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Turntable + tonearm

Bergmann Audio

Manufacturer: Bergmann Audio
Price (when reviewed): 111 000 PLN
• deck + pump: 77 000 PLN
• tonearm: 44 000 PLN

Contact: Bergmann Audio
Sjaellandsvej 27A | 9500 Hobro


Provided for test by AUDIO SYSTEM

e have meet with Johnnie Bergmann Rasmussen many times during the High End exhibition in Munich. For years, we have also planned to test another turntable - the Sindre model with the tonearm using the same name was tested in 2009 (HF | No. 68), and the test result was special award – the Statement Award. Many things have changed since then. First of all, the company offers a new top model called Galder with the Odin arm. There is also have a new distributor in Poland, thanks to whom the test finally came to fruition.

| Galder

Johnie is a mechanical engineer, one could even call him an obsessive engineer, which is why his products are made with meticulousness and precision, and at the same time are well finished and catch the eye. Let's have a look at the Galder model - it's a low, squat solid made of aluminum in a gray color, with a lighter edge of the platter and additional elements in the same color. Though the whole thing weighs 38 kg, you do not think about it until, obviously, you want to move it.

It is a non-suspended, heavy turntable, in which vibrations are converted into the heat. The whole is a modular design, with the main bearing mounted in a module with a larger mass and dimensions, and a decoupled element with the motor. Both rest on a common aluminum frame that mechanically bonds them. It is a turntable in which a heavy, 12 kg platter moves on a classic bearing with a steel, hardened spindle but supported with an air cushion.

It is a solution difficult to apply because it requires an external pump that is efficient, quiet and wouldn't cause problems with air cleanliness. Although it can be done in a relatively simple way, as in the Holbo turntable by a Slovenian company with the same name we tested (HF | No. 168), only in such advanced designs as for example TechDAS models, or Bergmann its implementation is truly refined.

| Odin

The second feature that distinguishes Bergmann Audio turntables are the tonearms they use. These are tangential models, i.e. "linear-tracking". Every now and then we talk about them, but they are rarely used for the same reason as the pneumatic suspension of the platter: they are expensive and they must be perfectly made to offer really good performance. It can be done in a relatively simple way, but only the precision guaranteed by such manufacturers as Kuzma, Walker Audio, Clearaudio and Bergmann Audio ensures that their advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

The advantages are considerable. As you know, the varnish from which the matrix for pressing LP records is created is cut by a head with a hot stylus. The head moves perpendicular to the axis of rotation, in a straight line. The tangential arm simply reproduces the same movement, so that there is no distortion that is present when using classic arms ("pivoted") with single point of support - there only in two points where the stylus is parallel to the groove and only there the distortion is zero. In others they are quite high. Another advantage of the linear arms is that you do not have to use anti-skating. And another is that because they are quite short, they have a lower vertical mass than the "pivoted" type arms.

However, life writes its own scenarios, and though ideal on paper, tangential arms have their own problems resulting from the same features that constitute their advantages. In order to extract the latter, they must be flawlessly made and move on a thin layer of air, so they require a pump, same as a platter hung in the same way. It turns out that they also require some compromises, thanks to which we still have both types of designs on the market, both in medium and high price ranges.

Johnie, as mentioned before, is an obsessive engineer, that's why he is the right man for the job. Odin is made of aluminum and moves on a air film. The only non-aluminum element is a carbon fiber arm tube, consisting of two inner and outer tubes with a damping material between them. It is light and extremely durable. The arm features a VTA, though not very comfortable, as well as the azimuth adjustment. However, the azimuth is adjusted not on the head of the arm, as it is permanently glued with epoxy glue, but one has to adjust the whole arm. This solution is to offer a much higher stiffness.

The signal is output via a DIN socket from a rigid block of the arm. The turntable can be equipped with four arms of any type - both Bergmann and others. Suitable bases are offered by the manufacturer.

| Operation

The turntables of this type are more complicated than classic ones because they require an external pump. The one in the Bergmann system is closed in a large, black box and is very quiet – in which it is similar to TechDAS pumps. There are two tubes running from it to the turntable - one with the air pressed under the platter and the second sucking air from under the record – I forgot to mention that: in the Galder model the record is pneumatically sucked to the platter, just like in the Japanese turntables I was talking about. The third connection is a long cable controlling the motor.

After connecting, the operation is very simple - press the start button, either 33.33 rpm or 45 rpm, and the pump automatically switches on the suction and starts pushing the air. After a moment the motor begins to spin slowly increasing speed. The idea was not to wear the drive belt. One of the assumptions of this company is the maximum separation of the motor and platter - the motor is therefore of low power and the belt tension is minimal.

When the platter achieves proper speed – a blinking LED indicator would be useful for user - one can move the arm with the cartridge over the record and lower the stylus into the groove. It's not done with a lever like in most decks, but with a knob, as in other models of this manufacturer. Since this mechanism has no oil damping, it should be done carefully.

The system is very quiet and only the belt can be heard a little louder than in other turntables. It is a turntable that is very easy to operate despite the fact that its design is so complex.

The Galder turntable was auditioned together with Odin tonearm The Miyajima Labs Madake cartridge was installed and set by Johnnie Bergmann Rasmussen, and then I only adjusted the speed using the JR Audio strobe light. The signal was sent via Cammino PH 1.2 Reference interconnect to one of two (interchangeably) phono preamplifiers: Grandinote Celio IV or RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC.

During the test, the turntable was placed on the top shelf of the Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack, and the power supply and pump module stood on the Acoustic Revive RST-38H platform, and the latter on the floor. I carried out the auditions with both my Harbeth M40.1 speakers and the YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 tested at the same time; their test will be released in the November edition of "High Fidelity" and in the printed form it will be available at the Audio Video Show 2018 along with the Show's catalog.

Stylus Cleaner

The DS Audio is a veteran of the industry associated with digital signal recording, part of the Digital Stream Corporation. DSC specialized in optical reading systems, was a manufacturer of industrial CD and CD-ROM drives, its devices were used for laboratory error measurements for optical discs. But not only - DSC was, together with Microsoft, the inventor of an optical computer mouse, an element without which it is hard to imagine the modern world.

DS. Audio is its branch, which deals with something else - although also related to optical reading - that is, from optical phono cartridges. A suitable phono preamplifier is dedicated to the cartridge. In addition to these systems, from January this year the company also offers so-called "Stylus cleaner", used for non-invasive cleaning of the stylus. Traditionally, this is done with a brush with soft bristles - we will find one delivered with every Denon DL-103 cartridge. Similar cleaners are offered by several other companies, but this is special: it is reusable - one just cleans up the pad – and it does not leave any residue on the stylus. It also looks great.

The ST-50 comes packed in a very nice metal box. The insert was made of a transparent urethane resin, originally "designed for laboratory rooms in which semiconductors were developed". You can use it to clean all types of styluses without fear of damage.

I have been using several types of brushes for years and the best combination of brush and liquid I know is the one prepared by Pathe Wings from Berlin. The use of this set, however, requires some skills and a steady hand. The ST-50 does the same, and maybe even more (fluid is not needed) in a simpler, safer way. It is not cheap, but it is reusable. The difference in sound is not overwhelming, it's not the point - but it's always audible as "more sound in sound", as a better resolution. If you have a good record player, do not think twice, this is the type of help that becomes natural over time.

Polish distributor: RCM
Price: 360 PLN

BERGMANN AUDIO in „High Fidelity”
  • AWARD | STATEMENT AWARD 2009: Bergmann Audio SINDRE + AIR TIGHT PC-1 | turntable + cartridge
  • TEST: Bergmann Audio SINDRE + AIR TIGHT PC-1 | turntable + cartridge

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    • Benny Goodman Orchestra feat. Anita O’Day, BigBands Live, Arthaus Musik101732, 180 g LP (2013)
    • Do świtu grali, Czy wiadomo jakie tam głębiny przepastliwe?, Obuh Records V32 , Limited Edition 180 g LP (2018)
    • Hans Theessink, Slow Train, Blue Groove 1610, 180 g LP (2007)
    • Josef Hofmann, Josef Hofmann plays Chopin, Everest Records 904, „Archive Of Piano Music”, LP (1966)
    • Kankawa, Organist, T-TOC Records, UMVD-0001-0004, "Ultimate Master Vinyl", 4 x 45 rpm 180 g LP + CD-RIIα + 24/192 WAV;
    • Luka Bloom, Dreams in America, Skip Records SKL 9094-1, Limited Edition 180 g LP (2010)
    • Nat “King” Cole, Just One Of Those Things, Capitol Records/S&P Records S&P-508, „Limited Edition | 0886”, 180 g LP (1957/2004)
    • Sun Ra, The Futuristic Sound Of Sun Ra, BYG Records 529 111, LP (1969)
    • Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ At The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music K.K. [Japan] UCJU-9083, 200 g LP (1965/2007)

    Japanese issues available at

    Music lovers and audiophiles have many different, often mutually exclusive expectations when it comes to turntables. The strongest opposition occurs, as it seems, between the need for "analog sound" and "exactly like on the master tape" presentation. And in the case of digital recordings it should sound better than from the original file - otherwise pressing such records would not make sense, right? A file player would be enough. If by 'analogue sound' one means in some way enhanced and 'made', then placing such a requirement in addition to the fidelity to the source material is like calling for rain in the desert; it is an either or choice.

    These types of thoughts most often come to my mind when I listen to turntables such as the tested Bergmann. And that's because they belong to one of these "camps" - to the camp of fidelity to the original. What does it mean? Above all, avoiding coloration at all costs. If the album was recorded in a super-analog way and as vigilantly mastered as Hans Theessink's Slow Train, the tested turntable will play an in extremely "analog" way (it's actually a system - turntable + tonearm, but to make it simply I will use 'turntable').

    But analogue in the same way as analogue master tapes are, it is an open, extremely dynamic, selective sound, without explicitly pointing to the sources of sound. It's organic, in the sense that everything is going from beginning to the end, the story unfolds and has its culmination, and listener while sitting in front of the speakers, can sense it, is a part of a kind of act of re-creation. Because this is a sound that does not make us analyze the information, one can listen to the full story, that is, the entire album and embrace not only its individual elements, tracks, but also the album as a complete artistic work.

    Bergmann plays in an extremely open way. The amount of information, both those with a small amplitude, as well as dynamics and imaging, is above average - this is what high-high-end sounds like. You can hear it in the whole band, although the greatest impression is made at the top and bottom. Because we are talking about a great sounding product, there is no hint of brightening of the former, nor the blur of the latter.

    The treble is very resolving, but it is not "detailed" in the way it is often analyzed, that is, we get a lot of information, but as a whole, in a package with the rest of the band, never separately, never alone not even when - as on the Smokin 'at the Half Tone by Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio - drums are placed in one channel, almost in its extreme. The cymbals were strong, vibrant, very well differentiated, and yet I did not have an impression of exaggeration, over-representation.

    In turn, the bass is amazingly accurate, that is, it has the pulse and precision that I know from the best CD players. I do not even refer to an electronically generated one, like on Kraftwerk records, or even a bass guitar, as on the Helicopters by John Porter Band, but to acoustic instruments. Because in their case we will most fully appreciate the selectivity and the ability to differentiate the attack, great rhythmicity. I am thinking of two albums here - an amazing Kankawa box, a Japanese artist playing Hammond organ, and about Dreams in America by Luka Bloom.

    The first of these is an example of how vinyl cut from 24/192 digital files can sound like. It is so organic that a large part of analog realizations sounds pale in comparison - figuratively, but also literally. Bergmann shows this kind of perfection with ease, as if next to the music. In turn, Bloom's album is just a voice and a guitar. Recorded by Skip Records and mastered by Hans-Jörg Maucksch in the Pauler Acoustics studio, which is where the productions of Stockfisch are made, has a low center of gravity. Bergmann did not raise it tonally, and by the way it showed that to be able to reproduce the male vocal and acoustic guitar, a perfectly placed bass is necessary. Like with this turntable. (And by the way - the photo for the cover was made by Ewa Figaszewska, a graduate of the University of Silesia.)

    So it's a system that is a kind of "relay" that tries to add as little as possible to the recording. This results in unprecedented dynamics, an ability to differentiate it and the immediacy of an attack, as well as in extremely precisely conveyed both band's extremes. There is an incredible momentum to this presentation, it's "wide" - so to speak - and engaging. But this is not a machine that could be called a "transcriptor", it is a "translator". It does not make the midrange complete or particularly saturated. Although that's how we often define the word "analogue", in this case, analogue sound manifests itself in what I wrote about above.

    Listen to the aforementioned Theessink, Bloom, or Nat 'King' Cole's from the Just One Of Those Things, and you will know what I am talking about. Each time the vocal was different, it differed in color and tension, the distance of the microphone, etc. I think it would benefit from pairing with a warmer sounding phono preamplifier, because I liked the presentation more with Grandinote Celio IV than with RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC.

    It is more about adjusting the presentation to our expectations, not about correcting it. It's a presentation in which emotions matter, it's lively, dynamic, open, with a huge momentum. It won't make you sleepy, ever. Therefore, it will not appeal to those for whom the turntable stands for a special presentation and who expect it to fill in the midrange, emphasize it - even at the cost of tonal balance.


    Bergmann shows emotions through changes in dynamics, precise attack, and not through a saturated presentation of the vocals. These are very natural, but not everyone expects naturalness from vinyl, right? It's an open sound in which the quality of the band's extremes is better than in case of the 99% of other designs and resembles what I know from TechDAS (Air Force) turntables and the Lumen White Myst ere model. If this is what you are looking for, that is, the truth of the source, and not "your" truth, the Bergmann system will be ideal for this purpose. Let's add a great make and finish to it, and we'll get a truly reference design.

    | Galder

    Deck | Galder is a mass-loader, non-suspended turntable. This means that the vibrations are distributed over the massive chassis structure and extinguished without the elastic separation of the platter with the tonearm from the base with the motor. And there is something to distribute them in, because the turntable made of aluminum weighs 38 kg, of which almost 12 kg is the platter. The deck consists of two modules combined with a solid 10 mm thick aluminum platform, something like a frame and floor in the car. The module with the bearing is fixed to it permanently and the motor module is slipped in without any fixing. Both are aluminum bars milled from the bottom side. The turntable can be used with up to four tonearms - tangential and / or classical ones.

    The whole sits on three aluminum feet made by Johnnie. It's his idea - they are made from two parts screwed together and decoupled inside using three smaller ceramic balls with a bigger one placed in the center. The feet are adjustable which allows user to level the deck.

    The main bearing has been developed by Bergmann and consists of a spindle of hardened steel moving in a bed of polymer used in aviation. It is supported by air - under the platter there is a thin layer of compressed air, thanks to which the platter is perfectly decoupled from the base. The platter itself is sucked in, just like in TechDAS turntables - its upper part is 3 mm acrylic plate with a rubber gasket around. Once the clamp is removed the vacuum is removed too and the record can be removed without stopping the spin of the platter.

    Motor | DC motor sourced from Premotec is placed in a separate module. The shaft placed on its axis is made of polymer. The torque is transferred to the perimeter of the platter using a wide, flat belt. The motor is controlled by a system with a tachometric sensor that checks the rotational speed several hundred times per second - it's a shield with 68 reference holes. This system ensures rotation stability at 0.0027%.

    Since the platter is very heavy, the motor starts very slowly, reaching the nominal speed after a while - the point is not to wear off the belt. The speed is selected using small buttons, which also automatically switch the pump on. It can be precisely set using even smaller buttons.

    Pump | The pump, as well as the engine's power and control systems are placed in a large, longitudinal housing, which can be placed next to the rack. The pump is very quiet and only when one places ear right next to it one can hear its operation. As Johnnie said, this is an OEM model working without oil, i.e. there is no need to use cumbersome filters. The filters are used only to clean the air from dust. The electronics controlling the pump and motor were designed by Bergmann Audio engineers.

    To compensate pressure there is a reservoir acting as a buffer. In the same housing there is also the electronics with the motor control system. The pump connects to the motor module with a 5-meter cable with a LEMO multi-pin plug, and with the platter with two transparent pipes – one delivers air to the platter and tonearm, the other sucks the record in. The module weighs just over 15 kg.

    | Odin

    Odin is a tangential arm (linear tracking), that is moving parallel to the axis of the plate, with an effective weight of 14 g. As it reads in the company's materials, it was about making its construction as precise and stable as possible, but at the same time as simple as possible. The base was made of milled aluminum, on which a tube with a large diameter was installed, with drilled holes. Air is released through the openings under high pressure.

    The arm is mounted on a tube with a slightly larger diameter - thanks to the air film held between them, the arm moves almost without resistance with the movement of the stylus. The gap between the tubes is only 50 microns and by increasing or decreasing the pressure we change its mechanical properties. Johnnie recommends setting the lowest possible pressure, but the decision belongs to the user.

    The arm tube is made of carbon fiber. In fact, there are two tubes - one inside the other - with a material damping the vibrations between them. The arm is glued to an “aluminum boat”, and this one is glued with epoxy glue to the aforementioned tube. From the front, an aluminum, milled headshell is glued to the arm. Internal Litz copper wiring runs uninterrupted from the clips for the cartridge to the DIN socket on the rear side of the arm column.

    The arm does not need anti-skating, but you can adjust its azimuth - between the base of the arm and the bed there is a steel shaft that helps to adjust its level. In classic constructions, this is done by changes introduced in the head of the arm itself. And this is not exactly a good solution because it worsens rigidness of the arm. In Odin, you can also set the VTA, but it requires a few additional actions - everything is described in the manual. Counterweight in the form of a fragment of the roller slides on the arm and is decoupled from it by means of three rubber rings.



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One