Monday, 8 April 2013

The Turntable, Part 1 – the magnet bearing

I have been using SME tonearms since 25 years in combination with several different turntables. I had mostly SME 3009/II and 3012/II models, but as well Ortofon RMG309 or Fidelity Research FR66 installed on Transcriptor, Thorens, Linn and Garrard turntables, the latter with long 12'' versions. I had Garrard models 401 and 301, followed by a Thorens TD 124. For this player and the Garrards I did build several plinths. First laminated blocks from particle board, later massive hardwood and further on natural stones. I did try to improve the bearings, implied balls, added plattermass, but I never could reach a grade of smoothness I was looking for. Or let me say it with other words: The idler wheel players never exited the level of technical sound reproducers towards a more or less invisible component. They were able to transport lots of dynamics, big soundstages and a brilliant projection of details; – they made me bopping my feet – but I was searching a deeper insight into the music. Qualities like timing, homogenity, fluidity and air are equally important than acurate tonal balance, loudness and dynamics. The latter three are always on main discourse when traditional hifi components are compared. The others are more common when real musical instruments get in discussion.
At that point I did like the lightweight subchassis players like the LP12 more, because of a smoother soundstage with better homogenity and better balanced music integrity. Precise ac generators like the Linn Lingo and similiar concepts help a lot here to improve the dynamics of this lightweight champions. I missed the extra dynamics and giant soundstage of the "big papas", but could live better with the small scale version.

In 1996 I owned a Platine Verdier. It changed my hifi experience completely. Never before I had heard something like this. The music did fluid with a never before heard tranquility and homogeneity, almost natural timing and a sheer unbelievable portions of air and space between all instruments. Together with real instrumental bodied dynamics the overall soundstage was completely absend of any hardening effects. I was sitting speechless in front of my stereo and played one record after the other and could swear not having heard one of these before.
The Verdier closes the gap between the powerfull attributes and dynamics of the heavy players with a unknown smoothness, finesse and the musical homogenity of the best subchassis players. The magnetic isolated 15kg-platter in combination with isolated string motor and 30kg mass for plinth and magnets brings this uncomparable combination. This player has been discussed in almost any serious hifi magazine, some made reviews about it. Its not on me now to do it again.

With the Verdier it is very simple, you get it, you hear it and you never will give it away. May be that is the reason they are not seen second hand. I know almost 15 people who have one, some even have two, but none has sold his in the last 20 years. May be it is time for the next oil change...?

Read on soon, Volker

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