Vertere DG-1/Phono-1 MkII

When a designer makes his or her mark with one thing unique, there’s usually a way of trepidation in terms of efficiently trickling down the expertise to the extra inexpensive variations which are more likely to be the large sellers. When the merchandise is a turntable and the designer in query is Touraj Moghaddam, there’s likelihood that every one might be high quality. After all, that is the person who presided over a few years of Roksan’s vinyl mastery, from the mighty TMS fashions proper right down to the inexpensive Radius decks.

In 2006, Touraj left Roksan to arrange Vertere and initially focussed his attentions on a variety of audio cables. However, the lure of vinyl was too sturdy and in 2013 the corporate launched its first document participant, the RG-1, which at the moment retails for £21,500. More inexpensive fashions adopted and the DG-1 is the brand new child of the vary, coming in at £2,750 full with devoted arm and a Vertere D-Fi interconnect cable. Adding one other £100 consists of the Vertere Magneto cartridge.

The DG-1’s distinctive platter consists of three layers – the central core is machined aluminium alloy, which has bonded to its underside a layer of fabric that could be a combination of cork, Neoprene and nitrile rubber. This controls resonance and damps the platter, which is then topped by a thermoplastic polymer layer that’s used as a mat. This is each trendy and properly completed, but additionally has two small dots printed onto it which are used for cartridge alignment.

The Groove Runner arm is relatively uncommon as it’s flat and never tubular. As per Vertere’s different tonearms, it doesn’t rotate on the standard steel ball bearings. Instead, vertical and horizontal motion is achieved via a whole bunch of twisted micro-fine nylon threads. Tracking pressure is utilized by a stainless-steel rear counterweight, augmented by a high quality adjustment weight between the bearing and headshell. This means the arm is just a little ‘wobblier’ than most and requires care when organising.

All of this expertise resides on a plinth that contains two colored acrylic layers with a transparent layer between. Within it is a silicon-based suspension that decouples the principle plinth from the sub-plinth. An acrylic mud cowl is equipped that sits on hinges. Operation is simplicity itself with one illuminated button pushed sequentially to pick out 33rpm (inexperienced illumination), 45rpm (pink) and an extended press for off. Even longer presses additionally program a layer of plinth illumination LEDs to be at all times on, at all times off or on solely when the deck is in standby.

The Magneto cartridge is an MM design primarily based on Audio-Technica’s AT-VM520EB. It has a bonded 0.3 x 0.7mm elliptical stylus and aluminium cantilever. It tracks at a nominal 2g and has an output of 4.5mV, so ought to match simply with any MM phono stage you care to attach it to. Even higher, it retains full compatibility with the styli utilized in the remainder of the AT-VM5xx vary. Consequently, you possibly can improve at a later date to the heights of the MicroLinear one fitted to the AT-VM540ML do you have to want.

Vertere has additionally equipped the MkII model of the Phono-1 phono stage (£1,000). Available with a silver, semi-matt black or fancy orange fascia, it solely has one in and output however can cater for an enormous vary of cartridges because of its 15 load resistance, 9 load capacitance and 10 acquire settings. These choices are chosen utilizing an array of PCB-mounted DIP switches accessed through the underside of the case. They are fiddly, awkward to entry and you need to bear in mind to make every of your settings twice as there’s a set for every channel. Awkward although that is, it’s nonetheless an enchancment on the unique MkI – on which you needed to take away the lid to make adjustments. Helpfully, the settings are printed on the case beside the switches, so no less than you don’t must go attempting to find the guide each time you wish to make an alteration.

As a ultimate flourish, and to permit the total capabilities of each deck and phono stage to be explored, Vertere has additionally equipped an MC cartridge that it feels works properly on the DG-1 – the £900 Goldring Ethos (HFC 449).

Sound high quality
I hook the DG-1 up into my common Naim Supernait amplifier and PMC Twenty5.24 loudspeaker and have readily available my common Anatek MMC phono stage to get a really feel for the turntable by itself, and for some extent of reference for the Phono-1 MkII.

Instantly spectacular is the truth that it isn’t a recalcitrant turntable by any means. It is aware of precisely what it must do and so takes the efficiency, brushes apart any tough edges and serves up the general musical message with a confidence and assurance that’s fairly excellent, and like little else at its value degree.

At the bass finish of the spectrum, the DG-1 and Phono-1 MkII dig deeply, however don’t assume for a second that it’s all bang and thump – the low finish has a precision and element that’s completely magnificent. The fundamental synth bass notes on Christine And The Queens’ Girlfriend rumble ominously from my loudspeaker with actual intent, however freed from any sense of wallow or hesitancy, whereas the backing bass guitar line that’s tucked subtly behind this skips together with an actual lightness of contact.

Give the deck one thing with a bit extra joie de vivre and it rises to the problem beautifully. The punchy drum beats from David Axelrod’s Holy Thursday hammer throughout with influence and precision. Every strike arrives with a handy guide a rough sense of timing and is furnished with a correctly bodily sense of stick-on-skin influence; the result’s spectacularly life like.

I additionally discover myself relatively taken by the soundstage that the DG-1 and Phono-1 MkII generate. Again, the phrase ‘stable’ involves thoughts, and the pairing has a masterful approach of bringing the principle performers from the aircraft of the loudspeaker and out into the room in the direction of me. With one or two tracks I play, there’s an virtually ‘reach-out-and-touch’ sense of realism. Swapping between the Phono-1 and my Anatek I realise that, though the latter is an excellent unit that I’ve used for years, the Phono-1 appears to softly take it apart and ever so politely level out a few areas the place there’s room for enchancment, primarily by way of front-to-back stage depth and performer placement.

Even higher, the Vertere combo’s mastery of area and depth appears fully impartial of musical sort. Kari Bremnes’ vocals from A Lover In Berlin are proper in entrance of me whereas the bassline is as soon as once more deep and sinuous, and the percussion appears to be neatly organized round my tools rack. The ultimate flourish is the oft-challenging piano, which is wealthy and resonant.

The finest information of all is that this sonic efficiency is topped off with a prime finish that, as soon as once more, feels class main. Treble element is impeccable and the mixture of the Audio-Technica-based cartridge and Groove Runner arm works superbly. The result’s a treble efficiency that actually may persuade you that the instrument is within the room with you. It’s not only a good illustration of it – the DG-1 and Phono-1 MkII actually appear to convey it to life. That stated, I really feel responsibility certain to interrupt the seal on the Goldring Ethos MC to see how a lot additional the combo can go.

When fitted onto the Groove Runner, the Ethos proves to be a formidable transducer. Even higher, the flexibleness of the Phono-1 MkII means it’s straightforward to get the very best out of it. Through my Anatek phono stage with its fastened 100ohm loading, the Goldring sounds good, however just a little politer than I’d ideally like. Moving to the Vertere unit and bringing that loading worth right down to the 78ohm setting offers it a beautiful contact of sparkle that actually exhibits the entire setup at its finest. Tracking is safe with none trace of uncertainty and the midband takes on a way of emotion and perception that’s actually shifting with the correct materials. Swapping again to the Magneto exhibits that is nonetheless a really succesful cartridge and one which is worthy of advice by itself benefit. Vertere has chosen its matching packaged transducer very properly certainly. However, the Goldring Ethos makes it clear that the DG-1 and Phono-1 MkII have rather more to provide.

The Vertere DG-1 units one thing of a brand new customary. While the built-in tonearm and pre-fitted cartridge successfully imply it’s a ‘plug-and-play’ design, it nonetheless requires just a little extra care with its setup than one or two of its rivals. Make this effort and the rewards are astonishing.

The Phono-1 MkII is a equally excellent piece of design simply prime of the tree at its value level. Its unforced and pure treble efficiency particularly is a delight. Put the 2 collectively and you might properly have the vinyl discount of the 12 months. AS    

Product: Vertere DG-1/Phono-1 MkII
Type: Belt drive turntable with MM/MC phono stage


● 33 and 45rpm

● DG-1 Groove Runner tonearm

● Magneto MM cartridge

● Comprehensive MM and MC acquire/loading choices

Read the total evaluation in  Issue 463

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