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Homage T1 Transformer

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 "pro").

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

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Tone Imports is the North American Importer and Distributor for AcousticPlan, Auditorium 23, EMT, Leben Hi-Fi, LigoLab, Line Magnetic Audio, Sentec, and Shindo Labs