AUDIO EXPERIENCE FROM FRANCE
France’s high-fidelity market counts among its ranks a few legendary brands whose owners, engineers, and workmen are passionate; their sense of perfection sometimes attains new heights. One of these pioneers is Jean Constant Verdier. In 30 years, his company has become a brand: JC Verdier. His turntables have garnered unanimous acclaim for years. The company’s hallmark product and the fruit of more than 20 years of research, the Verdier Magnum is unquestionably the Rolls Royce of turntables. Produced exclusively by special order and under the direct supervision of J.C. Verdier himself, it goes without saying that this product is reserved for the wealthiest of clients (price: 50,000 €). Nonetheless, let us examine this extraordinary product and its technological prowess, a product over which those who love music and those who love mechanics are perhaps fated to meet. The machine is only produced by special order; six months are required to construct and assemble it. The client can, with his or her choice of a granite or lacquer veneer, personalize what the manufacturer calls a “reading desk”. Indeed, its dimensions are those of a work desk as opposed to those of a traditional turntable. On the agenda: a base carved from a single piece of granite, an imposing platter that weighs 60 kg, 3 motors that weigh around 30 kg, and a hydraulic core, all of which are mounted on a hardwood stand. The assembled machine weighs in at 400 kg. The core goal was to liberate the machine from any mechanical contact. In order to achieve it, J.C. Verdier perfected an integrated hydraulic pump, which supplies oil at 10 bars of pressure in order to elevate the heavy platter. J.C. Verdier cannot express the philosophy underlying the product’s creation more succinctly: “the Magnum does not seek to be the most beautiful turntable in the world, only the best.”
The machine seen from behind, its hydraulic pump revealed!
J.C. Verdier also offers models that are within reach of the general public. The most recent and most “affordable” turntable model is la nouvelle platine (5000 €); the Verdier model (the best-seller) is priced at 7000 €.
I must confess that the music playback experience offered by compact discs and other dematerialized music formats leaves me feeling a bit like an orphan. I still savor a few beautiful childhood memories in which my eyes were fixed on the head of the tone arm as it sailed across that black ocean of grooves. I had the sensation that the music was being created before my eyes.
Finally, I just want to point out that Jadis, the French manufacturer of high-end electronics has just come out with a superb turntable to celebrate its 30th anniversary: the Thalie, carved from granite, whose price would make even a stone weep!