Why J.Sikora?The J.Sikora Difference
By Music Lovers for Music Lovers
J.Sikora is a family-run business in Lublin, Poland. The patriarch of the family, Janusz Sikora, has been a music lover all his life. As a young man, Janusz played guitar in a local band. Janusz’s son, Robert, also had a short stint as a bass guitarist in an alternative rock band that made it to compete in the Polish version of X-Factor. When not working, you will often find the Sikoras spending long hours spinning vinyl. Their tastes run from opera to classical, and from jazz to rock.
Janusz’s passion for music led him on a quest to develop audio equipment that would both accurately reproduce and extract the passion of music from recordings. His first commercial audio endeavor was the development of well-regarded tube amplifiers under the company name Burdjak & Sikora.
Fortunately for analog lovers, the closing of one door opened the door for the creation of J.Sikora Turntables. Janusz felt the need to share his passion for enjoying music at home. The first J.Sikora turntable was publicly displayed at the Warsaw Audio / Video show in 2014. As interest and demand grew, Janusz brought in his son Robert to build the brand that now includes a variety of turntables.
While neither Sikora became a legend as a musician, their love of music has started them on their way to becoming legends in the world of analog.
Masters of Metal
Besides music, Janusz Sikora’s other passion is working with metals. He began his long career as an apprentice metalworker in 1978. Having shown great talent, Janusz was accepted into District Guild of Various Crafts in Lublin in 1982.
That same year Janusz founded Allmet, which specializes in the design and production of luxury balustrades. In designing the balustrades, Janusz experimented with combining different metals. His creations balance artistic beauty and functional design.
Janusz’s latest endeavor is the application of his years in metalwork to the design of turntables. His knowledge of the characteristics of metals provides the foundation for each turntable design. Besides the obvious visual difference of each metal, each metal is unique in its density, strength, malleability, conduction of heat, and ductility. And just important for audio, metal is sonorous: all metals ring and have pitch and decay. When using a metal in audio equipment, the size, thickness, shape, and patterns affect the sound (think cymbals).
Janusz has done extensive testing and listening to various metals, alone and in combinations. Based on these observations, he then works through many prototypes of his turntables varying the type, quantity, shape, and size of metal parts to maximize the information extraction and musicality of his turntables. J.Sikora is so fanatic about using the right choice of metals, that they even produce their own brass bolts for their isolation feet!
Take for example the J.Sikora Reference turntable. It encompasses no fewer than 6 different metals: aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel, nickel, and cast iron. It is a large table, weighing over 250 pounds, and it is capable of supporting three tonearms. However, unlike many other high mass designs that achieve fine detail and bass weight at the expense of introducing a metallic sound or brightness, the J.Sikora turntables have a remarkably inviting sound. New customers are always amazed by J.Sikora turntables’ sheer musicality.
Value and Lineage
Herb Reichert wrote, in Stereophile: ”During my auditions, J.Sikora’s Initial gave me what I consider to be a majority portion of what the Porsche-Maserati turntables do at a Cadillac-Oldsmobile price.” And Jacob Heilbrunn from The Absolute Sound writes: ” Out of the turntables retailing anywhere under six figures, this Polish creation will polish off many of its competitors.”
There are several reasons for J.Sikora’s amazing price-to-performance ratio:
- The turntable a built in Poland where highly skilled labor is very affordable
- The vast majority of the metal work is produced in-house.
- J.Sikora is buying large quantity of metals because of its affiliation with its sister company Allmet.
- J.Sikora does not believe in raising the price of a product just to add to the ownership snobbery by make the retail price obtainable by only the ultra-rich.
Can a high-end turntable be made in Poland? Does Poland have any history with the arts and sciences? The short answers are YES and YES!
Poland has a long and proud history in science with the likes of Copernicus and Marie (Skłodowska) Currie. While advancements lagged during the era of Soviet occupation, Poland has invested heavily in new technology since the iron curtain fell.
What about the musical arts?
Of course Poland’s most famous musician and composer was Frédéric François Chopin. And Poland has a great tradition in Jazz dating back to before WWII. For example, Christopher Komeda had a big (but short) career in both Poland and the United States before he tragically died in an accident in Los Angeles. Other notables are: Tomasz Stanko, Zbigniew Namyslowski, Zbigniew Zelfert, Michał Urbaniak.
As far as high-end audio is concerned, it may be surprising to many, but the Warsaw Audio Video show is the second largest audio event in Europe. In the last decade Polish audio brands have emerged onto the world market with the likes of J.Sikora, Lampizator, and others.
Old World Craftsmanship meets Modern Design
An important part of the J.Sikora DNA…
is the blending of old-world craftsmanship with modern technology. As noted earlier, Janusz brings with him a long history of manufacturing luxury metal products. The vast majority of the parts are produced by highly-skilled machinists in the J.Sikora / Allmet factory in Lublin Poland. At the factory, Janusz has established a culture pride and professionalism. Each employee works in a meticulous manner and knows that it is the quality of their work that ultimately defines the J.Sikora name.
[Photos courtesy of Mono & Stereo]
This craftsmanship extends beyond just the production quality.
Janusz knows that form follows function. His eye for industrial design transforms each of his massive turntables into a piece of art. The layers of metals and clean lines place his products’ aesthetics amongst the best in the industry. Yet Janusz will never sacrifice performance for looks. His vast experience has taught him that beauty and performance can work hand-in-hand to create an iconic product.
J.Sikora is not just about an old-school approach to designing and building turntables. Janusz’s son Robert has introduced modern manufacturing, such as the use of CAD to produce even higher levels of precision. CNC machines are now used to the most intricate and complex machining. J.Sikora turntables use an advanced speed controller that brings any variability to remarkably low levels. And J.Sikora is now pioneering the use of advanced non-metallic materials, the most noticeable application being the first-ever use of Kevlar® for the armtube of their new KV12-series tonearms.
So, what do all these things practically mean for you, the consumer? When you acquire a J.Sikora turntable, you obtain an incredibly well-engineered, vital component that will provide with many years of musical enjoyment.