Vertere Acoustics Launches Super Groove II PTA High-End Tonearm

Vertere Acoustics launches Super Groove II PTA high-end Tonearm

Vertere Acoustics Munich Motorworld - Walter Rohrl Suite. 09 May 2024. At a press conference, Touraj Moghaddam Vertere's founder and chief designer launched and demonstrated his latest tonearm design, the SG-II PTA.

Vertere's new high-end tonearm is designated the SG-II PTA, as it looks—at a brief glance—similar to the SG-1 PTA tonearms. However, looks can be deceiving, as the SG-II only shares three parts with its junior siblings: the fine tracking force weight, the lift lower mechanism, and the silicon nitride triple bearing assembly. The SG-II-PTA HB will sell for £13500, €16998, and $16995. It will be available from July.

Vertere customers worldwide have called for a tonearm they feel more matches the SG-1 and RG-1 record players. Although the words from the launch of the SG-1 PTA tonearms three years ago are still almost correct: “The Vertere Super Groove Precision Tonearms utilise a combination of quality materials, including roll-wrapped carbon-fibre, stainless steel, aluminium alloys, brass and silicon nitride. Its unique bearing design and versatile anti-skate adjustment make it an ideal partner for the highest quality cartridges and turntables”. Never one to back down from pressure, Touraj set himself a target of a new tonearm with the performance approaching that of the Reference tonearm but something more affordable. T added Tungsten Carbide and removed brass from the bill of materials but, in the process, changed almost everything. The SG-II must be heard. It is just massively better than its older siblings.

The overall objective was to optimise the effective mass as seen at the stylus tip. The more optimised, the more the stylus tip moves and the less the tonearm moves, which improves efficiency, dynamics, and information retrieval.

Key Improvements

New super-polished, aero-space-precision Silicon Carbide/Tungsten Carbide Tri-pivot bearing with ultra-low friction, stiction and noise

New Titanium Headshell with improved dynamic mass distribution

Heavier decoupled dual-axis stainless steel counterweight with adjustable outriders for easy azimuth adjustment

Austenitic stainless steel central pillar and bearing holder

Austenitic stainless steel pillar holder and clamp

VTA adjustment collar for easy adjustment and repeatability

New Bearing Yoke with bearing more in line with stylus tip

Improved and stiffer rolled carbon fibre tube to the headshell and bearing yoke joints

Improved dynamic centre of mass /centre of inertia

Improved armrest with arm lock for transit

The ‘Penguin’ transit spacer/lock

Existing innovations

Non-resonant, high-rigidity roll-wrapped carbon fibre arm tube.

Sliding effective mass /arm cartridge resonance/tracking weight fine-tuning adjuster

Bias-curve adjustable anti-skate mechanism.

Vertere HB internal wiring

Machined from solid PTFE Arm DIN connector with precision machined Vertere connectors

All connections are custom-manufactured and triple gold-plated.

The features in more detail

SG-II TPA tonearm bearing

The unique Tri-Pivot bearing consists of three super-round silicon nitride balls held captive in a precision-machined Acetal ball-retaining ring supporting the aerospace-precision machined Tungsten Carbide pivot. The pivot point centred between the silicon nitride balls provides flawless support and articulation. The new Tungsten Carbide pivot is machined and polished similarly to the RG-1 record player’s main bearing to deliver exceptionally low friction, stiction and noise.

Background to the TPA bearing design

At first sight, the SG-II PTA Tonearm may come across as a uni-pivot; it is anything but.
A uni-pivot will skate about on its bearing point of contact while the tonearm moves side-to-side and up and down. There is no such thing as a point; one surface is supported by another and sliding relative to each other. Because of this, there is always some skating of the contact point on the support bearing surface. Although the skating or chatter may be in fractions of microns, so is the magnitude of some information stored in the vinyl groove.

To eliminate this loss of information due to unwanted bearing chatter, Touraj designed the Tri-pivot bearing. Three silicon nitride precision balls and a super-precision machined tungsten carbide point provide the arm's support and articulation. Although the tonearm may appear to behave as a uni-pivot, it is without any bearing chatter, preserving as much signal information as possible.

The result is a lifelike dynamic response with unexpected clarity, musicality, and detail—genuinely significantly better than the SG-1.

SG-II Tonearm tube & headshell

Roll-wrapped carbon fibre is used to construct the arm tube. This provides higher strength and a more homogenous fibre structure than a Pultruded or moulded equivalent.

The headshell is a new, reengineered Titanium design with better dynamic balance. It is connected to the arm tube using a new, structurally improved bonded alloy end insert. This configuration’s naturally non-resonant and higher strength-to-weight ratio provide the optimum cartridge platform.

Aluminium Bearing yoke and Austenitic Stainless (316) Steel pillar

The super-precision Tungsten Carbide bearing pivot is structurally bonded to the new precision-machined aluminium alloy yoke. The assembly provides the support required for the arm tube, the main counterweight and the anti-skate mechanism.

The pivot point and the counterweight centre of gravity are vertically positioned in line with the stylus tip for improved dynamic centre of mass and centres of inertia. 

Arm/Cartridge resonance frequency & fine-tracking weight adjustment

An adjustable and decoupled stainless ring allowed to move along the arm tube provides fine tracking weight adjustment. 

The relative position of this ring and the main counterweight can alter the arm/cartridge resonance frequency and thus optimise the cartridge's playback performance.


SG-II Tonearm Main Counterweight

The dual-axis counterweight assembly is precision adjustable for tracking force and azimuth. Its width adds to lateral stability – think Charles Blondin crossing Niagara Falls.

SG Tonearm Pillar Holder and Clamp

The precision machined stainless steel pillar is held in place with a new stainless high-precision gloss polished pillar holder and clamp to provide the tonearm/cartridge with the required interface rigidly coupled to the record player.

Internal Wiring & Contact Connectors

The cartridge tags and the 5-pin connector pins are designed, machined, and gold-plated to Vertere’s exact specifications for the SG-II PTA. The 5-pin connector main body is CNC machined from solid PTFE for its superior dielectric characteristics. Internal wiring utilises Pulse HB.

Bias-curve adjustable anti-skate mechanism

There is much debate about how to set anti-skate optimally. The ideal setting is affected by tracking weight, record speed, stylus profile and record cut. But it's the hi-fi business, so there are n+1 arguments about the correct philosophy. The SG-PTA allows the anti-skate to be set variably across the record – for example, greater at the outside or greater at the inner. The optimal results are established by listening at the beginning, middle and end of a selection of records and choosing the best performance across all three positions.

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