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Transrotor JR Tamino

14.07.2017 // Dirk Sommer

With its top-of-the-range models, Transrotor also internationally plays a prominent role in the highest league of analogue playback. However, to this date there hasn’t been a cartridge matching the high-end turntables in the company’s portfolio. The JR Tamino now has come to change this.

Of course, the analogue specialists from the traditional region of the so-called Bergisches Land did not build up their own cartridge manufacture for this purpose, but instead developed a corresponding model, according to their very own preferences, in close cooperation with a renowned cartridge manufacturer as they already did with the impressive Figaro model. The Figaro emerged from Jochen and Dirk Räke’s collaboration with Goldring, the JR Tamino from that with Yoshiaki Matsudeira, head and owner of My Sonic Lab. With all his creations brought to the market under the brand name of My Sonic Lab as well as Air Tight, Matsudeira san has been extremely successful in keeping the internal resistance of the generator as small as possible, but still providing a comparatively powerful output voltage at the cartridge’s connector pins. A low internal resistance is usually used with a small number of coil windings, consequently only being able to generate a voltage of a similar low level. However, the JR Tamino does not follow this stereotype: it is said to deliver powerful 0.5 μV to the phono preamp. This is made possible on the one hand by extremely strong neodymium magnets and on the other hand by a coil carrier made of a material with high permeability. Matsudeira san traditionally uses the SH-μX material, which was especially developed for My Sonic Lab. The JR Tamino’s cantilever is made out of a thin boron rod, while the My Lab models use duraluminum. At this stage Dirk Räke did not want to disclose any further technical details. Perhaps, some more information can be snatched during the official debut on the forthcoming High End show. And, also the representative packaging of the cartridge will be showcased there for the first time: While the Figaro dazzled in a matt aluminum, the JR Tamino will brightly shine in a golden finish..

The body and the black mounting plate consist of aluminum alloys of different sound transmission speeds
The body and the black mounting plate consist of aluminum alloys of different sound transmission speeds

The cartridge arrived at Gröbenzell in a simple plastic box, but perfectly burnt-in, as Dirk Räke assured. In the absence of any further technical information, I have no other choice but simply collect some experience while listening to the JR Tamino: I really can imagine a starting point to be much worse. Taking the cantilever as line of reference the well-thought-out allignment gauge of the Thales Simplicity allows for an almost perfect positioning of the Transrotor cartridge in the headshell. In this case, one couldn’t do much wrong in orienting oneself on the straight front of the body, as it happens to many tonearms when there isn’t a special adjustment tool: the cantilever is exactly centered and forms a right angle with the aforementioned edge of the body. While adjusting with the Thales gauge it is noticeable that the cantilever of the JR Tamino is quite short and relatively thin. Not only the few coil windings, but also the short boron rod help to keep the moving mass low, creating the best conditions for a dynamic playback.

But what strikes me during the first minutes of Art Farmer and Jim Hall’s Big Blues, is not dynamics. The quintet featuring flugelhorn, vibraphone, guitar, bass and drums performs utmost colourful and luscious. The horn shines golden while having the necessary snap when requested, and, it richly exudes its inherent energy. No doubt, in such moments the speed of the JR Tamino flares up. But, it never does stand out from the immense homogeneous and coherent presentation. Here and now, the Transrotor cartridge already reminds me of the great Lyra Atlas, which just sounds "right" when you hear it for the first time, before you then gradually start to realize that only by achieving best performances in all disciplines of musical playback this state-of-the-art level can be reached. But while the Atlas strives for absolute neutrality and avoids even the slightest deviation from the linear path of virtue, the JR Tamino adorns himself with a touch of warmth and does not deny his preference for rich and vigorous colours in the least. While for the Atlas veraciousness seems to be the highest ideal, the Tamino reveals itself rather as a hedonist. But these differences in character do not alter the fact that the two are among the best four or five cartridges I ever have been able to enjoy.

The cantilever is made from boron
The cantilever is made from boron

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