"La Platine Verdier"

Platine Verdier instructions manual


"HI-FI NEWS - February 1999"
To my Darling - DAS OHR issue Nø 29 December 1989
Learning to levitate From Newspaper : AUDIOFILE - the Star - June 18 1998
ABGESANG UND NEUANFANG - High Fidelity und Musik - 11 November 1992
HI-FI+ Issue 12 Jul/Aug 2001 - Issue 14 Nov/Dec 2001



It is the privilege of
to be plagiarized...

... by those
who don't manage to come up with an
original of their own

Thanks to all who deem us worth
their effort



To my pirates


I noticed that many of my Platine Verdier's pirates had a problem with the magnetic system.

Generally the repulsion force is not adequate and it is necessary to complete it with a ball spindle or any other samarium cobalt magnets on the top of the axel. That situation is boring because some of the customers turn away ignorant they are facing copies and believing that the device is defective, bad designed or bad developed

To give a cure, I am going to indicate my pirates how to build magnetic circuits. The problem is that they use an ordirlary steel high carbon tenor.

On magnetic point of view that metal is certainly provided with a weak "coercitive field", but too much important, which decreases the field provided by the magnets. The answer consists in using a magnetic alloy of suitable quality, for example TELAR 57 of ARMCO. when the tooling of the part is over, you have to realize a double fire under vacuum to eliminate the last carbon traces.

And then, to finish, you can paint. the magnetic circuits or realize a surface processing as "zincage bichromatage" which gives that lovely gilded colour. of course that is really more expensive and complicated than ordinary scrap-iron, but now you don't have any excuse.

Good luck pirates

J.C. Verdier.





Issue 12 Jul/Aug 2001 - Issue 14 Nov/Dec 2001


Platine Verdier Record Player
and Audiocraft AC4400 Tonearm

by Peter Russell

also to counteract the drag on the cartridge stylus in the grove of the record. There are three dissimilar metals between the spindle and the platter, which serve to deflect mechanical energy. It is important to note that the only thing that actually rotates is the platter. Very little of this is visible to the casual observer. The two powerful magnets housed in their dull gold cast iron rings are in plain view and the setscrew is visible from underneath the platter, otherwise there is little to see.

With the outboard motor the actual turntable base is quite small but large enough to mount two arms if you should so wish. The usual arm-board is in the same material as the plinth, whilst for the Granito version it is aluminium. If you are feeling particularly exotic you can commission one in ebony! The turntable was fitted with an Audiocraft arm. This should really be described as a tone-arm system as it provides for remarkable flexibility. We are all familiar with tone arms which offer the versatility of interchangeable arm wands of varying masses to accommodate different cartridges, but no one goes to the extent that Audiocraft do to provide a means of matching virtually any cartridge including the Ortofon SPU's, as well as any turntable, as it has a choice of overall weights to fit suspended and non suspended decks. As fitted to the Verdier it came with the 12" arm with fixed headshell, set of counterweights, overhang protractor, damping fluid, an additional S shaped arm to accommodate the Ortofon SPU, lateral side weights and its own high quality phono cable. Once set up it looked a million dollars with its bronzed

features and sculptured engineering. The detailing of the arm I will reserve for later as we discuss the performance of the arm/deck combination.

The motor supply, sited on a separate support, can accommodate either a thread or rubber belt. For the purposes of this review the drive belt was the waxed button thread provided and the supply was situated 22 inches from the platter spindle. The supply has the usual on/of switch and status light, a switch for 33/45rpm and two rotary controls for setting the turntable speed, together with a switch at the back of the housing labelled thread/rubber.
All of this is housed in a pressed metal box mounted on a matacrylic plinth. Given the engineering involved in the platter and base it is unfortunate that the motor assembly does not mirror the same attention to form and function. 1 would have thought that a more thoughtfully engineered

motor housing and switching of the turntable would have been more appropriate. 1 understand from the UK importer that this may well be in hand and that there will be further

modifications to improve the look and feet of the turntable.

It is possible to replace the existing motor supply with a battery driven one. Here the turntable is activated by a switch on the battery supply not the motor which, at the same time disconnects the mains. The turntable can run continuously for a week without requiring charge

but when the turntable is turned off the battery's intelligent charging system will recharge itself. The advantage of the battery power supply cannot be under estimated; once connected there is an audible drop in the noise floor and the notes take on a sense of space and musical accuracy only hinted at by the standard Verdier, whilst at the same time inner detail becomes distinct and an integral part of the musical performance

As a general comment about the integration of form, function and feel of the Verdier Platine, there is some room for improvement. I am not convinced that the agricultural school of engineering has much to endear itself to prospective purchasers. It is not sufficient to point to the sonic virtues of the product if it looks. in part, as if it came out of a 1950's parts bin and a can of discarded hammerite paint. With a little thought and attention to detail the Verdier could match its glorious musical qualities with equally attractive looks I do know that some of the detailing has been addressed by the UK importer, but at an additional cost.

For the purpose of this review I employed the Van de Hull Grasshopper IV, Clearaudio Insider and an Ortofon SPU Reference GM as well as the Ortofon Kontrapunkt a as cartridges in the 12" arm.

All were fed into the Counterpoint Claritas phono stage which gave flexibility over MC/MM input as well as gain and loading. This front end was part of the 47Labs system driving a pair of Rethm (Lowther drivered) horn speakers. Cartridge set up was a dream. The Audiocraft arm is so well engineered that every adjustment transmits that feeling of quality and reassurance.


It was fitted to the turntable by way of the heavy suspension weight that locates underneath the mounting board. There is a lighter one available to enable the arm to be accommodated on lightly sprung suspensions. Tracking weight is effected by rotating the counterweight and then zeroed with the bronzed collar with its graduated markings, which proved to be reassuringly accurate. By throwing a small lever at the base of the arm

pillar a locking collar is released which then enables a vernier scale thread to be adjusted for VTA, and then relocked by the lever. Whilst it is not possible to adjust VTA whilst the record is playing it only takes a couple of seconds to do any required adjustment. Because the arm is a dual-pivot design it allows a facility to vary the damping of the arm/ cartridge by the use of a large screw at the top of the arm pillar that varies the amount of oil within a small well The instructions and drawings, which accompany the arm, leave very little to the

imagination; they are both comprehensive and easy to follow, a model some other manufacturers would do well to follow. Changing from the 12" arm to the S shaped arm to allow the Ortofon SPU to be fitted was a breeze, about two minutes to replace the existing counterweight with the heavier one, attach the lateral side weights, SPU, adjust VTA, set tracking weight, and finalise the damping. We were ready to ride the grooves.

As I said before I am not sure that have yet got to the bottom of the Verdier's sound. I must have ended up playing every kind of music from early music on original instruments through Mozart, Mahler and Jazz; small ensemble music through to

vocals by Amanda Mcbroom, Jennifer Warnes and Ute Lemper; guitar music by Albert Lee, Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy; Opera sung by Bergonzi, Ferrier, Callas and more eclectic music by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra as well as Bo Hansen. 
All in all this deck/arm combination created differences 1 had not heard before, whether it was in the subtle shadings in Ute Lemper's version of `Cries from the Heart' or Amanda Mcbroom's original version. Both were portrayed with a sensitivity and emotional impact, which revealed how very different these two singers are in their ability to create the subtleties and moods through their vocal repertoire. 

Increasingly I am convinced that the success of a piece of hi-fi lies in its ability to distinguish the differences between performances, instruments and recordings. The portrayal of contrasts in such a way as to produce the verisimilitude of the performance has to lie at the core of musical belief. As a listener I want to experience the performance, to participate in the event whether it is a live experience or one that I have created in my room with the equipment that I have available. If I can not believe in the performance then I usually end up being distracted or dissatisfied and

quickly lifting the tone arm to either replace the record or to leave it all to another day.

There are two records of early music that I return to time and time again. One is the Reference Recordings Helicon with music by Vivaldi and Bach whilst the other is called The Tube on the Tacet label with a collection by Corelli, Vivaldi, Bocherini and Sammartini. They are both very different recordings, but both present the violin and its extended family with a remarkable faithfulness. The violin is the soprano of ensemble music; it nearly always takes on a solo role and has been described as the `tool of the imagination'. On these recordings the performances are portrayed with remarkable veracity a truth to which the Verdier is utterly faithful. Spatial relationships are well scaled, the interplay between the two violins in the Vivaldi pieces are preserved whilst the remaining instruments can be identified easily as they provide the harmonic backdrop to the two violins. It was at this point that the impact of adjusting the arm damping was brought home to me. By finely varying the amount of damping, the tonal quality of the music could be controlled so as to capture the resonance of the original instruments on the Helicon disc and remove any traces of ringing. It is exactly this susceptibility to variations in set up of both the arm and the turntable that make this deck/arm combination both so frustrating and rewarding. Not only could you effect the presentation by varying the arm damping but also an.,, change in cartridge loading was instantly discernable. Add to that


the fact that the addition of a turntable mat and the effects of a clamp all made their presence felt meant that not only

did this review seem to take for ages but also the permutations seemed endless. However, throughout these evolutions, one factor remained constant; the player's unerring ability to differentiate one performance from another.

I am sure that there will be considerable debate about whether to clamp and/or mat the Verdier. A number of people have said to me that a mat, especially the lead composite Verdier mat, closes down the sound, restricts the sound stage and that the leading and trailing edges of notes are lost. Well that may well be the case with whatever arm and cartridge they were using but in the set up here this certainly wasn't so. The Verdier mat changed the presentation of large scale performances from a wide wall of sound with a strikingly diffuse presentation to one in which you were able to discern the instrumental positions, and where the solo instruments were correctly scaled. The Vivaldi pieces without the mat were initially impressive, the notes filling out the stage and appearing as if created by a large ensemble. It is only by reference to the sleeve notes that one realises that there were only six instrumentalists. The mat and clamp readdress the errors of scale and notes take on their rightful shape and precision. In The Tube the mat resolved the resin tones of the strings and exercised control over the high levels of energy latent in the violins, which can so often sound hard and strident when they should not be. In Handel's Chaconne in G Major one could actually feel the pressure exerted

by the pianist as he phrased the notes. The same was evident in the piano playing of Kabi Laretei's Mozart Fantasia in C minor. Here the use of the mat established the relationship between the



right and the left hand whereas without it, it was vague and diffuse with a lack of control and a large forward impressive soundstage. With vocals we see the same ability of the mat to present the timbral accuracy of the singing of Ute Lemper and Amanda Mcbroom. There is an intimacy and warmth in their vocal projection, which draws you into their emotional experience. By removing the mat their voices lost some of the midrange fullness that gives expression to their performance.

I am sure that given the numerous permutations possible with the. turntable/arm/clamp/mat etc. that one is able to voice the system to suit whatever preferences one has and the tonal balance of the equipment. However, with its honesty to the recording, the Verdier/Audiocraft combination is a ruthless exposer of the rest of the system. The weakest link will be presented in all its failings and will have to be addressed if the full potential of this combination is to be realised. The originality of its design, commitment to its initial concept and the apparent simplicity of its engineering and operation have provided a remarkably neutral transcription base on which to ring

the tonearm changes. With its battery power supply, the right support for the record, and favoured tone arm the Platine Verdier would provide the ideal locus of any analogue system.

Anybody looking for a final turntable can't afford to ignore the performance of this Record Player.


Bearing type : Opposed magnets
running on a vertical shaft.

Speeds : 33 and 45
Drive : Thread (or belt)
Motor : Separate unit with
optional battery supply

Tonearms : Two
Lid : No

Dimensions (WxHxD): 390 x 23 x 410 (turntable only)

Weight: 65 kg


Type: Damped Dual-pivot
Effective Length: Variable (9" or 12")
Effective Mass: Variable






Platine Verdier Revisited

by Peter Russell

There is always a danger in revisiting somewhere you once knew in the past. You know, going back home after a long absence, driving a car you once owned or going back to a favoured restaurant. Memories are a mixture of filtered past events and expectations of the present. I am normally hesitant of reliving some-thing I previously enjoyed because I am so often disappointed. In this case I will have to revise that view In Issue 12 I commented that 1 had not really got to the bottom of the character of the Platine Verdier. Two turntables later and after reinstalling my Well Tempered Signature in a new but smaller listening room has meant that I have had the opportunity to revisit the Verdier and listen to it with a variety of differently priced cartridges. 1 think that by now I have a fairly clear view as to what this exercise in levitation is all about.

Let me first of all make a comparison; over the last couple of months I had the opportunity courtesy

of a friend, to listen to a Forsell Reference in my system. Now there is not a lot of similarity between that turntable and the Verdier is there? You would be right and you would be wrong. What they do have in common is a remarkable ability to portray the rhythm and timing in a performance as well as a total


absence of grain. There is one other thing that they do well; the music seems to pour out of the platter. It is effortless and fluid. This latter quality is something that all `air bearing' decks seem to share. It is the antithesis of the digital age where the episodic

experience is more important than the complete event: Where we listen to music as a sound bite rather than as a performance. The Verdier present, you with a performance, encouraging you to just place the


record on the platter and then forget that you are listening to a mechanical device. Its naturalness is its overwhelming characteristic. This artlessness is demonstrated in its ability not to impose artefact between you and the music. If you have a poorly recorded LP then it will be presented

as being poorly recorded with all


the multi-miked imbalances. If the strings shriek at you it is because that is how they are. This deck will not make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. There are number of recordings that 1 have enjoyed listening to in the past but having heard them again on the Verdier, 1 am no longer so sure that I will be as keen to spin them again. Some appear thin and harsh whilst others have lost the body and substance one remembers from previous listening sessions on other turntables with other arms and cartridges. This fidelity to the source was commented on in the original review and implies that the turntable does not have a particular character, which would be tempting fate too much. If anything, it is too revealing, which is why it is so easy to `tune' this deck with the choice of tonearm. For me, listening to the different timbral contrasts of the Cremona violins on the Fone album was a real delight, just as dragging out my Billy Holiday albums, both the originals and the

remastered ones was both a joy and a disappointment. Not all the recordings were capable of portray that plaintive pathos in her performance, or her emotional intensity. At one point 1 succumbed to going through my Albert Lee albums on both the Verdier, the Well Tempered and the Forsell, using the same cartridge on each turntable supported on a BCD stand. All three turntables have their strengths and this is not the place to present a detailed comparison. 1 will say that the Verdier's strengths lay in Usability to capture the raw energy and sheer attack as Lee went through his numbers. The distinction between nylon, steel and gut strings on the various guitars was more obvious and the presentation of the energy spectrum and authority and control over the music meant that the supporting percussive and stringed instruments created a richer and more involving listening experience.
It would be tempting to try to make a final statement about the Verdier as

the preferred analogue partner in any set up. This is not only dangerous, it leaves too many assumptions about the reviewer and the equipment unexplored. The committed analogue fanatic has a bewildering choice of record decks to select from at the moment and is probably spoilt for choice. All 1 can say is that in all the various system combinations, arms and cartridges that I have been able to listen to with this deck, it has a fundamental fidelity to the source that will make you reappraise your albumcollection. But if you are thinking of buying one, don't forget to factor in the hidden cost of ownership-all the extra albums you'll be buying as a result.







"HI-FI NEWS - February 1999"

Here is a
producing clean, 
sound, having the 
presence and control 
of CD yet all the 
natural warmth 
of LP



At £5000, this combination represents
a substantial outlay, but it
won't disappoint lovers of vinyl




Size matters. So do stability and solidity. They matter because music isn't always comfortable and predictable. Halfway through the Andantino of Schubert's penultimate piano sonata (D959) is an extraordinarily agitated, nightmarish passage, quite out of keeping with the tranquil mood in which the movement opens. Playing Claudio Arrau's LP version [Philips 6514 368] can be a nerve-wracking experience: will the pickup cope with the extreme transients or will the sound break up? Only the finest turntable/arm/cartridge combinations will survive. Security definitely matters...

Everyone knows LPs can sound great. But they're also infuriating: frustrating and disappointing when things aren't right. Even the most ardent enthusiast must wonder at times if records are worth the bother: vinyl can be temperamental and unpredictable. When you run LP and CD side by side, it's essential that the negative aspects of vinyl surface noise, peak level distortion, pitch instability - don't obtrude. The lifelike ease and naturalness of LP is very addictive; but it's a fragile pleasure and easily compromised.

Spending £5000 on a record player is undoubtedly a sizeable investment. 
Those indulging their passion for vinyl to this degree will rightly expect something special.

And the Platine Verdier turntable, when fitted with 12in SME 3012R arm and an Ortofon SPU Classic doesn't disappoint. Here is a combination producing clean, solidly-focused sound, with tremendous width and depth, having the presence and control of CD yet all the natural warmth of LP.

The music has exceptional range - both dynamically and tonally - enhancing the feeling of space and depth around voices and instruments. Bass is solid and firm, while treble is focused and sharp; stereo imaging is detailed and wide. Underpinning this is a reassuring sense of solidity: listening, you know that nothing short of an earthquake is going to upset the music.


That's important. Especially for those who listen to CD as well as LP, and are accustomed to its stability and consistency. Of course, even a turntable as good as this won't hide faults, won't camouflage rough surfaces. But neither will it exaggerate them. Difficult LPs like Arrau's Schubert -reproduce cleanly, allowing one the security that everything is under control.

Instrumental, vocal, choral, orchestral, rock, jazz - all types of music, from simple to complicated, reproduce well. When the music is complex and busy, things don't crowd up - the sound remains clean, detailed and articulate.

Clearly, the Platine Verdier provides a good solid foundation for the arm and cartridge to do their job. But the excellent tracking ability of the Ortofon SPU Classic is also important. `Classic' is a worthy designation: the sleek lines of this beautiful cartridge/head remind one of a vintage 1950s sports car. It plays at robust downforces of between 3 to 5 grams, and some may worry that this will accelerate record wear. However, this isn't so, because the elliptical stylus profile is quite broad, spreading the load.

At this sort of playing weight the stylus has a definite cleaning effect, removing ticks and plops as it traces the groove. Background noise (including bearing rumble) is exceptionally low with the Platine Verdier anyway -something one expects with turntable and arm of this calibre. But the SPU tracking at 4g+ definitely helps. See if some of your noisy LPs aren't quieter after a few plays with an SPU!

If size and weight are any guide, you certainly get your money's worth here. But there's more to the Platine Verdier than mass: this is a very carefully thought-out design that introduces a number of engineering innovations. The heavy stainless-steel platter, ultra-quiet main bearing and rigid construction impart a solid feel to the music akin to the stability you get from master tapes.

Pitch stability is excellent - hardly a surprise given the use of a high-torque Philips motor and massive 16kg platter, some 60mm thick. The motor itself, a 12V DC design intended for critical professional applications, apparently costs around £250, and sits in a separate box completely detached from the main turntable plinth. The platter is driven with a rubber belt or, alternatively, a piece of linen thread. An exceptionally wide support platform is required - or two supports, one for the turntable, the other for the motor. (Incidentally, GT Audio supplied a handsome dedicated stand for the review sample.)

Both types of drive belt were included, but I preferred the linen option finding it slightly clearer, and superior in terms of separation.



Because there's more slippage with the linen belt, a two-position switch at the back of the power supply is provided to increase the speed of the motor slightly. Fine speed adjustment is possible at both 33 and 45rpm, and the tensioning of the linen belt changes the speed of the deck - and thus the sound. So check running speeds with a strobe when setting up.


But the main bearing is the star of the show. With such a heavy planer, this needs to be pretty massive, and it is: an inverted 20mm diameter shaft some 68mm long. But there's no supporting bail or thrust plate; instead, the spindle and underside of the planer are surrounded by two large ceramic ring magnets that repel each other, thus allowing the planer to float on a magnetic cushion.

Verdier claims that ifs main bearing is the quietest ever, as the planer is vertically isolated. Of course, the sides of the bearing are in contact with the shaft, but the use of thick oil and a high standard of finish ensure minimal noise and friction. Which leads to one of the Verdier’s little foibles: the bottom of the main bearing is designed to leak oil!

With an inverted bearing, gravity causes lubricating oil to flow to the bottom of the shaft, leaving the top part dry. The Verdier has a small grub screw near the LP centre spindle that tan be removed to allow oil to be poured into a reservoir at the top of the bearing. Over tune, this oil will eventually make ifs way to the bottom of the shaft where it collects and exits via a small hole. You simply put a piece of paper under the deck to catch the drips...

If all this conjures up visions of getting out dip-sticks to check oil levels before going for a spin, don’t worry. The oil reservoir is generous, and the rate of seepage low. Also, as the oil is thick, it tends to cling to the sides of the bearing. All the same, this turntable needs rather more maintenance than your average deck. Incidentally, the bearing tan be fitted with a bail and thrust plate, by-passing the magnetic support. but apparently it doesn't then sound as good.

The heavy plinth is made from Medite and finished in high gloss piano-black. The arm support board needs to be quite deep to raise the arm sufficiently because of the deep planer; two are provided - one cut for an SME, the other blank. Three large finger bolts adjust the sprung suspension so the plinth tan be levelled. As with many open-design turntables, no lid is provided.

Cosmetic finish is good, but some details disappoint. For example, the large bolt and washer that secures the arm block looks rather crude. True, there is a plastic cover for the nut, but the silver washer is still visible. I also feel the surface colouring of the magnetic enclosures looks cheap like the plated steel chassis of an inexpensive Japanese amplifier. A black finish would be better.

Although the Platine Verdier is a universal turntable, compatible with most arms, UK importer GT Audio feels the combination of the 12in

The heavy plinth is made from Medite and finished in high gloss piano-black. The arm support board needs to be quite deep to raise the arm sufficiently because of the deep planer; two are provided - one cut for an SME, the other blank. Three large finger bolts adjust the sprung suspension so the plinth tan be levelled. As with many open-design turntables, no lid is provided.

Cosmetic finish is good, but some details disappoint. For example, the large bolt and washer that secures the arm block looks rather crude. True, there is a plastic cover for the nut, but the silver washer is still visible. I also feel the surface colouring of the magnetic enclosures looks cheap like the plated steel chassis of an inexpensive Japanese amplifier. A black finish would be better.

Although the Platine Verdier is a universal turntable, compatible with most arms, UK importer GT Audio feels the combination of the 12in

SME 30128 and Ortofon SPU (either Classic or Gold) works especially well. I had a few prejudices about the SME arm, and wondered if it was up to being used in such august company. But it did work very well: the new version of the 3012 is much improved over the 1960s original, and it's good to be able to change cartridges so quickly and easily.

Perhaps there might be further improvements with different arms when using more conventional pickups than the SPU. I tried Ortofon's MC-30 Supreme, the Transfiguration Spirit, and an old but virtually unused MS Brier in the SME, ail with very good results. Even so, I must agree with GT Audio about the special quality of the Verdier/SME/Ortofon combination; the SME really suits the SPU. GT Audio's SME 30128 has a number of special modifications that include improved cloth-covered internal wiring and changes to the bearings.

A magnificent turntable then, no shadow of a doubt - one that maximises the positive aspects of vinyl replay while minimising faults and limitations. Here is a turntable able to do full justice to ail kinds of material, whether it's just a few voices and acoustic instruments, or a complex layered electronic piece. It lets you forget about the mechanics ,,f playing records, leaving you free to concentrate on the music.
And what could be better than that ? 

Fine speed adjustment is possible at both 33 and 45rpm, and the tensioning of the linen belt changes the speed of the deck and thus the sound. So check running speeds with a strobe when setting up

Left : one of the two opposing magnets which provide a no Contact ‘air cushion' main bearing

Right : the Platine comes with an optional linen thread drive belt



Translation of Klaus Renner's Kommentar - Meine Liebe
DAS OHR issue Nø 29 December 1989

To my darling,

This write up is a love declaration to analogic technical and to an apparatus who initiates me into out standing HI-FI a love declaration to VERDIER'S Turntable - this to inform you.

When we live 1O years with an HI FI apparatus, we are not able to write a paper without emotion, but perhaps I will succeed in explaining why this turntable is so incredibly attractive and why my " HI FI system " was built around it.

Let us make a turn back of 1O years : it was the age of the birth of CD idea and concerning the audiophile analogic turntable, we were discussing around direct driving and belt driving.

I labored very hard to optimize a direct drive MICRO DDX-1OOO: I had absorbed the plate with a bitumen mass so as to remove its bell-s resonance , and a mural rack was in charge of vibrations insulating. Various Tone arms - GRACE, AUDIOCRAFT and FR handled AUREX and GRADO cartridges.

One day I had a phone call from a Belgian distributor to have a meet for an interview.
An unusual Turntable was in question, the inventor, a man whose name is Jean Constant Verdier would be at my disposal to answer my questions.

A few weeks later J.C.Verdier came to Munich - on the table of the editorial staff there was a sort of turntable quite different of all I have ever seen before. The English of J.C. was like my French and we were staying for hours discussing of his Turntable somehow or other in 3 languages

In spite of communication problems it was, and stays to-day, one of the most important debate I had with an HI FI inventor. In each sentence, in the description of each minor detail, we have a feeling of J.C.Verdier Turntable's love.

The engineering called in question again what I have ever seen and yet The Verdier's is to-day unique on a lot of points. But I had a real surprise when I heard it. By chance, at the same time, I had two other turntables, very famous at this time, the COTTER B with a DENON DP 7O cartridge and the WIN.

I fastly observed that my coddled MICRO had not any chance facing those 3 challengers. It was the same problem with the COTTER and the WIN who surrendered facing the VERDIER. Their lot was the same as all other turntables who tried to cope musically with the VERDIER's.

To-day, 1O years were passed since that memorable talk with J.C Verdier, his turntable whose serial number is 1, is always in my auditorium practically without change. Only two points were modified during this time : the plate cover and the tone- arm base fixation.





Photographie de la platine Verdier

Learning to levitate

TECHNOLOGICAL progress ensures that the boundaries of the high en are constantly being redefined, but after a taste of gourmet vinyl hardware, one might well believe that analogue has attained its zenith. Try for size the very unorthodox La Platine turntable, from France's J.C.Verdier.

Ah, but no complex techno-gadgetry is involved here; La Platine uses the most rudimentary of scientific principles to minimize friction, that bane of civilization. To banish friction, the bottom half of the turntable's platter is supplemented with a permanent magnet. This magnet is "supported" but another permanent magnet attached to the plinth, with the poles of both magnets facing each other. And as you know, like poles repel, exactly the same principle applied to those futuristic Magnet trains. Voilà!

A central spindle keeps the plinth and platter in alignment. The "levitation" platter ensures ultra smooth rotation. An external DC motor, mounted away from the turntables unit, turns the platter via a fine nylon thread (provided generously by the manufacturer). Speed freaks can do either 45 or 33 1/3 rpm on the La Platine. Just slip on your fave LP.

Less startling, but engineered to a price, is the single-unit smaller sibling, the Nouvelle Platine, which uses oil-based platter suspension.

Intimidatingly, you can mount dual tonearms on either of these exquisite turntables,- the arm-base can also be adjusted to accommodate conventional tonearms of various lengths, or parallel trackers. Awesome, eh ?

Ah, price, yes, hold your hearts ! The La Platine is a mere RM33,000, La Nouvelle, an even more enticing RM18,000. You'll have to get your own tonearm though. Vinyl freaks, check the La Platine out (The nouvelle is arriving soon), at Wisma Audio Center (03 262 8034 / 04 890 1366) . We heard it , and life's not the same anymore ... and yes, this sumptuous turntable will be proudly displayed at AV Fest 98

From Newspaper : AUDIOFILE - the Star - June 18 1998



von Roland Kraft -

in STEREO - High Fidelity und Musik - 11 November 1992


Die Ära der Schallplatte ist vorbei. Doch während die einen den Abgesang auf denPlattenspieler anstimmen, reden andere von einem neuen Anfang - Analog, so heißt es, wird weiterbestehen. Werden die mächtigen Saurier vom Schlage einer Platine Verdier also überleben ? Wir meinen: sie werden -denn Legenden sterben nicht


Langsam kristallisiert es sich heraus: Ein bemerkenswert großer Prozentsatz der HiFi-Fans beharrt auf der Schallplatte. Und scheinbar unaufhaltsam entwickeln sich neue Vertriebswege für die guten alten schwarzen Scheiben. Sei es nun der Boom im Second-Hand-Bereich oder die Neupressungs-Aktivitäten engagierter LP-Verfechter - der Plattenverkauf verlagert sich in den HiFi-Laden oder auf den Versandhandel, der stolze Zuwachsraten meldet. Und die Betreiber einstiger "Plattenläden" wurden sich verwundert die Augen reiben, wenn sie nur mitbekommen hatten, was auf der HIGH END'92 in Frankfurt los

war: Im Messezimmer eines szenebekannten Versandhändlers traten sich die LP-Fans tagelang auf die Füsse; trotz mitunter gepfefferter Preise wurde kaltlächelnd in Second-Hand-Raritäten und audiophile Neupressungen investiert. Daß sich etwas tut, können auch die STEREO Tester bestätigen: "Wir lassen uns die LP nicht miesmachen", war der Tenor der Leser, die selbstverständlich auch in der Mehrzahl CD-Benutzer sind. Der Highender, so scheint es, hat die Klangdiskussion CD kontra LP aufgegeben und geht jetzt ganz pragmatisch vor: CD plus LP lautet allenthalben die Devise.
In der STEREO-Mannschaft spiegelt sich wider, was sich "draußen" abspielt: CD- und LP-Verfechter liefern sich zwar immer noch heiße Diskussionen, und die Pragmatiker stehen dazwischen - doch niemand kann sich, womit wir beim Thema wären, der Faszination einer Platine Verdier entziehen. Superlaufwerke vom Schlage einer Verdier sind sprichwörtlicher Dreh- und Angelpunkt audiophiler Träume, Gegenstand unendlicher Klangdebatten und der Grund für überzogene Bankkonten, Bandscheibenprobleme und die Suche nach der einzig richtigen Ölsorte. Doch hinter dem monströsen Aufwand, dem rücksichtslosen Materialeinsatz, dem Drang, die Plattenwiedergabe zu perfektionieren, teht auch ein langer, steiniger Weg der Erkenntnis, der vom Reibrad über den Riemen hin zum Direktantrieb und wieder zurück gegangen wurde. Hätte man sich ausschließlich an die Meßtechnik gehalten, dann wäre das Thema Laufwerk mit nachweislich "perfekten" Direktantrieblern ad acta gelegtworden; Gleichlaufund Rumpelmessungen, Mikrofonieana lysen sowie die kürzeste Hochlaufzeit hätten entschieden, daß das Ohr sich irrt.


Vergegenwärtigt man sich den Mikrokosmos der Schallplatte, jene winzige Kontaktzone, in der sich Nadel und Vinyl begegnen, dann wird klar, wie außergewöhnlich heikel der Vorgang ist, wie krass sich selbst kleinste Störungen auswirken können. Das A und O außergewöhnlicher Laufwerke, das Alphabet der Konstrukteure, beschränkt sich auf zwei Leitsatze. Erstens: Den Abtastvorgang so weit wie möglich gegen äußere Einflüsse isolieren. Zweitens : Dafür sorgen, daB der Plattendreher nicht selbst zum Unruheherd wird. Wie wir wissen, führen diesbezüglich viele Lösungswege nach Rom - Superschwerkonzepte, ausgefuchste Federsysteme, Subchassis-Konstruktionen, Sandwichbauweisen, Luftlagerungen, exotischste Materialien und noch vieles mehr. Logisch. daß clevere Detailideen oder gar simples Klotzen also noch keinen guten Plattenspieler ausmachen. Wie so oft im Leben liegt der richtige Weg in der gekonnten Komposition, im perfekt ausbalancierten Zusammenspiel aller Bestandteile. Regeln'? Die scheint es aller Erfahrung nach nicht zu geben. Klar, der Plattenteller soll nicht klingen, störend mitschwingen. Der Motor soll für möglichst gleichmäßigen Antrieb sorgen. Die Tonarmbasis muß solide und das Tellerlager so laufruhig wie nur möglich sein. Aber darüber hinaus gibt es kein Kochrezept,

das für ein gelungenes Gericht garantiert. Zudem steht der Benutzer nicht selten vor der Aufgabe, seinen Plattenspieler zum Laufen zu bringen, den Aufbau zu bewerkstelligen, Justagen vorzunehmen, oder - wie auch bei der Platine Verdier - anhand feiner Details, die ein bißchen wie Klangregler wirken, eigene Entscheidungen zu treffen.So wie die Platine Verdier jetzt vor uns steht, fast 50 Kilo schwer, optisch eher unscheinbar - Glanz und Gloria finden nicht statt - wurde das Laufwerk vor 13 Jahren von dem Franzosen Jean-Constant Verdier konzipiert. Und die HiFi-Karriere der Verdier war nie von großiem Rummel bestimmt. Mit HiFi im üblichen Sinn, mit dem ganzen Drum und ran, hatte dieses Laufwerk auch nie etwas zu tun; die Verdier war und ist ein Kleinserien-Objekt für Liebhaber. Anfangs erschien im französischen InsiderMagazin L'Audiophile sogar eine Art Bauanleitung; wer mit der Metallbearbeitung auf gutem Fuß stand, konnte selbst zur Drehbank schreiten. !
Zwischendurch war die Verdier sogar einmal eine ganze Zeitlang nicht mehr erhältlich - dem Monsieur Verdier, einem ruhigen, allem High-End-Voodoo abgeneigten Menschen mit einer Vorliebe für Musik, alte Rõhrengeräte und klassische Automobile, sind Vermarktungsstrategien offenbar ein Greuel. Statt "the best turntable in the world" ist lediglich zu vernehmen, daß er sich bemüht habe, einen anständigen Plattenspieler zu bauen, und darüber hinaus habe er dem nichts hinzuzufügen...

Der Plattenteller, so Verdier, müsse eben ruhig sein, und abseits von Dämpfungsmassen, Metacrylat und kunstvollen Sandwich-Verschachtelungen ergab sich ein sechs Zentimeter hoher Teller aus einer Alu-Legierung mit rund 16 Kilogramm Gewicht - simples Anklopfen beweist: der Mann hat recht. Anhand des Lagers bewies der Franzose, daß geniale Lösungen auch immer einfache Lösungen sind; der Teller schwebt horizontal reibungslos auf einem Magnetfeld, das von zwei großen, gegenpoligen Ringmagneten erzeugt wird. Zwischen den Dauermagneten, übrigens eine Anleihe aus dem Lautsprecherbau, verbleibt ein etwa funf Millimeter großer Luftspalt, die Magnete


selbst sitzen jeweils in einer abschirmenden, flachen Glocke aus Metallguß, die - auf unseren Fotos zu sehen - goldfarben oberflächenbehandelt ist. Zudem sind durch den dicken Plattenteller magnetische Einflüsse auf den Tonabnehmer ausgeschlossen. Die massive Lagerbüchse ist in den Teller eingepresst, unter der Mittelspindel befmdet sich ein kleines Ölreservoir für die Lagerung. Geölt wird über eine winzige Verschlußschraube per Spritze. Die Achse selbst ist mit fast zwei Zentimetern Durchmesser extrem massiv - übliche Laufwerkslager sehen im Vergleich aus, als kämen sie aus dem Spielzeugladen. Als Chassis dient eine kleines Transportproblem aus gegossenem Kunststein; die Befestigung für die Laufwerksachse und die quaderförmige Aluminium-Tonarmbasis erfolgt über riesige Unterlegscheiben und Schrauben, für die der HiFi-Fan statt dem gewohnten Uhrmacher-Werkzeug den ganz großien Schraubenschlüssel bemühen darf. Ach ja: Das Lageröl läuft im laufe der Zeit im Lager nach unten durch und kommt an der zentralen Achsschraube unter dem Chassis wieder zum Vorschein - das ist so be- absichtigt und der Platine-Verdier-Besitzer stellt flugs ein Ölwännchen unter; der "permanente" ÖIwechsel verhindert, daß verbrauchtes Ölschädigend im Lager verbleibt. Die schon erwahnte einzig richtige Ölsorte ist auch bei den Verdier-Besitzern ein Dauerthema: dünnflüssig oder dickflüsig? Speziell oder ganz normal, aus Mutters Nähmaschine? Monsieur Verdier schweigt. Also halten wir uns an den Rat des Vertriebs - man gibt eine dünnflüssige Ölsorte dazu, in einer nadellosen Plastikspritze, für die in der Apotheke die größte Injektionsnadel zu besorgen ist. Ein treuherziger Blick und das Vorzeigen der ölgefüllten Spritze - und der Wunsch nach der größtmöglichen Kanüle - erleichtern die 30-Pfennig-Aktion. Ach ja - synthetische Dauerschmierstoffe in Pasten- oder Gelform sind Gift für das Lager. Die Verdier steht auf drei Füssen, die das Laufwerk endgültig zu einem Mischkonzept aus Masse- und Federprinzip machen: In drei aus dem Kunststein ausgesparten runden Kammern sitzen konische Spiralfedern, die, worauf Jean-Constant Verdier Wert legt, im normalen Zustand nicht komprimiert werden. Nach unten sind die Dämpferkammern über dicke Gummiplatten luftdicht abgeschlossen. zum Druckausgleich dienen Bohrungen in den Höhenjustage-Schrauben, die aus dem Chassis herausragen. Trotz einiger vptischer Unterschiede zu den Verdiers der ersten Stunde hat sich das Federsy stem nicht grundlegend geändert; es ist übrigens nicht schwingend, sondern .,hart" ausgelegt: Man mu schon relativ

kräftig auf das Chassis drücken, um die Federn zum Nachgeben zu bewegen. Der Antriebsmotor wurde komplett ausgelagert und kann -jetzt kommen wir zu den jeweiligen Vorlieben der Verdier-Besitzer- im Extremfall zwei Meter weiter oder ganz dicht am Laufwerk stehen. Ermöglich wird dies durch den String-Antrieb:

Ein dunner Antriebsfaden lauft vom Motorpulley über den Außenrand des Tellers; der String-An-trieb dürfte einigen HiFi-Fans noch von den japanischen Micro-Laufwerken her bekannt sein.
Der Antriebsmotor- ein kleiner, aber drehmomentstarker Gleichstrommotor - residiert in einem schweren Extragehäuse, das zur Verbesserung der Standfestigkeit auf dicken Stahlplatten ruht. Ein kleiner Umschalter an dem eher rustikal wirkenden Antrieb erlaubt die Wahl zwischen 33er- und 45er- Geschwindigkeit; zwei Regler sind für die Feineinstellung der Drehzahlen zuständig, die per Stroboskopscheibe bei aufgelegter Schallplatte und abgesenktem Tonarm zu justieren sind. Dem Motor vorgeschaltet ist ein hochstabilisiertes Netzteil, das die Gleichspannung bereitstellt. Der String selbst ist Gegenstand highfideler Experimentierfreude: Nylon, simple Nähseide, dicke Knopflochseide, dehnbar oder nicht dehnbar, plus Exotika aus der Faserchemie-Küche. Fast alles ist möglich, und alle Varianten klingen übrigens tendenziell ein wenig anders; eine weitere Variable ist die Spannung des Strings, der in der Mitte des Tellers laufen sollte: Keinesfalls zu fest, lautet die Devise, und wunderbarerweise kann man stets beobachten, wie sich der Knoten des Antriebsfadens bei jedem Durchgang am Teller nach außen legt. Bei unseren Experimenten haben wir den Motor übrigens auf drei Sorbothane Füsse gestellt, die der HiFi-Zubehörhandel bereithält. Die extrem weichen Sorbothane-Rundlinge isolieren den Motor bestens und halten das Antriebsset durch ihren Selbstklebe-Effekt unverrückbar fest. Es bietet sich natürlich an, den Motor völlig getrennt vom Laufwerk - etwa auf einem Extratisch - aufzustellen; Extremisten sei aber gesagt, daß mehr als zwei Meter Distanz zum Laufwerk wegen der Lauferei völlig unpraktisch sind... Die Hochlaufzeit des schweren Tellers ist von der Spannung des Fadens abhängig, einige stolze Verdier-Betreiber versicherten uns sogar glaubhaft, den Motor praktisch niemals auszuschalten, und - "er laüft schon seit Jahren" - daß das Auflegen und Abnehmen der Platten bei drehendem Teller überhaupt kein Problem sei! In der Praxis ist die Hochlaufzeit von einigen Sekunden durchaus im Rahmen des Erträglichen. Wer neben einer Verdier einen Stapel l2-Volt-Bleiakkus ortet, ist einem Stromversorgungsfreak begegnet: Dem - wie man hört - klanglich nochmals gewinnbringenden Batteriebetrieb des Motors steht außer versierter Bastelei nichts im Wege...


Wer sich über die Qualitäten des Verdier-Lagers informieren will, gibt dem - nach längerer Zeit endgültig eingelaufenen - Teller bei abgenommenem String

einen kräftigen Schubs und guckt dann bei zwei Tassen Kaffee zu, wie sich die Sache weiterdreht. Dabei läßt sich auch gut über das Plattenmatten-Problem nachdenken; der Vertrieb liefert die Verdier mit einer einfachen dünnen Ledermatte, auf die wir nach einigen Versuchen stets zurückkamen. Diverse "Matten", wie man die kunstvoll gemachten und entsprechend teuren Dinger kaum mehr nennen kann, wurden probiert, und allenfalls einige Metacrylat-Versionen waren imstande, den Klang positivzu beeinflussen - Unterlagen aus einem LP-ähnlichen Material sind erfahrungsgemäß am besten.Doch diesbezüglich herrscht Meinungsfreiheit, ebenso wie bei Plattenklemmen, Ikea-Tischen, Ziegelstein-Unterbauten, Betonfundamenten, Stahlrohr-Gestellen und mit Spikes versehenen, mitunter unbezahlbaren Supersound-Mk-IV-Klangförderern. Letztere sind angesichts der schieren Verdier-Masse allerdings auf Tragfähigkeit zu prüfen. Der Vollständigkeit halber soll noch erwähnt werden, daß Laufwerks- und Motoreinheit selbstverständlich präzise mit der Wasserwaage einzurichten sind. Im Gegensatz zu einigen anderen "Laufwerken" ist die Verdier mechanisch präzise gebaut: Steinzarge und Telleroberfläche liegen zum Beispiel exakt in horizontal paralellen Ebenen - ein Umstand, den sich die Konstrukteure einiger anderer teurer Plattendreher einmal zu Herzen nehmen sollten. Die zweiteilige Tonarmbasis ist durch einen entsprechend ausgelegten Montageschlitz im Steinchassis variabel montierbar, was den Einsatz "langer" und "kurzer" Tonarme ermöglicht. Das Unterteil der Basis, ein schwerer Vierkant-Alublock, wird dann mit einem Schraubbolzen und riesigen Unterlegscheiben festgezogen; das Oberteil ist via Inbusschraube aufgetlanscht.

Nun, was erwartet jene, die sich das Zehntausend-Mark-Vergnügen Platine Verdier leisten wollen - und können? Zunächst einmal: Erstaunen. Es ist nur schwer in Worte zu fassen, wie groß der Abstand zwischen relativ normalen Plattendrehern und einem Superlaufwerk wie der Verdier noch ist. Der Standpunkt, daß die Qualität des Laufwerks der entscheidende, ausschlaggebende Punkt in Sachen Analogwiedergabe ist, hat sich ja in den letzten Jahren - leider viel zu spät - zu Recht durchgesetzt. Wer schon einmal einen Goldmund Reference, einen Forsell oder einen Versa Dynamics gehört hat, wird verstehen, was gemeint ist. Mit welchen Abtastern oder Tonarmen gearbeitet wird, ist dabei fast von sekundärer Natur; all jenen, die immer noch behaupten, die Scheibe müsse sich halt drehen und das Geld solle besser in den Tonabnehmer investiert werden, beweist die Verdier das Gegenteil. Aber, keine Frage, aus hochkarätigen Zutaten holt die Platine Verdier das Machbare heraus. Dabei tritt das Rillengerausch bei leisen Passagen, ein altbekannter Störfaktor, seltsamerweise fast ganz in den Hintergrund, wie wenn hierfür ein Filter zwischengeschaltet wäre. Die Baßwiedergabe dehnt sich ungeheuer in der Tiefe aus, wirkt farbiger, kräftiger und

schneller. Und erst jetzt hört man, daß der musikalisch so wichtige Grundtonbereich bei weniger guten Laufwerken fast wie unterbelichtet kommt, Solidität vermissen läßt und auch den höheren Lagen Substanz und Fülle raubt. Was die Verdier hier realisiert, ist aber nur die Spitze des Eisbergs - die wahre Qualität des Laufwerks zeigt sich nicht an der noch beschreibbaren Klang-Oberflache, sondern auf der Erlebnisebene: In der guten alten LP versteckt sich noch weit mehr, als man glaubt, eine neue Qualität, die sich dort manifestiert, wo die Konserve nicht mehr konsumiert, sondern aufgenommen, verstanden wird.


Ist es die sprichwörtliche Ruhe, aus der heraus die Verdier zu reproduzieren versteht? Oder liegt das Geheimnis in der dynamischen Akzentuierung, in der Hörbarkeit feinster Details, die vorher in einem Gerauschteppich untergingen? Ist es die unglaubliche Homogenität, zu der der Klang jetzt verschmilzt, die bruchlose, klare Unmittelbarkeit, mit der auch große Klangkörper völlig selbstverständlich dargestellt werden? Die Stille, so wurde einmal formuliert, ist stärker als der Sturm. Und genau hier dürfte ein Teil der Wahrheit liegen - die Unterscheidung zwischen laut und leise. zwischen dem explosiven Ausbruch und der zurückhaltenden, ja verhaltenen Aussage gelingt der Verdier auf einem höheren Niveau, das den Zuhörer ganz anders packt, miteinbezieht und deutlich mehr gefangennimmt. Und vor diesem Hintergrund müssen auch die möglichen Klangveränderungen gesehen werden, die man der Verdier anerziehen kann: Eine andere Plattenmatte, ein anderer Antriebsriemen, eine neue Plattenklemme - und schon verändert sich zum Beispiel der Baß; vorher schwingend, vibrierend, farbig - dann hart. zwar akzentuierter, aber weniger packend, weniger musikalisch, Timing und Rythmus gehen etwas verloren. Und im Hintergrund taucht schon schemenhaft das Gespenst der Sterilitat, der oberflächlichen, gedankenlosen Verbesserung, der - es muß einfach gesagt werden - digitalen Emotionslosigkeit auf. Die beschriebene feine, durchhörbare Reaktion auf vermeintliche Kleinigkeiten macht das Laufwerk aber noch nicht zu einer klanglichen Mimose, mit der schwer umzugehen ist; das Niveau, auf dem die Platine Verdier steht, bleibt stets erhalten; trimmen, ausgleichen -ja, auch den eigenen Geschmack einfließen lassen - ist legitim und tut der Sache keinen Abbruch. Besagte Sache wiederum ist zu Recht eine Legende, keine HiFi-Legende, sondern eine musikalische Legende, die den schwarzen Tonkonserven zu einer neuen, nein, schon immer vorhandenen, aber nur so schwer zu realisierenden Qualität verhilft. Spätestens jetzt dürfte Ihr Einwand kommen: Zu enthusiastisch beschriehen. und überhaupt - mit welchen Tonarm-/Systemkombis wurde gehört'' Gemach. Es geht nicht um Referenzen, nicht um die Analog-Sensation des Monats. Das Verdier-Laufwerk hat gut ein Dutzend Jährchen auf dem Buckel. Es gab auch ein paar im großen und ganzen vernachlässigbare Änderungen, eher kosmetischer Natur, ohne das Konzept zu beeinträchtigen. Während dieser Zeit kamen und gingen viele Tonarme und Systeme, Sensationen, Flops und Dauerbrenner - aber die Verdier blieb. Dafür gibt es Gründe. Mußes Gründe geben. Und die sind nicht kurzlebiger Natur. Wir jedenfalls heften Jean-Constant Verdier drei STEREO-Sternchen ans Revers. Wohl wissend. daß er sich nichts aus Auszeichnungen macht. Sie dürfen die Sternchen auch vergessen. Aber Sie könnten uns fragen. ob uns dieses Laufwerk wirklich so sehr begeistert hat. Die Antwort : Ja !




  Download the leaflet



  You aren't going to see QT if you don't allow EMBEDs!

Download the musique : Schubert Fantaisie en Fa