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Price (in Europe): 4200 euro

Manufacturer: Reed

Naujuju Muniskiu km. | Uzliedziu sen.
54317 Kauno raj. | Lithuania

tel.: +370 610 41639 | e-mail:

Manufacturer’s website:

Country of origin: Lithuania

Text: Wojciech Pacuła | Photos: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Andrzej Dziadowiec

Published: 6. May 2013, No. 109

Dear Wojtek,

I am very glad to hear you after a long time. We keep working on Reed development. As you already mentioned we have new model Reed 3P. This model is different from our Reed 2A/3Q both by sound nature and design. One of the main design innovations is its bearing system – generally tonearm bearing system can be considered as gimbal, but it works like a unipivot one. Reed 3P has also fine VTA adjustment on-the-fly and even unique possibility of adjusting azimuth while playing a record. By the way, Reed 3P won the Red Dot design award in the 2012 Product design contest.

Reading the above e-mail from Vidmantas I felt like I’d found an old friend, as if nothing changed and we’d parted just yesterday. And yet we saw each other at the beginning of 2010 when Vidmantas Triukas with his then business partner, Jonas Jakutis, brought to Krakow their Black Stork turntable and Reed 3Q tonearm for a review in “High Fidelity”. While I had the impression that the turntable was a kind of “finished prototype”, in other words ready to go to production, although still requiring a few cosmetic touches and working out some details, the tonearm seemed every inch (actually, twelve of them) a finished product (see HERE). Designed with a feeling, beautifully made, it was so remarkable that we decided to put it on the cover of our June 2010 issue of “High Fidelity”. And it sounded so well that I ordered one for myself. I keep it stored away and waiting for the time I will have two turntables, one of them designed for a12" tonearm.
Since our last meeting, however, much has changed both worldwide and in Lithuania., then operated by both men, is no longer the same company, either. It has split into two separate companies: headed by Jonas Jakutis and Reed by Vidmantas Triukas. The former manufactures gramophones, the latter specializes in tonearms.

The 3P resembles the tonearms from Swiss Da Vinci. Well, if you are to follow someone make sure you follow the best! The 3P, however, shows a lot of innovation, enough to speak about a proprietary design. As Vidmantas said, the most important is the arm’s support. Both classic gimbal, with its 2-axis arm support, and pivot, where the arm is supported in one place, by a vertical pivot, have their own advantages and disadvantages as well. We can find examples of outstanding as well as completely failed products in each of the two basic categories. Manufacturers have struggled for years to eliminate the drawbacks and maximize the benefits. One of the most interesting attempts is the 4Point tonearm from Slovenian Kuzma, a pivoted arm, yet with four separate points of support. Somewhat similar in concept is what we can see in the Reed 3P – the arm is supported not by a single pivot, but three: one for horizontal motion (vertical pivot) and two for vertical. The arm is magnetically stabilized, featuring a strong magnet at the bottom, stabilizing it and increasing the vertical pressure force on the pivot. I've seen a very similar solution in the Clarify tonearm from Clearaudio. It is called "friction free magnetic bearing." But it is not the same as the Reed tonearm, where we have a classic, though short, pivot, while in the Clearaudio design the arm is suspended via a thin, rigid wire. The tonearm from the Lithuanian manufacturer is very easy to set up. It is equipped with precise VTA control, which can be changed on-the-fly, as well as a unique, adjustable on-the-fly azimuth control. The adjustment is carried out by turning not just the head but the whole arm, which is a much more elegant solution. A short video illustrating on-the-fly azimuth adjustment can be viewed on You Tube.

Tonearms manufactured by Vidmantas are available in three lengths: 9.5", 10.5" and 12". That tells us that his main customers are Japanese audiophiles. The basic parameters of each arm are shown in the table below.

Effective Length9,5"10,5"12"
Mounting distance (mm) 223251,6295,6
Overhang (mm)1715,413,4
Offset angle (deg.)22,920,717,6
Effective massDepending on each armwand material

The customer can choose not only the arm's length but also the armwand material. I wrote about it in my review of the Q3 – the Lithuanians working in Reed are professional engineers and select the armwand material primarily on the basis of vibration measurements, subsequently verified via auditions. Accordingly, in all their production models we find a wooden armwand, made of one of several types of exotic wood. Each type of wood vibrates and damp the vibrations differently, and hence “sounds” different. For this review I ordered the "Velvet Bronze Coating" finish of the tonearm’s metal components (one of several available) that looks amazing and additionally was a great color match with the turntable on which the 3P was mounted. The Reed tonearm arrives in a wooden box, disassembled. Along with a detailed instruction, we also get a Certificate of Authenticity that can be framed.
Let’s sum up the information on the 3P version I received for this review: Cocobolo wood armwand, Finewire C37 cables with cryogenic treatment, equipped with WBT Nextgen connectors, and Velvet Bronze Coating finish. Effective mass of this version is 18 gram.


Testing of tonearms is a cumbersome procedure, requiring a long breaks between auditioning the tested tonearm and the one against which it is being compared. A convenient way out is to use a turntable that can accommodate two tonearms. And I just happened to have one, the Blackbird from Dr. Feickert Analogue. Unfortunately, one of the arms may have the length up to 9" and the tested arm is 12". Consequently, I had to use the same mount. Helpfully, however, Chris Feickert’s turntables are very precisely manufactured and make replacing the arm a simple and repeatable procedure.
The testing had a character of an A/B/A comparison, with the A and B known. The Reed 3P was compared against the 12" Jelco SA-750LB tonearm. Despite the same nominal length, the arms differ from each other. The Jelco arm mounting distance is 290 mm and the overhang is 15 mm. For Reed they are, respectively, 295.6 mm and 13.4 mm. The main difference, however, concerns the armwand shape and the material of which it’s made: the Jelco is S-shaped and made of aluminum; the Reed is straight and made of wood. Yet, since I know the Japanese arm very well, having heard it on many different turntables, with various cartridges, I reckoned it would be a good point of reference. After all, 12" is to the Japanese their most favorite tonearm size.
For auditioning I used the cartridges from Miyajima Laboratory, the Kansui and the Shilabe that I know very well, and the new Zero mono cartridge (review coming in May). Additionally, I also had the Cardas/Benz Ruby 3 Silver cartridge. I used the TU-800X Improved Version tuning matte from Harmonix and a record clamp from Pathe Wings.

Reed products in “High Fidelity”:
  • REVIEW: BLACK STORK + REED 3Q – turntable + tonearm, see HERE
  • AWARD OF THE YEAR 2010: REED 3Q – tonearm, see HERE

    A selection of recordings used during auditions

    • Bill Evans Trio, Waltz for Debby, Riverside Records/Analogue Productions, APJ009, "Top 25 Jazz", Limited Edition #0773, 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP (1961/2008).
    • Bill Evans, Bill Evans Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top Of The Gate, Resonance Records, HLP-9012, "Limited Edition - Promo 104", 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP (2012); reviewed HERE.
    • Czesław Niemen, Idée Fixe, Polskie Nagrania Muza, SX 1570- 1571, SN-770, 2 x LP + SP (1978).
    • Depeche Mode, Heaven, Columbia/Sony Music, 91711, 33 1/3 rpm, 180 g, 12” maxi-SP (2013).
    • Eva Cassidy, Songbird, Blix Street Records/S&P Records, “HQ-180”, 180 g LP (1998/2003).
    • Jean-Michel Jarre, Revolutions, Dreyfus Disque/Polydor, POLH 45, LP (1988).
    • John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic/Rhino, R1 512581, "Atlantic 45 RPM Master Series", 2 x 180, 45 rpm (1960/2008).
    • Julie London, Julie is her name. Vol. 1, Liberty Records, LPR 3006, LP (1955).
    • Kankawa, Organist, T-TOC Records, UMVD-0001-0004, "Ultimate Master Vinyl", 4 x 45 rpm 180 g LP + CD-RIIα + 24/192 WAV; reviewed HERE .
    • Komeda Quintet, Astigmatic, Muza Polskie Nagrania /Polskie Nagrania, XL 0298, "Polish Jazz Vol. 5", LP (1966/2007).
    • Kraftwerk, Europe Express, King Klang Produkt/EMI, STUMM 305 , Digital Master, 180 g LP (1977/2009); reviewed HERE .
    • Led Zeppelin, Mothership, Atlantic Records, R1 344700, 4 x 180 g LP (2007).
    • Mel Tormé, Oh, You Beautiful Doll, The Trumpets of Jericho - Silver Line, 904333-980, 180 g LP (2000).
    • Peter Gabriel, New Blood, Realworld, 67855216/PGLP13, 2 x 180 g LP + heavy weight 7" SP (2011).
    • Peter Gabriel, So. 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Realworld, PGVOX2, 4 x CD + 2 x DVD + 180 g LP + 45 rpm LP (1987/2012); reviewed HERE .
    • Stan Getz & Charlie Bird, Jazz Samba, Verve/Speakers Corner, 009 8432, 180 g LP (1962/2007).
    • Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ At The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music K.K. [Japan], UCJU-9083, 180 g LP (1965/2007).
    • William Orbit, My Oracle Lives Uptown, Guerill Studios/Linn Records, AKH 351, 2 x 180 g LP; reviewed HERE .
    • Yaz, Upstairs at Eric's, Warner Bros. Records/Mobile Fidelity, MOFI 1-020, "Silver Label", "Special Limited Edition No. 2044", 150 g LP (1982/2012).

    The better the sound that Compact Disc offers, the better I understand what’s wrong with vinyl. At the same time, however, I feel more and more admiration for those who worked out a hundred years ago how to make this "invention" produce any sound at all.

    Even now, so many years later, the turntable is still a champion in the absolute sound quality, even in direct comparisons, with a CD player and a similarly priced analog system consisting of a turntable, cartridge and phono preamp, entering the lists. Even high resolution files, as of now, haven’t changed that yet. Although, probably, in some time they will become equivalent music media. Equivalent! Listen people, the latest developments, DSD and PCM 24/192, will be able, but not yet now, to present a recording equally satisfactory as vinyl, after more than a hundred years of its existence!
    But, as I say, Compact Disc at its best shows characteristics that even vinyl lacks. It also has its obvious problems that even an inexpensive turntable gets by easily, no doubts about it. But the fact that it shows features that are first created in the vinyl record production and then during its playback, is amazing.
    The first is the frequency response extension. While unimportant on its own, since it is midrange that is the most vital part of music presentation, it creates a kind of whole that midrange alone can’t even come close to. Higher harmonics, undisturbed phase relations, appropriate bass basis that is needed not just to let the double bass go deeper or the organ shake our room (although that is always welcome), but to effect a large enough volume of sound, to give soundstage a proper momentum and size. Therefore, the top and bottom end are also important. Even more important, though, seems to be sound definition, a little disturbed in the LP format. The first lesson on how the signal is modified on vinyl can be learnt by listening to analog master tapes on a good reel-to-reel tape deck (see HERE and HERE). Any music, really, will do; the conclusion will be that the differences are obvious and clear. And while the best CD players show the sound definition in a very similar way, vinyl has a tendency to round off the attack and to blur its correlation with other sounds. Even the most accurate, best turntables I've ever heard, such as the SME 30/12, the Kuzma Stabi XL, the Transrotor Argos, the AVID Acutus Reference, emulate the homogeneity of attack transients, without really showing their complexity, in that it's not only a hard "wave front", i.e. speed, that matters but rather both fullness and speed; at least not showing it in the same way as reel to reel with master tape or digital studio devices do. Precise turntables, such as the Kuzma, tend to show speed, while those slightly more rounded, such as the AVID, prefer fullness. Yet even the SME, being the best all-rounder in this respect, is not able to show it the way the best digital source can. Let me repeat: vinyl still wins in terms of absolute sound quality, of satisfaction derived from listening. There is, however, no use pretending that it is the "absolute" sound.

    It's just that when we listen to the best products associated with that format, we ask ourselves, where these 100 years or more of progress can be seen? What has been achieved? The first, immediate answer is simple: playback of vinyl records has been refined; the best contemporary products are light years away from the first attempts. The second one, immediately following, is also clear: introducing the CD first ruined everything only to try to squeeze something out of it for the next thirty years. And when finally the CD let us hear things we have never dreamed of, the project seems to be coming to an end, being replaced by high resolution files. I am convinced that it will take next dozen years to refine them, to refine their recording, mastering and playback before we can say that it is good.
    The most important, however, is the answer no. 1 – all that time we have been witnessing constant improvement of, ultimately, quite simple things. Such as tonearms, for example. Immediately, after the first few seconds of listening it does not seem fair to compare the Jelco against the Reed. The Japanese arm seems to sound as if it were broken. I exaggerate, of course; the SA-750LB is a good, relatively inexpensive product. It proves great in many turntables and offers a nice sound. Only that the 3P shows it its place. Straight up, with no foreplay.

    A characteristic feature of the sound we get with the Lithuanian arm is wholeness. The thing almost identified with turntables, yet not quite clear-cut as the vinyl apologists imagine. The Jelco arm, similarly to the SME M2-12 that I also had recently, seems bright and thin. Without a direct comparison one could swear that the Jelco sounds warm, smooth. And it really does, until one listens to the Reed, that is.
    The second element is sound definition, excellent with the 3P. I noticed something like that only with the SME V-12 and the 4Point from Kuzma. The 3P differs from both – for the worse – being less selective, but – on the plus side – showing an even better insight into the depth of sounds, in their differentiation at low levels. It is of little significance if we listen to original pressings, analog or digital reissues; both these attributes, that is fullness and definition, will order the whole presentation. And it is not easy to show both color and sound structure, with the tangible presence of musical instruments having "body", almost "fragrant", and to differentiate between them to such an extent that we SEEM to be listening to real musicians, not their mechanical playback.

    Mini-interview with…
    Vidmantas Triukas

    Wojciech Pacuła: Vidmantas, could you please introduce yourself to us?
    Vidmantas Triukas: I have been a radio engineer, working in hi-fi audio equipment field since 1985. Some of my works related to acoustics were rocket science, quite literally: I was working in scientific acoustic and ultrasound area, researching acoustical noise of plasma in long-range ballistic missiles, and have had three patented inventions in this field. In 1987, together with a few friends we built an “audio set”, consisting of a turntable, speakers and an amplifier, and presented it at the USSR’s largest technical achievement trade show in Moscow. For its various innovations (turntable motor automatic speed control, an amp with very low linear distortions etc.) it was awarded a bronze medal in the audio equipment category.
    After 1990 I started business in another area, however audio was still my passion all these years. In 2007 I decided to start high-end product business and after a year of continuous research, prototyping, design and testing I offered first Reed series tonearm.
    I have also been a very passionate art lover. In 1980 – 1982 I studied art history in Sankt Petersburg (then Leningrad).

    A few words about your team?
    During these five years in business our team grew from three to five people (not mentioning an accountant). Now we have a three-people engineering team headed by me, and two people working with sales and marketing.

    What are the technical principles behind your 3P tonearm and what’s most important about it in your opinion?
    The Reed 3P is our latest tonearm model. It has not only a VTA fine adjustment on-the-fly, but also features a unique possibility of adjusting azimuth while playing a record. An exciting thing about the azimuth adjuster is that during the adjustment process the cartridge “swings” around the stylus tip, hence keeping all other tonearm parameters intact. Another 3P’s innovation is its bearing system. Although the tonearm bearing system can be considered as a gimbal, it acts like a unipivot one. However, a major difference from a unipivot system is that instead of a single pivot I have used three pivots and both vertical and horizontal axis magnetic stabilizers. Such a bearing system is as rigid as gimbal, but its friction coefficient is as low as that in unipivot.
    To say it short, in the Reed 3P you can set up most of the tonearm's parameters (VTA, azimuth, anti-skating) on the fly, and due to its very sensitive bearing system you will not miss the slightest music tones.

    Why did you split with
    According to our mutual agreement with Jonas (turntable manufacturer), we refrain to comment this decision.

    What are your future plans?
    We are currently working on a few new products, but unfortunately I cannot tell you more until the beginning of May, when we meet most of our partners at the annual Munich High-End. Please, understand me – I can't present any plans anywhere before announcing them to our distributors and dealers first.

    Vinyl is associated with a slightly softened sound, or so it seems to me; kind of friendly and "physiological". And rightly so, as it indeed is like that. However, if we deal with a high-end system (I'm talking about relative quality; it can be demonstrated at every price level) it appears that these are secondary elements; although they can be abstracted from the presentation, it is only volitionally, when we are very keen on that. Normally, they remain "under" the music, creating a new quality, characteristic of vinyl. Something many people would pay their last money for.
    The Lithuanian tonearm does not change the rules of the game; it uses them instead. The Reed 3P offers a big sound, with extremely low descending bass. And although, as I say, after listening carefully we can hear that its attack is rounded, that in the real world the double bass sounds more dull yet better defined, that the bass guitar with a large bass amp has a harder attack, and that the piano is more matte but has a "stiffer" attack transient, we are still left open-mouthed or with shivers on our back (depending on our experience with this type of sound), listening to each record, waiting for what’s coming next and how it’s presented. And after getting used to the presentation, we just listen to music in the comfort and confidence that finally we can hear what the sound engineer could have heard (a figure of speech, naturally, but quite helpful) in the studio. It was true with a digital remaster of Led Zeppelin recordings on the four-LP album Mothership, and with Sinatra’s voice on a mono LP with his recordings from the 1940s.

    What stood behind it, to a great extent, was coherence. It’s possible to point out to higher midrange, where the attack is slightly hardened, as an element that could be improved (in absolute terms). There's always something you can improve. Sound coherence, however, was so impressive that even this element, usually irritating, here translated into higher dynamics, into an impression of explicitness and emphasis, better selectivity, without the annoying impression that something is not right with the sound.


    Tonearms are only a part of the system that together make up something called a turntable. On the one hand, it needs to be equipped with an appropriate cartridge, on the other it has to be mounted on a high-quality base, whose main task is to spin the platter with the greatest possible precision and the least vibration and noise. The arm acts as a go-between in that trio – in itself it has no direct contact with the record. That is the role of the platter and the cartridge. Yet its impact on the turntable sound cannot be overestimated. It is its quality that defines what kind of sound we get. At the same time it seems that ideally it should "disappear" from the audio path. It is a known truism, repeated about each component of the audio system. There is, however, a lie in such a declaration, a kind of original sin that consists in pretending that something like "disappearance" is at all possible. In reality, each and every component changes the sound in its own, characteristic way. Still, the best ones can do it in such a way as to complement the whole system and to "disappear" by supporting the others and hiding in their shadow.
    The Reed 3P tonearm has its own sonic character. Its sound is slightly warm in the lower parts of treble and a little harder in upper midrange. However, it has an uncanny ability to "blend" with cartridges and turntables. It highlights their rich tonal palette and dynamics. Its differentiation is outstanding and only the two tonearms I mentioned (the SME and the Kuzma) can do it slightly better. The combination of some softness, or perhaps better to say some culture, and high resolution of the Reed 3P is truly unique. The bass reaches extremely deep and has a very good definition, which has the additional effect of "scale". Although it seems delicate, in its sound there is no deceptive airiness, which is usually nothing more than lightness and the lack of "basis". Here, everything serves the higher goal of neutrality combined with naturalness. The Reed 3P is a wonderful example of a successful marriage of design, technology and sound. You can fall in love with and become addicted to it.


    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
    - Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One