Any time, any Transfiguration Low Output Moving Coil (LOMC) cartridge is perched on the end of a tonearm, and dragging it’s nail head through a filthy trough of vinyl grooves, I get a little excited. The Profundo Audio room at T.H.E. Show was a Jekyll and Hyde affair (in the best way possible), with one side of the room taken up by Genesis loudspeakers, and Viva Audio gear, and the other with Heed Audio, a Funk Firm Funk Firm Vector V turntable (with Funk’s balanced three-pulley Vectoring drive system), and the aforementioned Transfiguration Proteus cartridge.
Heed gear has an outstanding reputation for clarity, and delicacy mated with bottom-end brawn. So I’m always happy to hear their kit, and this time it was fronting a pair of their very own loudspeakers, the Grand Enigma ($7,500 USD). This two-way is a non-directional design that throws a very linear, wide-dispersion sound stage. The rest of the signal path consisted of a Heed thesis phi MM/MC phono stage ($2,400 USD), thesis pi power supply ($2,200 USD), thesis lambda linestage ($3,000 USD), and the thesis gamma stereo power amp ($3,300 USD). The rest of the system consisted of the Heed Obelisk DT CD transport ($1,900 USD), and an Obelisk DA DAC ($2,100 USD), but I was not able to listen to ones, and zeros during my time in the room.
Because of the great off-axis response of the Grand Enigmas, there wasn’t a sweet spot per se, rather, it didn’t seem to matter where I wandered in the room, the music was still clearly defined with great instrument/vocal separation. A beautiful midrange, clear, concise upper registers that tended to smooth, rather than brittle, concise, crisp vocal reproduction, and a full, unbloated bottom end with snap, and bounce. This combo of Heed, Funk Firm, and Transfiguration was a pleasing one to my ear, with no part of the sonic bandwidth drawing unwanted attention to itself, rather, everything seemed to gel with a supremely linear response across the board.
While the presentation of the gear in the room, was in a rather large cabinet display, the size of the Heed kit (and the fact it runs cool) lends itself to small spaces, or even cubby holes, and because their Enigma speakers have such a wide dispersion, they don’t seem fussy to placement, so small apartments could really benefit from truly high-end sound without needing a ton of room for the system to breathe.