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I mentioned before how this review was conducted with the Bergmann Sindre turntable, the matching Sindre arm and an Air Tight PC-1 cartridge. That’s important as it was a great setup. But during the same period I also had a Dynavector DRT XV-1s and Lyra Titan at hand and although both are excellent in their own right, the somewhat sweeter PC-1 better fit the overall combo. For TT comparison I used a Transrotor Argos. I also had at my disposal three phono stages – the Manley Steelhead, an Air Tight ATE-2005 with ATH-2A step-up and a true gem, the RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC.

Sound. Discs used for listening sessions included: Clifford Brown & Max Roach, Study in Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9072, 180g LP; Depeche Mode, Some Great Reward, Mute Records, DMLP4, 180g LP; Depeche Mode, Ultra, Mute Records, DMLP9, 180g LP; Depeche Mode, Violator, Mute Records, DMLP7, 180g LP; Depeche Mode, Wrong, Mute Records, 12BONG40, maxi-SP; e.s.t., Retrospective, ACT Music+Vision, ACT 9021-1, 2 x 180g LP; Electric Light Orchestra, Out of The Blue, Jet Records, UAR 100, 2 x LP; Frank Sinatra, Sinatra & Strings, Warner Music/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-313, No. 199, 180g LP; Freddie Hubbard, Open Sesame, Blue Note/Classic Records, 4040, 200g LP; Jean Michel Jarre, Oxygene, Disques Motors, 2933207, LP; John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic/Rhino, R1 512581, 2 x 45RMP LP.; Kraftwerk, Tour The France, EMI, 591 708 1, 2 x 180g LP...

...Nat "King" Cole, Just One Of Those Things, Capitol/S&P Records, S&P-508, 180g LP; Pearl Jam, Ten, Epic/Legacy/Sony Music, 88697413021, 2 x 180g LP; Sinatra & Sextet, Live in Paris, Warner Music/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-312, No. 238, 2 x 180g LP; Tori Amos, Abnormally Attracted To Sin, Universal Republic Records, B0012906-01, 2 x 180g LP; Vijay Iyer trio, Historicity, ACT Music+Vision, ACT 9489-1, 2 x 180g LP; Yamamoto Tsuyoshi Trio, Midnight Sugar, TBM/Cisco, TBM-23-45, 45RMP, 2 x 180g LP.

I am going to state the obvious: Johnny Bergmann Rasmussen's turntable sounds exactly as it looks. Cliché but true! The Sindre's sound is extremely exact, precise, noble and very real. It is big too but in a different way than the Transrotor Argos or Avid Acutus. I will return to that later. The key elements are extremely precise attacks and outstanding clarity. The latter influences a strong general perception of the sound in both positive and negative ways. I begin by stating that this was the first turntable I listened to in my home which presented the high frequencies in such a beautiful way. Beautiful is far from a precise descriptor but once you listen for yourself, you’ll know what I meant. When listening to older recordings like the original pressing of the Electric Light Orchestra’s Out Of The Blue; or newer ones ‘contaminated’ by digital mastering like Depeche Mode’s Violator; I found the cymbals sweeter and more resonant than before. This wasn’t the turntable making things sweeter though. For a minute I actually thought it was my preamplifier as I’d just received the Ayon Polaris II with the new AC Regenerator power supply (I own the first one in the world!). The owner of the company Gerhard Hirt had himself assembled it for me. The sound became even more liquid and smooth than with the standard power supply but it wasn't the preamp that changed the cymbals. The ultra-expensive Transrotor Argos proved that it was possible to present the cymbals in an even deeper fashion to increase their weight. But it also showed that the Sindre had delivered exactly what was on the recording whereas the other turntables slightly simplified this range.

I had a similar experience only once before with Continuum Audio Labs’ Caliburn turntable, with the same Air Tight PC-1 pickup and Manley Lab Steelhead – the very same units in fact I used during this review. The Sindre’s top end is very fast on immediate strikes but also more saturated than other turntables. This includes greater saturation in all the lower bands. However, it remains absolutely clear. This doesn’t just go for the uppermost treble but it is this particular range which has you at hello how this kind of sound is possible from a slab of vinyl! When you play some well-recorded well-pressed numbers, you will also get great ambiance from the venue acoustics and a phenomenal midrange. Listen to Tsuyoshi Yamamoto's piano on Midnight Sugar (from the 45 version). What a ride! It has the strike of a huge bell but won’t loose track even when it seems that the artist hits the diaphragms of your speakers directly. And the dynamics are simply perfect. The same held true for John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, also a new 45RPM issue. Art Taylor’s cymbals were incredibly anchored in that specific reality and Coltrane's saxophone whizzed, trembled, stroke and did anything John meant it to do.

The Sindre clearly shows off the differences between recording and pressing quality. Decks by Avid, VPI and Linn, though very good, tend to homogenize that a bit. Even the 600.000pln Transrotor Argos does. Don’t extrapolate however that the Sindre ruthlessly highlights all recorded flaws. What one gets is a lot of music on the recording and if there be flaws, they will be shown of course. I mentioned already how very clear the transition between midrange and treble is. Vocals are amazingly vibrant. This revealing clarity has a small liability. Sounds seem a bit lighter than from the other turntables. Avid’s Acutus or SME’s 30A sound more profound for example and have heavier bass.

The Sindre’s bass is more precise and better differentiates timbre (maybe the SME's presentation is somewhat similar) but because we get such an enormous amount of information in the upper midrange, we might perceive it as a lack in the low range. This isn’t the case. If you apply objective methodology, you will find that the turntable isn’t to blame – it’s the room, the recording or all of the system. Yet at times it is easier to accept a little frequency domain bump or less detail just to enjoy a better perception of the music.