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This review first appeared in the December 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the TW-Acustic Raven in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or TW-Acustic - Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air 
Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamp: Ayon Audio Polaris III with ReGenerator II power supply
Power amp: Tenor Audio 175S and Soulution 710
Integrated amp: Leben CS300XS custom
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600 Ω
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse, speaker cable Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cords: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300 (all equipment)
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip
audio stand: Base under all components, Pro Audio Bono under CD
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, turntables change continuously
Review component retail in Poland: €4800 + €4000 for table and arm respectively

TW-Acustic is Thomas Woschnick’s firm located in Germany’s Herne. Almost every part necessary for the construction of their turntables—plugs, sockets and such excepted of course—is made in house using powerful CNC gear. Yet production isn’t entirely automated. As the company pledge puts it, best results are achieved when “Mann und Machine” meet. Electronics engineer Woschnick taught for some time at technical universities. His first turntables were made for personal use and certain friends. Since the very beginning he viewed the motor as one of the most important turntable ingredients and thus made one himself. For him start, stop and pitch—incidentally all elements of timing—are the basis for analogue music playback.

The Raven One was TW-Acustic’s first model which I heard under controlled circumstances. I’d seen it at the High End Munich show, I’d read about it in the specialist press, I liked the way it looked but I knew nothing substantial about its sound. When I agreed to this review with Polish distributor Grobel Audio, they already had the company’s first tone arm called the Raven TW 10.5. The nomenclature refers to a length of 10.5” which is typical for turntables on the Japanese market where there’s a preference for long tone arms of ideally 12 inches. 10.5 inches is a good compromise between the shorter lower mass and inertia of a 9” tone arm and the 12-inchers which can be troublesome in that respect. In the TW 10.5 low mass was critical and its designers went to much trouble to make the arm wand as rigid and thin as possible.

The Raven One is the second model from the bottom in the five-tier catalogue of the company. For it their materials mention having wanted to design the most compact lowest-priced derivative of their award-winning Raven AC. The One is a mass-loaded design where the motor integrates with the main chassis. The motor controller is placed outside. This was treated with special attention as a precise control circuit enclosed in a separate attractive box. The speed controller is used to change from 33.3 to 45rpm, fine tune pitch and save the settings. Speed stability is a core concern for the company. During one of the Munich shows they gave away special strobe discs to check and adjust speed. I have one like it. For good control the motor here is the same as in the model AC.

Sound: Discs used for the review: Alan Taylor, In The Groove, Stockfisch, SFR 357.8007.1, 180g LP; Billie Holliday, Songs For Distingue Lovers, Verve/Classic Records, One-sided, 2 x 180g, 45rpm LP; Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study In Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9072, 180g LP; Depeche Mode, Fragile Tension/Hole to Feed, Mute Records, 12BONG42, 2 x 180 g, maxi-SP LP; Frank Sinatra, Come Fly With Me!, Capitol Records/EMI, 88653, 180g LP (2009); Frank Sinatra, The Voice, Columbia/Speakers Corner, CL 743, Quiex SV-P, 180g LP; Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious Monk, Mulligan meets Monk, Riverside/Analogue Productions, 1106, 2 x 180g, 45 pm LP; Jean-Michel Jarre, RandezVous, Dreyfus Disques/Polydor, 829 125-1, LP; Jean-Michel Jarré, Zoolook, Dreyfus Disques /Polydor Canada, Jar 5, LP; J. S. Bach, The Works of Johann Sebastian Bach. IX. Research Period, Archive Production, ARC 3162, LP; Kraftwerk, Man Machine, Capital Records/KlingKlang/Mute Records, STUMM 303, 180g LP (2009); Kraftwerk, Tour The France Soundtracks, EMI Records, 591 708 1, 2 x 180g LP; Led Zeppelin, Mothership, Atlantic Records, R1 34470, 4 x 180g LP; Wes Montgomery, Smokin’ at The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9083, 180g LP.