2020 update : JC Verdier La Platine


A recent encounter with a JC Verdier dealer as well as a recent Audiogon discussion thread led to the start of this thread. He was in my house updating my La Platine which had been in storage for ten years with thread and oil. While he has high regards for the deck, his newer clients nevertheless prefer a Techdas iii than an 'old' La Platine. Given the proliferation of expensive decks in the past dozen years, La Platine has become very much under-appreciated. 

It's clear to me that the influence of the La Platine is everywhere to be found. Specifically, the magnetic suspension system that was employed 30+ years ago. Even SOTA offers their newer decks with mag. lev. features. And if you read this review: https://www.callas-audio.nl/Callas%20Platine%20Mod%20Kit%20Review.pdf, the Continuum Caliburn uses the same concept, which was not acknowledged in Fremer's review, albeit with more sophisticated , and expensive, execution.

It is also clear to me that there is much misunderstanding of the workings of the La Platine. I for one have contributed to this. The motor of the La Platine, for example, has been much maligned. The thread drive is another aspect of the turntable that have been described as inferior. With regard to the motor and thread drive, I have been set straight by Chris @ct0517 and Lyubomir @lbelchev. Experimenting with the different types of silk threads, the tightness to the platter  and a renewed understanding of the soundness of the Philips motor have been rewarded with better dynamics and transparency. 

The funny thing is that during the past two years of re-engagement with audio, I have questioned ownership of every components in my arsenal except the La Platine. It has always been a keeper. I wonder if La Platine owners would contribute to celebrating this 'old' deck with tales, advice, and insights?

Cheers!
ledoux1238
thank you @ledoux1238
I wondered what is your thinking on using 'entry' level cartridges?
because unlike other equipment cartridges are consumable products (at  least that's what I think). their life is about 500 hours. it will extend to 1000 hours only if you're lucky (doing the right things like cleaning records, gruv glide etc.) retip cost is very high if the cartridge is expensive. I installed 5 Kondo IO-M cartridges for my friends in last 8 years and it sounds terrific if you can afford it.
on the other hand EMT TSD15N SFL may not have top price tag but I won't call it entry level. 

And I have decided to keep it. Any advice on how to optimize the arm with the TT?
I think that's a good idea. I changed my SME V's internal wiring with Kondo 11 years ago and I never regret it. stock van den hul silver internal wiring is terrible. Kondo silver wire definitely transforms SME V. 
if you ever do change it with Kondo please consider owning SL-115 headshell cables and Ls41 armcable too. a friend of mine has a Kondo tonearm and it is actually a modified SME V-12 with Kondo wiring all over.
@metmur

on the other hand EMT TSD15N SFL may not have top price tag but I won't call it entry level. 

I surely did not mean to imply disrespect for the classic TSD 15. I applaud your choice of cartridge. Unfortunately, my precent current mode phono stage will not accommodate the 24 ohm inner impedance of the EMT. However, I do run a ZYX Ultimate 100. Would you offer a quick comparison of the two?

On the Cartridge end, I have been persuaded by the opinion that vintage cartridges from the 70's and 80's are comparable in quality to the some of today's more expensive offerings. One of the project right now is to seek out a vintage cartridge, something like an Ortofon MC 2000, to pair with the SME V.


if you ever do change it with Kondo please consider owning SL-115 headshell cables and Ls41 armcable too.

Yes, there will be the eventual direction I'd go. Thanks!

Also, I am quite interested in how you ended with the La Platine ?


On the Cartridge end, I have been persuaded by the opinion that vintage cartridges from the 70's and 80's are comparable in quality to the some of today's more expensive offerings. One of the project right now is to seek out a vintage cartridge, something like an Ortofon MC 2000, to pair with the SME V.
It's a fallacy.

The likelihood that a cartridge suspension still operates correctly after so many years is close to zero. I would not subject my valuable record collection to the abuse from a clapped out cartridge just to save a few dollars. The damage on vinyl from mistracking, even unheard, is massive and permanent.

Unfortunately there seem to be a few on this forum who promote vintage cartridges, but the reality is that finding a NOS example or new stylus is almost impossble for most of them ( some on this forum are resellers of clapped out cartridges - buyer beware ), and ultimately more costly than a reasonably priced modern cartridge.

@dover
I can not agree more.

the suspension of a cartridge usually lasts for 5 years like car tires. when it deteriorates it will change the compliance of the cartridge. most people may say that "I’m using a cartridge older than 5 years and it sounds great so the suspension is ok.". actually it is not. you need to measure cartridge-tonearm resonance and if it matches the calculated resonance than it’s ok. if it doesn’t there is a high possibility that your cartridge’s suspension is gone.

@ledoux1238
I surely did not mean to imply disrespect for the classic TSD 15.
I didn’t take it as a disrespect. that’s perfectly alright. on the contrary I don’t want to give the impression like I’m obsessed with my equipment.

ZYX and EMT are different than alike. EMT is a dynamic and lively cartridge ZYX is a smooth and full bodied one.

One of the project right now is to seek out a vintage cartridge, something like an Ortofon MC 2000, to pair with the SME V.
I had a chance to use Ortofon MC2000, MC3000, MC5000 and 75th anniversary cartridges more than 10 years ago. all together at the same time. I used them not too long but enough to get their sound signature. they all need their dedicated SUTs and none of them can match today’s good MCs let alone top ones.
vintage cartridges from the 70’s and 80’s are comparable in quality to the some of today’s more expensive offerings.
you got a point cause I have seen poorly build expensive cartridges but incredible good built ones too.
old cartridges’ build quality may be better than today’s ones but I don’t think their sound is better.
Also, I am quite interested in how you ended with the La Platine ?
I was always looking for a robust heavy turntable and La Platine was one of the candidates. when a friend told me that he is going to sell his La Platine I made my decision about buying his. 


@dover , @ mtemur, Vintage Cartridge 'fallacy' is duly noted. Thanks!