Celebrating 10 Years of Bergmann Audio

06.07.2018 // Dirk Sommer

Johnnie B. set out that designing a good-sounding, inexpensive turntable is not a technical obstacle. Since the targeted price range—currently the retail price is being estimated to lie around 5000 euros—left no room for a compressor to give breath to the "little" Bergmann, the new turntable project is obliged to get along with a tonearm lacking an air bearing as well. However, at home in his audio system, his first linear tracking tonearm operating without compressed air is proving to be very reliable. So what could therefore be more obvious than giving a listen and also a closer look to it? And, "obvious" is to be understood here in the very meaning of the word, as the private home is only a few driving minutes within sight of the company. In case Eva Seiberg and Johnnie B. have to organize their working time differently, one can take the car, while the other can do the distance in reasonable time by foot.

Johnnie B. is using a cartridge from Dynavector for testing purposes
Johnnie B. is using a cartridge from Dynavector for testing purposes

Although the audio system in the living room performed on quite a high-resolution level, it nevertheless let you feel that it hadn't been fine-tuned to the room over the years. Eva Seiberg and Johnnie B. have only been living in this house for about a year now. But with or without fine tuning, and without having any comparison, I hardly could evaluate the merits of the new tonearm in this somewhat unfamiliar system. But it was clear that the linear tracker proved to correctly follow the groove even with slightly eccentric records. And, regarding the overall sonic aspect, there was nothing to complain about. Therefore, we will be curious to know what Bergmann Audio is going to show at the High End. While listening to one more track or two, I asked both of them about their tastes in music: Johnnie B. recalls progressive rock his favourite genre and mentions bands like Genesis, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Rush. Later on he added classical music and jazz, but primarily to assist him during his developments. Eva Seiberg told me that recently she and Johnnie had truly enjoyed a 3-LP album with the music of Carmen. Apart from that, she shares the musical taste of her husband, except for… Jethro Tull. The evening then came to an end in a cosy restaurant at the Hobro harbour, located at the end of the Mariager fjord.

Almost a revolution at Bergmann Audio: ball bearings instead of air bearings to ensure trouble-free horizontal movement
Almost a revolution at Bergmann Audio: ball bearings instead of air bearings to ensure trouble-free horizontal movement

The next morning we again met in the manufactory and started a little walk-around. In the warehouse where the raw materials were being stored, Johnnie B. told us that he initially used "aircraft grade" aluminum, but then continued having problems with it during the galvanizing process. Now he is using a less rigid alloy, which allows for a better surface quality. Sonically, there were no differences to be heard between the two materials, he reported. And in addition, the amount of source material did also make a difference:  Initially, he got the platters machined from a block of 310 millimeter diameter, which now and then led to slightly "cloudy" surfaces, even when using the softer material. Since they now are turned from blanks with a diameter ten millimeters larger, the problem disappeared. And here it is why: While the aluminum cools down in temperature, material impurities normally concentrate in the fringe—which simply is machined away now. In this case a higher percentage of source material and longer processing times led to a better surface quality. Johnnie B. critically accompanies every stage in the development of his products, but that I did already mention.

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