Fern & Roby Montrose Heirloom Turntable

While looking over all the great gear that was on display at last month’s Capital Audiofest (CAF), I saw quite a number of products we earmarked for looking into further after the show beyond the coverage we already had planned for our various CAF show reports. One of those fine products, Fern & Roby’s Montrose Heirloom turntable — which was on display in the company’s own room at the show, fitted with a Schröder CB tonearm ($14,950) with a Sculpture A A.3P Ebony cartridge ($4,535) — is today’s deep-dive subject.


First, some background, Fern & Roby, which is based in Richmond, Virginia, is the in-house brand and product line of Tektonics Design Group, a 15-year-old contract design and manufacturing business that machines chassis for ModWright Instruments and other hi-fi companies of fine repute. All Fern & Roby gear is manufactured in the company’s own 20,000-square-foot shop, and (in their words), “our selection of material is guided by the principles of local and domestic sourcing, and in most cases, driven toward recycled, reclaimed, or responsibly manufactured goods.”


According to Fern & Roby, the Montrose Heirloom turntable features “everything” that was included with the previous-gen Montrose turntable (SRP: $8,500), but with a 30lb brass platter and brass LP weight as notable upgrades. The increased mass of the Heirloom brass platter is said to deliver “sonic improvements” in terms of speed stability and vibration dampening to “eliminate resonant vibrations that get added to and obscure the music playback.”


A smart motor controller is integrated into the design of the Montrose Heirloom, and the ’table is built around the company’s own modular, active P.I.D. drive unit that they’ve acronymed as being a MAP drive, which incorporates a computer-controlled, real-time P.I.D. (proportional-integrative-derivative) controller. The controller is said to use active feedback from the platter to regulate the performance of the deck. The MAP drive can be also and swapped out for service and replacement.


The Montrose Heirloom table is made from a material called Richlite, which is manufactured from compressed recycled paper and resin, and is “borne of responsible manufacturing with a smooth and natural feel to it.” Other Heirloom materials include high-grade stainless steel and brass.

The Montrose Heirloom turntable also boasts the same bearing, motor control, and user interface of the company’s Tredegar turntable, which preceded the abovementioned, earlier-gen Montrose ’table.


The included Heirloom tonearm is the Schröder CB tonearm by Thrax Audio (with either ebony or carbon-fiber arm wand), while preferred cartridge options are given as Soundsmith (Zephyr MIMC, Paua, Sussurro), Hana (ML, SL [as seen above], EL), and Denon (DL-103R) — though Fern & Roby add they’re open to working with any customer’s cart preferences.


Dimensions of the Montrose Heirloom turntable are given as 20¾ x 5 x 15in (w/h/d), and its weight is listed as 65lb. Fern & Roby are not currently listing an SRP for this ’table, but instead request that you contact them directly to “discuss options,” which you can do by 1) email at info@fernandroby.com, and/or 2) by phone at 804-233-5030.

For more about Fern & Roby, go here.


For even more CAF-centric coverage, see Julie Mullins’ CAF show report, which was split into Part 1 and Part 2, and also check out Ken Micallef’s video report that focused on turntables, turntables, and (you guessed it) even more turntables.