Massive Dr. Fieckert Firebird Supports Two 12-Inch Tonearms, Including Kuzma Stogi S 12 VTA: German-Made Turntable Has Three Brushless Motors, Proprietary Speed Control, More
Let's get the obvious out of the way: Yes, the Dr. Feickert Firebird belt-drive turntable is massive – and intentionally high-mass. Huge even, by most standards, weighing 68.5 pounds and boasting a 6.25 x 22 x 18.11-inch plinth. It demands space in the same way it commands attention by way of its exacting design, painstaking engineering, immersive performance, and multifaceted functionality. Expressly created to effortlessly accommodate two tonearms up to 12 inches in length, Firebird touts three brushless, three-phase DC motors laid out in an equilateral triangle form and connected to a proprietary controller in a phase-locked loop that produces extremely low jitter. Even if you're unfamiliar with all the ins and outs of ‘tables, you likely realize such architecture is rare – and stands as one of the factors that makes Firebird extremely special.
Indeed, few, if any, other turntables allow installing, adjusting, and changing tonearms with more convenience and smarts than Firebird (which comes with a $250 Feickert Next Generation Universal Protractor). Two cutouts, each in one rear corner of the plinth, invite you to set up the tonearm of your choice and use the easy quick-change sliding system to adjust your it with utmost precision. (A single armboard comes standard; the second requires a Delrin slider and additional armboard.) As for as the plinth itself: A tempered MDF body sandwiched by elegant aluminum plates, all resting on adjustable vibration-resistant feet, and warrantied for two years (chassis and electronics for five years). Rest assured: Firebird arrives built to last.
For further proof, look to its 13.2-pound High Inertia Delrin platter with eight MS58 brass inserts for exacting balance and added mass as well as its inverted stainless-steel bearing, appointed with spiral grooves to pump oil and an oil-release grub screw for enhanced motor/bearing interaction help account for wondrous smoothness, effortless balance, and truly breathtaking stability. The end result: Near-imperceptible rumble and majestic quiet, particularly in that the bearing permits excellent synchronization and that the triangular motor arrangement contributes to supreme stability. In addition, the absence of drafts on the platter bearing eliminates undesirable force and distortion.
When it comes to operation, this bird sings. One-touch speed selection for 33, 45, and 78RPM can be found directly on the plinth while "plus" and "minus" buttons let you further incrementally dial-in the speed. As for the sonics – smooth, lush, focused, poised, etch-free, neutral, and yet powerful and dynamic. Prepare to become addicted to your LPs. Or, as Michael Fremer reported in Stereophile: "The Firebird's sound gave me a sensation of gliding smoothness and a sophistication of leading-edge transients. It avoided rough, hard edges as well as over-smoothed transients, but it definitely leaned toward the latter. Tonally, the Firebird had a pleasing neutrality, and excelled in the midrange, which was particularly rich and full bodied. High- and low-frequency extension were very good," he enthused.
From top to bottom, Feickert's flagship soars – and comes with a Kuzma Stogi S 12 VTA tonearm. While not for every analog lover – please see the Dr. Feickert Blackbird, Woodpecker, or Volare if you don't require multi-12-inch tonearm-mounting capability – it offers future-proof and tweaker-centric fun in a package that aces sound, appearances, and functionality. 100% Music Direct Satisfaction Guaranteed.
"The Firebird has made it clear that if enough design attention is paid to the motors, pulley tolerances, mounting arrangement, controller, and interface between motors and platter, the problems of noise and jitter can be, if not completely solved, then reduced to near-irrelevance, leaving intact all of the benefits Dr. Feickert Analogue claims for the design. In fact, when I placed a stethoscope on the Firebird's plinth close to each of its motors, I heard near silence – and far less noise than I've heard from many single-motor designs I've 'scoped. Same with the Firebird's heavy, well-damped plinth."
– Michael Fremer, Stereophile
"The Firebird, with both arm/cartridge setups, imparted a solid feel to the music that was astonishing. This mattered the most when it came to imaging, when each piece of the musical puzzle was so carefully anchored to a specific location that it was eerily clear and tangible. Coupled with an unusually low noise floor, which the entire analog chain undoubtedly created as a whole, there was an extraordinary poise to the music."
– Marc Phillips, Part-Time Audiophile
"Via the Firebird, timbre is outstanding – smoother, sweeter, more complete, a big jump in credibility. I can readily distinguish the viola from the harp by their discrete placement and the enhanced body and weight of the harp. Its low notes make a bigger crescendo and have more punch than the viola."
– Marshall Nack, Positive Feedback
Kuzma Stogi S 12 VTA Tonearm
The Kuzma Stogi S 12 VTA is a 12-inch unipivot bearing design with a unique, rigid, square solid-aluminum headshell and solid brass base that controls all vibration and facilitates stability. Featuring one uninterrupted piece of wire stretching from the head shell to connectors, every part of S 12 VTA arrives machined from solid metal in order to provide superb damping and minimize resonance. The polished pivot point is situated in an oil well, supplying extremely low friction and bearing vibration. The bearing height sits at record level for optimum tracking while the silicone damping controls cartridge resonance and offers stability in azimuth direction. Two counterweights allow easy adjustments of tracking force and azimuth. Fine azimuth adjustment is achieved by rotation of a horizontal screw in the main counterweight, which does not affect other tonearm parameters.