Analog Corner #275: Bergmann Audio Galder turntable & Odin tonearm

Bergmann Audio (footnote 1) launched its first turntable—the Sindre, which featured an integrated tonearm—in 2008. The Sindre's acrylic platter and tangential-tracking tonearm both floated on air bearings; it had an outboard motor controller, a separate air pump for the air bearings, and cost $21,000.

Founder, designer, and mechanical engineer Johnnie Bergmann Rasmussen makes everything in-house in the small town of Hobro (pop. 11,000) in northern Denmark, on the Jutland Peninsula, at the head of the country's longest fjord, the Mariager. He says that his first hi-fi system, which he bought in the 1980s as a teenager, included a Micro-Seiki turntable fitted with a Rega Research tonearm and Ortofon cartridge; an NAD preamplifier and power amplifier; and DALI 8 speakers. Even then, he felt that air bearings were the way to go, despite the problems experienced by many owners. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering, Rasmussen set about designing and building air-bearing turntables that would be user friendly, mechanically stable, perform well, and sound good.

I've been looking at Bergmann turntables at audio shows ever since the launch of the Sindre 10 years ago. (It's named for Sindri, a dwarf in Norse mythology who created a gold ring for the chief god, Odin, who is associated with wisdom, healing, super-expensive cables, and other mostly positive attributes. He was married to the goddess Frigg—hence, I believe, the common expression "None of your friggin' business.")

I wasn't interested in reviewing the Sindre, for several reasons. First, I don't like acrylic platters, especially on costly turntables. Second, you couldn't buy a Sindre without its integrated arm, which I felt was a serious limitation, especially as, based on my experience, I'm also no big fan of air-bearing, tangential-tracking tonearms—and especially of the Sindre's "orifice compensated" arm, in which a sleeve slides along on a cushion of air pushed through tiny holes in the top surface of a rail. In other words, it's not a captured bearing, which is pressurized equally throughout its range of movement, and is the only kind of bearing that can maintain precise geometry in all desired axes.

I was sort of indoctrinated in this area by Rockport Technologies' Andy Payor and the late Tim Sheridan, of Professional Instruments Company (, who worked with Payor in the design and manufacture of Rockport's System III Sirius, which featured an air-bearing arm and platter and that in today's dollars would cost well over $125,000. (PIC continues to build air-bearing machine tools used to make nuclear weapons—secondary to turntables in importance, perhaps, but still significant.)

However, when I saw Bergmann's new air-bearing, belt-drive turntable, the Galder, at the 2016 High End show in Munich, I decided that it deserved a thorough review (footnote 2). Rasmussen has taken his design to new heights of physical beauty in a distinctly Mark Levinson/Madrigal way, and now uses a 26lb platter of machined aluminum. The Galder is available without tonearm, but you can have up to four arms simultaneously set up on it—though for convenience's sake I'd stop at three, so you're not constantly banging into them while playing records. With air-bearing platter and vacuum record hold-down, the Galder costs $26,800 with vacuum record hold-down; another $8900 gets you the Odin tonearm, whose air bearing uses the Galder's air supply, for a total of $35,700. (The Odin is available separately, with its own air supply, for $12,900.)

Bergmann Galder turntable: Description
I requested a Bergmann Galder with vacuum holddown and Odin tonearm. Johnnie Rasmussen visited to set it all up, though the task was mostly simple thanks to the Galder's elegant design and excellent instructions, with illustrations. The only tricky part was setting the Odin's vertical tracking angle (VTA) and stylus rake angle (SRA), but even that wasn't particularly difficult.

Late in the review period I had to remove the Galder from the Harmonic Resolution Systems base I'd placed it on, to better access the back of my darTZeel NHB-18S preamplifier. That required disassembling the turntable, and I'm glad I did. Taking the Galder apart and putting it all back together again allowed me to better appreciate its elegance and ingenuity.

The Galder measures 18.9" wide × 7.5" high × 14.4" deep and weighs 84lb. Its top deck is in two unequal halves of die-cast, powder-coated aluminum. The leftward, larger half contains the platter bearing and tonearm mounts, and the rightward, smaller half the motor and electronic speed controller. The two halves look entirely separate but are actually joined by a single, thin internal base, also of die-cast aluminum. The larger half is bolted to this base, while the smaller half rests on it, its underside secured with a circular cutout that fits into a hole machined in the base, and by its overhanging outer and front edges, both of which firmly secure it while hiding the main plinth. The internal base itself rests on three big, height-adjustable, circular aluminum feet. The overall result is a turntable with clean, attractive lines.

The air-bearing platter, topped by a 3mm-thick acrylic mat, rotates on a steel spindle with a bearing of low-friction polymer. It's driven by a tachometer-controlled motor with a precision feedback-control system topped with a crowned pulley of polyoxymethylene (POM) or similar plastic. The motor is a DC type. Recessed buttons atop the deck's smaller, motor half select 33 1/3 or 45rpm; two smaller buttons can be used to increase or decrease the pitch. The Galder's specified accuracy of speed is ±0.003%.

The outboard air supply is a black box measuring 8.9" wide by 9.3" high by 18.3" deep and weighing 34.4lb. It electrically connects to the back of the turntable via a multi-pin umbilical, and pneumatically via two hoses, one for the vacuum holddown, the other for the platter and tonearm air bearings.

Bergmann Odin tangential-tracking tonearm
Tracking a record tangentially, the way its original lacquer was cut, seems a no-brainer—until you try making it work. The lacquer-cutting system is a sledgehammer; in comparison, the playback system is more like a delicate feather.


Over the decades, many approaches to tangential tracking have been tried, including a variety of air-bearing systems (from Dennesen, Airtangent, Eminent Technology, Kuzma, Maplenoll, Rockport, Versa Dynamics, Walker), a tiny-wheeled trolley riding on quartz rods (Souther, Clearaudio), and a pantograph-like linkage (Garrard). In the 1970s and '80s, Goldmund made one that relied on an LED to detect and correct deviations from tangency. In other words, the tonearm would have to first lose tangency, then be corrected via the LED and servo-motors, which surely must have slightly overshot the intended displacement. Sometimes, the Goldmund arm would lift mid-record. Yet, at the time, this was considered the state of the art—and there's no denying the good sound it produced. And let's not forget the more recent pivoted tangential trackers from, among others, Klaudio, Reed, Schröder, and Thales.

When the bearing is stationary and the long rail moves (Eminent Technology, Maplenoll, Walker), you have a large horizontal mass sliding tangentially, and a far smaller mass moving vertically. This produces different horizontal and vertical resonant frequencies, not to mention a displacement of mass that plays havoc with spring-suspended turntables.

I remember reading about the original Eminent Technology ET-1 arm in the mid-'80s. To my mind, it promised friction-free simplicity of tangential tracking—the perfect solution!—and I immediately bought one. I mounted it on a spring-suspended Oracle Delphi II turntable and quickly learned how the ET-1's large horizontal mass could de-level the 'table and thus the arm—the worst condition for a frictionless tangential tracker of high horizontal mass. The ET-2 arm was a big improvement—it decoupled the counterweight mass, and provided more convenient adjustment of VTA and SRA—but it used a noisy aquarium pump, a five-gallon plastic water bottle stuffed with filter floss to smooth the air flow, etc. After a few years of all that . . . Lord, give me a pivoted tonearm!

Footnote 1: Bergmann Audio, Sjaellandsvej 27A, 9500 Hobro, Denmark. Web: North American distributor: Alma Music and Audio, 7847 Convoy Court, Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92111. Tel: (858) 281-0332. Web:

Footnote 2: Watch Johnnie Rasmussen conduct a tour of the Galder here.


Jack L's picture


Not my experience, pal.

I was sooo delighted when I first played the Danish-made B&O Beogram 4000 tangential tracking arm belt-driven record player back in 1970s. The first electronically controlled automatic TT in the world back then!!!

Immaculate performance with touch control !

This 12Kg-weight human wonder of art was displayed in the New York Musium of Modern Arts (MoMA) in 1973 !!!

Jack L

Sneaky Pete's picture

I cannot speak highly enough of the Galder / Odin combination. The way I frame it is that the combination just gets out of the way and lets the music (LP) speak for itself. It sounds lovely.

I thought I would hear the vacuum/pump, but not at all. I put my ear on the box producing the vacuum & pump and hear nothing. Nothing! I cannot hear any, even slight motor noise once it gets up to speed. I hear the motor winding up, but when it gets to the correct speed - dead quiet. My table rotates perfectly at 33.33 RPMs. Once it clocked in at 33.34 RPMs. No biggie.

I play a variety of LPs dating back to those purchased in high school (1970’s) to current audiophile 45RPM releases and they all sound beautiful. After a good ultrasonic cleaning, even my LPs that have been played since those early days sound superb.

I was skeptical at first, but when I auditioned the Galder/Odin combination at my local audio dealer, I was sold. It sounds even better on my system at home. I auditioned many, many turntables over the past few years and nothing has sounded so lovely. Even those with similar price tags just don’t have to look, feel and sound.

I will also agree, it is a piece of art. The craftsmanship is outstanding.

I love this (my) turntable & arm.