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Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: CEC TL5100, Audio Note tube DAC; Philips DVP 5500S SACD/DVD player; Thorens TD 160; Thorens TD124
Preamp/integrated: TacT RCS 2.0 room control system, modified Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); Tri TRV EQ3SE phonostage; Trends Audio TA-10; Qables iQube; KingRex T20U and Slap; Yarland FV 34 CIIISA
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Avantgarde Acoustic Solo in HT 2.0 setting; Podium Sound Podium 1 [on loan]
Cables: Audio Note AN/Vx interconnects; Siltech Paris interconnects; Gizmo silver interconnect; Qunex 75 reference interconnect; Crystal Cable CrystalConnect Reference interconnect, CrystalDigit S/PDIF RCA/RCA and RCA/BNC, Y-cable, Crystal Cable Piccolo iPod to XLR, CrystalPower Reference AC-Eur/IEC CrystalSpeak Reference; Audio Note AN-L; Gizmo silver LS cable. Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201 nano3; full ASI LiveLine set; LessLoss DFPC [in for review]
Power line conditioning: none
Equipment racks: Two double sets of Solid Tech Radius; Acoustic System amplifier shelf
Sundry accessories: IAR carbon CD damper; Boston Audio graphite CD damper, Denson demagnetizer CD; Furutech DeMag; Nanotec Nespa #1; Machina Dynamica Magic Box; TacT RCS calibrated microphone and software; Exact Audio Copy software; Compaq server w/Windows Server 2008 and XP; iPod; wood, brass and aluminum cones and pyramids; Xitel surround processor; Manley Skipjack; Boston Audio Design TuneBlocks; ASI TopLine
Room treatment: Acoustic System Resonators and Sugar Cubes; Gizmo's Harley Davidson cap
Room size: ca. 8.0 x 4.70m with open extension to a 2.20 x 2.40m A/V bay and open kitchen. Ceiling height is 2.50m, reinforced concrete walls of 45cm, reinforced concrete floors and roof of 30cm. Room has on one side a large glass bay.
Review component retail: €4,800 excluding arm and cartridge

It has been more than two years now since we first attempted to get a TW Acustic turntable for a review. On many occasions we interfaced with designer/manufacturer Thomas Woschnick and each time he was amenable to sending us a sample. But -- and there has been numerous buts -- Thomas never was able to actually procure one even for a few weeks. The success of his design overwhelmed production capacities. The large Raven AC practically sold itself and every sale snowballed into further sales as word of mouth was followed by proof of ear. All who encountered the AC were deeply touched such that many made the financial arrangements to obtain one. Lucky for them, they had to enter the waiting music lovers' queue at the back to have ample time to save up. At the front of the queue sat Thomas and his production team. Where German products are known for gründlichkeit in how they're built, Herr Woschnick then adds a little perfectionism to it. Together it makes for long waiting lists and no review samples.

However, the introduction of the Raven One turntable recently changed things. This Raven version is a bit simpler to produce and Thomas was able to output more 'tables. With the help of his Benelux distributor, we were finally in a position to welcome a piece of Thomas' handiwork in our den. This particular sample was the distributor's demo and had travelled extensively through Belgium and Holland. It was well run in just like the Lyra Dorian cartridge it came with and the Vivid Two tonearm. The thought of finally playing our records on this turntable revved up anticipation. What a bummer then when the first record made its relaxed 33.3 rounds per minute, needle in groove. Was this TW Acustic quality? Not possible. There was definite flutter which meant something was wrong in the electronic motor steering. The massive platter was not constant at the desired 33.3 rpm. We checked all external connections from the motor control, the motor itself and the belt connecting motor shaft to the platter. Only one mechanical possibility was left and that was the bearing. Once we removed platter from bearing spindle, plausible cause presented itself by way of a small puddle of oil at the base of the spindle, indicating that too much oil had been applied. Instead of lubricating the shaft in the sleeve, it worked as brake. Even the fine electronics of the motor control could not overcome this brute breaking force. Some dealer had taken Frank Zappa's advice to keep it greasy so it'll go down easy a bit too literally. It was time to contact the distributor.

As proof of great involvement and service, Thomas e-mailed the following day offering a replacement Raven One. When we accepted, we almost instantly received a confirmation mail with the parcel tracking info. To our surprise, this parcel contained a complete new Raven One turntable with electronics and new copper arm board. Now we had opportunity to start with a virgin One so we forgot first impressions and focused on service excellence.

Thomas Woschnick tinkered many years about which material to build his ultimate turntable from. Many options passed his mind and hands but all exhibited a quirk that did not satisfy the German from Herne near Dortmund. Only when he discovered a compound mixed from Du Pont's Delrin, copper powder and two other undisclosed ingredients did he feel to be on the right track. This material had all the desired sonic and -- not unimportant -- manufacturing characteristics Thomas was looking for. All materials sound like they are. Metals sound metallic, plastics plastic-y, acrylics and woods... you get the picture. With the new mix, Thomas had a base material that was neither too hard nor soft, not completely dead and available at a consistent quality.

From a thick piece of the Delrin compound, a specialized CNC company cuts the base boards and platters with extreme tolerances. All other parts are fabricated either in house or at specialized suppliers that must meet the same tolerances or they lose their contracts. Much of this work is manual labor and at the end, this all works through into the sell price.