Vertere DG-1 Dynamic Groove Turntable
Touraj Moghaddam the a man behind Vertere has been creating extraordinary hi-fi equipment for decades but is undoubtedly best known for his work on turntable design, initially at Roksan with such legendary products as the Xerxes and TMS3 to his credit and latterly at his most recent venture, Vertere Acoustics.. Thus it was with real excitement that we welcomed the chance to be part of his passion to the art of Vinyl replay.
The Vertere DG-1 is the most affordable model in the Vertere record player range, but building it proved one of our greatest design and engineering challenges. It takes a huge amount of work to achieve the ultimate simplicity, delivering the best possible sound from the fewest components.
To develop the DG1, Touraj examined every element of the design, rethinking the way record players work, and removing every superfluous element that got in the way of their ultimate aim: getting you, the listener, as close as possible to your music. From the plinth to the tonearm and its bearings, everything has been redesigned and re-engineered, developing some of the basic principles of a record-playing system while completely rethinking others. The result is an elegant record player that looks like no other, but draws on the engineering of our flagship models to deliver outstanding performance and ease of operation at a newly affordable price.
The development of the DG-1 gave us the perfect opportunity to go back to the fundamentals of playing records, examine every element of the task of a player, and develop innovative solutions to deliver the performance we were seeking without compromising the performance – or the affordability. The result is a record player that looks very different from our other models, but still succeeds in delivering exceptional performance.
Everything was re-examined, reconsidered and, if necessary, re-engineered, with some unusual solutions from the motor to the plinth, and from the tonearm to the bearings supporting it. Yes, at first glance the most striking features may be the multi-layered plinth, with its built-in standby mood lighting, and the flat profile tonearm with its apparent lack of wiring, but there’s a lot more going on beneath the skin to squeeze the maximum resolution and musical involvement from the DG-1, making it the best-sounding ‘plug and play’ record player you can buy.
And that ease of use was also a major consideration in the design here: we all know that record-playing systems with hugely adjustable suspension, tonearms and more may deliver satisfactory levels of performance in the right hands, but what we wanted was a model you could just unbox, place and plug in – well, it’s almost that simple – and yet achieve the maximum sound quality of which the design is capable.
Throughout its development the DG-1, like all Vertere record players, has been benchmarked against master tapes and the half-speed-mastered LPs made from them. We have close friends in the recording, mastering and pressing business, including award-winning engineer Miles Showell and producer Giles Martin, and we draw on their expertise when it comes to the way our products perform. They know how their recordings should sound, and it’s to that we aspire.
In case you thought the motor’s only job was to make sure the record rotates at the right speed, think again: as the only source of energy for the signal generated by the cartridge and fed out to the amplifier, it’s arguably the most important part of any record player. The DG-1’s 24-pole Precision Synchronous motor is individually tuned to minimise noise, uses an offboard power supply, and is controlled by circuitry derived from that developed for the flagship RG-1 Reference Motor Drive. For the DG-1, the advanced electrics have been designed down to a single microprocessor PCB, which is both addressable for precision setting during manufacture and programmable for future upgrades. Copper/stainless steel shielding protects it from unwanted interference.
Drive to the platter is via a precision machined aluminium alloy pulley on the motor and a bespoke silicon rubber drive belt for smoothness and durability, while electronic speed change, via a switch to the rear of the plinth top-plate, adds to the ease of use and removes any need for belt-handling. Like the pulley, the platter itself is also precision-machined alloy, to the top of which is bonded a PETG record interface mat. On the underside a cork/Neoprene/nitrile bonded disc controls platter resonance.
The platter rotates on a highly polished stainless steel spindle, which rides in a main bearing housing using a super precision tungsten carbide ball, avoiding the need for complex regimes of lubrication, while still retaining the smoothness of rotation essential for the accurate playback of records. That’s another example of the many ways in which the elements of this record player have been simplified to optimise performance.
The DG-1 tonearm is uniquely Vertere, and differs from established thinking in its use of a flat profile – one of the most striking visual elements of the whole record player – in place of the usual tube. Conventional arms use tubes for stiffness, but these bring all kinds of problems with resonances, and thus need damping if they’re not to ‘ring’, and pass those distortions back to the cartridge. The DG-1’s three-layer, non-resonant tonearm beam avoids these problems and, in place of conventional tonearm cabling, uses a flexible PCB sandwiched into the arm itself to carry signal from the cartridge to the output terminals. It’s a one-piece design, running continuously from the cartridge connections all the way to the output to the amplifier.
The thread bearings
The bearings allowing the arm its horizontal and vertical movement are also innovative: there aren’t any – well, not in the conventional sense! Many solutions have been sought in the past for these precise bearings, which need to be small, precise and as near-silent as possible, but for the DG-1 we have developed a very simple solution: twisted nylon threads – one for movement in the horizontal plane, and two for the vertical axis.
These threads are simple, exhibiting none of the stiction – or initial resistance to movement – of conventional bearings, as well as being super-light and noiseless. They’re also self-damping, with just the twist of the thread controlling their movement.
Like the tonearm, the DG-1 plinth is a sandwich construction, using non-resonant cast acrylic to form the main plinth and the sub-plinth for a clean and sophisticated look. This three-layer design incorporates the control button, the speed indicator and the user-selectable standby mood-lighting, as well as the silicon rubber isolation between the plinth and the platter assembly. The whole assembly sits on a steel chassis, chosen for optimal stability, housing the motor drive circuit and the motor all supported by three adjustable feet.
The DG-1 comes complete with a non-resonant acrylic dust-cover, where its hinges are integrated into the plinth for a sleek and modern profile.
24 Pole Synchronous
Acetal Spindle Thrust Bearing
Super Precision Aluminium Alloy
Bespoke Silicone Rubber
Precision Machined Aluminium Alloy
PETG Bonded Record Interface Mat
Underside Bonde Resonance Control Disc
Bearing Spindle DG-1
Super Precision Machined and Polished
Roundness / Concentricity
< 5 Microns
Super Precision Machined
Bore Tolerance < 5 Microns
Super Precision Tungsten Carbide Ball
3 Layer Acrylic
Top and Sub-Plinth, Internally Illuminated
4 Point, Bespoke Silicone Rubber
Three Adjustable Feet
Advanced Microprocessor Controlled
Fully Programmable and Motor Noise Reduction
33.3 and 45 rpm (+/- 0.2%)
Dimensions (W x D x H)
469 x 384 x 130mm (including dust cover)
Wall Adaptor Type
UK, US, EU and AUS Exchangeable Plugs
100 – 240 Vac with 1.5m Cord
Fixed Axis Bearing
Effective Length 240mm
Offset Angle 22.9°
Twisted Nylon 6.6/6 Thread
With Adjustable Tracking
Gold Plated Flexible PCB
With Gold Plated Cartridge Tags
One Piece From Cartridge