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This review first appeared in the July 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the Black Stork in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air 
Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Preamp: Leben RS-28CX 
Power amp: Luxman M-800A
Integrated amp: Leben CS300
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600 Ω
Interconnects: CD-preamp Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52, preamp-power amp Velum NF-G SE, speaker cable Velum LS-G
Power cords: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp)
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip
audio stand Base
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, turntables change continuously, as do cartridges
Review component retail: €4.000 table, €4.600 arm

A turntable is about mechanics and electronics – well, mostly mechanics. To design a good turntable requires knowledge of both micro mechanics and electronics. But, to get good sound also requires high-quality records. That's probably why most quality turntables used to come from the UK, the US and Germany. This ‘rule’ no longer applies as strictly as it once did—one of the best decks in the world comes from the Australian Continuum Audio Labs—but the companies with the most experience of complex deck/tone arm/cartridge combos still tend to be British, American and German. They generally enjoy a clear advantage over their competitors (I shouldn’t forget another exception, the French Verdier company). While manufacturers in Eastern Europe had sufficient knowledge of both mechanics and electronics all along, they did not have easy access to high-quality pressings. This limited what could be achieved by (among others) Polish turntables. I'm not saying that those were poor products but that even very specific upgrades couldn’t elevate their basic sound quality to a higher level. So there was no justification to keep making them. Surely there also were other reasons why Bernard, Daniel and Unitra's decks with simple tone arms were our domestic top achievements but the truth is, they were our best. Considering circumstances, these actually were fine achievements for Polish manufacturers and I personally owned Unitra's GS-464 as my first real turntable and still remember its sound. But it wasn’t top shelf, just good enough then.


Out of the blue one fine day I then get a note from I think Srajan at 6moons who had learned about a Lithuanian company making expensive high-end turntables. I don't know who of us was more shocked but without delay, I visited their website (it’s also the arguably not quite catchy brand name).

Quelle surprise! Their tone arms caught my attention almost immediately, looking like clearly wonderful designs with certain details known only from the most expensive solutions on the market. At first glimpse they did seem to look like DaVinci arms but I later learned that they were proprietary. Surely certain solutions were inspired by pre-existing designs but that’s progress. You don't have to start from scratch. You can make existing things better. After all, this is more of a cumulative science branch as Physics is to math, not facultative like Polish philology.

After a short email exchange with the Lithuanian designers, everything got set up. I was to receive a turntable plus arm in six months - as long as it would take to get CE approval. Half a year later, I would finally shake hands with the two gents in charge, Jonas Jakutis and Vidmautas Triukas who visited me from Kovno.

As I mentioned in my April issue editorial, the meeting was very enjoyable socially and professionally and my guests turned out to be kewl dudes so to speak. We had a long conversation in Russian, English and Polish, a great time together and then they left. Alas they left behind a small souvenir next to my Base rack - the Black Stork turntable with its own integrated base similar to what’s offered by Transrotor, Acoustic Solid or Clearaudio. This one was equipped with three tone arms: a Reed 3Q, a Reed 2P and a Reed 2A, all of them 12 inches long (9" and 10.5" versions exist as well).

Records used during this review - Freddie Hubbard, Open Sesame, Blue Note/Classic Records, 4040, 200g LP; Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious Monk, Mulligan Meets Monk, Riverside/Analogue Productions, 1106, 2 x 180g, 45 rpm LP; Kraftwerk, Autobahn, Capital Records/KlingKlang/Mute Records, STUMM 303, 180g LP (2009); Kraftwerk, Tour The France Soundtracks, EMI Records, 591 708 1, 2 x 180g LP; Led Zeppelin, Mothership, Atlantic Records, R1 34470, 4 x 180g LP; Nirvana, Unplugged in New York, Geffen/Universal Music/Original Recordings Group, ORG 034, 180g LP; John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic/Rhino, R1 512581, 2 x 45 rpm LP; Frank Sinatra, Sinatra & Strings, Warner Music/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-313, No. 199, 180g LP; Yamamoto, Tsuyoshi Trio, Midnight Sugar, Three Blind Mice/Cisco Music, TBM-23-45, 45 rpm, 2 x 180g LP; Electric Light Orchestra, Time, Jet Records, JET LP 236, LP; Depeche Mode, Wrong, Mute Records, 12BONG40, maxi-SP; J. S. Bach, The Works of Johann Sebastian Bach. IX. Research Period, Archive Production, ARC 3162, LP; Boney M., Take The Heat Of Me, Hansa International, 65 201, LP; Boney M., Ocean Of Fantasy, Hansa, 200 888-320, LP.