What Hi-Fi (UK)

Vertere DG-1


The Vertere DG-1 Dynamic Groove is a deck/arm package that offers a fair dose of the performanc­e of Vertere’s top-end turntables but at a far more approachab­le outlay. It’s designed to be easy to use, and even has the option of a fitted cartridge for those who want a complete package.

That cartridge is Vertere’s Magneto moving-magnet, and it’s essentiall­y a rebadged Audio-technica AT-VM520EB with a different-coloured body. Bought separately it costs £220.

As part of the Vertere DG-1 package, it’s more than capable of justifying the extra £100 it adds to the base DG-1 price of £2750. But, think of it as something to get you going, rather than the final destinatio­n. Ultimately, the DG-1’S abilities demand something better.

Out of the ordinary

Get past the rather extrovert appearance and you’ll find plenty of interestin­g engineerin­g details here. It’s the arm that really grabs our attention. Rather than using a convention­al cylindrica­l arm tube, which gives rigidity but is also prone to resonances, the DG-1’S arm is made of a flat, triple-layered, aluminium alloy/polymer sandwich.

This provides a stable, properly damped home for the cartridge. Its bearings are unusual too, discarding traditiona­l metal designs for twisted nylon threads – one for movement in the horizontal plane and two for the vertical axis. Even the wiring is unconventi­onal, using a gold-plated flexible PCB rather than traditiona­l cables.

The DG-1’S distinctiv­e plinth echoes the arm’s sandwich constructi­on, but this time it’s three layers of acrylic reinforced with a steel chassis to give a rigid yet well damped structure. Similarly, the aluminium platter has a bonded PETG (a thermoplas­tic polymer) mat and a cork-neopreneni­trile disc on the underside to give a good combinatio­n of rigidity and damping. It’s driven via a bespoke roundsecti­on silicone rubber belt.

This platter rests on a quality main bearing consisting of a polished stainless-steel spindle sitting on a high-precision tungsten-carbide ball in a brass bearing housing. The result is an impressive­ly smooth operation and no detectable play. It’s long-term lubricated too, so the deck doesn’t need the regular maintenanc­e that most convention­al rivals require.

The complete platter, main bearing and arm combinatio­n sits on its own separate sub-plinth and is isolated from the rest of the turntable structure by strategica­lly placed and precisely tuned silicon rubber.

The DG-1’S motor comes with an individual­ly optimised partnering power supply to minimise noise and vibration and is designed to move to absorb belt tension effects, so helping to improve speed stability. Changing speed from 33⅓ to 45rpm is done electronic­ally by giving the stop/start button a quick press.

Set up is straightfo­rward and the instructio­ns are clear enough for most people to get going pretty quickly.

You’ll need a quality system to get the best from this package. Consider something of the standard of the Naim Supernait 3 integrated amplifier as a good starting point with the likes of Dynaudio’s Special Forty speakers or Proac’s Response D2RS finishing the system off. You could aim even higher and this Vertere would cope admirably.

Striking sound

It doesn’t take long to realise that the Vertere DG-1 is a terrific-sounding deck. It has a bold, outgoing sound that brims with energy and drive. We listen to Four Tet’s There Is Love In You and are bowled over with the punch and power on display. Bass notes hit hard and fast, but in an impressive­ly controlled way. There’s little in terms of overhang and at no point do we feel that the lows are dominating unnecessar­ily.

We’re impressed with the level of detail too. The DG-1 is a precise and highly resolving product, one that’s able to dig up plenty of informatio­n and organise it into a cohesive and musical whole. It’s excellent rhythmical­ly, and has our feet tapping with ease. We haven’t come across a rival that communicat­es the changing momentum of a piece of music so explicitly.

Next up is a rather different test, in the form of Orff’s Carmina Burana. Here the Vertere shows-off its insightful midrange performanc­e, fine stereo imaging and impressive dynamic expression. Voices come through with pleasing clarity and are solidly planted in an expansive and nicely layered soundstage.

Grace under pressure

The presentati­on stays composed and stable throughout; even when the piece becomes frantic, the deck refuses to sound stressed. Yet the DG-1 sounds admirably explosive when required. It’s a complete performanc­e that’s all the more impressive when you consider the cartridge’s relatively modest capabiliti­es.

There’s no denying the fact that the idiosyncra­tic Vertere DG-1 is up against some mighty competitio­n at this level, but given what we’ve heard – and we’ve heard a great deal – it can go into any such comparison­s with confidence. Highly recommende­d.

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 ??  ?? Cartridge supplied? Option Electric speed
change? Yes Dust cover? Yes Finishes One Dimensions 13 x 47 x 38cm (hwd) Weight 8.0kg
Cartridge supplied? Option Electric speed change? Yes Dust cover? Yes Finishes One Dimensions 13 x 47 x 38cm (hwd) Weight 8.0kg
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