It’s been a good end-of-the-year for both the Timestep EVOke turntable and the Transfiguration Proteus MC phono cartridge. The former has just featured in The Vinyl Factory’s 15 Best Turntables of 2016, while the latter was recently put through its paces by Jason Kennedy for Hi-Fi Plus and earned a glowing review.
Once again, these two high performers have been honoured by audiophiles-in-the know, this time by the discerning team of buffs at Hi-Fi World magazine.
Each year the magazine’s expert review team tests hundreds of the world’s finest hi-fi products to tease out the best from the rest. “Inevitably, some shine just a little brighter than others – be it for sheer sound quality, great innovation or simply outstanding value for money.” Those bright-shiners are the 11 gems that you’ll find in this year’s Hi-Fi World Product of the Year Awards.
Best turntable: Timestep EVOke
“How do you make Technics’ latest SL-1200 GAE direct drive turntable even better?” asked the magazinne’s editor Noel Keywood in the September 2016 issue. “Simple – give it a UK makeover courtesy of the experts at Timestep.”
And not for the first time, since Devon-based Timestep has already earned quite a reputation for its intelligent (and fully sanctioned) modifications of various iconic Technics decks.
So, out went the Technics tonearm and in came an excellent SME IV arm in its place, topped with an Audio Technica AT33PTG/II MC cartridge. Meanwhile the on-board switch-mode power supply was replaced with Timestep’s own external liner unit.
“The upgrades elevate the Technics to something special,” writes Keywood. “What’s apparent is a great sense of force to the sound, underpinned by superb timing… a turntable of fabulous performance in all areas which also looks magnificent and is easy to use. It really could not be much better.”
Find out more about the Timestep EVOke
Best cartridge: Transfiguration Proteus
The flagship of Transfiguration’s small but stunningly crafted range of phono cartridges, the “moving coil marvel that is the Proteus,” was reviewed by Paul Rigby in Hi-Fi World’s May 2016 issue. Hand-crafted in Japan, its innovative design completely restructures the conventional moving coil concept resulting in a cartridge that has been described as being among the world’s most musically engaging.
The Proteus “gave a scrupulous and trustworthy account of the music contained in vinyl’s grooves.” “At all times the Proteus was inventive and incisive in terms of extracting detail from even the most complex of tracks, bringing out the textural quality of instruments.”
“An absolute delight,” concluded Rigby.
For full details of the Product of the Year Awards and to read the complete reviews of all award-winners, pick a copy of the January 2017 issue of Hi-Fi World.