Clearaudio master reference vs Feickert Blackbird

You may look my system below. I am using a Dr. Feickert Blackbird Turntable with Kuzma Tonearms. Recently My dealer offered me a great bargain "Clearaudio Master Reference Turntable with a TT2 tangential tonearm". As expected, I opened a thread, wishing to hear about the user experience and opinions. Only Hansonaudio left a message, which I am thankful.

Master Reference is an old and very expensive model. It usually paired with tq1 souther tonearm(which had a lots of problems). My offered turntable paired with a tt2 tonearm(10k usd). It is nearly impossible to find user having the same combo, so trying to find a user opinion in audiogon/internet is only a wishfull thinking I guess.

Lately, there is review on audiobeat which compares Master Reference+Tq1 vs. Vpi 4 Classic(handle two tonearm). I think Vpi 4 is very similar to my turntable. I do not know if they are equal competitors, but they are having the same design principles. In this review, reviewer finds out vpi4 is better then Master Reference(nearly in every field). I emailed the reviewer about his findings, but i did not receive an answer. This review is the only opinion I can gather about this turntable.

So when my dealer brought the turntable to my home, I am not very optimistic about this TT+Tonearm. My dealer set up the tt and the tonearm with a Brinkmann cartridge(which he uses for demo). We both agreed that, this cartridge is not equal to Lyra Titani or Zyxx Universe 2 nor Ortofon Cadenza Red. First and the second cartridges are better, last one is worse then the Brinkmann. So just to warm up for this turntable, I started to listened,for a week. My turntable, with 4point+Lyra is far more better then the clearaudio+brinkmann combo. Clearaudio only has a darker background. On every other aspect, bass definition, holographic images etc. 4point+Lyra was king.

After a week I decided to change the cartridges, and mounting my 4point to clearaudio. We changed the cartridge. Lyra gone to tt2 tonearm. But sadly, we cannot mount the 4point, because we did not have the proper armbase(soon we will change)

So now I am trying Clearaudio Master Reference+TT2 tonearm+Lyra Titan. I may say it is very convincing. But I really like to see how 4point+titan react on each turntable, i think this comparison will really show the difference between two turntables. For, TT2 against 4 point, all I can say is Mr Kuzma did a great job with this tonearm(considering tt2 is 10k tonearm)

Generally my first impressions are right, and I ended up with them, but I do not want to rush about this decision. Because whether a good deal or not, I will pay a good amount for trade, and I really like to worth it, or I will not consider this offer.

I am planning to write how 4point+lyra reacts on both turntable. I did not find anything like this on net, so maybe my experience will be useful for another :)

Also I really like to hear your recomendations, about comparing or anything else......
Last couple of hours i am listening lyra tt2. Record after record i love my titan more. İ think you need to throw something decent to master reference to get some extraordinary results(like titan). i really like what i hear.
One of my customers has a Clearaudio Master Reference turntable with Kuzma 4Point tonearm and Clearaudio Goldfinger v2 cartridge. Before the 4Point he had a Clearaudio TQi with upgrades. It wasn't close.

My recommendation is stick with your Feickert Blackbird and 4Point. The Titan/Titan i is a good match with the 4Point, as I have set up that combination as well and also with a Zyx Universe -- another successful pairing.

Kuzma dealer.
I cant comment on the Feickert, but can give you some thoughts on Clearaudio.

I had a master solution and looked seriously at upgrading to or buying a master reference to get the better speed stability with the three motors and also get multi tone arm capability.

I ended up buying a used clearaudio Innovation wood that exceeds the master reference performance for less money. It's also much smaller footprint and easier to setup with only one motor. It's newer design materials better damp lp to cartridge vibrations resulting in generally blacker backgrounds. It is probably my last TT unless I hit the lottery.

If you do get the master reference, make sure it has the ceramic magnetic bearing if at all possible. It's a major performance improvement and costs a fortune to upgrade if not already there.
i have a kuzma airline with a dynavector xvit and also a tt2 with a clearaudio insider reference both on a tw acustic ac3 table. the tts needs a cartridge with very low compliance.
i did have the carts reversed at one time, the xvit on the tts and insider on the kuzma.
the kuzma/insider sounded very thin. the tt2/xvit was better, but not as good as the kuzma/xvit.
so, the tt2 is cartridge dependent. the tt2/insider combo is fantastic. black backgrounds, deep bass and beautiful mids. extremely detailed.
the kuzma/xvit has those properties also, just a more aggressive sound from the xvit.
you may want to try different carts on the tt2, but try to get a compliance of 14 or lower. the insider is 10.
Mallen123, are you sure that the Clearaudio Innovation is better than the Master Reference? Or, were you actually referring to the Innovation being better than the Master Solution you owned?
Stick with what you have.
Thank's for your recommandations. I am still changing titan between tt2/4point. Subtle differences, all I can say. I think it is not possible to understand, which table is better, without mounting 4point on master reference.

But now I am thinking, if tt2 is in the same league with 4 point, if I buy this clearaudio, I will have 2 tonearm in the same category with a different design, which not stogi ref313 is not in the same category with 4point also same design principles. In the meantime, in worst case if the clearaudio is not better or equal to Blackbird, my money will mainly go to tt2 which I may buy as a new or a secondhand without buying master reference.

On the other hand, maybe it is not important as sonic abilties, but Master Reference is hell of a handsome turntable. It is real eye candy. Which will not have any effect on my decision.

Decisions, decisions....Best part of this addiction(hobby :) )
Tonight one of my friend came by, and we started to compare Clearaudio Master Reference+tt2+titan vs Dr. Feickert Blackbird+Kuzma 4point+Titan.

We think that in every area, clearaudio setup is better. ı cant say differences are black and white, but they are there and it is impossible to ignore them. I think it is worth the price difference. After that point, I think 4point will perform better on Master Reference. For being in the safe side, I will wait for my final decision, until I mount 4point, on Clearaudio.
Dear Altanpsx: +++++ " We think that in every area, clearaudio setup is better " +++++

I have no experience with the Blackbird unit but I want to think is a prety decent TT as is the Master Reference. If this is true then IMHO what is making or having more " weight " in the quality performance level on both set up is the cartridge/tonearm match and dfferences in between.

Normally the relationship between tonearm and cartridge is not only critical but more important that the TT it self, especially when you are testing two way different tonearm designs: linear tracking vs pivoted one, it can't be more different. Did you think: what about the tt2 in the Blackbird?

Maybe Mosin advice could be the way to go.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Rauliruegas,

Actually i thought about mounting tt2 on blackbird, but i do not have a proper armboard, and it is impossible to gatjer in short notice.

i am thinking in the same way you are. Thats why i will give my final decision, after trying 4point+tintan i on each turntable. i think this is a fair comparison, which i think you agree.

Also you have a wonderfull system. i am sure it takes years to build it. i am quite sure i have tons of things to learn from you.

İ looked t your setup briefly, (i will dig later :) ), i did not see any tangential tonarm, is it an intended result or just a coincidence.
Dear Altanpsx: Everyday is an audio learning one for all of us. Thank's for your words.

Now, even that the tangential tonearms I owned or where I had first hand experiences makes somethings different way that pivoted ones there is a home sound reproduction where I don't find out yet a tangential tonearm that can beat or even the bass mangement of a good pivoted tonearm design.

Bass frequency range is the most critical ( and hard to have accurately and neutral. ) and important range to reproduce and IMHO is down there where music sound reproduction life lives, is the foundation of the home music reproduction.

If your audio system bass management is " right " then the other frequency ranges fine tunning is easy to achieve but if ithat bass magement is wrong then you have almost " nothing " of MUSIC but only just sounds.

Of course that pivoted tonearm are far away to be perfect but tangential ones are neither perfect too.

Trade-offs and choosed trade-offs in audio is the name of the game.

As better/higher as the each one audio learning process grow up as better the trade-offs we choose in favor of the MUSIC enjoyment.

Money always helps to build top audio systems but in reality what define how good an audio system performs is due to your knowledge level and skills to make the right choice on each audio system link trade-offs.

As lower our ignorance level as better decisions we can make/take.

Regards and enjoy the music,
i Looks like sme 30/2 will be on my rack next week to compare three tables, and choose one of it (wish not to choose). Most of recommended me to keep what i have, but tt2+lyra is doing a fantastic job, which i think can not be easily forget. i think i will be able to mount 4point on master reference this weekend, which will start the real competition. Next week Sme 30/2 will come probably with a sme tonearm(i probably dont have chance to mount 4point, if i may, it would be the best way to compare)c, i do not have any knowledge about the sme tonearm. Wait and see. Things getting interesting, i wish that my dealer had found a brinkmann bakance right now. İ was planning to change my tt in couple of years with brinkmann balance/kuzma 4xl, these tt comes up and i think changed everything. any sme 30/2 rec. Would be usefull..
Altanpsx, I was the first Kuzma dealer to set up a 4Point on an SME 30/2 for a customer. The customer had purchased a blank armboard from SME (they refuse to machine one for anything but their own arms, yet the blank armboard was $1200), which was sent to Kuzma for machining, the cost of which the customer covered. The result was very good, and the customer got what he wanted, including my flying to California to dial in the alignment as part of his purchase. Kuzma now makes armboards for mounting their arms on SME 'tables and charges less than half what SME does for a blank one.
Essentialaudio thank's for this valuable intel. I had bought my Kuzma arms directly from Mr. Kuzma(because no distributor in my country). So it will be very easy for me to buy armboard. Again many thanks for the intel.

I was planning to buy kuzma 4xl or brinkmann balance, but my dealer brought me a good deal with clear audio master reference+tt2 tonearm, now he maybe offering me another good deal sme 30/2. I really like to hear your thoughts about these turntables. I am aware of your businness relations, but I trust your opinions, and I really think you are very objective about every product. If it is not unappropriate to comment here, I really wish to hear what you are thinking.