Vertere Acoustics confirm release of Reference Tonearm Generation III
Around eleven years after the launch of their original tonearm – one that was considered genuinely revolutionary – this third generation of the Reference Tonearm by Vertere Acoustics brings additional flexibility, ease of use, fine-tuning and, of course, improved performance.
At the 2022 Munich High End Show, Touraj Moghaddam, the founder and chief designer of Vertere Acoustics, gave a detailed description and explanation of the Reference Tonearm Gen III.
Features + Benefits
The Vertere Acoustics Reference Tonearm has unique split geometry, where in the vertical direction, the arm has a longer effective length than that in the horizontal direction. This split geometry ensures that the cartridge can track very low frequencies cut in mono and the higher stereo frequencies with absolute integrity. In addition, effective mass vertically and horizontally is different, allowing optimisation of both for performance.
- Horizontal & Vertical bearings are offset by 23 mm to optimise tracking accuracy and information retrieval.
- Several hundreds of micron-thick non-rotating Kevlar fibres provide the unique Vertical and Horizontal pivoting motion. The result is the first truly noiseless and stiction-free tonearm bearing.
- This unique design has no noise-generating rotating or sliding components in the bearings.
- The counterweight assembly is fully articulated to regulate tracking weight when the record is warped, even with the slightest of up-and-down movements of the Tonearm. As a result, every note plays with life-like dynamics and clarity.
- Rigid, light and non-resonant are keywords for tonearm tubes and headshells, and titanium remains the most suitable material. The arm tube is machined down to a mere 0.4 mm in-wall thickness on the reference tonearm, maximising the rigidity-to-weight ratio. The sculpted head-shell is then fuse-welded to the arm tube to behave as one piece. Again, this property is specific to titanium.
- The Tonearm is engraved, allowing precise setting or repeat setting of the additional sliding effective mass control/fine-tune tracking force adjustment.
- Anti-skate force is applied using a 30 micron thick non-resonant, frictionless silicone polymer strip. Noiseless and memoryless: this is gradually counterbalanced towards the last 1/3rd of the record to give the ideal non-linear anti-skate across the record playing surface. Optimal anti-skate force varies with tracking force, linear playing speed – far higher at the beginning of a record than nearing the playout area, over-hang – its effect is far higher nearing the playout area, and stylus profile, to name a few parameters.
- Unique Transit Clamping System allows secure transportation keeping the arm/cartridge safe and perfectly setup. In addition, the UTCS ensures exact performance after shipment and reinstallation. The use of the clamp also assists with mounting the cartridge safely and precisely.
- The lift/lower mechanism is custom-built from solid stainless steel and has been precision engineered to ensure smooth, firm and accurate cueing.
- Precise setting of VTA is made easy by a fine adjustment screw that’s additional to the main setting of arm pillar height.
- If required, Azimuth adjustment correction is made by a side-mounted adjustment screw, while the arm mounting itself provides a very fine adjustment of azimuth.
- The Tonearm cueing light, integrated into the head-shell, is a blessing when playing records and an essential aid when setting up a cartridge. It discreetly and pleasingly illuminates the record grooves around the stylus contact point, making it easy to cue records precisely without disturbing the mood lighting. With its dedicated power supply, the light may be dimmed or switched off.
- Internal wiring is a special version of Vertere Hand-Built Pulse cable, in one continuous run from the cartridge tags to the exit cable connector at the Tonearm base. All connectors and contacts are custom made with three times the standard thickness of gold plating.
- The reference tonearm comes with a second tungsten carbide loaded Counterweight to accommodate much heavier cartridges than standard. This heavier Counterweight also has extra screw-on end caps to increase the weight further if required.
- Illuminated anti-skate dial and logos to the proprietary lift/lower mechanism and mounting plate Every component is custom-built for this formidable Tonearm.
What makes this tonearm so special?
The perfect, ideal tonearm would be of variable effective mass to suit whichever cartridge the owner chose and would be super-rigid but without any resonance. It would be easy to setup but allow adjustment right down to the micromillimetre, and it would be acoustically transparent and disappear, allowing the cartridge to do its thing.
The Gen III tonearm gets ever-closer to this ideal: The effective mass is adjustable, the titanium headshell and arm tube are super-stiff but have no apparent resonances, and every aspect of the setup is easy and repeatable. Some might be describing the Gen III as the ultimate in flexibility and almost the Universal Tonearm, but it has one drawback – it is not ideal for use with high compliance cartridges.
The key, though, is in the listening. Mount the Reference to a good Turntable (Vertere SG-1 or RG-1 suggested), set it up with a good cartridge (again Vertere Mystic suggested) and enjoy. Like all Vertere products, it is not dramatically spectacular in and of itself, rather it is the music, the emotions and the resolution it drags from the groove that is truly spectacular.