Celebrating 10 Years of Bergmann Audio

06.07.2018 // Dirk Sommer

After educating as a mechanical engineer, he got his first full-time job in 1987, and invested almost all the money he had been earning in his first audio system, comprising an NAD amplifier, Dali speakers, and a Micro Seiki DDX 1500. Later on, he also used a Linn Sondek and occasionally also an Axis. "In his apartment, he had a super stereo, but initially almost no furniture," Eva Seiberg states with a twinkle in her eyes about that phase in his life. Johnnie Bergmann, however, quickly redirects our attention to his developments: At that time he already got convinced of the superiority of air bearings for turntables and tonearms, and way back in 1988 he started to draw his first drafts for the bearing of the Sleipner. His reference then had been the Forsell Air Reference.

The different variants of components, which didn't make it into serial production, hardly become obsolete
The different variants of components, which didn't make it into serial production, hardly become obsolete

In parallel to his main occupation in a company for tool manufacturing, Johnnie Bergmann started developing and producing his first turntable during his leisure time. And for a long time to come, as well as later for the first series of ten Sindres, he crafted almost all the necessary parts on purely mechanical milling and lathe machines—by merely using his hands and brains. In the fall of 2008, the small-lot series got completed, and its builder hoped to sell it within a year—but this planning quickly proved wrong. After a Danish web magazine had presented the Sindre, within one or two weeks three turntables got sold, and just a day after the article had been published, a Norwegian distributor, who wanted to add the Sindre to his portfolio, immediately ordered a turntable. (Incidentally, Bergmann Audio is still working with this distribution company up to the present.) Shortly afterwards, the Norwegian distributor, and also one from Hong Kong, contacted the Danish couple. To make it short: The initial phase of Bergmann Audio developed so positively that half a year after the Sindre had been presented to the public, Eva Seiberg and Johnnie Bergmann gave up their previous jobs and took the chance on their move into self-employment, a decision that they haven't repented of.

Werner Obst has been selling Bergmann Audio since 2010: he knows his sales product down to the last detail
Werner Obst has been selling Bergmann Audio since 2010: he knows his sales product down to the last detail

Bergmann Audio quickly extended its portfolio to three models: To the Sindre have since been added the Magne and the Sleipner. And the last happens to be something very special, because here the platter spares a spindle, and therefore avoids any mechanical contact to the non-moving part of the turntable—at least if you decide on the model in which the record is pressed by a weight to the platter, instead of being held in place by a vacuum. In the vacuum version a rubber seal is located between the fixed bearing block with its air outlet apertures and the platter. While all other air-bearing turntables known to me use a spindle that is surrounded by compressed air, thus stabilizing the platter horizontally, the Sleipner features a platter shaped in its cross-section like an inverted "U" and rotating above the bearing block with the air emerging from its top section and laterally all-round. A higher air pressure on the opposite side of the motor ensures that the platter hovers perfectly centered above the bearing block, despite the driving belt exerting its tractive forces on the platter. The air volume therefore has to be adjusted very precisely to allow the bearing to work perfectly and to accentuate the sonic advantages of this principle. As the aforementioned review showed, this turned out to work very well, especially if one relies upon the factory settings. During the testing period, which unfortunately happened to be much too short, there didn't appear any reason at all to change it.

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