Video: Interview with turntable legend Touraj Moghaddam of Vertere Acoustics

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Turntable designs are as different, and varied as suit designs. Both have a basic pattern that they must follow, but once those have been established, the sky’s pretty much the limit. I’ve seen all manner of turntables over the years, from low-mass skeletal designs, and high-mass platter concepts to suspension-enabled stalwarts. But I’ve rarely seen  turntables combining such solid design principles that are as beautiful sounding, and looking as Touraj Moghaddam’s Vertere Acoustics Magic Groove (MG-1), and Standard Groove (SG-1) models.

Edward Ku (left), and Touraj Moghaddam setting up the SG-1 turntable.

In a way this makes sense to me though. Having spent some time with Moghaddam, and having shared a ton of laughs, compelling conversations on everything from politics, 11th-century Farsi poets, to the state of London real estate, beers, and science fiction novels, I can say that his turntable designs are a reflection of the man himself: informed, complex, steeped in history, and possessed of a musical sophistication.

Moghaddam reflected in the SG-1 platter.

Edward Ku of Element Acoustics was hosting Moghaddam recently in Vancouver at his Richmond showroom as Ku is now carrying the Vertere line, and who better to introduce the turntables into the market than the designer himself? I got to spend the bulk of a day filming, interviewing, and hanging out with Ku, Moghaddam, local conductor Jeffrey Tseng, Chad Neputi of Rutherford Audio, and Burmester North America CEO Robb Niemann. We had a great time, and it was fascinating to watch the Vertere turntables being set-up from start to finish.

Magic Groove 1.

The system that Ku had curated to demonstrate the Vertere’s abilities consisted of Nagra amplification, and Acapella loudspeakers. Cabling throughout was Vertere’s own. The sound when Tseng dropped the needle into the groove on some rare Miles Davis 10″ vinyl was immediately gut wrenching in its presentation. This was real, visceral, musical playback but without any sacrifice of air, or delicacy in the upper registers, and superb bass control. Tone, and timbre were exquisite, and I was completely engaged, and spellbound listening to every nuance in Davis’ trumpet flow effortlessly through the big Triolon Excaliburs. I look forward to writing further on the Vertere MG-1, and SG-1 in the future, but in the meantime please enjoy the short digital-film interview I was able to make with Moghaddam.

–Rafe Arnott

Playback system:

  • Speaker: Acapella Triolon Excalibur Mk V
  • Amp: Nagra VPA (horn)
  • Nagra Classic amp (bass)
  • Pre: Nagra Classic pre
  • Table: Vertere MG-1 + SG1 tonearm + Benz Micro SHR
  • Vertere SG-1 + SG1 tonearm + Lyra Etna
  • Phono: Vertere Phono 1
  • Cable: Vertere hand built
  • Ground: Entreq Olympus Tellus
Vertere SG1 tonearm.