This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Sound. A selection of records used for this test:
Air, Love 2,Archeology/Virgin/EMI/The Vinyl Factory, 53361, 2 x 200g LP; Andreas Vollenweider, Caverna Magica, CBS, 25 265, halfspeed mastered LP (1983); Bill Evans Trio, Waltz for Debby, Riverside Records/Analogue Productions, APJ009, "Top 25 Jazz", Limited Edition #0773, 2 x 180g, 45rpm LP (1961/2008); Brendan Perry, Ark, Cooking Vinyl/Vinyl 180, VIN180LP040, 2 x 180g LP (2011); Budka Suflera, Cień wielkiej góry, Live 2011 + studio 1975 (box), Polskie Nagrania Muza/Budka Suflera Productions, BSP 05-2011, 2 x 180g LP + 2 x CD...

... Chet Baker Quartet, Chet Baker Quartet feat. Dick Twardick, Barclay Disques/Sam Records, Limited Edition, 180g LP (1955/2011); Chico Hamilton Quintet, Chico Hamilton Quintet feat Buddy Collette, Pacific Jazz Records, PJ-1209, LP (1955); Czesław Niemen, Postscriptum, Polskie Nagrania, SX 1876, LP (1980); Depeche Mode, Personal Jesus 2011, Mute Records Ltd, 12BONG43, 33.3rpm maxi-single (2011); Depeche Mode, World in my eyes/Happiest girl/Sea of sin, Mute/Sire/Reprise, 21735, maxi-single (1990); Diana Krall, All for You, Verve Music Group/ORG,ORG 006, 2 x 180g LP (1996/2009); Eberhard Weber, Chorus, Jan Garbarek, Ralf-R. Hübner, ECM Records, ECM 1288, LP (1985); Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours, Capitol Records/EMI, 88654 12, 180g LP (1955/2009); John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic/Rhino, R1 512581, "Atlantic 45 RPM Master Series", 2 x 180, 45 rpm (1960/2008)...

...; Kate Bush, 50 Worlds For Snow, Fish People, 72986615, 2 x 180g LP (2011); Komeda Quintet, Astigmatic, Muza Polskie Nagrania /Polskie Nagrania, XL 0298, "Polish Jazz Vol. 5", LP (1966/2007); Kraftwerk, Autobahn, King Klang Produkt/EMI, STUMM 303, Digital Master, 180g LP (1974/2009); Kraftwerk, Techno Pop, Capital Records/KlingKlang/Mute Records, STUMM 308, digital master, 180g LP (1986/2009); Mel Tormé, Oh, You Beautiful Doll, The Trumpets of Jericho, Silver Line, 904333-980, 180g LP (2000); Queen, Innuendo, EMI Records Ltd., 67988 13, 180g LP (1998/2009); Yaz, Upstairs at Eric's, Warner Bros. Records/Mobile Fidelity, MOFI 1-020, "Silver Label", Special Limited Edition No. 2044, 150g LP (1982/2012).

The F-600 turntable turned out to be a hard one to classify. Usually I only need a few well-known pieces or perhaps full records to describe 90% of a table’s sound. The more expensive the deck the longer it takes since more elements influence the outcome. In general though the same rule applies: the first impression tells me most of what I need to know and only later do I fill in certain blanks. Thus just occasionally do I have to minorly modify one or two elements of what I learnt during the first few minutes with a machine.

This was different with the F-600. At first I was actually slightly disappointed. Perhaps I expected too much. Perhaps I needed more time to appreciate what this sound was really about. Possibly both reasons played their part. In either case it took me time to appreciate what Mr. Radosław Łodziato has achieved and to understand what he had to do to get to the final result. The first extremely important piece of information we obtain when starting with any audition of a new turntable is the sound of the stylus hitting the groove. Having heard this hundreds of times with different cartridges and turntables, I've learnt to deduce the sound of a particular setup based on this very first sound.

The first sound from the Fonica was big, dark, warm and massive. In this very first moment there was no ‘visible’ central element to the soundstage. This sound simply occupied one large space between the speakers. And that's also what you get when playing the record itself. The first one I played was a digital remaster of Kraftwerk's Autobahn. I know this by heart in this particular version. The disappointment came from a presentation of the voices and keyboard which fused into the background differently from what I knew.

When using similarly priced or more expensive turntables, this soundstage is usually clearly layered and each layer is clearly separated and three-dimensional. That's what the Transrotor Zet1 delivered and I mention this particular deck because the Fonica's shape might have been inspired by it. No doubt the Fonica delivered a powerful solid sound but it seemed that selectivity and resolution weren't good enough. Granted, one sometimes sacrifices one to favor the other but when both are poor there’s no talk of good sound. The Fonica F-600 did not present either at least in the beginning of my audition. I was pretty sure there was no need for further mechanical break-in. I’d spun the platter for over a week before listening to music. I was very close to repacking the table and sending it back to the maker without writing anything.