In the world of high-end audio, where sonic excellence meets exquisite craftsmanship, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD emerges as a formidable contender. As the calendar flips to November, the rainy season returns, and audiophiles find solace in the soothing notes of their favorite records. Among the myriad of turntables available, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD stands out not just for its remarkable sonic prowess but also for its unique packaging. This complete high-end turntable solution includes a drive, tonearm, and cartridge. This comprehensive review delves deep into the heart of the Strato Nero TMD, dissecting its design, engineering marvels, and, most importantly, its performance to unravel the secrets behind its enduring appeal.
Crafted with precision and care, the Strato Nero TMD is more than just a turntable; it’s a masterpiece of design and engineering. In a world where modularity often defines turntable offerings, the Strato takes a different route, presenting itself as a complete package with a fixed drive, tonearm, and cartridge. Priced at 20,000 euros, it embodies the pinnacle of Transrotor’s artistry and innovation. In this detailed exploration, we will unravel the layers of the Strato Nero TMD, from its construction and materials to its extraordinary Magnetic Drive (TMD) system and the accompanying tonearm and cartridge, providing a comprehensive understanding of what sets this high-end turntable apart from the rest.
- Model: Transrotor Strato
- Concept: belt-driven turntable with three motors, including Transrotor TRA-9 tonearm and MC Figaro system
- Price: 20,000 euros
- Version: Frame acrylic-aluminum-acrylic sandwich construction, black or white; Turntable made of POM (“Nero”) or acrylic (“Bianco”)
- Dimensions & weight: 46 × 43 × 22 cm (WxDxH including hood), 28 kilograms
- Other: Speeds: 33.3 and 45 rpm, adjustable speed range, magnetic bearing “TMD”, three decoupled motors
- Warranty: 2 years
Design and Build Quality:
The Strato Nero TMD boasts a three-layered frame constructed from acrylic and aluminum. This design minimizes resonances and contributes to its elegant appearance. The use of polyoxymethylene (POM) adds to its robust build. The turntable comes with Transrotor’s proprietary Magnetic Drive (TMD) system, which employs three synchronous motors for stability and minimal fluctuations. The Konstant FMD power supply ensures precise speed control, and the Strato Nero TMD offers speeds of 33 1/3 and 45 rpm.
Tonearm Transrotor TRA 9: Transrotor manufactures its tonearms, including the TRA 9, a nine-inch model. This tonearm features a unique height adjustment mechanism and precise tracking force adjustments. Its azimuth and anti-skating mechanisms provide flexibility and accuracy, ensuring optimal cartridge alignment. The TRA 9’s coherent impulse reproduction enhances the authenticity of acoustic instruments.
The System: Transrotor MC Figaro: The Strato Nero TMD comes with the Transrotor MC Figaro cartridge, renowned for its neutrality and versatility. Its performance serves as an indicator of the Strato’s capabilities.
The Transrotor Strato Nero TMD turntable is a pinnacle of technical excellence in high-end audio. Its design and engineering showcase a meticulous attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to delivering superior performance. Let’s explore the technical aspects that contribute to its excellence:
1. Three-Layered Construction: The Strato Nero TMD’s construction begins with a three-layered frame, combining two-centimeter-thick acrylic plates with a three-centimeter-thick aluminum plate in the middle. This innovative design minimizes resonances by exploiting these materials’ different sound propagation speeds. The result is a stable and vibration-resistant platform that forms the foundation of the turntable’s performance.
2. Transrotor Magnetic Drive (TMD): At the heart of the Strato Nero TMD’s technical prowess is its patented Transrotor Magnetic Drive (TMD) bearing system. This hydrodynamic, two-part bearing is responsible for supporting and stabilizing the platter. It employs magnetic force to ensure minimal flutter and speed fluctuations, leading to incredibly precise rotational stability. This innovative approach to bearing design is a testament to Transrotor’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of turntable technology.
3. Triple Synchronous Motors: Unlike many turntables that rely on a single motor, the Strato Nero TMD features three synchronous motors. This setup provides higher torque and a more stable drive and compensates for any remaining speed variations. These motors are ingeniously mounted on an aluminum block, further isolated from the turntable’s structure using rubber dampers, effectively decoupling them from the drive.
4. Premium Power Supply: To ensure the optimal performance of the multiple motors, the Strato Nero TMD comes with the Transrotor’s largest power supply, the “Konstant FMD.” This power supply offers precise speed control at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM, with up to +/- 5% fine adjustments. The attention to detail extends to speed options, with no “shellac tempo” of 78 RPM, reflecting the turntable’s focus on audiophile-grade vinyl playback.
5. Precision Tonearm: The Strato Nero TMD features the Transrotor TRA 9 tonearm, designed and built by Transrotor itself. This nine-inch tonearm incorporates steel and ceramic ball bearings for smooth and precise tracking. Notably, it provides a meticulous solution for adjusting the tracking force, using knurled screws and additional counterweight options for accommodating various cartridge systems.
6. Premium Tonearm Cables: The tonearm is equipped with pure silver conductors from van den Hul, ensuring the highest possible signal integrity. The connection to the phono preamp is established through a classic 5-pin plug. The inclusion of high-quality tonearm cables further enhances the turntable’s technical excellence.
7. Exceptional Build Quality: The Strato Nero TMD exhibits top-tier build quality beyond its advanced components. It is crafted from special plastic POM (polyoxymethylene), which offers excellent mechanical properties and durability. The turntable’s precision engineering and meticulous craftsmanship ensure that every component functions seamlessly together, contributing to its overall technical excellence.
In summary, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD is a remarkable achievement in turntable technology. Its technical excellence is evident in its innovative construction, the Transrotor Magnetic Drive bearing system, multiple synchronous motors, a premium power supply, and a precision tonearm. This turntable represents the pinnacle of analog playback, offering audiophiles a level of unmatched performance in its ability to faithfully reproduce the nuances and subtleties of vinyl recordings.
The Transrotor Strato Nero TMD boasts an array of functions and features that contribute to its exceptional performance and user experience. Let’s delve into some of its key functions:
- Three-Motor Drive System: At the heart of the Strato Nero TMD lies its innovative three-motor drive system. This setup provides higher torque and stability compared to traditional single-motor configurations. Moreover, the trio of motors helps to compensate for any remaining speed fluctuations, resulting in a more stable and accurate rotation of the platter. Each motor drives the sub-platter via its round belt, ensuring precise control over the rotational speed.
- Magnetic Drive (TMD): The Strato Nero TMD features Transrotor’s proprietary Magnetic Drive (TMD) system for its bearing. This hydrodynamic bearing consists of two parts: a lower section driven by the three motors and an upper section upon which the turntable rests. The magnetic coupling between these sections reduces even the smallest fluctuations in the drive, resulting in exceptionally low flutter values. The TMD system significantly contributes to the turntable’s precise and stable performance.
- High-Quality Power Supply: To ensure the motors receive a clean and stable power supply, the Strato Nero TMD comes with the Transrotor’s “Konstant FMD” power supply. This advanced power supply allows for precise speed control at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM, with fine adjustments of up to +/- 5%. This feature ensures that your records playback at the correct speed, crucial for audiophile listening.
- Transrotor TRA 9 Tonearm: The Strato Nero TMD comes equipped with the Transrotor TRA 9 Tonearm. This nine-inch tonearm features meticulous craftsmanship and thoughtful design elements. It incorporates a steel ball bearing for horizontal movement and a ceramic ball bearing for vertical movement, ensuring smooth and precise tracking. The tonearm also provides adjustable counterweights for precise tracking force adjustment and azimuth control.
- Cartridge Compatibility: While the Strato Nero TMD includes a Transrotor MC Figaro cartridge in its package, its tonearm is designed to be compatible with other high-end cartridges. This flexibility allows users to fine-tune their analog setup to match their preferences and explore various cartridges to optimize sound quality.
- Detailed Resolution: The Strato Nero TMD excels in delivering exceptional resolution, capturing the nuances and subtleties of your vinyl records. It can reveal fine details, textures, and subtle tonal variations, allowing you to immerse yourself in the intricacies of your favorite music.
- Impressive Soundstage: One of the standout features of the Strato Nero TMD is its ability to create a spacious and well-defined soundstage. With excellent depth and width, it reproduces a three-dimensional sonic landscape that breathes life into your music collection, making it more immersive and engaging.
- Neutral and Linear Sound Signature: The Strato Nero TMD is celebrated for its neutral and linear signature. It faithfully reproduces the recordings without adding coloration or bias, making it an ideal choice for audiophiles who prioritize accuracy and transparency in their audio playback.
In summary, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD is not just a turntable; it’s a meticulously engineered audio instrument with various functions and features that contribute to its exceptional performance, making it a prized possession for discerning audiophiles.
Listening Test and Comparisons:
The Strato stands out compared to other turntables in its price range, such as the SME Model 15A and the Clearaudio Reference Jubilee. It delivers a linear and broad tonal response, exploring the frequency spectrum’s extremes. Its bass is solid and well-defined, while the upper treble exhibits airiness. The Strato’s spatial representation is impressive, with a deep, dark background enhancing instrument separation. It excels in reproducing the attack phase of musical notes and maintains coherence in impulse reproduction.
Resolution and Sound Textures: The Strato exhibits exceptional resolution, particularly in the attack phase of musical notes. It excels at capturing small details and nuances in recordings, enhancing the listening experience.
The sound quality of the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD turntable is nothing short of remarkable, characterized by a combination of precise accuracy, rich tonality, and a captivating three-dimensional soundstage. Let’s explore its sound quality and how it performs in a sound test.
1. Accuracy and Neutrality: One of the standout features of the Strato Nero TMD is its remarkable accuracy and neutrality. It faithfully reproduces the original recordings without imposing any coloration or distortion. This neutrality allows you to hear your vinyl records exactly as they were intended to sound by the artists and producers. Every instrument, vocal, and detail is presented with exceptional transparency, making it an ideal choice for audiophiles who value authenticity in their music playback.
2. Wide Frequency Response: The turntable reproduces a wide frequency range, precisely capturing the deepest lows and the highest highs. This extended frequency response is evident when listening to music genres that demand an expansive dynamic range, such as classical orchestral pieces and electronic compositions. The low bass notes are solid and well-defined, while the high frequencies sparkle with clarity and airiness.
3. Impressive Resolution: The Strato Nero TMD can render fine details and subtle nuances in the music. When listening to well-recorded vinyl, you’ll notice intricate textures in instruments and vocals that may have previously gone unnoticed. This level of resolution allows for a more immersive and engaging listening experience as you discover new layers of detail with each play.
4. Tight and Agile Bass: The turntable’s performance is noteworthy. It delivers bass frequencies with tightness and agility, making it well-suited for genres like electronica, rock, and jazz. Bass lines are articulate and punchy, providing a solid foundation for the music without ever feeling bloated or loose.
5. Three-Dimensional Soundstage: The Strato Nero TMD’s ability to create a three-dimensional soundstage is truly captivating. When listening to music, you’ll perceive a sense of space and depth that places you amid the performance. It allows instruments and vocals to be precisely positioned within the soundstage, enhancing realism and immersion.
6. Impulse and Timing: The turntable exhibits impressive impulse response and timing accuracy. This means it excels in delivering the initial attack of musical notes with precision and coherence. Whether it’s the plucking of a guitar string or the striking of a piano key, the Strato Nero TMD captures these moments with exceptional timing, contributing to a lifelike and engaging musical experience.
The Strato Nero TMD would excel in showcasing its strengths across various music genres in a sound test. For classical music, it would reveal the nuances of orchestral instruments and the spatial cues of a concert hall. In rock and pop, it would render vocals and electric guitars with clarity and energy. Electronic music would reproduce intricate basslines and synthesizer textures with precision.
Overall, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD is a turntable that doesn’t just play music; it elevates the listening experience by faithfully reproducing the essence and emotion of the recordings. Its sound quality is a testament to the meticulous engineering and craftsmanship that have gone into its design, making it a top choice for audiophiles who demand the highest level of sonic excellence from their analog playback system.
The Transrotor Strato Nero TMD Turntable is a testament to the pinnacle of turntable engineering and craftsmanship. It is a true audiophile’s dream, offering exceptional sound quality, technical excellence, and meticulous build quality. With its innovative three-layered construction and the patented Transrotor Magnetic Drive bearing system, it provides a listening experience that is both precise and coherent. The Strato Nero TMD’s ability to reproduce music with accuracy and detail and its remarkable spatial precision place it among the finest turntables in its class. Its unique square frame and elegant design further enhance its appeal, making it a visual statement in addition to an auditory one.
However, it’s important to note that the Strato Nero TMD has a premium price tag and may not be accessible to all audiophiles. Its complex setup and limited customization options might deter those who prefer a more straightforward plug-and-play experience or enjoy experimenting with different components. Nevertheless, for those who seek uncompromising sound quality and are willing to invest in a turntable that delivers a truly exceptional listening experience, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD Turntable stands as an alluring and top-tier choice in the world of analog audio playback.
Reasons to Buy the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD Turntable:
- Exceptional Sound Quality: If you’re an audiophile seeking the highest sound quality from your vinyl collection, the Strato Nero TMD delivers an audiophile-grade listening experience. Its precision engineering, magnetic drive bearing system, and multiple motors ensure accurate playback with outstanding clarity and detail.
- Technical Excellence: The Strato Nero TMD is a technical marvel with its innovative three-layered construction, patented Transrotor Magnetic Drive bearing system, and precision tonearm. It represents the pinnacle of turntable technology, making it a desirable choice for those who appreciate engineering excellence.
- Meticulous Build Quality: Crafted from high-quality materials like acrylic, aluminum, and POM, this turntable is built to last. Its robust construction and attention to detail ensure longevity and reliable performance.
- Coherent and Accurate Sound: The Strato Nero TMD delivers a coherent and precise soundstage. It reproduces instruments and vocals with accuracy that appeals to those who value a faithful representation of their vinyl records.
- Spatial Precision: This turntable stands out in its ability to create a three-dimensional and well-defined soundstage. It offers excellent separation between instruments and an immersive listening experience.
- Unique Design: If aesthetics matter to you, the Strato Nero TMD’s unique square frame and elegant design make it a visually striking addition to any audio setup. It’s available in both black and white finishes to match your preference.
Reasons Not to Buy the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD Turntable:
- High Price: The Strato Nero TMD comes with a premium price tag, which may be out of reach for many audiophiles. If budget constraints are a concern, more affordable turntable options that still provide excellent sound quality are available.
- Complex Setup: Setting up the Strato Nero TMD may require some technical expertise. If you’re uncomfortable fine-tuning and calibrating a turntable, you may need assistance or prefer a simpler plug-and-play solution.
- Minimal Customization: Unlike some turntables that allow for extensive customization of components, the Strato Nero TMD comes as a complete package with a fixed tonearm and cartridge. If you enjoy experimenting with different cartridges and tonearms, this may limit your options.
- Not for Casual Listeners: This turntable is designed for serious audiophiles who demand the best sound quality. If you’re a casual listener or just getting into vinyl, you may not fully appreciate the level of performance it offers.
In conclusion, the Transrotor Strato Nero TMD Turntable is an exceptional choice for audiophiles prioritize sound quality, technical excellence, and craftsmanship. However, its high cost and technical setup requirements may not suit everyone. It’s a significant investment that pays off for those who demand the utmost fidelity in their vinyl playback experience.
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