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Setup of the turntable itself is really simple and in operation over several months, the Twin has behaved impeccably. It gives great confidence and exudes fine and thoughtful engineering throughout. Dr. Feickert clearly knows a great deal about turntables and has managed to create a magnificent work here. In some ways the turntable reminds me of a Porsche in its quality of construction and finish.

But of course, a turntable is usually the easy bit to set up and the arm and cartridge setup are what really makes the sound work or not. In fact, the differences in sound quality between many of the better higher-end turntables can easily be reversed by setup issues. I know that I used to have a lot more patience and had no problem spending four or five hours of concentrated time focussing on a particular setup. Now if I don't nail it in an hour, I tend to flag. Which is why I can't wait for the Feickert setup program.

What is true for setup is also true for overall sound. Assuming (and it's a big assumption of course) that the turntable is a good one, what I tend to find is that the sonic character of the arm and cartridge (not to mention phonostage) is 'amplified' by the character of the turntable. In effect you get greater differences in sound quality by changing the arm/cartridge combination and it's sometimes hard to pin down exactly the essential characteristics of the turntable itself. Some go from Jeckyls to Hydes, some from Charlton Hestons to Audrey Hepburns, some from Syd Vicious to Maria Callas and it's often hard to guess what will happen.

The Twin arrived with two arms. I started out using it with the DFA-1o5, a 10.5-inch design made by Jelco to Dr. Feickert's specs. He recommends using the Ortofon Rondo Bronze cartridge for it. I used it with several cartridges from the Reson Reca to the Music Maker III and Classic and several others, to run both the bearing and the arm cable in. I never really got on with the DFA and was slightly disappointed. To be honest, I was hoping for some huge leap over a Rega but I found the sound to verge on the clinical, silvery and slightly metronomic. It may easily be that the DFA was not a good match for any of the cartridges I tried, so if you are thinking of buying one do get in touch with Dr. Feickert for recommendations. Or maybe this is one of those things like when you hear a great review of a film and you come out disappointed. I have a Rega 300 sitting on another deck and I'd choose the 1o5 over it in certain circumstances. But not too many. It actually had a sound that reminded me of what I wasn't overwhelmed about with the SME V I used to use on an SME 20. Too CD like, too controlled, emphasizing the fundamentals with a slightly metronomic tempo. Having said that, I now use an SME V (Kondo wired) and love it to bits, which goes to show either that I'm a cable freak or know nothing - or more probably both. I still feel that the DFA-1o5 arm or a Rega just simply are not up to the qualities of this turntable. A bit like putting bicycle tyres on a Ferrari. Others loving a very clean sound could well disagree with me.

In any case Dr. Feickert had also sent a Kuzma Reference tone arm. I didn't have a lot of experience with this one but I got to know it quite well. It came with standard wiring and needed some running in. This is an extremely well thought-out gimballed arm and suddenly the turntable opened up and began to really play music. Again, I went through a series of cartridges culminating in a Kondo Io-M. It's important to remember here that the arm isn't Kondo wired and I've found this to be a limiting factor when comparing any arm using a Kondo cartridge to one that doesn't. It seems like a minor point but after what must be over a year using the Io-M, I'd say that Kondo wiring is an essential part of the experience. I also have a suspicion that this arm leans to the dry/detailed end of the spectrum and you are likely to get a completely different effect with a Shroeder or a generally warmer arm.

Unfortunately, I still haven't tried the Twin with the Kondo-wired SME V/Io-M combination. The trouble is that the little Kuzma has been so well set up courtesy of Kevin Scott that I can't bear taking the arm off. I fear I wouldn't find the same sweet spot again - and that would be an all-round disaster. But I am working on borrowing another SME, perhaps the twelve inch, to try out on the Twin and report back later. That combination might well be my dream arm for this turntable. I also haven't managed to try the Cartridge Man's Conductor, which I suspect would be another winner.

But in any case, as far as I've got to date, I'd characterize the Twin as extremely detailed, transparent, precise, poised and with an excellent balance between lyricism, expressiveness and fine detail. I sometimes find that turntables that excel in one of these qualities lose out in the other but here you get as much detail as I've ever heard, if not more, while at the same time allowing the deck to sing. Music flows in a beautifully organized way, with deep but fluid bass and lyrical arching highs.