very few Platines had found their way to Germany and had established an
extremely good reputation for this design. Around this time, Auditorium
23 started a mutually beneficial cooperation with L'Audiophile and
distributed their DIY-designs in Germany. For our demonstrations of
DIY-concepts like Kaneda, Classe A 20 Watt, Le Monstre and L'Audiophile
300B, we used loudspeakers like the Petite L'Audiophile, Triangle TQWT
and Voice of the Theatre as well as record players like the Rega Planar
3, Roksan Xerxes, Manticore Mantra or Thorens TD 124 and 127. At one
stage, we did a special plinth for a Roksan Xerxes to be able to
demonstrate it with an SME 3012 and Denon 103, our reference at the
time. But we never lost sight of a goal we had set for ourselves -
re-introducing the Verdier.
So we pestered our friends and
managed to drum up a total of five definite orders. We travelled to
Paris to meet Jean Constant Verdier on the premises of La Maison de
L'Audiophile and hoped to convince him. When he accepted our order
after a lengthy talk, having overcome his initial reservations, we
could scarcely believe our luck. Neither he nor we could know that from
this conversation would come a friendship and cooperation that has
lasted more than 20 years now.
About two months later, we drove
to Paris again to pick up OUR Platines. The Granito (also known as
terrazzo) plinths that JC Verdier utilised at the time suffered from an
uneven mass distribution; another disadvantage was that little stones
could break off at the edges of the plinth. To avoid arguments about
which one was the most beautiful, we numbered the Platines and let our
friends draw numbers out of a hat. One of them has kept the piece of
paper with the number 1 on it to this day.
From that day on, we
could demonstrate the L'Audiophile concepts the way we had experienced
them in Paris. Inevitably, this led to additional interest in and
demand for the Platine Verdier. The little blemishes of the Granito
plinth didn't bother us, but they did bother some of our clients, so we
started looking for a way to avoid them.
The new material needed
to have the same functional advantages as the original plinth. Wood,
which would have been the most aesthetically pleasing material, did not
fulfil that requirement. Eventually, we found a small company
specialising in polymer concrete, a material that can be combined with
granulate, sand, resin and curing agents and moulded in the required
shape. The process also allowed us to incorporate the opening for the
main bearing, air chambers for the air spring feet, bushings for
adjustment screws and the tone arm mounting. It took us quite a while
to come up with the optimal size and shape in relation to the weight
and available air springs. When we had a mould built for us, we had to
keep in mind that the polymer material will generate some reaction heat
during setting and will shrink a little in the process. So the mould
had to be a bit larger than the final plinth, and a stone mason had to
grind the plinth to exact measure (to extremely low tolerances). Quite
a lengthy and costly process. Having tested the prototype and finding
that it lived up to our hopes for it, we went to Jean Constant Verdier
with it, who had been kept informed about the project at all times, and
we asked for his blessing for this alternative plinth. He agreed
unreservedly with us. From then on, we could offer the Platine Verdier
with our plinth. All the Platines we had sold until that time were
outfitted with the new plinth, at their owners' request. None of them
has asked to go back.
Constant Verdier was exposed to similar market demands, of course. He
gave up the - difficult to manufacture - Granito plinth without too
many regrets and introduced MDF plinths which could be finished any way
a client desired, including fashionable high gloss lacquer. But when
the German magazine 'Audiophile' put the Platine Verdier with our
polymer concrete plinth on its front page (1/2001), the result was a
world-wide demand for this model. This model was now called 'Vintage'
and found buyers even in the Far East. We had never given to the high
gloss wave and found ourselves vindicated.|
Our material cannot
be painted as granulate and resin have very different properties. But
for us, the functional advantages of the material, especially the very
high damping (as proven by studies at Darmstadt and Magdeburg
universities), outweigh the aesthetic compromise. Polymer concrete was
also used in a very high-end loudspeaker of the 80ies, the Goldmund
Dialog; not the worst company to be in.
La Platine Verdier
enjoys a very good reputation in Germany; the demand is still as strong
as ever. It is rare to find a Verdier on the used market, and if one is
offered, the owner will often sell at almost the price he bought new.
For its owners, a Verdier is the very foundation on which their systems
are built, the antithesis to the flavour-of-the-month mentality.
the folks at L'Audiophile, we were interested in comparing the Verdier
with compact disc players. When we did the comparisons, none of those
present saw any reason to trade in the Verdier for a CD player. At one
time, Eliahu Inbal, the renowned conductor, wanted to hear the first
digital recordings he did with Denon on a system with the Voice of the
Theatre . Of course, he was also intrigued to compare the CDs to
analogue recordings. Afterwards, he asked us "How come CD conveys so
much less emotion and atmosphere and sounds so much less natural?" If
we or anybody else had known an answer to that question, maybe there
would be no analogue record players anymore today. He was impressed
enough by the demonstration to approach the Managing Director of Denon
Germany at the following Frankfurt High End Show and ask him not to
stop production of our then reference cartridge, the DL 103, as was
rumoured at the time. This was 15 years ago. The DL 103 is still in
production today. It looks like we managed to help the many friends
this cartridge still has all over the world.
Verdier's success story is written by its proud owners and daily users.
We are happy to have contributed to that story; that a product is still
going strong after more than 25 years in a fast-changing market is
testament to its stature and value.