versus, say,a flute. IMO, getting that breathy quality right also means getting the timing and microdynamics right, especially on passages as the one I cited. Tonality alone goes a long way though I believe the 'quality of the real' rolls up dynamics, timing, and tonality. We can dissect and analyze, but it is the synthetic capacity of both musician and system that delivers the magic.

Until I get off the pot and decide on a cartridge, my system will remain, as you say, 'merely very good'. This discussion of the Orpheus makes it sooo tantalizing. Thanks to Nsgarch amd Bc3 for your insights.
Now about those piccolos: I just listened to the LennyB/NYP Tai-Chi 4th/3rd piccolito passage(s) with my W -- sounded excellent, and I found it enabled me to dial-in the AS even closer.

I don't know what recording led to the comments above, but Lenny must've had a hell of a time finding piccolo players in NY that year, there couldn't have been more than six pics on my recording, but it was enough to hear what y'all are talking about.


SME V arm
Goldmund Studietto TT w/ sorbothane PandaPaws (no springs)

VTF = 1.95 gm
AS = 1 (gm? on the SME dial)
Silicone damping = minimum, 1 or 2 threads on the dipstick

Glad to see some glowing testimonicles finally surfacing for the Trannies -- it's about time ;--)

Tim -- so are you saying we should keep our cartridges and spend the money on pot?
SORBOTHANE PANDA PAWS!!Only in this hobby-:) I DO love it!!

You know,I am not making any attempts to be a contrarian,or doubter,but I simply must take the "on paper" superiority of ANY product with a good grain of salt.
Clearly,I like the Temper-v alot,yet I simply won't dismiss some of the other designs,as not being equal,or maybe better(and I'm not talking about technical superiority).That goes for the Orpheus too,and in all likelyhood I will probably get an "O",this fall/winter.
Even if I do decide to obtain one,and find it sensational,it still does not equate to a better musical performance,as compared to cartridge A,B,or C,provided they are employed in a proper set-up.Too much good stuff out there,and how "smug" is it to feel something one owns,is the "best"!There is always something better,or "competitively viable" in the right system.BTW,please don't think I am speaking to anyone in particular.I'm making a generalization.
Sorry,but I have actually heard some systems,consisting of older/outdated(supposedly)stuff that was directly competitive with what we "think" is the "latest",or "best"!
This happened to me at the VTV show in Jersey,this summer.I had mentioned this on some little thread,with my usual overblown word length(hey,I'm bored).The particular demo was actually a "private" room,whose occupier was at the show,simply to give a lecture on the joys of reel to reel tape play.
This wonderfully entertaining fellow(Charles King)was having some pals in his room,to hear some 7" reels he acquired,from a collection.Jazz,opera.
His demo system was simply a 10 wpc rebuilt/modded Dyna tube amp,with a MAGNIFICENT Stellavox re-built/modded(Mr King mods these "treasures")reel to reel.Think Leica,as to how these tiny "more gorgeous than Nagra" looking tape front ends appear!WOW!
The speakers were two way,small monitors.Custom built,and an actual clone of the Rogers LS3/5A!!
Of course nobody knows my own tastes,but virtually everyone stumbling into this "unofficial" room was "Floored",by the presentation of a huge,deep,incredibly dynamic(really surprising),and tonally amazing sonic experience.I swear,it was in the top two or three sounding set-ups I have ever heard.
Nobody left that room,once they sat down.Really!!Most of the folks coming in,were actually exhibitors,themselves.ALL were absolutely amazed.AND ALL mentioned that this was "special"!!
A little "nothing" system,costing little,and SMOKING stuff listing at over 100 "thou"!Hmm!
Sorry for my rant(not really),but it's just a point,to consider.Specs mean "nada"!techno dribble means "nada"!Yes,it's important,but it only goes SO far!!Also,anybody thinking his/her system is the best they have ever heard,really needs to get out,and hear more systems.Privately owned ones!
Good tape always kills other sources, especially if they have access to master dubs. This was an old David Manley trick at shows, who used to have access to a lot of 1st gen. dubs. Also, the little, well-put-together systems at shows have always, in my opinion, outshone the big-bucks, big-size systems. Those little hotel rooms just do not work with full-size gear and the hi-res nature of of the speakers becomes their worst enemy. A well-balanced, musical small system just always comes as huge relief after walking around being assaulted by massive, hi-res stuff that was never meant for a 12x16 room.

Surprisingly, even those crappy 7" commercial, high-speed, mass-produced tapes from the 60's and 70's that you see occasionally in the odd record store, are really good, even though they are a bit limited in the upper frequencies. They have a smoothness and naturalness that the best LP playback is just beginning to approach in the last few years with these new generations of tables, arms and carts. But, if you think finding good old records is tough...try finding old tapes, which also have the drawback of deterioration and breaking. Still, with the kind of bucks guys are now spending on tt's, you could put together and have rebuilt some of the great old Studers, Stellavox, and Ampex tube machines that, with a good tape, will make our beloved tt's sound pretty lame.

Heresy of heresies...I think this might be an area where there is hope for the future in digital, once they can deliver very high bandwidth (much higher than now) recordings over the cable. I heard some 1st gen master dubs off a hard drive last year that really made me rethink my constant disdain for the "digital devil."