Andre, I'm not sure I would agree with your friend's contention. I have never owned a TT w/ magnetically suspended platter, but have had two w/ air-suspended platters, and they had no problem w/ bass.
It could be that a magnetic suspension alone allows too much "bounce" in the platter which indeed would reduce bass. Air suspension platters are "rock solid" as long as the platter is sufficiently heavy.
I know nothing of liquid suspension platters.
The fact that a ball bearing enhanced platter stability on one particular PV doesn't prove that it would do the same for every other turntable.
Much depends on implementation. If the lateral bearing tolerances are tight enough to maintain platter stability and prevent "rocking", a non-contact vertical support might indeed be capable of excellent bass and dynamics, as Nsgarch has found.
Your friend should be cautious of deducing broad general principles from a single example. "Cogito, ergo erro!"
Dear André: My experience about was with Micro Seiki TT: I owned an air bearing model and now I own a non-air bearing
Are there any differences?, yes there are and specific on bass the non-airbearing has a tight bass that the air bearing one, this one has a very good bass but it is a litle on the " soft " side.
For what I read ( and hear for one time ) the Verdier is very good on that subject.
Regards and enjoy the music.
My Platine is set up without the ball bearing. Without it, the platter can be bounced up and down on the supporting magnetic field (the field acts as a spring). The platter does not rock in any way, it rotates absolutely flat. When playing, there is no up and down movement of the platter.
To me, the bass is great, but I haven't tried it with the ball in place. I may someday, but basically I'm too lazy to bother. Verdier told me in an e-mail that they recommend trying it both ways to see which you prefer. I was surprised. I thought they would have had a preference since it was designed with the ball in the first place.
One potential advantage of the ball is that it provides a 'better' mechanical ground of the platter to the spindle. But the platter/spindle clearance is pretty close, so there may be sufficient grounding at that interface?
The other BIG advantage I see is regarding set up. If you DON'T use the ball, you need to set your arm's VTA with EVERYTHING in place (platter/mat/record/clamp), since the height of the platter is weight dependent, whereas with the ball in place it isn't.
Maybe that is/was your problem?
Whatever the VTA is , it sounds much leaner without the ball.
It would be interesting that you try it..the difference between the two options IS VERY AUDIBLE ( at least in my system).
Better to be helped to maintain the ball while putting the platter back on the spindle)
For the spindle you also have to find the exact limit height where the magnets don't support the platter anymore and where the effort is done by the ball itself.
And of course don't forget the warm up before doing it...
I own a Platine Verdier with a Schroeder Model 2 and Allaerts MC1B. Mine was setup by the UK Verdier distributor (Graham Tricker from GT Audio). He never uses the steel ball, but makes sure that the oil reservoir is kept topped up from time to time (through the small allen grub screw next to the spindle), as the sound gets lean without oil. I'm very happy with mine. Buying a battery PSU, however, transforms the PV even further. I use the GT Audio battery PSU made in the UK (for all voltages), but I'm told that the Galibier one is also very good (but haven't heard it).
"For the spindle you also have to find the exact limit height where the magnets don't support the platter anymore and where the effort is done by the ball itself."
This is not the correct procedure for using the ball according to Verdier. The ball should not be supporting the platter, that defeats the intent of the magnetic suspension system, and results in a very high load on the ball with resultant drag/rumble. The idea is for the majority of the load to be taken up by the magnets, with only a very small portion carried by the ball itself. You adjust the spindle height until you can just feel the ball touching the underside of the platter, no more than that. In this way, you maintain contact from the platter through the ball to the spindle/bearing support, yet there is very little actual load on the ball. What you describe, would certainly overload the ball over time, it seems to me.
Sorry for this bad explanation...
In fact that is excatly what I have done but in this position I thought that the benefit of the repulsion produced by the magnets didn't exist anymore as the ball touched the platter...compared with the "no ball" option.
As a long time Platine owner ( about some 10 years ) i'm happy to report my findings with all.
firstly there are a lot of weird thoughts and quotes about the Platine turntable. through the years ive heard the most silly remarks, mostly about the magetic repulsion and mostly from non Platine owners.
again i find it strange to find reports about a lack of bass output when the ball is not used at the top of the spindle. i cannot confirm this.
the trick with the ball.
what you need to adjust to get the best performance is the height of the spindle to get the ball just touching the platter. this way the ball touches but does not support any weight.
sounds logic ? it is and it is way to go.
the platter is non magnetic itself so the ball does not need function as an electrical grounding.
The benefits of having the platter suspended by 'air' is indeed what you want. however you do not want an up and down motion of the platter, here comes the ball into play.
it takes some time to adjust the spindle to accomplish this and so i made an upgrade kit to have a fully adjustable spindle with the platter actually mounted.
you can see my kit here :http://www.callas-audio.nl/verdierbotten.jpg
no i do not sell these kits, they took way too much time to create.
the micrometer you see is been put on the base and measures the platter movement.
this way i can actually see what i do. and with 1/100 of an millimeter read out this is a very accurate way..
the difference with our without the ball actually touching the platter is there, but in 10 years of use with many many arms and elements i have never experienced any dramatic things with our without the ball. i experience the best results though with this particular way. your mileage may vary.
one thing for sure, if you buy a Platine you never need to look further.
I have owned the Platine for only 5 months and have tried both with and without the ball. Its a pain to set things up especially tone arm but the BEST overall result was obtained with the no ball. Topping up the oil is important.
I also made a stand for the motor so that it is not on the same shelf/stand as the Platine turntable table itself.
Cool stuff you made, Tuboo.
I've got a friend with a complete machine shop. Maybe I can talk him into making a similar set of hardware for my Platine.
On the other hand, taking the platter off to make adjustments isn't that difficult.
Thanks for the idea!