From the DIAPASON Review
The best transformer ever?
The price of a very good CD-player for
a simple MC-transformer! Crazy, you'll say.
A product like this is certainly only made
for audiophiles or hi-fi maniacs dedicated
to vinyl, possessing an excellent turntable
or even an excellent preamplifier. In fact
we are speaking about a transformer of rare
qualities, made for cartridges with low
impedance like i. ex. Ortofon. We have made
the test with a cartridge of Shindo Laboratory
mounted on a Shindo tonearm, amplification
was Shindo preamp "Catherine" and Shindo
poweramp "300B Limited" with Tannoy "Gold"
speakers of the first generation. We compared
the transformer to some of highest reputation
(Shindo "Arome", Ortofon MC 3000, new Denon
After two months of audition we were
sure that there is no way back, never before
we had listened this way...
Without exaggeration we can say that
it was simply the rediscovering of our vinyl
collection, in fact this transformer literally
transcends the cartridge. It serves a tone
unbelievable open, dynamically and musically.
The listening becomes a moving experience.
In comparison to the competitors like the
Shindo "Arome" or the Ortofon 3000, the
Hommage T1 gives the impression instruments
have more physical realism, the touch of
the pianist is more distinctive, the play
more mighty, vivid, expressive. The wonderful
recording of Tchaikovski's Concerto for
Violin with Szering and Haitink (Philips)
makes one believe in a better reading of
the cartridge that extracts information
never being heard before.
Fortissimos enfold unlimited and without
diminution of the orchestral image, almost
without dynamical limitations, the limit
of saturation appears as being moved extremely
high. The other transformers - as excellent
as they are - give the impression the music
is losing respiration, swing, extension,
suddenly appears more static, less nuanced
(shading?), more flat in rhythm and expansion
- briefly said, the music seems likewise
poorer and less arranged.
Of course, it requires a system and especially
a preamp that is capable of making the differences
audible. But for sure this transformer is
a milestone and joins at the first onset
the mythic products in the history of hi-fidelity.
For us it is not only the best transformer,
it also means a new definition of the musical
possibilities in analog reproduction. The
one regret: it's made only for cartridges
with low impedance, let's hope that Ortofon
will keep on the production for a long time.
Jean Marie Piel, Paris
Diapason March 2006