Snap, crackle, snap, crackle, snap, crackle… a background noise that will have every vinyl enthusiast hurtling through the house at breakneck speed. Quick. Get to the turntable and lift the precious cartridge off the lead-out groove! We all know pickups are quite sensitive and not exactly cheap. Here’s where the Little Fwend comes in.
There used to be semiautomated turntables that would lift up the tonearm at the end of the vinyl, but the cruel analog enthusiasts had nothing but contempt for that convenient little feature. They were far too worried about sound loss being caused by interventions in the drive control and mechanics of the tonearm. So the sound produced by turntables got better and better but convenience seemed to go out the window. As a result, many vinyl junkies these days sit at home in sports shoes, ready to jump to their feet at the first sign of any clicking so they can sprint to the vinyl altar.
But lo and behold, all you minimalism lovers and sports haters, a savior is born! During a few dark winter nights, two clever Norwegians hatched a reliable and sound-friendly solution to this problem. And voilà: They delivered the most sensible accessory I’ve ever held in my hand! The Little Fwend, a tiny universal tonearm lifter that, thanks to its smart design, provides the most ardent and puristic analog fans with both convenience and peace of mind. And, of course, no sound loss. The Little Fwend is available in three different sizes, which means owners of small, lightweight turntables and imposing monumental devices alike can get hold of the right version to use. The little helper can be mounted in less than a minute even by music fans who are normally all fingers and thumbs. All you have to do is fix the small adhesive base disc between the tonearm and the platter so the arm gently touches the sensor, which is made from flexible piano wire and acts as the trigger. Magnetic force holds the Little Fwend neatly in place on the mounting disc, however it can be moved a little when necessary — recordings of large orchestras are often pressed right up to the label while audiophile blues and jazz numbers may have a more ample lead-out groove.
I admit to feeling nervous during the first few runs and I sat opposite the turntable ready to pounce as I didn’t yet trust the Little Fwend and the shaky, fragile single-support tonearm combo. What if the arm jumps out of its support and the system slams down on the frame? The next eight weeks went on to prove that my fears were completely unfounded. The Little Fwend works so well and is so reliable that I could even relax and sunbathe in a hammock while listening to my turntable and I didn’t have to worry a second about my sound box. At the end of the side, the tonearm is gently lifted and rests stably on the beam, keeping the stylus out of harm’s way while the record continues to spin. All in all, I think the Little Fwend should be supplied as a standard with any serious turntable, not only for humanitarian reasons but because it has huge benefits, looks great, and doesn’t interfere with the sound whatsoever. Conclusion: I get by with a little help from my fwend!
Automatic tonearm lifter
Three models | L (low): 32—49 mm/base 16 mm | H (high): 49—82 mm/ base 19 mm | XL (very high): 80—140 mm/base 25 mm | Warranty: two years | Price: €199 (L and H models), €249 (XL)