pl | en


(two motors)

Price (in Poland): 45 000 PLN

Contact: Räke Hifi/Vertrieb GmbH
Irlenfelder Weg 43 | D-51467
Bergisch Gladbach | Deutschland


Provided for test by: NAUTILUS

here is something in the audio world, that resembles the exchange of thoughts, mutual inspiration, peeking to the "other side". I have already written about it, but repeating it doesn't hurt, it is necessary to know that this industry is no different from other areas of human creativity in which artistry and craft are combined, such as architecture, fashion, design, etc. When in Munich at the High End 2017 show I saw the latest turntable by TRANSROTOR, called Massimo, I placed it in my head in line with such exceptional competitors as: Thorens Prestige and Micro Seiki RX-1500, along with its latest incarnation, the TechDAS Air Force Three.

This type of idea circulation is normal and healthy, because it allows for testing best solutions and their slow refinement. The Massimo model seems not to be just a development of what we are talking about, but rather a creative reinterpretation in the spirit of Transrotor, using the tools and solutions inherent to this company. The basic idea is to use as heavy platter as possible on the smallest possible chassis, which, however, allows mounting up to four tonearms. The latter enforces the use of a square contour with four support points, which are also places for mounting arm-booms.


The requirements in question translate into the very characteristic shape of the Massimo turntable. Its base is a thick, 60-mm chromium-plated brass block, supported on four feet. In the middle it features the best bearing in the arsenal of this manufacturer, a beautiful, large model TMD (Transrotor Magnetic Drive). It consists of two main parts: the lower part, which is a classic bearing with a ceramic ball mounted on a long spindle and the upper one on which the platter is placed. The upper part is actually two separate rolls, separated from each other by a magnetic field and moving independently. They connect only with the spindle, the keeps everything vertical. As the drive belt is placed over the lower roll, the vibrations from the engine are not transferred to the top roll, and thus to the platter.

The almost 80 mm high, weighing 16 kg aluminum platter looks very massive. A vinyl rigid mat is applied on top, and the records is pressed down with a heavy clamp. Those booms on which the arms are mounted are screwed to the rods that extend from the axis of the legs. Each of the four tonearms can have a length of 9, 10 or 12 ". The base looks extremely "combat-ready" - it is compact and "strong". The turntable is driven by means of a stand-alone motor placed next to it. This element is also quite complicated, because the engine itself is locked inside a large, heavy, chromed cylinder, placed on a special aluminum base. The base is decoupled from the ground with four spikes. From the top one places an element that overlaps the axis with the shaft.

One of the features of Massimo is that one can use two motors with it. Readers of "High Fidelity" might be familiar with a similar solution – as the ZET 3 (New Version) and ZET 3 Infinity from the same manufacturer also could feature two engines. You may also remember the three-engine version of the Acoustic Signature Thunder. This solution achieves both, an increase of the torque and even load of the platter, that when driven by one motor is naturally pulled towards it through a rubber belt.

In order for two or three motors to work properly with each other, i.e. for them to be synchronized, a special power supply is required. Transrotor designed such PS for the Massimo – it is called Konstant FMD Massimo. It allows connecting up to three motors (the third one can be set at the back of the deck) and a special switch, which looks like a throttle shaft in airplanes, something known for example from Tourbillon FMD turntable. The power supply has the shape of a long cuboid made of heat sinks, to which a chromed front was screwed featuring a large, convenient to use knob. It is used to change the rotational speed, indicated by the color of the LED (blue = 33.3 | white = 45 rpm).

The system looks great. This is one of those Transrotor turntables that inspires confidence from the first sight. It works absolutely noiselessly, and at the output of the phonostage I couldn't hear any hum, even when listening using HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 headphones. It is one of the quietest turntables I have ever encountered. Since the tonearm with the cartridge is placed high above the motor, and the latter is additionally shielded with the said "masking" element, there is not even a hint of hum, when the arm is in the rest position - something that was a bit bothersome in the twin-motor version of the ZET 3 (New Version).

The turntable was placed on the top shelf of my Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack. The Transrotor is so wide that it requires almost one meter of space, especially if you want to place its power supply next to it. Massimo featured black TR 5009 tonearm, with is a selected version of SME 309. I used Miyajima Labs Madake and Zero, plus Denon DL-103 cartridges. The latter was fitted with MusiKraft AL-S body – I actually used this turntable to test this body for Denon. The signal from pickups was amplified by RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC and Grandinote Celio phonostages.

TRANSROTOR in “High Fidelity”
  • REVIEW: Transrotor ZET 3 INFINITY (system) – turntable
  • REVIEW: Transrotor DARK STAR SILVER SHADOW – turntable, see HERE (Polish)
  • REVIEW: Transrotor ZET 3 (New Version) – turntable (twin motor version), see HERE
  • REVIEW: Transrotor ZET 1 MATT WHITE – turntable, see HERE (Polish)
  • INTERVIEW: JOCHEN RÄKE, Transrotor, see HERE
  • COLUMN: DIRK RÄKE and Transrotor ARTUS FMD (for 130 000 EUR) in Krakow, see HERE
  • REVIEW: Transrotor ARGOS – turntable, see HERE
  • REVIEW: Transrotor SUPER SEVEN LAROCCIA – turntable, see HERE (Polish)
  • REVIEW: Transrotor FAT BOB S – turntable, see HERE

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    • Denon Jazz in New York, Nippon Columbia ST-6004, „6th Anniversary”, LP (1978)
    • Ben Webster, Old Betsy - The Sound Of Big Ben Webster, STS Digital STS 6111129, 180 g LP (1967/2013).
    • Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14, dyr. Lorin Maazel, wyk. The Cleveland Orchestra, Telarc 2OPC-2006, LP (1982)
    • Billie Holiday, Lady Day, Columbia/Pure Pleasure PPAN CL637, 180 g LP (1954/2010)
    • Billie Holiday, Songs For Distingue Lovers, Verve/Classic Records AS AVRJ 6021, „Special 45 Edition, One-sided”, 2 x 200 g LP (1957/2012)
    • Chico Hamilton Quintet, Chico Hamilton Quintet feat. Buddy Collette, Pacific Jazz Records 1209, LP (1955)
    • Depeche Mode, Cover Me [Remixes], Columbia Records 5483411, 12” maxi-single, 2 x 180 g LP (2017)
    • Depeche Mode, Where’s The Revolution [Remixes], Columbia Records 42003, 12” maxi-single, 2 x 180 g LP (2017)
    • Dominic Miller, Fourth Wall, Q-rious Music/Rutis Music QRM 114-2, 2 x 180 g LP (2010);
    • Duke Jordan Trio, So Nice Duke, Master Music MSA-001, „Harmonix Master Sound”, 180 g LP (2017)
    • Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Fitzgerald sings the Cole Porter Song Book, Verve/Speakers Corner Records MGV 4001-2, 2 x 180 g LP (1956/2000)
    • Fred Jackson, Hootin’ ‘N Tootin’, Blue Note Records/Analogue Productions AP-84094, „45 RPM Limited Edition #1557”, 2 x 180 g LP (1962/2008)

    Japanese issues available at

    Sitting in front of a high-end audio product, we have certain expectations in mind. Formed by our experience, assumptions and even stereotypes, they are either confirmed or denied. And when we sit down in front of a high-class audio product of a company we know and appreciate, we expect all our good thoughts about it to be confirmed and that no doubts arise during audition. If it is so so, we feel afflicted – first of all our good mood is ruined and our hopes failed, and secondly we may feel cheated. This happens more often than one might expect it.

    So I sat in front of the Massimo with specific expectations and "most-likely" sound already in my head. Knowing almost all Transrotor models that were presented by this company in the last - say - ten years, knowing well Mr. Johen Räke and his son, our friend and member Krakow Sonic Society, Dirk Räke, or - accordingly - the designer and the face of the company, I knew it was going to be fine.

    It turned out, however, that I knew nothing and was right about nothing in my assumptions. The Transrotor Massimo is the best turntable prepared by this manufacturer in years years and additionally the one that pushed all the right buttons in me. That is, the best in its “weight” category, so to speak. And freeing myself for a moment of the political correctness, I will add that it was one of those devices that I enjoyed most and that is why in my subjective ranking it was the best Transrotor turntable I've heard for years.

    The constructions of this type, i.e. based mainly on mechanics, impose their perception from the very first moment, it is enough to see them. The so called mass-loaders, non-suspended designs, especially as massive as Massimo have their own characteristic features, differentiated by the choice of material, geometry, bearing, drive system and other elements. The reviewed turntable does not change the rules of the game, because these are based on physics, but it modifies them so much that the sound I received using Miyajima Labs Madake cartridge and Grandinote Celio phonostage did not belong to the world of mass turntables or decoupled ones; its character and aspirations were closest to the two top designs I know, i.e. TechDAS Air Force One and Transrotor Argos.

    It delivers a performance that is neither warm (warmed up, natural) nor contoured (cold, neutral). It is a bit of those, but the mix is so smooth that we perceive the presentation as a new quality, without looking for the features of one, or the other paradigm. The music with this turntable is interesting and intriguing, because it reveals itself depending on the record. It presents the differences between digital masters and re-masters and analog AAA ones in a very interesting way. The analog ones sound very deep, have a tangible foreground - both Ben Webster saxophone and Ella Fitzgerald's vocals were thrown close to me, on the front line. In turn, the records cut from digital sources were slightly withdrawn and less three-dimensional.

    And although it will be the fully analogue records that will delight many, for me the class of this device was truly revealed by records made from digital master-tapes. And that's because they sounded remarkably in their density and refinement. So I enjoyed listening to albums from the 1970s, prepared for the workshops that was to conduct during the Audio Video Show 2017, both those recorded by Denon and Soundstream.

    I particularly remember the disc recorded in 1982, so when the Soundstream recorder was becoming obsolete, the Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14 by Berlioz released by Telarc. There was a beauty, melancholy in it, but above all a great differentiation of tone and layers. I would like to add that the differences between the systems of the two companies were perfectly clear - Denon's albums sounded stronger, more precise, more dynamic, and the Soundstream's were moody, darker, richer and more delicate.

    It was not as "analog" sound as from AAA discs, but it had a level of refinement that I had heard before, but only when using much more expensive turntables. Above all, the treble was not mechanical at all, and very pleasant. The low part of the band was not contoured and hard, but very natural. Also newer recordings prepared entirely in a digital domain did not sound mechanically, it was a very good performance, because there was no brightness and this annoying "something", which often deters me from listening to LPs recorded in this way. Transrotor Massimo played them professionally, I listened to music, not recordings.

    The "mass-loader" nature the Transrotor turntable indicates with lack of coloration, drive for musicality approached from the information side, as well as the perfectly arranged sound stage, which is closed between the speakers. All these elements are in balance, there is no impression of any of the features dominating the others, and the presentation is very credible. When I listened to "live" recordings, where an audience had a different tone and dynamics than musicians - with Massimo I knew straight away that the audience was recorded using simpler microphones.

    So we get great depth and very convincing differentiation. The latter is true both for the distance from the listener and for the tonality - it changed, getting thicker or gentler, depending on what instrument played. Each sounded differently. It was a tuneful sound, perfectly differentiated, that helps you to understand the given recording and even if you can hear some defects of recording, they are not annoying, they are simply an inherent truth of the particular recording.


    Let me put it simply: Massimo is a fantastic turntable, even compared against the great and reliable Transrotor lineup. It is about something more that just reliability, it is as if everything suddenly "clicked" into its place. With a well-chosen cartridge it will deliver a real sound with natural colors, but also with very good control. Perceived as a whole, without dividing it between treble, midrange and bass, etc. it offers a sheer joy. It is lively, tuneful, dynamic and precise. A well deserved RED Fingerprint.

    Although it seems small, Massimo, the turntable by the German company Transrotor, consists of many, heavy components. So it is delivered in two large boxes. I think it will be best if we leave the assembly to the distributor.

    | Chassis

    It is a non-suspended mass-loader, with a stand-alone power supply, weighing 36 kg. The chassis is made of a thick chromed brass block formed into a square, which results in a very compact, massive shape. The base is supported in four corners by adjustable feet. After unscrewing the upper nuts you can mount up to four arm-bases for 9 to 12'' tonearms; we tested the version with a single 9" arm.

    | Main bearing & platter

    The main bearing was mounted in the middle. It is Transrotor's pride, oil-magnetic TMD bearing. It is supported by a ceramic ball placed on a long spindle. A little oil is poured into the space around the spindle. The upper part of the bearing consists of two parts, separated from each other by a magnetic field generated by many small neodymium magnets. The drive belts are placed on the lower part and the platter rests on the top one.

    A mighty 80 mm high platter weighing 16 kg is made of aluminum. Its top surface is finished with a vinyl mat. It is driven by an stand-alone motor. You can also use two of those, as we did for this test. They are 18 V synchronous motors, closed in heavy housings. These housings stand on anti-vibration platforms and are leveled with four legs with spikes; one places four protective aluminum pads under those spikes. The rubber drive belts feature a round cross-section and are fitted on the bearing, which serves as the sub-platter.

    | Power supply

    The motors are powered by an external, large Konstant FMD Massimo power supply - it is 176 mm deep and weighs 5 kg. On its front panel there is a large, convenient to operate knob that allows user to turn on the drive and change the rotation speed. The embedded LED indicates the selected speed: 33 1/3 RPM with blue and 45 RPM with white color. There are two holes next to it, where multi-turn potentiometers are placed that allow user to precisely adjust the speed.

    On the back of the power supply there are four DIN sockets, adapted to plugs with a screwed collar. Three of them are used to power and synchronize three motors, the fourth one is a control socket - an element that turns on and off the power. For this optional element one has to pay extra.

    | Tonearm

    Transrotor does not manufacture its arms, but instead offers the modified Jelco and SME arms. The reviewed unit featured the TR 5009 tonearm, i.e. the selected SME 309 arm with the Transrotor logo. This is a fantastic arm known for its reliability and precise settings. It is mounted on a thick arm boom and the signal is sent to phonostage via detachable interconnects terminated with DIN connector.

    The system looks great and requires a large rack to be placed on. It must be at least 810 mm wide and 400 mm deep - if one wants to place the power supply next to it. If we the PS separately we still need at least 600 mm for the deck itself.

    Technical specifications (according to manufacturer)

    chromium-plated brass block (with feet) mm
    aluminum, 80 mm high, weighing 16 kg
    Basic equipment:
    TR 5009 (SME 309) tonearm, aluminum record clamp, Konstant FMD Massimo power supply
    Dimensions (W x D x H):
    560 x 320 x 230 (with one motor)
    710 x 320 x 230 mm (with two motors)
    around 36 kg



    Manufacturer: VOVOX | NAUTILUS
    Price (in Poland): 6900 PLN/1,25 m

    I don't need to remind you the fact, that every detail in audio is important. And if I have to do it, it means that there is still a lot of educational work ahead of me. I assume, however, that the "High Fidelity" readers are people who know what audio is about and who are able to look for their own path. It is them that this micro-test should be particularly interesting for.

    This time, I wanted to briefly describe an analog interconnect, which was created thanks to the determination of people from the Nautilus. It is a distributor of, among others, cables of the Swiss company VOVOX. These are very decent quality cables produced by a company focused primarily on the professional market, and thus caring in the first place for a combination of a low price with good sound. People from Nautilus knew the advantages of the Vovox, but some things could not be overcome and the more expensive cables of other companies usually outperformed Swiss ones.

    As a result of brainstorming, it was decided to face the issue that is often avoided by manufacturers - a connection of plugs with cable and plugs themselves. The design of such "confection" was undertaken by Mr. Jarosław Wisznicki. After many attempts, he developed a special soldering method with controlled temperature and cooling time. The solder consists of tin, silver and some other secret ingredients. The RCA interconnect is made of a balanced Textura Protect cable, in a pseudo-balanced configuration in which the connection direction is important.

    The cable is terminated with one of two RCA plugs - gold- or silver-plated; both come from WBT and the nextGen series. It is available in one length only of 1.25 m, selected during numerous listening sessions for the best performance.


    The Vovox cable treated in the right way sounds like a full-blooded high-end interconnect. Compared with the Crystal Cable Absolute Dream and Siltech Triple Crown ICs quickly showed what can not be overcome within this budget, but when faced with the Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0 Triple-C FM it seemed to me extremely interesting.

    It is a cable that fantastically transmits the energy of the recording. Its tonal balance is set in the lower midrange and upper bass, and the foreground is presented a bit closer to the listener. Thanks to that, it is the king of vocals and small ensembles that have a great rhythm and "flow". But also rock, if only recorded without digital compression, eg from the Carole King Tapestry album on the latest SACD / CD mini LP 7" version sounds great. The vocal was presented close to me, it had a nice, interesting timbre, a large body, and the guitars drove the whole presentation energizing it.

    It's an interconnect that beautifully brings out the foreground. At the same time, it shortens the reverbs and it doesn't expand the recording towards the back of the stage. On the other hand, it shows the width of the stage very well, with lot happening at both sides of the soundstage. However, what I found most appealing was that nothing here leaner or calmed down. It's a thick, rich sound with powerful bass. The upper treble is precise, clear, but it does not fall into the manner of playing "in one tone". On the contrary - the differentiation is very good for a cable from this price range.

    And only the best interconnects available on the market show that promoting the foreground is always a priority here, that the resolution can be better, as well as the ability to build three-dimensional bodies deep into the scene. However, because I like a strong, full sound, I hate brightening and thinning of the sound, I liked this interconnect a lot. As always, it is necessary to confront it against your own requirements, but here and now let's say it is a very good performer. As for the sound, it has nothing to do with the Vovox cable it was made from. Very, very good product - bravo!



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One