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Then there is the element which makes the sound of this turntable – its bass. A large portion of it is stronger than the rest. It is well extended and perhaps not ultimately taut but very rhythmic as I confirmed with many club remixes of Depeche Mode. The attacks were immediate and well defined. Great punchy bass usually is expected from heavy mass-loaded designs but the F-600 did this even better than most at this price. You hear this even on jazz recordings but the real test comes from electronica.

Summary. Since the midbass is stronger than the midrange, voices seem slightly subdued. I heard this with Bertie, Krall and Sinatra. This deviation from neutral was obvious and beyond discussion. It didn’t mean that the sound was ruined however. One simply has to be aware of it to wisely choose the ancillaries. I already went over other weaknesses like the unimpressive width and  improvable selectivity. The sound was rather warm too. But what really was most important is how one perceives the sound as a whole. And here that was really good. It is not a perfectly neutral sound but clearly there were a vision and goal behind the many choices its designer made. The F-600 is rich, dense and strong. It differentiates various recordings nicely and makes the good ones sound remarkably good. There are very few crackles and pops and other surface noise occurs in the lower rather than upper midrange. It’s also a truly nicely built and finished turntable whose arm sports a very handy VTA adjustment. Finally it’s a Polish production sold under a legendary brand name. I must say it’s a very interesting debut for this company whose name might be so familiar but as a company it’s in fact really new. Congratulations!

Test methodology. I placed the table on a Base IV Custom rack wooden shelf and additionally on an uninflated Acoustic Revive RAF-48H platform. I used two phonostages, the RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC transistor unit and the Manley Chinook tube unit. Cartridges were the Miyajima Labs Kansui and Denon DL-103SA. Comparator tables were the Transrotor Zet1 and Pro-Ject Extension 10. I used also a Pathe Wings PSW-650 clamp weighing 650g. This time I listened to entire records not merely single tracks

Design. The F-600 is a new Fonica table and non-suspended belt drive with a motor on an external speed controller. It is delivered with a Rega RB300 arm and equipped with a handy VTA adjustment that can be used on the fly. It is classified as a mass loader whereby sheer mass damps mechanical vibrations but at 12.3kg it is in fact not particularly heavy. On the other hand its weight far exceeds most Rega or Pro-Ject competitors. The overall form factor reminded me of a Transrotor Zet1 as did the plinth material which is black acrylic in a four-leaf clover shape without additional damping. The 298mm platter is acrylic as well and comes with a thick felt mat. Other metal elements are brass to recall Ancient Audio products. This similarity had deeper roots as Fonica's original F-800 model reminded me strongly of a one-time turntable made by Jarek Waszczyszyn of Ancient Audio for musician Jarek Śmietana. It featured a granite base, acrylic platter, belt drive and so forth. Of course those similarities occurred just to me. Most likely Radosław Łodziato never saw the Jarek deck as only one was ever made. With its various brass elements and black acrylic—the three cones (one in the back, two in the front) are brass as is the clamp, VTA adjustment, motor enclosure and controller casing—the visual impression of the new Fonica is very good indeed.

The key element of the plinth is the in-house developed inverted sliding brass bearing with a zirconium dioxide ball bearing inside a steel race. The maker compares zirconium’s strength to diamond. Lubrication is via dense oil. The spindle itself is perhaps slightly over-dimensioned as it fit Analogue Productions vinyl fine but other records had to be pushed down with force and were thus problematic to get off again. At 932g the record clamp is quite heavy and shaped similar to the Pathe Wings. It is equipped with two rubber damper rings plus a level on the top. To achieve perfect leveling requires only that the supporting shelf itself be level. The three brass cones under the deck should be pushed in all the way to perform best. These too are equipped with rubber rings to decouple from the plinth. The motor is placed into a cut-out at the plinth’s far left corner. This cut-out is quite tight and padded with a rubber band that on one hand decouples motor from plinth but also keeps it attached to it. The spindle is driven from a rubber belt affixed to the motor axle’s small platter.

The motor seems to be an AC affair. It is controlled by an external controller with oscillator placed inside a cylindrically shaped enclosure with on/off switch, speed-change button and two blue LEDs indicating 33.3 or 45rpm on top. The controller connects to the motor with a cable that sports the same plug as those used in Pro-Ject decks and is powered from a 18V supply plugged directly into a wall outlet. The tone arm is an OEM Rega RB300, a well-known proven design. The arm features a beautifully cast one-piece tube and head shell, close-tolerance bearings, rigid bearing housings and magnetic frictionless bias compensation. Its only downside is lack of VTA adjustment which Fonica solved by designing their own which a very nice and handy.

The signal appears on gold-plated RCA sockets. Delivery doesn’t include interconnect cables since most would probably prefer their own. The table arrives in a surprisingly small wooden box. I would change how the hinges mount since the transport company chewed them up over just one domestic shipment. The inside of the crate is filled with stiff foam to protect all turntable parts well. I have one other suggestion for Fonica. Think of some cover as the acrylic body and felt mat both attract dust like hell.
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