tests/20-11-03_transrotor
 
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Transrotor TRA 9

18.11.2020 // Dirk Sommer

In the United States, the sales figures of vinyl records recently came to exceed those of CDs again: Are we living in the golden age of analogue now? Not really: Jelco stopped their tonearm production at short notice and even the arms of a traditional British manufacturer are not available as they used to be. But a ray of hope comes from the city of Bergisch Gladbach in Germany: Transrotor reached the point of manufacturing the TRA 9.

However, that would be as surprising as positive news even in times when there wouldn't be any problem regarding the availability of tonearms from other manufacturers: Next year, Transrotor founder Jochen Räke will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his company, the Räke HiFi/Vertriebs GmbH (Räke Hi-Fi/Distribution Ltd.). At the very beginning, he designed and built his turntables on his own and for quite some time now, together with his team. They are not only sonically convincing, but also stand out against the mass of competitors due to their design, a fact that is also proven by numerous appearances of his creations in German film and television productions. Up to now, Jochen and Dirk Räke, who has steered the fate of Transrotor with his father for the past twelve years or so, have limited themselves to turntables alone. They equipped these decks ex works with tonearms from the two manufacturers aforementioned, who also produced special versions of their arms for Transrotor. But it was not only the daily interaction with these arms that made them gain a lot of experience. Dirk Räke, who is responsible for the set-up and adjustment of their state-of-the-art models Artus FMD and Argos - priced, by the way, in the six-figure range - at the request of customers worldwide, has also had a lot of equally exotic and extremely expensive tonearms in his hands for installing them on the respective Transrotor models. Among them appeared some rarities, which the author would have also liked to play with...

The bearing block has a large flat surface at the top so that a spirit level can be placed on it for adjustment. The two threaded rods are used for sensitive height adjustment during set-up
The bearing block has a large flat surface at the top so that a spirit level can be placed on it for adjustment. The two threaded rods are used for sensitive height adjustment during set-up

When father and son realized about two years ago that they might get into difficulties with at least one of their tonearm suppliers, they took the decision to design their own arm. As already mentioned, there was neither lack of practical experience with the best arms in the world nor lack of relevant knowledge and access to most modern production methods. Ease of use, simple adjustment and a certain mass were the requirements that Jochen Räke wrote on top of the specifications sheet. In addition to father and son Räke, it was Lars Hornung who played a not inconsiderable role in the development of the arm. By the way, the designer - like his three male and female colleagues at that time - already worked for Transrotor at the time of my first visit to Bergisch Gladbach in February 2001. So, there seems to be hardly any fluctuation of employees here.

After loosening the upper knurled screw, the counterweight can be moved by means of the central screw so finely, that the tracking force can be set exactly to the second decimal place. The chrome-plated brass weights can be exchanged for weights with different masses, if necessary
After loosening the upper knurled screw, the counterweight can be moved by means of the central screw so finely, that the tracking force can be set exactly to the second decimal place. The chrome-plated brass weights can be exchanged for weights with different masses, if necessary


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