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This review first appeared in the August 2008 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement with As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end has a link below it to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of or Creek. - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog - Acoustic Solid MPX turntable; Phonotools Vivid-Two and SME M2 12" tone arms; Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Shelter 501 MK II and Zu Audio DL-103 pickups; digital - audiolab 8000CD
Amplification: integrated - Lua 4040C, Myryad MXI 2080; preamp - bel canto PRe 3, Funk LAP-2; power amp - bel canto M300 monos, SAC il piccolo monos
Loudspeakers: Elac FS 247, Volent Paragon VL-2, Zu Audio Druid Mk4, Ascendo C8 [on review]
Cable: low-level - Ecosse Baton + Symphony, Funk BS-2, van den Hul Integration Hybrid, Zaolla Reinsilber; phono - fis Audio Phono, WSS Silver Line; high-level - Ecosse SMS2.3, Ixos 6006 Gamma, Zu Audio Libtec
Racks & stands: Creactiv, Taoc, Liedtke Metalldesign Stand
Review component retail: €2.650

Anniversary Edition
To celebrate his firm's 25th anniversary, Mr. Creek christened his first record player Wyndsor not to pay tribute to the British royal house. The reference is to his father who ran the Wyndsor Recording Company from 1948 to 1978. That's a charming carry-over of tradition. One also needn't put up artificial fights with certain other associations. In a good way, Creek is known for simple, often minimalist designs and a focus on the price/performance equation. This should be properly translated to 'sound per pound', not 'massive faceplate per pound' - which would neither rhyme nor make good sense.

All this began with the 4040 amplifier (a legend meanwhile) but was duly followed by many other electronic components. In 2005, our price-conscious enterprise made a small move toward the higher-priced segment with the Destiny CD player and amp. The former still stirs pleasant recollections from last year's test.

With the Wyndsor, our Brits finally have their very own analogue source. While their small OBH phono pre has found widespread distribution, this company isn't really known for analogue. "I'd hoped for this from Mike for a while," quipped Bernd Hömke, Creek's German importer at input audio, "but when prior to High End 2007 he announced that he'd bring a record player with him, I still was somewhat surprised." Still only a prototype last year, the deck has now been available for a few months and for 2.650 euros including arm, one will accompany you home.

From a statement by the German importer, one learns that "... the clever combination of tried-and-true construction elements, their specific implementation, the use of quality materials and the exacting assembly make for the Wyndor's quality." That's certainly a realistic assessment. Plus, having dealt with Brit fi for years (besides Creek, these Germans also handle AktiMate, Harbeth, Trichord Research, Renaissance Amp, Abbey Road and Croft), a certain understatement on their part is probably second nature. Hence Creek's Wyndsor won't hook you with revolutionary novelties but here and there with real finesse.

Plinth and platter are acrylic, with the former at 28, the latter at 38mm. Many turntable makers fancy acrylic, claiming it to be "acoustically dead" and hence highly self-damping. Viewed from above, the Wyndsor plinth forms an X. At its upper right sits the tonearm mount, the upper left exhibits a broad bore to surround the motor pod, naturally without contact and hence free of vibratory transmission. Creek's record player employs a three-point footer system, with two footers beneath each frontal leg of the X, one in the center behind the bearing. For a player that looks rather lithe, its footers appear quite tall (ca. 6cm). Perhaps that's because they aren't original issue but shared with Creek's HiFi-Rack AR4. A friend who recently ogled Creek's CD player with bright eyes found those very tall footers très chic - so that reaction is very feasible.

Those pointed cylinders join the plinth with rubber dampers while your supporting shelf sees spikes (or optional spike receptors). The counter nuts which lock the spikes after proper leveling are a blessing - because they're provided which isn't always the case; and because they're ergonomically large and thus practical. The platter rests atop a small sub platter which contains the bronze shaft terminated in a polished-steel bearing which supports an oil-impregnated ceramic axle for zero maintenance, making the Creek Wyndsor a record spinner with inverted bearing. A synchronous motor kicks things into gear and transmits power to the platter via three round silicon belts. Not relying on the AC line frequency, Michael Creek steers the motor via external electronics to generate new 33 1/3 and 45RPM frequencies. Two frontal trim controls allow fine-tuning of either rotational speed.

Ergonomics are a sign of good design and Wyndsor's tone arm mount follows suit. VTA adjustments are child's play and finely graded. A knurled ring drives the silicon-oil damped worm thread up and down to allow your pursuit of the optimal vertical tracking angle even if your manual dexterity doesn't equal that of a watch maker or surgeon. The tone arm mount provides a stock 23mm opening and 24/25mm adaptors are included yet didn't accommodate my Phonotools Vivid Two's 18mm diameter. The mounting bolts' eccentric array allows variations of mounting distance by turning the upper disc. This mandates removal of 6 hex bolts on the underside where one bolt -- on top -- would have sufficed. The Wyndsor's standard package includes an OEM 300 arm but a cartridge isn't included. There are, however, a sensible strobe disc with setup markers on the reverse; an unusual dust cover; and a record clamp. Plus, the entire ensemble ships in a rock-solid flight case.

Basically, all a record player need do is keep calm while making its rounds. But once you visualize the variety of real disturbances at play and the smallness of the groove, it's nearly a miracle that anything resembling music results. Yet it does, more or less persuasively. Here I suffer the impression that rising turntable quality marches toward CD while first-rate CD players become more analog. Do I hear boos from hard-core vinylistas? What I'm referring to is the step toward the less grey, the more transparent and clear - as though, even subliminally, a used glass pane was freshly cleansed. Why this detour? Squarely because the Creek is darn free of streaks, possessing that certain transparency which manifests particularly in two aspects: spatial presentation and timing, i.e. beat-based accuracy as well as overall flow.

My Acoustic Solid MPX deck with Phonotools Vivid Two arm and Shelter 501 MkII or Denon DL-103 carts became the comparator. The Creek ran the OEM 300, thus making for a vinyl system juxtaposition, not a pure record spinner match. For those paying attention to all the details, the Acoustic Solid platter was further fitted with Musical Life's shale disc and not the stock acrylic one.

The first test album became Joanna Newsom's The Milk-Eyed Mender, the US harpist's maiden effort of which I still haven't tired completely. By now I'm on a first-name basis with each minute wear scratch on the disc. To true my hearing, I first spun the Acoustic Solid, finding little to criticize. So system swap it was, fine adjustments, then Joanna straddling the Creek and back to the beginning. The first impression was one of less warmth and a more distanced perspective. The second impression questioned whether the harp was a bit less embodied. Not really. Au contraire, perhaps it had a bit less output in terms of pure expansiveness but its actual body became more tacit and tangible. Both instrument and voice localized very precisely and sharp-edged, with "more nothing" between the sounds - that well-known blackness against which sounds contrast. Granted, one had to pay attention to make out these subtleties but once fixed, they were quite clearly distinguished. I can imagine that for some, the admittedly more affordable MPX will seem "fuller"; which could result from a bit of midband excess, which is very appealing but just a tad veiled.

Still, I don't find that the Creek Wyndsor "makes a lot of highs" even though it does overall play more open and translucent. I'd rather propose that it makes "less mids" to produce fewer emanations of warmth. With the Creek, what happens at the back of the stage clarifies and, as mentioned, the three-dimensional rendering of instruments is superior. This includes more easily discernable harp runs with better structure. That's not merely due to the transparency factor but the Creek's good timing which came to the fore also on the subsequent record.

On last year's The Reminder album, Canadian songstress Feist's voice is borderline sharp. A system that leans toward the hard or over-present can quickly turn sibilant; but if things parlay soft and cushy, something's missing and rounded over too much. Hence reviewers need such records. How did the Creek and Acoustic Solid decks fare? Very similar, with thankfully neither one too hard nor too soft though I did observe that the high-mass Schwabian focused the voice forwards while the Brit created more believable body. No clear 'better' there, just minor though observable differences.

It was in other areas that the Creek plainly pulled ahead, namely PRaT. The number "Sealion" had more swing 'n' swagger and incited more body-twitching reflexes. Interestingly, I couldn't readily point at specific details in a song to call this "better because". No, this quality pertained to the general rhythmic tension within a cut which came across as tauter, more poignant and with greater rebound. Rebound. That's the word. Lots of fun. A few albums and deck swaps later, I was certain: the Creek truly nailed timing and wasn't challenged by hasty percussion nor long-decaying piano trails. It was simply stoically dry, with the 'clean window' midrange to sound open, transparent, dimensionally generous and cleanly layered all the way to the back.

But analog passion is for naught if you can't tweak and screw around a bit. Granted, I didn't touch the tone arm's internal wiring -- it wasn't my arm after all -- though its lack of damping has me suspect less noisy solutions elsewhere. Still, there are always platter mats. I'm serious. The leather mat on the acrylic platter of the Wyndsor clearly had effects, albeit undesirable. Things drifted into the grey, the less transparent and slower. Enter the felt mat. The effect reduced but pulled into the same unwanted direction. Why not change what sat beneath the deck then? Thus far, I'd used the TOAC rack, clearly a solid choice but my DIY quad-layer Ply, hard rubber, MDF and slate contraption atop the Creactiv rack went farther still.

Primarily, as it turned out, when I walked through my digs. Floor-borne disturbances from my suspended wooden floor were better damped then (and better yet might have been a high-mass wall shelf which my space doesn't accommodate readily). In the seat, there was little diff. Then I realized that I'd forgotten to use the spike protectors underneath the Creek's pointy footers. Believe it or not but those tiny discs -- don't ask me why -- cleaned up a bit.

Of personal interest was the realization that the Acoustic Solid was fresher and crisper on many albums when the vinyl parked directly on the slate disc without any intermediary layer. That was a lesson. It's stupid only that shale is hard and vinyl relatively soft, thus creating scratch risks during album changes. I've thus trained myself in quite the elegant Frisbee-like album feeding over the spindle. Perhaps a monstrous broadcast transcription table would really be in order? It'd start up quicker for sure even with a shale disc which should be redundant at that point. Speculations. How about swapping the motor pod of the MPX for that of the Wyndsor? It shouldn't cue up faster but single string versus triple round belts and a different motor controller might warrant a listen.

It wasn't Interior Design elegant but I'd have to be off by a lot if this didn't get a bit more transparent, spatially bigger and better sorted. Still, I won't bore you further with my resident tuning sand box. The thing to remember is, don't mistake the Creek Wyndsor's optics for only rendering gossamer stuff accurately. It handles the coarse and brutish stuff just as well. The Kills' computer-generated experiments pressurized the room with expert contours. And despite excellent detail magnification, the shredding e-guitar lost no fire, its upper bass remaining full of steam and plasticity. Even the voluptuous was served. Things more overstuffed and languorous went down just as well. Sir Wyndsor knows how to rock out with heart and accuracy.

After 25 years of hifi history, launching one's first record player can be risky. Or opportune considering how analog source sales enjoy an upswing. However you slice it, Creek's Wyndsor is a sonically very persuasive launch. The fun began already with the affordable Denon DL-103 but the costlier Shelter 501 MkII was far from "too good" for this table. Instead, it made for a very fast and energetic combo. A trivial though important reminder is to isolate the Creek from foot falls. This is true for any unsuspended design but with a total scale impact of below 10kg, it becomes doubly relevant. Had I to pigeon hole the Creek Wyndsor turntable with a single term, I'd use the non-spectacular "neutral "because:

  • It is without preference. I could not detect anything deviating in the frequency response. The bass is dry but concrete, the mids are free of streaks but not without flesh, the highs open without overdrawn presence or edge.
  • Timing errors are anathema to the Creek, with accurate timing cues its greatest strength, be it the precise stop and go of individual notes or parlaying the rhythmic tension inside a composition. Here it is a true champ which conveys the music in a very lively, dynamically richly contrasted fashion.
  • Ambient recovery is highly convincing from the depiction of the stage -- where the Creek lets you see exceptionally deep without fogging up -- to the localization of images. Additionally, instrumental body is recreated very tangibly.
  • The Creek Wyndsor can pack a punch when asked to.


  • Turntable + arm
  • Concept: Mass-loaded design, acrylic plinth and platter, inverted bearing, synchronous motor with external controller, 3-belt drive, footer decoupling
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 and 45RPM
  • Foot print: ca. 50 x 40cm (W x T)
  • Weight: 9.4kg
  • Other: tone arm base height adjustable
  • Website
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