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Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; PS Audio PWD; 2 x Thorens TD160; Thorens TD124
Streaming sources: Foobar2000; XXHighEnd [in for review]
Preamp/integrated: Tri TRV EQ3SE phonostage; PS Audio Trio P-200;  modified Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); Trends Audio TA-10; NuForce Icon Mobile; RSA Predator; Yarland FV 34 CIIISA; Qables iQube V1
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Podium Sound Podium1
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; Audio Note AN/Vx interconnects; Audio Note AN-L; Siltech Paris interconnects; Gizmo silver interconnect; Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201; LessLoss DFPC and DFPC Signature [in for review]
Power line conditioning: Omtec PowerControllers; PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; LessLoss Firewall [in for review]
Equipment racks: Two double sets of Solid Tech Radius; ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Sundry accessories: Boston Audio Design graphite CD damper, Mat and Tuneblocks; Denson demagnetizer CD; Furutech DeMag; Nanotec Nespa #1; Machina Dynamica Magic Box; Exact Audio Copy software; Dell server and laptop w/Windows Server 2008, Vista and XP; iPod; wood, brass, ceramic and aluminum cones and pyramids; Manley Skipjack
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: dedicated listening room ca. 4.00 x 5.50m with open extension to a 30 sqm living and open kitchen. Ceiling height is 2.50m, paneled brick walls, tiled concrete floors.
Review Component Retail: € 4.990 for the Blackbird, €999 for the arm (€ 5.790 as combo)

A blackbird sings in the dead of night – but not only then
. What follows is our experience with the Dr. Feickert Analogue Blackbird turntable and its creator. We’d met Dr. Christian Feickert at several audio shows and were always positively impressed by the sound he got from his analogue decks. Of course we attempted to make review appointments but for several reasons this never materialized - until the beginning of 2010 when an email notified us that a new model was primed for an appointment. After a few more failed scheduling attempts we could finally welcome Chris and his Blackbird turntable at our home.

Even though Chris stopped overnight in a hotel, the trip from his German residence to our digs in Holland was a long haul. So we started gemütlich with coffee before Chris had to get down and set up the turntable. Over coffee we asked how one ends up in the turntable business. After acquiring a Ph.D. in chemistry, Herr Feickert had worked in the chemical industry. Though very successful, he eventually despaired of the burden which general trends in that sector placed on his conscience to contemplate a radical change. By 2002 and at 38 years of age, he quit his well-paying secure job and joined friend Thomas Scheu, a true legend in the world of analogue. For many years Scheu had worked on improving all things vinyl and Chris was tasked to help sell Scheu’s designs. Unfortunately two years later Thomas Scheu had passed away at a young age. Chris remained with the company and assisted widow Ulla to keep thing going. Eventually they parted ways and Chris launched Dr. Feickert Analogue in 2005.

From the many ideas Chris had developed over the years, the first to materialize was the so-called protractor. This ingenious device does what its name implies - help fine-tune the various angles whereby a cartridge can and must be adjusted. Edward Barker penned a review of this device here. The protractor enjoyed great commercial success as an indispensable tool for anyone serious about vinyl. But Chris’s fertile mind wasn’t done. Other mechanical notions developed into his first turntable called the Twin. This was based on the form-follows-function maxim to result in a high-tech appearance of very beefy platter atop a plinth powered by an external motor. Intrinsic to it was the belief that all forms of sonic impacts should be absorbed. To this end Feickert designed a special mechanical anti resonance circuit or MARC. Though impressive in mass and effective in killing vibration, there remained room to push the same envelope.

Next came the Triple model, an even more impressive and elaborate design that could handle three arms and was powered by an adapted version of the Twin’s motor. In appearance the Triple followed the trend of miniaturized oil rigs as can be commonly found in most modern turntable catalogues. This trend caused Chris to rethink his designs in terms of cosmetics and utility.

On the drawing board next was a design with a more classic look to mirror the great tables of the past. A novel twist was a long and wide slot to accommodate an arm board that could be moved to accept tone arms of various lengths. Instead of an external motor pod, Chris envisioned an integral solution that would drive the platter by flat belt. One precious design trait of the Twin and Triple decks had to go though. It was not possible to incorporate the massive MARC circuit in a more classical design. An alternative was called for to fulfil the same function.

After much tinkering Chris happened upon a sandwich construction which bonds a heat and steam-treated massive block of MDF between two slabs of aluminum. This would become the base for the next generation of ‘classic’ decks. Many items from the big rigs transferred intact like the bearing and polyoxymethylene platter—a polymer plastic also know as Delrin—which mimics the features of the vinyl it’s supposed to spin.

The first of these models to leave the Feickert factory was the Woodpecker. This single arm/motor turntable was received well. The Blackbird followed. It incorporates many features of the Woodpecker but is now equipped with two motors and two arm slots. It was this model Chris took on the road to Holland and which now sat in its shipping box in our listening room.