Thursday, 2 October 2014

La Platine Verdier – The Final Turntable

Hello to everybody,

after a long period of absence I did plan to restart this blog with another Aa-preamp part to be the next entry. The Power supply should be topic shown soon, but another case of death needs to be covered first – Jean Constant Verdier, the ingenious mind of the legendary magnet bearing turntable has died recently.

Talking today in 2014 about turntables has the same attitude than talking about car design. Both issues in terms of technical inventive creativity have disappeared, instead a solely ostentatious understanding of design issues hat taken place in both fields. The bespoken record player appeared in 1980 as one of the last great innovative designs at the audio market, first seen at Maison de L'Audiophile in Paris, France. "La Platine Verdier" offered several new design issues at the first time for record players, when it entered a almost saturated market, dominated from typical japanese mass production decks, mainly introduced as direct driven designs. Only a few other sub chassis designs had survived beside them, mostly light weight built, like the Thorens and several derivated like the Linn LP12 and others. The Verdier came out with a hefty mass of almost 50 kg with a completely new concept to find the best possible options for vinyl operated audio. Here it has to be named with reuse of 12 inch studio tonearms, low compliance cartridges and incorporating first a high mass platter, it did set the path for the current audiophile record player. It was designed to resemble the mass of the record cutting process platter to catch up the circumstances during the pick up process. Next a extremely solid (20 mm) sized axis with massive bearing housing was introduced as a controlled resistive element. But the main novelty of the whole design was the magnet decoupling mechanism, which kept the platter off resonances. In combination with a spring-air controlled pneumatic acting feet system for additional decoupling of the artificial stone base down to 3 hz, the separation of the motor unit into a own chassis and a very long and thin string, the Verdier  has set the pace in terms of suspension, decoupling and weight for a mass players. All features together opened a whole bunch of aural attitudes, which have not been archived before, nor they have been completely captured up by any later design.

As simple as it can be, clearly visible the two magnet housings and the 7mm air gap in-between.

Today it seem to exist strange relationships in the purchasing behavior of SUV-cars and between  turntables. Where attitude tops function, conspicuousness resembles modesty, their shear weight and size will do some job? Todays formal principles of chromed or gold plated surfaces for drilling rigg like designs, seem to have overtaken any functional issues for more gestural attitudes with representative character.
In opposition the Verdier turntable is a masterpiece of functionality, simplicity and material choices as perfect example of the "form follows function" theory of the early 20th century modernity. For lots of people it is ugly, but for some aestetical educated, it is may be the most beautiful design ever made, since it does not show any subtile compromise to more decorative ideas. Only the motor unit could have been designed a little better for the same basic understanding.
The so called "magnet bearing", which is technically seen the wrong designation, gives this player a unsurpassed bundle of aural attitudes. First there is the unexcited calm, which gives a unsurpassed view into the rhythmic performance and a precisely defined soundstage. The naturalness of dynamic abilities, timing and the finest resolution of micro details are bundled together like none. If you own this record player, you don't think anymore about other options, – it is just boring.

Here with Shindo Mersault Tonearm and dedicated cartridge mounted on top of bronze base with pneumatic cueing system. 

The Verdier will be definitely my last record player to cover my record collection (since 20 years), for the coming future it needs anyway other concepts to play digital stored music.

Thank you so much Jean Constant.

Try to get one since it is still possible, you never know what is coming next.

Read on soon, Volker

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