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Turntable + arm

Price: 4800 + 4000 €

TW-Acustic | Sabine Woschnik | Harkortstraße 62 f
44652 Herne (Wanne-Eickel)

Tel.: 02325 - 668484
Tel. Mob.: 0151 – 14135153


WWW: TW-Acustic

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Pictures: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

TW-Acustic is the “baby” of Thomas Woschnick, and is located in the German Herne. Almost each element used for construction of their turntables, except for the obvious ones, like plugs, sockets, etc, is made there, using powerful CNC machines. But not everything is mechanized, because according to the company pledge best results are achieved, when there is the “Mann und Machine” approach. Woschnick is an electronics engineer, and for some time he teached on one of the technical universities. The first turntables were made for himself and some of his friends. Since the beginning, one of the most important elements of a turntable was for him the motor, which he made himself. Start, stop and pitch are very important elements for him, making the basis for music.

Raven One is the first turntable of the company TW-Acustic I heard in controlled circumstances. I knew it from the High End show in Munich, I read about it in specialist press, I liked how it looked, but I could not tell anything about its sound. When I agreed the test with the Polish distributor, Grobel Audio, they had already the first ever tonearm of TW-Acustic, the Raven TW 10.5. This symbol is telling already much about it – it has a length of 10.5”, typical for turntables on the Japanese market. Because the Japanese, Asians in general, have a liking for long tonearms, preferably 12”. The 10.5” is a good compromise between the shorter, lower mass (and inertia) 9” tonearm and the 12” one, which can be troublesome in that aspect. In the TW 10.5 the low mass was a critical thing – its designers took much trouble to make the pipe as rigid and as narrow as possible.

Raven One is the second lowest turntable in the five point hierarchy of the company. Their designers write, that they wanted to design the most compact, and lowest priced form, to include most of the technology used in the award winning Raven AC. “One” is a mass loader turntable, with the motor integrated with the same chassis. The motor can be placed outside as option. This element was treated with special attention, as it uses a precise control circuit, closed in a separate, nicely looking box. This controller can be used to change the speed (33 1/3 and 45rpm) fine tune it, and save the settings. This is really the main point of interest of the company – during one of the Munich shows, the company gave away special strobe discs to check and adjust speed, I have one like that. And to achieve good control, the motor used is the same as the model AC.


Discs used for testing:

  • Alan Taylor, In The Groove, Stockfisch, SFR 357.8007.1, 180 g LP.
  • Billie Holliday, Songs For Distingue Lovers, Verve/Classic Records, One-sided, 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP.
  • Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study In Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9072, 180 g 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, 180 g LP (2009).
  • Frank Sinatra, The Voice, Columbia/Speakers Corner, CL 743, Quiex SV-P, 180 g LP.
  • Gerry Mulligan&Thelonious Monk, Mulligan meets Monk, Riverside/Analogue Productions, 1106, 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP.
  • Jean-Michel Jarre, RandezVous, Dreyfus Disques/Polydor, 829 125-1, LP.
  • Jean-Michel Jarre, 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, 180 g LP (2009); review HERE.
  • Kraftwerk, Tour The France Soundtracks, EMI Records, 591 708 1, 2 x 180 g LP.
  • Led Zeppelin, Mothership, Atlantic Records, R1 34470, 4 x 180 g LP.
  • Wes Montgomery, Smokin’ at The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9083, 180 g LP.

Japanese versions of the CDs and SACDs, as well as HQCD, SHM-CD and Blu-spec CD are available on CD Japan.

Raven One is a mass loader turntable, a very heavy one, that nicely shows how this type of turntable is supposed to work. Those turntables needs special care of tolerances, ideal choice of the mass of the plinth, to fit the platter and motor. If everything is right, and we add the proper tonearm, then we get a hi-end sound regardless the price of the turntable. It is just, that the better it is, the more engineering and craftsmanship are better – the more the mentioned characteristics will be more pronounced and more detailed. But still those are characteristics that a medium priced turntable can show (because good mass loaders must cost, there are things that cannot be done cheaper), but it does not have to be very expensive – the overall sound will be similar for the ultra-expensive Transrotor Argos, and for the inexpensive Transtoror Fat Bob S. Also for the Raven One, which is not cheap, but also not overly expensive.

I mailed some time ago with Simon Yorke, the owner of the company Simon Yorke Designs, a specialist in turntable technologies, who designs turntables with not so big mass, but at the same time not decoupled. When I wrote, that although I have no special preference for a given technology, and everything depends on how it is implemented, I always hear the same things in decoupled turntables, things that are handled much better by the mass constructs, like: not so focused, not fully controlled lower bass and a slight coloration of the midrange. And although the new plinths of the Linn LP12 Sondek took care of the latter issue, bass remains the same. Interestingly, Simon did not fully agree with me. He said that although he likes different constructions better, with well designed suspension, the results may be spectacular, and called the company Avid Hifi from Conrad Mas as an example. Well – I immediately added another company to the list – SME… So let’s agree to this: decoupled turntables sound in a characteristic way, and some companies could master that sound in such a way, that it does not dominate. I think, that this is a sensible compromise. But I need to repeat this – in my opinion mass loaders do some things better and that’s it. Maybe with the notable exclusion of the mentioned SME and Avid – but this is a completely different situation. In fact those are mass loaders but with a decoupled chassis. Let me just mention, that I am mostly talking about decoupling using an elastic element (rubber, spring) and not about suspending it on an air cushion. I will not dig deeper, as this is a very big topic. Important is that, what I wanted to mention in the very beginning, before I entered into this discussion: well designed, “heavy” turntable without decoupling sounds in a very well-mannered way.

This is how the Raven One sounds. The sound of all, really all discs is very repeatable – I would say. I do not find a better description for that now. This is something similar to the characteristics of digital sound sources – but please keep in mind, that I am not saying that it sounds like one! I just want to show, that this is the element, that was the reason for many electronics manufacturers to drop turntables, when the CD appeared. Here this certain unpredictability of the sound is not there, we do not need to take it into consideration. With the Raven each playing of the same disc, in the same listening conditions, will be maximally similar. And this is a big asset. Because this is the foundation of building solid sound on it. And here it is tonally well balanced. With one “but”: not every cartridge yields the same results. For me the Miyajima Shilabe sounded even better than my beloved Air Tight PC-1 Supreme (test of the cartridges Miyajima Laboratory Waza and Premium BE HERE). Of course – the Air Tight cartridge was more resolving, showed the sound spectrum extremes better, but the sound of the Raven seemed too impersonal for me. And it is much heavier than the Miyajima, while the creators of the TW 10.5 tonearm wanted it to have the lowest possible inertia – so the whole setup, and not the tonearm alone, I think. And to achieve this we need a lighter tonearm than the PC-1 Supreme. For me, the Shilabe is ideal for this application, but probably it is not the only one. We just need to remember, that the cartridge should not be too heavy, not have big compliance and have organic sound. The latter is especially important, because it will allow to extract deep, deep, almost warm timbres from the Raven. And drying up timbres is what the heavy mass loaders are usually accused of. The German turntable with the Japanese cartridge was exactly in the middle – between the slightly dry and “oversaturated”, “overripe” sound usually presented by decoupled turntables. Of course I am generalizing, I would not like you to think, that there are only two possible options (like in the Polish politics), because this is not true: but I wanted to show the position of the turntable by overemphasizing on the extremes.

It came so, that when I had the Raven One at home, I tested also many different loudspeakers, including the Isophon Berlina RC 7. Those are mighty constructions with an incredibly clean and deep sound. They allowed the Raven to show fantastic bass. Very low and very saturated. Very.

And this with discs predestined to that like Kraftwerk Tour The France or Man Machine and with tonally lighter pressings – seemingly – like Jean Michel Jarre’s Zoolook and RandezVous. All the mentioned discs were cut from high resolution digital master tapes – Kraftwerk are re-mastered analog tapes, and the Jarre discs were recorded that way – if I am not mistaken Zoolook was the first full digital recording the Frenchman made. And the two latter discs sounded with a very nice, strong and full sound.

Like I said, we can find some warmth in the sound. But this is not a coloration, but the lack of sand, lack of something, that makes us switch everything off, and never go back to it. I confirmed that with a listening session of two Japanese re-masters: Study In Brown Clifford Brown and Max Roach and Smokin’ At The Half Note, my beloved disc of Wes Montgomery, recorded live in a club, with the Wynton Kelly Trio. Both had a nice, strong midrange and a clear, full and vivid treble. There was no withdrawal, but it was also not dry. When it hit, it hit strong, in a full way. With a worse edition, like the (also digitally re-mastered, in this case unfortunately) disc of Frank Sinatra Come Fly With Me, drier, poorer, the sound is unambiguous. But it is not a bad sound – the German turntable showed them from a slightly better side: dynamic, even, strong. This was not, at least in that aspect, such a good sound as the Bergmann Sindre, Avid Acutus Reference, because dryness remained dryness, and a certain lifelessness (kept within certain boundaries) of the midrange remained a lifelessness. But really, we could listen to it easily, without distaste, concentrating on music and not on sound.

Does this German turntable have weaker sides? I am not sure, how to answer this question. On one hand – of course, it has. On the other hand comparing with the Sindre Bergmann Audio and Acutus Avid HiFi shows, that it is the same league – it is less resolving than one of them, and the other shows a more resolving, denser space. It is not coincidence, that I mentioned those two turntables – the Raven is somewhere between them, sounding resolved and full at the same time. I’ll repeat: not “as” resolved, and not “as” dense. But this is a subjective issue, and it will not be so easy to diagnose without placing them next to each other. The TW-Acustic turntable is a very good compromise between the intellectual and emotional part of music. We could of course say, that when it does not realize fully the one and the other it misses its purpose. But for me, such a restraint, such ability to find the golden middle is a big asset, because it allows for shaping the sound with other elements – cartridge, phonostage, platform, etc. The background is not as black as with – the reference for me –Transrotor Argos. I think that also the Avid Acutus Reference showed deeper, blacker, more velvety background. The shapes of the instruments were not as herniated as with the mentioned turntables. But somewhere there must be the thing, that makes some people choose white wine, and others red. The overall character of the sound is so good, so well balanced, that it would be a sin not to try the system– Raven One + TW Raven 10.5 at home. A beautiful sound.

ƒo.Q – record mat and puck (once more)

I wrote about the Japanese company ƒo.Q in the September editorial (HERE). We received a record mat and a puck for testing, made from highly processed materials, designed to dampen vibration. Because the Raven One is equipped with a mat, made from carbon fiber glued to a thin felt, it asked to be compared with the Japanese product. There was no surprise – with the Japanese elements the sound was warmer, the emphasis was on the midrange. This was nicely heard with the disc The Voice Frank Sinatra, with all material, sometimes sounding a bit thin. But not this time. The voice was strong, full and clear. A minus of the presentation was the lower resolution of the treble. With the M-LP-Carbomat, that came with the turntable, the cymbals from the piece Georges Dilemma from Clifford Brown were slightly clearer, with a stronger beat. On the other hand the whole was nicer with the ƒo.Q and deeper. And with those accessories using other cartridges than Shilabe might be very successful.


The turntable Raven One is 470mm wide, 400mm deep and weighs 21kg. So it is quite compact, while heavy. Its plinth was shaped in such a way, that there would not be much material, that could vibrate in an uncontrolled way. So we have a chassis with the shape and size of the platter, with two extensions – one for the tonearm and one for the motor. All elements were made by the company themselves using CNC machines and by hand, with a precision higher than 1/100mm. The surfaces are finished in a very attractive way and anodized black. The vertical pin of the inverted bearing is made from hardened steel and mounted to a big ring, which is mounted in the cassis and faced with it. This ring seems also to be made from steel. The bearing bed is mounted in the high, heavy platter. Thomas Woschnick does not reveal from what it is made, but a part of it id from Teflon. The whole is supported on three aluminum coned feet.

The motor was mounted on the side and closed in a big, heavy element. On the axis we have a steel element with a collar. The torque is transferred onto the platter with a flat belt. And this was made by Woschnick from a special, self designed material. Many other companies buys them from TW-Acustic. There is no subplatter, so the belt encompasses the main platter. More expensive turntables from the company use a copper element in the shape of a platter, placed from the top, which is supposed to have splendid mechanical capabilities. Here it is not present, but the company offers a special mat, the M-LP-Carbonmat Millenium Audio Vision (the company has also a mat for CDs) made from woven carbon fibers glued to felt. It can be placed in two ways – for me the best sound was achieved by placing it with the felt facing down. The turntable can be equipped with two tonearms and three motors. The tonearm support can also be different, made from bronze. The one in the set is made from aluminum, as is the rest of the turntable. It is mounted to the turntable with a single screw, what allows to use tonearms of different lengths – from 9” to 12”. Next to the turntable you can place the motor driver. It is quite large, but it does not interfere much. There are buttons for selecting the rotational speed – 33 1/3 and 45 rpm, a power switch and two dips for adjusting the speeds. It is connected to the turntable with a long, shielded cable ended with a bolted DIN cable.

The tonearm Raven TW 10.5 is a novelty. This is gimbaled construction, what means it has a Cardan bearing. The tube is made from aluminum and has equal diameter on the whole length. The pin for the counterweight is made from noble steel. The same material was used also for the counterweight, which can be screwed on a tight thread, what allows for a very precise balancing of the tonearm. Actually there are three counterweights – all are in a small suitcase, which houses also a very nice element to setup the tonearm. We can use cartridges weighing from 4 to 20g. The tonearm is equipped with a VTA regulation – it can be done “on the fly”, although it is not easy – it is a big, flat element with a notched edge. The headshell allows for azimuth changes. The lift is hydraulic. But there is no lock, which would keep the tonearm locked in the rest position – we need to be careful not to move the arm from its rest. The column of the tonearm is made from the same steel as the other elements I mentioned. The internal cabling is made without soldering points from the gold plated pins in the headshell to the nice, patented Neutrik RCA plugs on its end. Those plugs have a hidden collar, which allows to connect firs the ground, just like studio grade XLRs, protecting the electronics from being damaged, when the “hot” pin would be connected first. Also the anti-skating is interesting. This is a magnetic system, used also by Clearaudio and Rega – here it looks nicer and can be adjusted more precise than the competition. Together with the tonearm we receive also a well written manual.

Both the turntable and the tonearm are pieces of solid work. The Raven One with the Raven TW 10.5 look really great – they are mysterious and respectful, just as the raven they took the name from./p>

Technical data (according to manufacturer) for TW10.5:
Effective length: 267mm
Overhang: 15.8mm
Offset angle: 20.5°
Geometry: Loefgren B on IEC
“Zero” points: 70mm and 117mm
Mass: 500 g

Sabine Woschnik
Harkortstraße 62 f
44652 Herne
Tel.: 02325 - 668484
Fax: 02325 - 668483
Tel. Mob.: 0151 – 14135153

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air (previous it was Prime, tested HERE)
  • Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, tested HERE, Miyajima Laboratory Waza, tested HERE.
  • Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III with Re-generator Power Supply; version II tested HERE)
  • Power amplifier: Tenor Audio 175S, tested HERE and Soulution 710
  • Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom version (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • Interconnect: CD-preamp: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Wireworld Platinum Eclipse
  • Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, tested HERE
  • Power cables AC (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • Audio stand Base – under all components
  • Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE)
  • Pro Audio Bono platform under CD