Reader Jason wrote in to tell me about his new turntable, the new upgraded Blackbird from Dr Feickert. I actually owned an early version of one of these and found it to be a marvelous creature, full of fire and magic. Stereophile rated it as Class A turntable — and Feickert has since upgraded and improved on just about every aspect of it.
Being an audiophile, and therefore OCD about such things, I’ve been “rather curious” (where “rather curious” = “intense, bordering on ruinous, inability to focus on other things”) as to what all of those changes would actually amount to. Obviously, I haven’t had the opportunity to compare the two tables — very few have — and given that mine is now long-gone, it’s wildly unlikely that I’m ever going to be able to do so. But Darren Censullo from Avatar Acoustics, the US importer for Feickert Analogue, has been unwavering in his enthusiasm for the upgrades. Bastard really knows how to set a hook. Anyway, let’s just say that I was all-ears when Jason wrote in about his experiences with an older loaner that was very similar to the one I owned, and compared it with the brand new model he subsequently ordered, based on that experience. The pictures are from Jason as well.
Finally, my new Blackbird arrived yesterday. It is everything that [old one] is and more. I think it is pretty much a whole new table. The speed buttons are now different. It includes 78rpm and the + and – button are not recessed anymore. The feet look different too (now black colored). The beautiful inertia platter is fantastic with a smaller spindle diameter. I found the previous model on loan to me had a bigger spindle diameter hence some LPs were a pain to mount and remove! The bearing looks different too. The power supply wall-wart is different, an aftermarket power cord can then be utilized now.
More importantly is the sound. It is quieter with darker backgrounds. The imaging is slightly larger and the drum beats are slightly tighter, hence it sounds more dynamic. My local dealer loaned me their Ortofon TA110 in the meantime while my 309d is in back order. Yes, the arm board too is different now. It’s a two piece design. Though I am still using the old arm board from the other table, it looked like the new arm board is easier to mount tone arms. I’m very happy to have ordered the updated one….
You’re invaluable input contributed greatly to my end decision! Thank you once again….
Darren confirms that the new table does in fact include a brand new bearing design (as I’ve noted in the links below), as well as the following: “a much improved motor controller, obviously the P.O.+ platter, and the new and improved arm board design, which allows even better accuracy when mounting and aligning tone arms.” Price for the new table, with the PO+ platter included, is $8,595.