A brief glance at the Vertere should be enough to tell you that this is not a normal turntable and the company that makes it has little interest in normality either. Despite its not inconsiderable price tag, the DG-1S is the most affordable turntable that Vertere Acoustics makes. An upgraded version of the original DG-1 It represents the irreducible minimum that the company feels that it can make a turntable that performs to its requirements.
To this end, in some regards, the DG-1S is similar to its bigger brethren. It uses belt drive, powered by a 30v motor related to the one found in other Vertere models and that comes with electronic speed control. The platter is made of aluminium with an option of the company’s distinctive Technomat to cover it and it rotates about a new bearing with tighter tolerances. The main section is a plinth made from three layers of acrylic with a separate sub chassis to mount the arm and help isolate it from the outside world. It sits on three feet that can use the soft ‘Iso Paw’ isolation system for further decoupling.
Where things get more novel is the toneam that the DG-1S uses. Called the Grooverunner S, it looks different to almost any other arm the market because it is. There’s no armtube with wires in it; instead a printed circuit board, placed between two layers of stiff composite forms a flat but rigid arm. The Grooverunner S has no conventional bearings, not even of the unipivot type. Instead, it uses a pair of nylon thread bearings to control the movement of the arm. The vertical bearing also forms the anti skate system that controls the force that pushes back against the cartridge. What’s particularly clever about this is that the height of the arm and the azimuth can still be adjusted, allowing for the cartridge of your choice to be accommodated.
The result is a turntable that not only doesn’t look like anything else you can buy at the price but also doesn’t really look like any other turntable at any price; a sort of intriguing amalgam of batmobile and stealth fighter. The white finish is new for the DG-1S and works well thanks to the amount of black that remains for contrast. It’s well made too and takes up no more room that any other similar turntable available around this sort of money.
If you go into your first listen of the DG-1S expecting that the aesthetics to have some relation to the performance, you are going to be disappointed. Vertere is not about shock and awe. You don’t note any one aspect of the performance as standing out and that is the whole point. The Vertere expends enormous energy on taking the information in the groove of a record and delivering it exactly as the artist and mastering engineer intended, with an absolute lack of embellishment.
This is harder than it sounds because it requires the DG-1S to tie a variety of attributes together. The bass response is deep, agile and detailed but no less importantly, it integrates perfectly with a midrange that is expansive and engaging and upper registers that have all the energy they need without being bright or forward. This carefully applied neutrality won’t appeal to everyone; there are rivals with more overt character and if this particular character appeals, it may leave the DG-1S sounding a little restrained for you.
This is not to say that the DG-1S doesn’t have some specific attributes of its own though. The more time you spend with it, the more you appreciate how effortless it is. Switching to many other devices; both digital and analogue after using the Vertere leaves you noticing their quirks and colouration. It also means that this is a turntable that can genuinely set about any genre of music with a complete lack of fear or favour. If you’re the sort of person that genuinely listens to ‘a bit of everything’, this is a turntable built from the ground up to go ahead and make all of it sound excellent.
The Vertere might look like no other turntable on the planet but it’s a genuinely easy device to use and live with. For £3,350, you get the DG-1S as described and fitted with the Magneto moving magnet cartridge. Extras like the matt, IsoPaw feet, a higher quality ‘Redline’ output cable and the exceptional Sabre cartridge can be added as single items or these can be bought as a bundle with the DG-1S as part of the ‘Sabre Pack’ for £4,950. You don’t have to limit yourself to Vertere options though because the arm will accept almost any roughly price equivalent cartridge and setup is easier than it was before. You also get a lid as standard too. Not strictly pertinent to performance but rather cool nevertheless is that the middle layer of acrylic in the plinth is illuminated which looks rather smart.
The DG-1S is an impressive introduction to the world of Vertere. It offers a beautifully balanced and engaging performance that will do justice to a huge variety of music without fear or favour and be utterly painless to live with while you do so.
Editors IN DREAM
The way that the DG-1S cuts through this dense and congested album to get at the best series of songs Editors has ever written is something that even some considerably more expensive turntables cannot do.
Fink Fink meets the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
A full scale orchestra can be a challenging thing for any turntable but the Vertere turns it into a believable and tangible presence in front of you.
Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique
The true advantage of the Vertere’s unflappable neutrality is that something as utterly beserk as the Beastie Boys’ finest hour can be unpicked and opened out to reveal the masterpiece it truly is.
Drive principle; Belt
Outputs, RCA out
Cartridge included; optional- choice of none, Magneto moving magnet and Sabre moving magnet
Dimensions (WxHxD); 469 x 384 x 130mm (including dust cover)
If you’re looking for a genuine allrounder that prides itself on an accurate and neutral performance that never sounds dull, this is where you start looking.