The Feickert Woodpecker was first introduced in 2008 and has gone through some performance upgrades and refinements over the past few years. In 2012–2013 the Woodpecker received a bearing update, a motor/controller/hardware/software update, and a user interface update. In the U.S., VANA acquired the distributorship for Feickert Analogue midway through 2013.
The Feickert Woodpecker is a belt-driven turntable with a proprietary-software-controlled DC motor. The design includes a quick-release sliding-armboard system capable of supporting a variety of 205–300 mm (9"–12") tonearms. The chassis is 18.9" wide and 15" deep, and weighs 29.7 pounds. With its 13.2-pound platter the total turntable weighs in at approximately 43 pounds without tonearm. There are five pushbuttons on the front left top of the turntable near the platter. Three buttons allow speed selection (33/45/78), while the other two are for speed adjustments.
Representing new distribution, VANA Ltd. decided to differentiate its Feickert Woodpecker (along with its Blackbird and Firebird) from previous models by specifying that the aluminum top and bottom plates of the turntables be finished in a black-anodized brushed aluminum, and the main body be polished piano-black (with rosewood as a $500 optional finish). The High Inertia Platter has also become standard in all models from the stock Feickert Woodpecker ($6500) to the Blackbird ($9000) and top-line Firebird ($13,500). The these changes, in my opinion, make the ’table look beautiful.
According to Feickert, the new bearing is inverted, designed to reduce contact area by 80% without reducing stiffness compared to the previous design, and has a flattened out area to reduce rumble significantly. According to the manufacturer and distributor, additional features of the bearing include spiral grooves to pump oil up into the bearing, and an included oil-release grub screw that allows excess oil to flow through, resulting in better motor/bearing interaction with tighter tolerances.
The High Inertia Platter is made of POM (Delrin) with eight precision-machined MS58 brass inserts along the outer portion of the platter to balance it and eliminate eccentricity. This additional mass also improves speed stability. The manufacturer states that the Delrin platters are pre-dyed before extrusion and double-tempered to reduce tension, then cut to 60mm (2.36") in height and double-tempered again before machining to ensure the resulting platter (approximately 1.8" high according to my calipers) is flat, round, balanced, and smooth-running.
When the Woodpecker Package ($1500 option) is ordered, a 12" Jelco ’arm and Acoustical Systems Arché headshell are included with the turntable. The Arché headshell allows standard adjustments for overhang and azimuth, but also includes an adjustment for the stylus rake angle (SRA) at the headshell. This SRA feature allows for more flexibility with tonearms that don’t have adjustable VTA at or near the pivot point of the ’arm. Additionally, if the tonearm seems to function best when the ’arm is closer to level, the Arché allows you to level it while at the same time providing SRA adjustment at the headshell. This feature can come in handy when using different cartridge/Arché-headshell combinations.