I've committed. Sent the deposit. As of 8/1, I'll have a turntable in my system. Probably an impractical choice for me, but I just had to. Gotta run, but more later...!
Congrats man! What kind?
I am curious as well. What is so amazing is that there are so many very good tables in the $500 to $2K range that would make picking one a real challenge. I would like to see a shoot out between a Technics 1200 and the huge range of belt drive tables on the market. I'll bet that AD and MF are up to the challenge. Maybe I am the only one interested?
You're really in deep now.
Okay, that's just mean. What did you buy? Is the shopping list in another thread somewhere?
I have it on good authority that he bought a Numark TTX1 with Stanton cartridge.
Now, all he needs is one more turntable and a microphone!
I have it on good authority that he bought a Numark TTX1 with Stanton cartridge.
Now, all he needs is one more turntable and a microphone!
LOL! Wait, Buddha, you weren't serious? "Two turntables & a micropho-o-ne!" Sorry about the needless suspense, dudes. I was all getting ready to post, then my wife got on my ass to take my daughter to Chuck E Cheese's. Then I took her swimming & then after I put her to bed, I drank my bourbon and passed out promptly on the couch, "Baseball Tonight" blasting on the TV. This has nothing to do with the TT purchase, but I thought I might give you a glimpse at the deterioration of my social life.
Anyway, on turntables. As usual, per my OCD tendencies, I was in the analysis paralysis mode for a long time while researching my purchase. But I've finally done it. To make the long story short & to kill the suspense, I got the La Platine Verdier Granito, used (umm, I just realized "the La Platine" is redundant). If you care about the story, read on. (This is kind of sounding like "Choose Your Own Adventures" series of books.)
Many of you already know that I've been obsessing about this purchase. Especially the ones who came to our First Annual Analog Drunkards Tour. At the event, I listened to the Shindo Garrard pumping out sweet, gorgeous music through Devore Silverbacks. I kind of blame that night for screwing with the idea of "reference" in my head. Because when I went, I was thinking about Rega as a strong option (it had remained as a strong option until the end.)
After my research, there were two strong contenders: Kuzma Stabi S/Stogi S - AKA "Da Pipebomb" - and Nottingham 294/Ace Space 294 arm - AKA "Notty-By-Nature (but not cuz I hate ya)". I also gave some thought to Bluenote Bellavista TT, mostly because it looked pretty, but I'd also heard great things about it from some owners, too (if you're into this particular TT, I heard that it's pretty killer with a heavy Origin Live arm & a kick-ass LOMC). Anyway, I think MF's quick summary of the Kuzma Stabi in the recent Vinyl issue makes it clear that it's a serious player. Dynamic, powerful. But one of my good buddies, Marc, owns this thing & he bought it for like $1200 not too long ago (slightly used). Now with the weak dollar, the thing's like a $3K table. I couldn't shake off the feeling that with that purchase, I'd feel like a chump, feeling like I jumped in at the wrong time.
Nottingham was the strongest contender throughout. I never stopped thinking about the 294. I've become a strong believer of 12" arms, and you can't go wrong with the Notty if you want to jump in for a long-arm playback. I couldn't believe how great it sounded. HUGE. Really fluidly musical, warm, strong from top to bottom. I also heard Raven One/Graham Phantom, which was pretty awesome, too, but I gotta say, Notty wasn't far behind in terms of musical performance, especially when you enter the price differential into account. Almost every single person that I've talked to told me to go for the Notty; I've yet to find a person who disliked 294... (but I've been told to stay away from the 294 arm...) To find out why I didn't buy the Notty despite my strong preference for it, go to the P.S. (See? This IS like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" )
I also lusted after the Raven One for a bit. I love how it looks (okay, I'm vain) and when I heard it at my friend's place, I was very impressed by the sound. It really kicked ass with low-end performance, and with Soundsmith Strain Gauge, the things I heard in the music were off the charts. But it was the kind of detail retrieval that felt wholly musical. Really damn good.
So I was bouncing all these ideas in my head, just thinking too much. But none of the options really felt "right" in a way that I knew I could be completely happy with. And I knew that more than any other component, I'd like the turntable to last me the longest... I want to live with the thing happily ever after. Garrard was suggested, but although I love the idea, just too much time investment... eBaying for the right, mint-y Garrard, putting all the pieces together, etc. (I'm definitely going to do a Garrard or Thorens project in the future, when I move into somewhere bigger.)
The person who threw me the Verdier knuckleball was Michael Lavorgna. I knew what Verdier TTs were, but I'd always thought they were way out of my league. What kind of stoked my fire was that Lavorgna was so coy about it. I'd ask him how it sounded, and he'd be very zen, you know, like "I can't describe it. You hear everything else." To be sure, he didn't recommend me Verdier because it's some kind of a monolithic music beast on steroids, but he mentioned it because of its history. That historical aspect of getting into Verdier was VERY attractive to me (are you kidding me? I'm a rabid Fernand Braudel reader).
The model that Michael mentioned was the baby Verdier, actually - Nouvelle Platine. But everyone who'd recommended the Nouvelle said the version offered by Auditorium 23's Keith Aschenbrenner was superior to the French stock version of Nouvelle. I found out subsequently, though, that A23 Nouvelle Platine is sold ONLY in Germany, and can't be exported. Bizarre. And I think that kind of unattainability made me obsessed even more? (I'm a sick, sick bastard.) So I thought about purchasing a stock Nouvelle Platine, and perhaps having a plinth made in the style of A23 (plywood rather than stock MDF) and bronze armboard... but obviously, such prospects made the Nouvelle purchase very impractical. Might as well do a Garrard project instead...
But still, I became interested in Verdier's tables more & more. First of all, his TTs have kept their main design for 30 years now, and are time-tested. I LOVE the idea that with a Verdier, I can take myself out of the "what's-hot-this-month?" rat race. If I got the Nott or the Raven, for example, God knows what kind of upgraditis would strike when newer iterations of those TTs come out in the future? I think that one can stick with a Verdier much the same way that one can stick with a Thorens or a Linn or a Garrard.
I was a bit bewildered, however, that there was no easy way to even inquire about purchasing Verdier TTs in the US. It seemed that most people were acquiring them used, and not through dealers. So I went Google-crazy with my nimble fingers and found out who distributes Verdier in the US. It was a man named Ming Su.
And I selfishly thank my lucky stars that there is no Verdier dealer near where I live & Mr. Su can help me directly. He's really been a godsend. Anyway, he had a used La Platine, and after learning that I was a young newbie, he offered me a pretty fantastic deal. Not only that, he is driving up to see his family in New York on 8/1 and I convinced him to set it up for me at my place & he agreed. And throughout the process, he's been more like a friend than a dealer. He never tried to sell me the Platine, actually assisted more through buying the Nouvelle. And he's been completely patient, flexible, and understanding. I swear, if AlexO had met Mr. Su, his tune will change on industry professionals.
So what am I getting? La Platine Granito (used) with Moerch DP6 12-inch arm (new) & Moerch phono cable. I'm also getting LYS Gyrascope/record weight with crazy strobe lights that reads speed stability. My TT will look approximately like this:
The funny thing is, aesthetics-wise, Platine Granito doesn't really hit that spot for me. I believe it's like over 120 lbs? It's the complete opposite of the minimalist chic, and in this regards, I'd probably be better served by the Nouvelle Platine or the Kuzma pipebomb. But in a crazy way, I kind of dig how it looks. The Granito plinth's very 70's hotel bathroom, yes? And I can imagine myself, sitting in front of that TT with the crazy blue LYS strobe lights, sipping on cognac in my burgundy silk robe with yellow dragon imprints embossed on the fabric. I might even change my name to Berlioz Jones and grow sideburns.
The thing that I like about the Granito version of the Platine is that it's the version that Verdier started to make, before realizing that the granite platform is too expensive and difficult to manufacture. So he went to MDF plinth that is lacquered in shiny black. But Keith Aschenbrenner, when he got the green light to manufacture his own mod of La Platine, actually liked the way Granite plinth made the Platine sound, and claimed that the Wood plinth did not meet his requirements, even though MDF plinth is more aesthetically pleasing. So he found this special polymer which combined granite, sand, etc. into a more practical form and created a replica of the Platine Granito, and called it "Vintage" Platine Verdier. Auditorium 23 sells this replica in Germany & J.C. Verdier, throughout Europe, at a higher price than the stock MDF plinth version.
I also found out that the original Platine Granito made by Mr. Verdier has become somewhat of a collector's item amongst the Japanese audio fetishists. If the Garrard phenomenon, which first spread in Japan before it hit the other shores, is any indication, they might be onto something...
One serious caveat? A HUGE one: I haven't heard it. Struts wrote elsewhere that I listen with my head but buy with my heart, and that's totally the case here. But this is where a quality dealer/distributor can make the gamble less risky. Mr. Ming Su not only offered me warranty, but even gave me the option to trade in the Platine Granito at ANY time for a brand new Nouvelle Platine shipped from France. He can obviously flip the Granito quickly, at a significantly higher price, to some buyer in Japan, but that's not the point. It's that he's actually gone through the lengths to think about my interests and that he's gone out of his way to protect it. And that makes it easier for me to trust his expert opinion as issuing from a genuine place, and the mere fact that he even offered this trade-in further attests to his confidence in his product, in how the Platine Granito plays music. And although I've already sent my deposit, he's even given me until 8/1 to change my mind about the purchase. This is definitely not a guy trying to unload a product. I have no reason to doubt him. There is also no doubt that I will heed his advice very seriously whenever I make a significant audio purchase, for a long time to come.
So the pros for Granito Platine? Obviously, if it all works out, I feel like I'd be getting very close to the highest end at a budget that I could (barely) afford, and it could very well end up being my last table. I like that very much. And there is even an upgrade path: La Platines are known to respond very well to many great 12" inch arms out there, the arms I lust after, like the Ikedas and EMT 997s, etc. And although buying used, I'm getting a great warranty and trade-in offer because I'm purchasing from the distributor/dealer. Plus, the Granito won't really depreciate from the value that I'm purchasing the TT at, because of its increasing collectibility status (most of the Platines being sold seem to be the black MDF versions)... I've been tracking Notty 294s on Audiogon for a while, for example, and its resale value seems to have already depreciated significantly. And this is another testament to my vanity, but I kind of like that there aren't too many Platine Granito owners around. It makes me feel like I'm above the commerce of the marketplace (although this is always a serene illusion), whereas if I went with the Raven or the Nott, I'd still feel the need to plug myself into the circulation/conversation of what's around.
Cons: I haven't heard it, and who knows, there's always a chance that I might not like it. It's a heavy, delicate machine, not easy to move. Set-up & maintenance is more crucial for TTs like this than others, I feel, but Mr. Su is going to show me the ins & outs of the TT, how to set up & care for it in great detail, so I think I'll be ready to take it on... And the worst that can happen is trading the Granito in for the Nouvelle Platine, a TT I was considering anyway, or even selling it, maybe to one of my audiophile friends in Japan or Korea, & I bet I can make a profit. But I've a strong suspicion I won't have to make such a bet. Besides, if I don't like how it sounds, I'm just going to blame Michael Lavorgna. Kidding aside, Michael pointed out the Verdier to me out of a historical perspective (connections to L'Audiophile, Jean Hiraga, Sound Practices, Listener Mag... and to Auditorium 23, obviously), which is the main reason why I was also drawn to the Verdier name. I think there's an important tradition in the Verdier line, which I'm delighted to be a direct witness to. (Thanks, ML, for the knuckleball... and Markus Sauer was awesome, too, as he fielded a volley of my annoying questions riddled with needless doubts.)
See? You can buy with your heart AND be rational at the same time!
Anyway, the anticipation is killing me. 8/1. I've got all the records queued up. Let's get it on.
P.S. - I actually almost bought the Nottingham a couple weeks ago. And I guess this is a testament to the importance of dealers more than anything else. I looked up who the Nott dealer is in my area and went there to audition the 294. With cold cash in my pocket. I was loving the 294, seriously (I STILL recommend the Notty 294 to anyone w/o reservation; pound for pound, dollar for dollar, probably the best value around if you want to get into high-end analog.) The dealer was actually very nice & professional. Then an esteemed audio reviewer walked into the shop, and the dealer kind of lost it! He told me that so-&-so was in the shop, and expected me to be... umm.. what, exactly? Tell me about the Notty, dude, stay on the game! Anyway, he kind of went away, left me alone, and he came back briefly. And I knew I lost him at hello. He wasn't really with me. I cut the audition short & said thanks cordially. As I was walking out, I saw that all the salespeople were basically flocked around the reviewer. I totally understand, but you know, with a little bit of earnest talk & attention, I probably would have bought that TT then & there, given the fact how beautiful the music was sounding from the Notty in that room. Instead, I said a brief hello to the reviewer before leaving. The dealer gave me his name card. I have no idea where it is now, but if La Platine Granito does become that "last turntable" for me, I have that dealer to thank, inadvertently.
Wow, very nice.
You know the water is very deep at that end of the pool.
I know, dcstep. Which is one of the reasons why I've promptly sold my soul and am en route to becoming a corporate lawyer.
But seriously, the water wasn't as deep as I'd expected. It was a great opportunity for me, too good to turn down.
Very cool Self. Happy listening.
Over the last few years, I have come to be an avid reader of Mr. Lavorgna's writing
He has a very high "enthusiasm/love of the hobby" quotient.
Read his Six Moons review of the DeHavilland preamp and you'll get an idea. (He and Art Dudley strike me as kindred spirits.)
Plus, he's in the top ten nicest and most interesting guys in the hobby!
(I think he'd make a great member of the Stereophile team, by way, hint, hint. Not that he should leave Six Moons - just that I think he is worthy of double exposure!)
(Edited for spelling.)
I agree, Buddha. It's very obvious that Michael L. has his heart in the right place. I also agree that he & AD have things in common, I like how Michael writes, a lot. He's funny in an erudite way without seeming snarky. Like you, I'd love Stereophile even more if he was a Stereophile writer! Plus he's a real dude, the one you want to have as your drinking buddy. When I'm asking him these anxiety-ridden questions, he always levels, brings sanity back into the equation.
Sorry to hear that the sales person blew you off half way through like that. Completely unacceptable.
Sorry to hear that the sales person blew you off half way through like that. Completely unacceptable.
Yeah, it was a little bit amusing, a little bit sad. Maybe I didn't look "money'd" enough to buy? I don't know what it was but it got really perfunctory & I knew that I had to leave. Strange, because I've almost always had great experiences before at audio shops, especially at Sound by Singer, In Living Stereo & Audio Connection... they all made sure to let me know that they wanted me to listen, that I was more than welcome. This was the first experience that wasn't like that.
We are indeed a funny bunch.
After mentioning OCD tendencies, an extended period of intense research, and directed pre-shopping..."I bought one I've never heard."
Do car nuts shop this way?
"Well, my OCD tendencies took me to several dealerships for test drives, and I had narrowed my list down to the Ferrari or the new Aston Martin...but then this other car guy told me I should consider the Bugatti...so, I checked it out online and bought one without ever having driven it. I think I'm gonna be happy!"
Dude, we are surely choc full o' nuts! Next time Stereophile does a New York show...party's at your place!
Congrats again, it's gonna be a great addition to your life. I just think it's funny what we audiophiles can do! (I've done it a time or two, myself!)
Another analogy might be: "I'm ditching Jane, the girl whom I have been in love with for these many years, for Genevieve, the purportedly sexy librarian in Paris whom I've never met but will marry." Cause if Platine Granito was a woman, she'd be a weirdly hot French librarian named Genevieve who can rattle off lines from Michel Leiris poems while doing something really filthy to you...urr... nevermind.
Despite getting this Verdier unheard, I feel pretty confident that I'll make out all right.
Do car nuts shop this way?
I'll admit I bought my Corvette Z06 this way.
We knew what it was supposed to be like; fastest production car ever to run the N
Next time Stereophile does a New York show...party's at your place!
I'd love to do this, except I don't know how to squeeze more than 5-6 people into my basement office/listening room, which is where the Verdier will be...
Congratulations! Just back from holiday and a two-week Stereophile forums hiatus(!) and your announcement was a delightful suprise to come back to. Well, suprise in some ways and not in others. I always suspected you wouldn't go with anything mainstream and that the budget would creep up a few multiples before the end of your quest . I have to admit I really had you pegged as going for the Shindo, but I am thrilled that you wrong-footed me so deftly!
The LPV is certainly one of the best decks I have ever heard and I'm totally with you in loving its ungainly but purposeful ugliness. It is, without doubt, totally CULT. Definitely five strutses out of five.
Can't wait to hear your first impressions, however there is no shadow of doubt in my mind that you will love the sound. And as well as a lifetime of great music you can look forward to many hours of fun with belt-tension adjusting and oil-level checking rituals
I am sure you realize that this purchase qualifies you straight in as a certified audio looney, no need to pass go or cough up $200. :p:p
- Buy a rack taller than the 95th percentile of 5-year-olds
- Invest in a good lock for the door of your study
- Get on the waiting list for a Shroeder Reference now to avoid a frustrating wait later
- Start thinking of ways to explain to your lovely, patient wife why an Allaerts MC is actually going to make her far happier than all that new furniture and new drapes she's been thinking about
Oh, and when next in Colorado don't forget to audition a Galibier motor controller upgrade...
And you can drop that newbie conceit right here, you've graduated!
Quote: "Get on the waiting list for a Shroeder Reference now to avoid a frustrating wait later."
Man, you read my mind!
I was just at the Galibier site this morning!
I was there, pondering the Dollar/Euro, and the 26 month waiting list.
Struts is right on about that arm, it's muy bueno. (Go for the Reference SQ, as long as your at it.)
I've had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Schroeder's arm on his own table and it was magnifico!
It was one of those demos that just stay in your mind forever.
Yup yup yup.
Man, you read my mind!
Ha! Gotcha back.
That's 1 - 1
Good to see you back, Struts! I was looking forward to reading your feedback, and it gives me a bit more confidence knowing that you liked the Platine when you heard it. You were on the right track with Shindo stuff; I definitely lust after that Shindo Garrard, but too rich for my blood right now. I was thinking about bidding on a Garrard 401 on Audiogon, but the thought of putting all the pieces together, etc., kind of put me off. I'd definitely love to go with a Garrard or Thorens if I buy a 2nd TT later in life.
Yes, the oil & the belt tension, such lovely ways to waste your time! But I'm sure I'll count that as a labor of love, well worth doing if the chores pay dividends through what I hear in music. So I'll have a Japanese amp, Brit Speakers, French TT, and a Danish arm. Africa and Latin America are seriously under-represented in my system & I look forward to finding that killer cartridge from Ecuador.
On tonearms: I think Schroeder/Allaerts combo is known to work well on Verdier TTs. Obviously, that's SERIOUS money, and that upgrade will have to wait for a little bit... it also seems that Moerch DP6 does work well w/ Platines, so I think I'm going to hold the fort for a while. But there are other arms that intrigue me, too. The Schroeder, obviously, as you and Buddha rave about it especially. But also EMT 997, especially given AD's review of it... I also read that Keith Aschenbrenner of Auditorium 23 likes EMT arms on Verdier tables... I still can't stop drooling over the A23 Nouvelle Platine Verdier with EMT arm:
And that Da Vinci Grandezza 12" arm looks drop-dead gorgeous, but I wonder if the performance justifies its price tag (isn't it like $10K?) This is kind of silly & unbelievable but Ikeda IT-407 would be the budget option in this group of tonearms!
On motor: I did read some less-than-flattering remarks on the Verdier motor, so we shall see. I know that the previous owner actually had it modded so that it can go 12V DC or AC. I also read that battery-powered is the way to go? GT Audio in UK apparently makes battery-powered motor for the Platine, or was it Tron? I'll definitely check out the Galibier motor... it must be the same one as the Teres motor, or is it different? I also remember hearing that the spindle on my Platine is upgraded by the previous owner, Schroeder part or something...
Cart-wise, I'm seriously giving some thought to Strain Gauge. I really liked what I heard (on Raven One/Graham Phantom), and Mr. Su, who's getting me the Verdier, actually heard Peter Lederman from Soundsmith demo it with Schroeder arm, and said he was very impressed & surprised. It's very intriguing, but again, you're married to the pre-amp if you want to use the Soundsmith SG. Not so practical should I decide later that I want to go EMT 997 with some EMT or Ortofon cart...
But I won't have to worry about this upgrade path now (except maybe, I'm thinking about doing the Strain Gauge with Moerch relatively soon, but again, I'd have to think some more... I'm hoping my friend will let me hear it with my Platine for a little bit...) but this is fun for sure, bouncing around ideas with you guys!
I'm totally with you in loving its ungainly but purposeful ugliness. It is, without doubt, totally CULT. Definitely five strutses out of five.
It is sooo good to have you back!
So even before I took delivery of the TT, I've made an upgrade. Mr. Su offered to take the existing platter & motor as trade-in and gave me the option to go with the brand new platter & motor on my Platine Granito. I'm going ahead with it because that will essentially be a brand new TT with the older plinth, which cannot be purchased b/c Verdier doesn't make it anymore (which makes it collectible in the first place). Considering that the brand new "Vintage" Granito model devised by Auditorium 23 goes for $18K, I think this is a deal I can't pass up... the only difference between the A23 "Vintage" Granito & the TT I'd be getting, then, would be the armboard and the plinth (A23 version is polymer concrete material.)
As for motor, virtually every Platine owner has been recommending the Teres motor b/c it's rock steady (uses infrared sensor to automatically adjust speed). One Granito owner speculated that the best motor for the Granito is perhaps the TW Raven motor. I'm thinking that perhaps I should go for the new motor right away, since I'd be trading in the old motor anyway?
Oh, and interesting development on the sandbox/platform. Stay tuned. Same bat-time. Same bat-station. Same batshit crazy analog newbie.
I love you man; you never disappoint! I am sure these are wise moves; you always lose at upgrade time so my philosophy is to get what your heart desires as far as budget allows. Now stop spending and start saving for that SQ (not to mention the Strain Gauge)!!
My sources offer the following advice regarding the LPV:
- New motor power supply is a must (battery is best)
- Watch out for "crumbly edges" (whatever that means)
- Apparently the correct venacular is Terrazzo
I am also hearing very worr
Thanks for the support, Struts. I swear, a LOT of people have been trying to discourage me from going this route, it's funny. (Although a lot of other people have totally encouraged me on this, too.)
I will definitely look for motor upgrade. Both Galibier & TW Acustic have stopped selling their motors outside of their own TTs., so the Teres motor seems like the best option. Battery-power comes as standard w/ Teres motor. I heard great things about the Teres/Platine combo. But in the meanwhile, I think the LYS gyrascope will help me with speed stability/correction with the Verdier motor.
I did read about some issues with crumbly edges with some terrazzo bases; Keith Aschenbrenner at the Auditorium 23 site first mentions it... says that certain pieces from some bases chipped, but also said he didn't mind these blemishes, from which I took as implication that it didn't affect sonic attributes of the terrazzo, but only aesthetic ones. But regardless, Mr. Su took some pictures for me & emailed them to me. Despite the years, the plinth looks to be in great shape, no "crumbling".
Gotta admit, though, I'm pretty anxious. This is a huge purchase. I feel more than a bit guilty as I've never spent this much on myself. (This is why I nod my head whenever I read Art Dudley talk about a similar anxiety regarding materialism which goes hand in hand with audiophilia.) But hopefully this TT will outlast me & perhaps my children would love it...? Hope so.
I happy for you SD, but put on the brakes, no more upgrades until it's installed and you've lived with it a few months. Vinyl can be the ultimate land of tweakdom.
Yup. I'll heed to your advice guys. The new platter & motor, I had to jump on b/c the only way I can get this deal was to use the existing old platter & motor as trade-ins. This way, I'd essentially have updated my TT to current specs with minimal financial hurt. I think I'll hold off on other upgrades for way later. Need to buy records!
Oh, man. The Platine is arriving today, one day earlier than expected!!! Mr. Su is driving up to NYC for business & he's stopping by w/ my TT to set up for me. I'm going to go cry now.... I've procrastinated and didn't get the RCM until just now. Put in an order for the VPI 16.5 with the extra armtube thingie. My buddy tells me to go with the Audio Intelligent stuff, but it seems that Stephen gets good results from MoFi... hmm...
But I'm so deliriously happy & nervous.
Well I'm excited over here so you must be absolutely peeing down both legs!
I advise you to have a bottle of your preferred beverage on hand (for medicinal purposes) just in case the excitement gets too much.
Finally, don't forget, this thing is B I G. Don't be suprised if it makes your study look a bit 'Stuart Littleish'.
Can't wait for the next instalment!
False alarm: the TT is being set up tomorrow morning. He wanted to meet somewhere on I-95 before he hits the Holland Tunnel to hand off the TT, but I wouldn't know how to set it up anyways, so defeats the purpose of getting it a day earlier... It's okay, though. Gives me time to re-watch MF's DVD for the zillionth time.
Patience is a virtue - just not one of mine...
My buddy tells me to go with the Audio Intelligent stuff, but it seems that Stephen gets good results from MoFi... hmm...
You probably can't go wrong, either way. Just don't clean your records with soda or fruit water. The HW-16.5 also comes with VPI's own very good record cleaning fluid. So, you'll be all set!
Finally happened. I'm cheating on my wife with a hot Frenchie. Here she is with her disco dress on. Boogie nights, baby, boogie nights:
And with it off :
I meant to post earlier, but was just busy rifling through records. I know it's way early (Day 1), but I'm happy to report that my gamble seems to have paid off. First of all, I thought the Platine Verdier a bit ugly from internet pictures, but I'm kind of smitten with its looks. That Guggenheim-spaceship platter... and that magnetic suspension! I knew about it before, but I still keep gawking at how the platter is suspended in the air, like a kid. Very Jetsons. The old school aesthetic of the plinth. It shouldn't work, but somehow, it all works for me visually (I love how pretty that 12" chrome Moerch is on the Platine). I also love the fact that I got a new Platine, essentially, with a new platter & motor, for a great price. One of the rare moments that makes me feel that I beat the system, somehow (but again, it's Mr. Ming Su's kindness & consideration; can't thank him enough, especially in setting it up for me)... More importantly, Michael Lavorgna was right when he said he couldn't really define what the Verdier actually 'sounded' like. Never at any moment did a thought occur to my mind: "wow, I'm listening to a top-rate machine." Just music. The music comes out of the platter in a seductive flow, super-fluent, and I've never heard music reproduced quite like this. Yes, the bass sounds impressive, the highs are transparent, etc. etc... but it really provides me with that clear conduit to the music I love to listen to. Addictive.
The sound is completely non-fatiguing, silky smooth with lots of air. Music really BREATHES, which is my favorite part about the Platine. Now, I've heard some really top-rate TTs just these past few months: Shindo Garrard, Redpoint prototype MG, Raven One, Notty 294, etc., and I gotta say, people who say some table is unequivocally better than something else are plain trippin'. They are all different, IMO, in wonderful ways. The Shindo had this phenomenal human warmth; the music just purred out of it, through the Devore Silverbacks. I've never heard more dynamic control and power from a TT than from a Redpoint MG. The Raven also had a great balance of musicality and sonic attributes. The Notty is Manu Ginobli coming off the bench and showing the starters how it's done... The Platine also sounds different from these TTs. The sound is little less in-your-face, and the sonic picture is kept at an admirable distance, which suits my listening proclivities. Can't see the forest for the trees? That's not Platine's problem. Details never usurp the over-arcing musical message, record after record...
As all of you have been witnesses, I've had a blatant case of audiophilia nervosa about this turntable purchase, even until last night. But now, I just feel supremely at ease, and serene. I just keep putting records on. I thought I was going to feel the anxiety about cartridge (I'm using Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood MM I'd already owned) and start jonesing for a cart upgrade quickly, but that's not the case, remarkably enough. Partly, Bob Reina's review of the Virtuoso Wood cart was spot on, IMHO. But another big part of it is that even when I can hear some limitations from the cart (and I do hear them), the Platine still keys you in to the musical message that you're not really thinking about much else. Everything I hear from it sounds ultimately convincing. Sounds right, feels right. This is just a really really great music maker.
I'm surprised to find out that a lot of 50-cent records I'd bought from the streets or from record stores actually sound fantastic. The Curtis Mayfield Live sounds just DIVINE on the Platine. The 50-cent (literally) Emil Gilels LP of Liszt Sonata has NO surface noise. Thank you, Academy Records. I've also never heard Joan Sutherland properly before today, it seems.
The clunker was the 1st pressing of The Band's brown album. VG++ my ass! (Although I got it at a great bargain...) I'm now effectively using it as a cover for my platter. The "Big Pink" 1st press. is much better, though, so it's all right, I guess. Jessye Norman's version of Strauss's 4 Last Songs sounded powerful, but strident in sound quality. I was wondering why, then read the cover: "digitally mastered." Maybe this was the problem? If so, I can't believe I could hear the difference that clearly.
Another great thing is that the VPI 16.5 arrived today, too! Got the Hunt brush for dry-brushing, put the Zerodust on order. My original plan was to start saving more $ immediately for a cartridge upgrade, but the Platine really derailed my plans. I'm getting more records, biatches!
Fantastic! She's a beauty, I'm insanely jealous (at least until Monday when my wife is going away for a couple of days and I am hoping to start my own affair with my new Swedish mistress ).
However my heart is in my throat looking at that deck sitting only inches from the floor. I give it about a year before Ella starts trying to stress-test the unipivot of the Moerch and 'manually' evaluate the compliance of the Virtuouso . I bet she can think of a hundred better uses for that linen thread too. Dolls' clothes line? Trust me on this one; I speak from experience. Did I tell you about my crispbread-in-CD-transport incident?
I have bought a new, taller rack in anticipation of receiving my tt. Any higher and I'll be needing a step ladder to reach it myself!
Now your only worry is that the platter will magentize all your vinyl.
Struts, so you're getting the Nordic Concept? That TT is really purr-r-dy... I can totally see it in some photo spread in Wallpaper magazine or something. I kind of dig the Platine's look, but it doesn't much compare to the NC... that TT's design is truly elegant. Looking forward to getting your take on it, especially as I don't know much about it.
Well, my listening room is in the basement, and the kids are kind of afraid to come in to the room. (I remember the crisp bread incident! ) I can also lock it, and intend to keeping it locked whenever I'm not in here. I also have a very savvy, totally smart DIY professional who offered to build me a frame & top shelf for the Platine.
Buddha - is magnetized LPs a common problem with the Platine? How do I prevent/deal with it?
I can totally see it in some photo spread in Wallpaper magazine or something.
Only, it would appear, in the Australian edition..
Regarding your kids being 'kind of afraid' to go into your den, furrgeddit; it won't last! The key can be found or forged. My advice is go for the frame (preferably electrified) before you have cause to regret it!
LOL, I called that shiet on Wallpaper! I swear, that Nordic Concept is a beauty.
Mm. On kids with music equipment... I got ya. Just contacted the child-smuggling ring in Singapore. There will be a "pizza delivery" early next week.
Btw, which phono stage did you go with (and what is the other red-fronted box on the rack)?
The two beautiful red boxes are one Hagerman Trumpet MM phono stage (not mine; on loan). The box on the bottom shelf is the power supply... all in all, it's a very impressive value for a phono stage with a separate power supply. It retails for around $2700, I think, but I've heard more than a few phono stages that are $4K+, and the Hagerman sounds better to me than some of them. 8 tubes sticking out of the box: 2 pairs of 12AU7 and 2 pairs of 12AX7. Vewwy vewwy quiet, no tube rush.
Obviously, I'm still debating phono stage. After listening to the Hagerman Trumpet, I'm giving it a serious thought, as it's really exceeded my expectations. It doesn't hurt that it's so pretty, too (that red goes well with Leben's gold, huh? )... the previous version was this huge, boxy container.
I'll have to make my decision eventually. I've a friend who's willing to sell me his Tron Seven for a good price, but since that's a MC-only stage, I'd have to go for a MC cart immediately. Leben's coming out with a separate phono stage in September, so I'm dying to hear what it sounds like... I'm a believer in what the designer of Leben's doing (Taku Hyodo).
I gotta admit, my top consideration is still for the Soundsmith Strain Gauge pre/cart combo. I've heard it and it sounded fantastic. Of course, the drawback is that you have to marry the preamp, as there's no way to use that cart w/o the pre. It's a reasonable enough choice for people like me, who are looking for both cart & pre. But still, if I decide to try an EMT or Ortofon cart later, then what? I'd have to do the song & dance all over again, buy another phono stage or a preamp, along with the cart. That inflexibility is a big minus, despite the gorgeous music that the Strain Gauge puts out. But frankly, I don't think there can be anything much better than the Strain Gauge matched with a great arm; I've already heard it on a Graham Phantom, which was sweet, but some say it's pretty unbelievable on a Schroeder Ref, including Ming Su, who sold me the Verdier. (Stop it, Struts! ) In order for me to purchase the Soundsmith SG, I'd have to be pretty damn convinced that it is the end-destination in terms of cartridges. Hope my friend is open to the idea of having me listen to his for a few days... if it works out, though, then I'd be pretty close to what I want out of my analog rig. But as I said again, I'm just keen for records right now, and that's all. It's going to get dangerous, I think.
"It came from outer-space and landed in his listening room where it plotted and planned. No one on planet Earth could have foreseen the swift and total downfall of human society. The enslavement of the humans to their new turntable masters was a cruel on. The subjugated organic beings were forced to prepare the favorite sustenance of "the tables" as they became known. A thin, black 12" disc which had to be pampered and cleaned during ceremonies that became the new religion of man. The use of the phrase "record player" became punishable by death and sleep became a distant memory."
Well SD, my thoughts on the Strain Gauge are well documented and if I were starting in the same place as you, with a linestage-only pre, there would be no doubt in my mind. However I already have a pretty competent Boulder MM/MC phono stage, what is more my pre is balanced-only while I believe the Soundsmith boxes are SE-only. Finally the Soundsmith 'cigar box' look is about as far from the Boulder 'milled-from-solid-unobtanium' aesthetic as you can get. I am still sorely tempted though. Hmmmmmmmmm...
I understand your reticence to commit to what is essentially a bit of a proprietary solution. However would I be completely off-base if I suggested that another part of the problem is that it shuts the door on a whole world of cartridge tweakery? It strikes me that this might just be another one of those head versus heart things...
If your first priority is really SQ I would suggest you try to audition the SG against the MM/MC cartridge of your dreams to put your mind at rest. You might want to pick one from this list . However, if you want to keep your options open for the future you will doubtless be better served by a general-purpose MM/MC phono stage.
Choices, choices, but then again maybe that's half the fun?
Buddha - is magnetized LPs a common problem with the Platine? How do I prevent/deal with it?
I'm not Buddha, but if I may offer my experience - no. I don't think an LP can be magnetized (much) in the first place. Static can be a problem with records if your listening room air is very dry, but that goes for every tt, not just the Verdier.
Congrats on getting a tt that should last you a long time.
Methinks Buddha spake in jest
Hey, Markus. Good seeing you here! Thanks, once again, for answering my annoying questions. Your advices really helped clinch my decision on the Platine. Many thanks.
Congrats on the fantastic setup, sd!
Thanks, my friend.
Wow, very impressive and a thing of beauty, in its own strange way. How long is that tone arm? It looks longer than 12" to me.
Your description of the listening was excellent.