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Ikeda IST-201 Step-up Transformer – $4,800

Galibier Design - Ikeda Step-up Transformer
Ikeda IST-201

When you mention step-up transformers to an audiophile, prepare to engage in a lengthy “conversation” about their benefits vs. active gain stages.

In short, we’ve found execution to be paramount in achieving faithful reproduction – irrespective of architecture (active vs. passive gain stage).

We’ve found exemplary implementations of moving magnet phono stages employing step-up transformers (such as Ikeda, Ypsilon, Tribute, Intact) as well as phono stages with active moving coil gain stages.

Commentary (by Ikeda):

The IST-201 is best suited for low impedance 1ohm – 6ohm MC cartridges (DC resistance of the coils). These low impedance cartridges will be able to work at their full potential by virtue of this high quality MC transformer.

IST-201 is the ideal transformer with a lesser internal loss so that you will be able to enjoy a supreme sound in combination with IKEDA 9 series and our flagship KAI cartridges as well as other brands of low impedance cartridges. 

The body of the transformer is made of high efficiency core materials and magnetic shielding technology using MU-Metal with a high shielding rate. In addition, the body of the transformer is embedded and perfectly shielded within the large shielded chassis with high electrical conductivity.

In order to attain the highest resolution efficiency and to improve the characteristics, the highly accurate VISHY|S-102K is used for the terminators in the secondary side of the transformer.  The terminators are very reliable for all connecting cables used and stable for fluctuation of the load impedance.

The matching RCA connectors made with rhodium plating are mounted on the insulating plate so that a weak signal from MC cartridges shall be protected by this architecture.

Also featured is a floating ground switch on rear panel.


  • Input Impedance: 2 ohm – 6 ohm (cartridge’s DCR)
  • Load Impedance: Over 47k ohm
  • Channel Separation: Over 90dB (1kHz)
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 100kHz, ±0.6dB, 3ohm/47k ohm
  • Step-Up Ratio: 26dB
  • Channel Balance: Within 0.1dB (1kHz)
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.7 x 2.2″ (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 3.74 lbs.