Touraj Moghaddam Vertere's founder and chief designer announced two new Super Groove PTA tonearms at today's launch.
Vertere's new high-end tonearms, SG-PTA and SG-PTA HB, are significant improvements over the previous model. They are medium mass for today's, more common, less compliant cartridge suspensions. Both precision tonearms are available now. The SG-PTA will sell for: £2000; €2648; $2995; AUS 4495, the SG-PTA HB for: £3500; €4648; $4995; AUS 7495 .
The Vertere Super Groove Precision Tonearms utilise a combination of quality materials, including roll-wrapped carbon-fibre, stainless steel, brass, aluminium alloys and silicon nitride. Its unique bearing design and versatile anti-skate adjustment make it an ideal partner for the highest quality cartridges and turntables.
New precision Tri-pivot bearing with ultra-low stiction
New Headshell – Aluminium for SG-PTA and Titanium for SG-PTA HB
Heavier decoupled counterweight with adjustable outriders for easy azimuth adjustment
Heavier sliding effective mass /arm cartridge resonance/tracking weight fine-tuning adjuster
Custom Vertere or Vertere HB internal wiring
Machined from solid PTFE Arm DIN connector with precision machined Vertere connectors
All connections are custom manufactured and triple gold-plated.
Non-resonant, high-rigidity roll-wrapped carbon fibre arm tube.
Bias-curve adjustable anti-skate mechanism.
The features in more detail
SG-TPA tonearm bearing
The unique Tri-Pivot bearing consists of three super-round silicon nitride balls held captive in a precision-machined Acetal ball-retaining ring supporting the aerospace-precision machined stainless pivot. The pivot point centred between the silicon nitride balls provides flawless support and articulation.
At first sight, the SG-PTA Tonearm may come across as a uni-pivot; it is anything but.
A uni-pivot will skate about on its bearing point of contact while the tonearm moves side-to-side and up-and-down. There is no such thing as a point; there is one surface supported by another and sliding relative to each other. And because of this, there is always some skating of the contact point on the support bearing surface. Although the skating or chatter may be in fractions of microns, so is the magnitude of some of the information stored in the vinyl groove.
To eliminate this loss of information due to unwanted bearing chatter, Touraj designed the Tri-pivot bearing. Three silicon nitride precision balls and a high precision machined stainless steel pivot point provide the support and the articulation for the arm. Although the tonearm may appear to behave as a uni-pivot, it is without any bearing chatter, preserving as much signal information as possible.
The result is a life-like dynamic response with unexpected clarity, musicality and detail – genuinely unparalleled.
SG Tonearm tube & headshell
Roll wrapped carbon fibre is used in the construction of the arm tube. This provides higher strength and a more homogenous fibre structure than a Pultruded or moulded equivalent.
The headshell is aluminium alloy or Titanium on the HB version. The headshell is connected to the arm tube via a structurally bonded alloy end insert. The naturally non-resonant and higher strength to weight ratio of this configuration provides the optimum cartridge platform.
Aluminium Bearing yoke and Brass pillar
The high-precision stainless steel bearing pivot is structurally bonded to the precision-machined aluminium alloy yoke. The assembly provides the support required for the arm tube, the main counterweight and the anti-skate mechanism.
The pivot point and the counterweight centre of gravity are vertically positioned to be as low as possible. This retains the tonearm in its most stable position by the chrome-plated brass tonearm pillar.
Bearing Transit Screw & Counterweight Locator
The SG-PTA transit screw will prevent any accidental damage to the precision Tri-pivot bearing during shipping. And the counterweight locator will ensure accurate repositioning of the counterweight and eliminate the need to set up the Tracking Weight & Azimuth again.
Counterweight with Fine-tune Azimuth
Arm/Cartridge resonance frequency & fine tracking weight adjustment
An adjustable and decoupled stainless ring allowed to move along the arm tube provides fine tracking weight adjustment.
Arm/Cartridge resonance adjustment
The relative position of this ring and the main counterweight can alter the arm/cartridge resonance frequency and thus optimise the playback performance of the cartridge.
SG Tonearm Main Counterweight
Attention to detail shines out in the mirror chrome-plated brass counterweight and polished stainless steel peg.
Two pairs of silicone decoupling rings provide the necessary grip for location and the required isolation of the counterweight. Side-to-side moving and lockable Fine Adjustment Azimuth Screw offers an easy and accurate setting of the cartridge azimuth to ensure optimum musical performance.
SG Tonearm Pillar Holder and Clamp
Precision machined from Acetal, the SG Tonearm Pillar Holder and Clamp utilises a Tri-point fixing method to provide the tonearm/cartridge the required interface rigidly coupled to the record player.
Internal Wiring & Contact Connectors
The cartridge tags and the 5-pin connector pins are designed, machined, and gold plated to Vertere exact specifications for the SG PTA. The 5-pin connector main body is CNC machined from solid PTFE for its superior dielectric characteristics. Internal wiring choice of standard Vertere or Pulse HB
Bias-curve adjustable anti-skate mechanism
There is much debate about how to set anti-skate optimally. The ideal setting is affected by tracking weight, record speed, stylus profile and record cut. But it's the hi-fi business, so there are n+1 arguments as to the correct philosophy. The SG-PTA allows the anti-skate to be set variably across the record – for example, greater at the outside or greater at the inner. The optimal results are established by listening at the beginning, middle and end of a selection of records and choosing the best performance across all three positions.
Touraj explains the source of some of his background knowledge
"Our collaboration with music industry engineers has given us invaluable insights into the art of cutting. This knowledge has enabled us to advance our record player design in many ways to extract the maximum from vinyl records.
For example, with his recent remixes of the Beatles albums, Giles Martin – son of the late Sir George – used a Vertere MG-1 record player, including SG-1 tonearm and PHONO-1 preamplifier throughout to check and approve the acetates and the test pressings.
And we've worked closely with the multi-award-winning mastering engineer Miles Showell: since February 2017. Miles has been using his own extensively customised Neumann VMS 80 lathe, incorporating Vertere cables, to cut normal and half-speed masters for the likes of ABBA, Cream, The Police and The Rolling Stones, and also the 50th-anniversary release of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (otherwise known as 'The White Album').
Working closely with Miles has led to the first releases on our record label Vertere Records. Releases: a three-track EP and first album by Scottish band Caezar, and the first album by Dutch singer/songwriter Elles Springs, which was specially tape-transferred and then half-speed mastered and cut by Miles for our label.
It's only by involving ourselves at every stage of the record-making process that we can ensure our players bring you as close as possible to what the artists and engineers wanted you to hear."
Reducing engineering to its fundamentals, to get you even closer to the original recording.
When aiming to reproduce the complexities of music, it's all too easy to introduce even more significant complication in the engineering of audio equipment, putting in place one element to solve the problems until the whole design escalates into something fiendishly intricate – and expensive.
That's not the Vertere way: coming at the whole problem with decades of audio and mechanical engineering experience, plus close collaboration with the recording and mastering industry, we step back, take a long hard look at the fundamentals, and look for simple, elegant solutions.
That may sound like a simple 'less is more' philosophy, but we prefer to look at it this way: the best audio equipment shouldn't add anything to or remove anything from the original recording. Instead, it should affect it as little as possible; bringing the listener ever closer to what the artist, producer and mastering engineer wanted you to hear.