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Jensen Transformers' MC-2RR ISO-MAX Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Step-Up Transformer

04-06-2019 | By Robert H. Levi | Issue 102

Though more and more phono stages contain moving coil facilities, many do not. From McIntosh to Sony, preamps are available with only moving magnet amplification. Most preamps that have MC on board, have only one input. If you own two tables with MC cartridges on board, you have to plug and unplug to enjoy the one you want. Outboard MC transformer step-ups are expensive and often add hum due to incorrect shielding or user fault. My transformer references cost $2500 and $3000 respectively and are really for the dedicated audiophile hooked on expensive cartridges. At last, a major supplier of OEM parts is manufacturing a gem of a transformer for the beginner audiophile or music lover who does not want to invest big bucks. Jensen Transformers is now making a pair of sophisticated step-up models priced right and sounding first rate.

The Jensen Transformers MC-2RR ISO-MAX Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Step-Up Transformer is built like a tank in America, and for audiophiles on a budget seeking quality.

Shielded and steel clad, with high-quality gold connectors, a logical layout you cannot confuse, and very neutral musical sound combine to offer an excellent value. Ortofon's least expensive transformers are twice as expensive and are really made for just Ortofon cartridges. Everything else I could find is junk. The Jensens are audiophile-purposed and offer the kind of definition that one wants. 

They come in two versions. The L version is for most moving coil cartridges with 0.4 mV or higher output. The H version is for really ultra-low (< 0.4 mV) MC cartridges, and not likely to be in your collection. See Cable Solution's website for details (go HERE - they are currently the only distributor or dealer authorized by Jensen Transformers to offer this product for sale online).

The ISO-MAX L version powered up my Stein Music Aventurin Cartridge, a modified Benz LPS, with power and majesty. I was very impressed by the super quiet performance, equaling my best references. Its overall musicality was excellent, neutral, and smooth. The definition was about 75% of my five times more expensive units which is a really good value and highly recommendable. You can easily enjoy the ISO-MAX for the long haul and feel the analog goodness a moving coil cartridge can deliver. 

I keep calling the ISO-MAX an audiophile selection for a reason. Its frequency response is flat as Texas, and is extended from 2Hz to 180kHz! This well engineered step-up gives you powerful output at all frequencies with no audible lumps or bumps. This is the very phono gear we have been missing, built to satisfy and priced to please. Sporting quality rubber feet, they will not scratch a wood shelf. Plus, they are built in Chatsworth, California.

Utilizing WyWires Gold phono cables, a perfect match for the ISO-MAX, I heard exceptional musical definition. At a price of around $550, it has no competitors. Built really solidly, it stays where you place it. The ISO-MAX will work well with any moving magnet input of 47kohms on tube or solid-state preamplifiers.


Better late than never, a trusted U.S. brand has built a moving coil step-up transformer for audiophiles on a budget. The Jensen Transformers MC-2RR ISO-MAX Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Step-Up Transformer are both well-mannered and well-priced. They give you a big slice of the best performing pricey transformers, and are truly excellent performers. As a bonus, they are as quiet and well shielded as the very best.

The ISO-MAX Transformers are highly recommended, and the very best I know of under $1000. They are in a class by themselves in that price range.

MC-2RR ISO-MAX Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Step-Up Transformer

Retail price: $600, either L or H version (though one can purchase it at $549.99 on the Cable Solution's website).

Cable Solutions

888.631.3394 (USA toll-free)

281.341.5576 (Local / International)


Jensen Transformers, Inc.

9304 Deering Avenue

Chatsworth, CA 91311


[email protected]

Contact person:  Dave Hill, G.M.

[email protected] 

All images courtesy of Cable Solutions