STEREOMOJO SPECIAL REPORT
It may not be well represented here, but this was one of the most visually striking products we saw over four days.
Even when designer Johnnie Rasmussen was telling us about it, it was hard to take our eyes off of it.
This is the turntable by Bergmann. Can you guess where it is designed and made? Those clean lines and simple, elegant beauty?
Denmark - of course.
What is not readily apparent is that this is a completely air-bearing turntable - linear tracking arm and platter. According to Rasmussen, one of the best features is the simple arm. "You know that linear trackers are notoriously difficult to set up and maintain. I've made this very simple with just a few parts. It can be set up and playing in just a few minutes". The airbearing consists of two aluminum discs between which the air supply creates a thin frictionless air film. The spindle is centered in a bearing housing made of a very longwearing and frictionless technical polymeric. The material, which is vibration muffling in itself, has a five times longer life than e.g. bronze bearings, he told us.
The 3,2 kg subplatter, which is made in solid aluminum, in combination with the 4 kg acrylic platter, provides a well-balanced system. When the clamp is screwed on the taps thread, the subplatter, platter and record gets tightened into one heavy and very stable rotating unit. An O-ring in the bottom of the clamp prevents the record from slipping on the platter.
From their literature we find: "A linear tracking airbearing tonearm can be produced in several ways. We have chosen the following construction: A long fixed air pipe with small vents creates a frictionless air film on which a sliding pipe gently floats. The arm tube is mounted on this sliding pipe. In this construction you avoid an air tube which inevitably interferes with the arm's freedom of movement. This type of arm is simple to adjust perfectly. The tonearm is made in a very hard aluminum alloy to secure the best stability as possible. The arm tube is made of carbon fibre - again to secure the best stability as possible. The head shell, made in the same hard aluminum alloy as the rest of the tonearm, is completely parallel with the sliding pipe, which results in a perfect azimuth. The internal wire is twisted in one piece from clips to plugs to avoid too many solderings in the extremely sensitive signal path. The tonearm has VTA adjustment and a possibility for perfect horizontal adjustment of the air pipe, independent of the plinth. The tonearm can be moved forward and backward on the plinth. Adjustment tools are enclosed"
The pump was hidden between chairs across the room, but even with an ear planted on it, there was no noise. "The air supply has been the object to one of our greatest attentions. The air must be even, clean and dry. Impulses from the pump are absorbed in an encapsulated reservoir. This results in an even air flow to the air bearings. The air supply is mounted with a filter, which prevents small dust particles from entering the system. This filter is exchangeable if necessary. Furthermore, there is a container for the accumulation of condensation. This container is placed on the back of the air supply and is easy to empty. The chosen pump is very reliable, and the total solution has a noise level so low that it can be placed in the listening room."
The Bergmann turntable is priced at $20,000 - including the tonearm.