VPI Classic Series Discontinued 2017

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Wfojas, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    I couldn't remember what Harry Weisfeld had said about playing records directly on his metal platters. I ran across this interview from 2010. I am including the entire interview since it is so short.

    Harry, What led you to the design of the VPI Classic Turntable?

    The Thorens 124 idler drive and the Rek-O-Kut idler drive lead me to the rim drive for the HR-X and the SuperScoutmaster which gives the same amount of “you are there” bass as the old idler drives but without the noise level of that fast spinning idler. The rim drive I make rotates at 70 RPM. The belt drive Empires and Rek-O-Kuts have some of this but with less noise so I tried to get the best of both worlds, the quiet of the belt with the immediacy of the idler drive. The Classic is the result. A short belt for minimum flex, motor and platter and arm locked together on the same plinth for great detail and no random motion, and a powerful motor to keep the heavy platter spinning no matter what happens in the groove. All attached to a 60 pound mass that sinks the vibration. As long as they move together there is no random motion, which leads to amazing clarity and speed control.

    How does the aluminum platter alter the sonic characteristics of the turntable?

    The aluminum platter has more dynamics, greater focus, and a larger deeper soundstage, but most importantly, because we can machine aluminum very accurately and it stays that way (acrylic and Delrin do not) the speed accuracy is amazing.

    I see you include a mat, but you recommend going directly on to the metal in the manual. Which do you prefer and why? What are the sonic differences?

    I go directly to the platter or on the supplied paper mat, I do not use any rubber, or polymer material on my platter in my listening room. That does not mean that in some systems the mat may not sound better but my system has no brightness and is very smooth so the aluminum gives me the speed and detail of live music and that is what I prefer. Besides, the platter is damped with a stainless steel disc glued into the bottom for critical damping.

    Please explain the concept of tying the platter/motor/arm together. How does it affect the sound? How does it alter the feedback characteristics.

    By putting the platter, motor, and tonearm on the same mounting assembly there cannot be any random motion between the three items and that means perfect speed stability combined with a lack of randomly generated movements of the stylus. In a standard suspended table the motor is isolated from the platter and arm by a suspension, the suspension allows the platter and arm to move in relationship to the motor producing a frequency modulation that we hear as a time smear. The Classic has no time smear and is therefore producing sound like the monster megabuck tables for a fraction of the cost.

    How does this control acoustic feedback?

    Another benefit is if everything moves together then when a sound source like the speaker produces energy in the room all three items move together creating no sound – vastly lowered feedback levels. Remember, the cartridge only makes sound if the cantilever moves independently of the body and arm.

    I find it truly amazing that you have achieved this level of performance from a turntable at this price.

    We are doing our best to bring the magic of vinyl to as many people as possible.
    Thank you, Harry.

    http://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2016/5/23/the-vpi-classic-turntable?rq=harry weisfeld
     
  2. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    Thanks for that @Dino , that fills a gap in my understanding of their product lines and the philosophy behind the Classic. This comes on the heels of the Scout and Superscout which evolved in the early to mid 2000s, which in turn came from the HW series.Are the HW motors mounted on a separate plinth as well? I forget, now, but I didnt think so.

    I do recall when a lot of people were grousing over how hard it was to get the rim drives to work accurately thus the new ungrooved platters. And the rim drives just failed, everyone was reselling them. Today they are rarer than hens' teeth, and priced accordingly.
    https://www.audiogon.com/listings/t...analog-53149-mukwonago-wi?refsource=hifishark

    That will sit forever.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  3. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    I don't remember 100%, but I am picturing the motor being attached to the base.
     
  4. powermatic

    powermatic Friend

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    And that's all due to HW's somewhat disconcerting habit of jumping on any particular TT trend-of-the-moment, and then marketing it as an 'ohmygodthisisthebestturntablewe'veevemade!!!' product, even while they are still making, selling, and marketing other totally different design philosophies, all with glowing ad copy touting their wonders. Which apparently works well from a business perspective, and I seriously mean it when I say I think that's great, but you're left wondering whether any of it is about actually listening to music being played from a vinyl record.

    Note: I'm not anti-VPI by any stretch, I've owned a Scout/JMW 9 and an Aries/JMW 12.5, and still own a 16.5 and SDS. They make quality machines built to last, and that's one design philosophy anyone can get behind.
     
  5. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Not sure if this is the right thread but.

    Is there any real difference between the classic 3 and 4? Assuming you dont need 2 arms or the 12 inch one? Do 12 inch and 10 inch arms sound different?
     
  6. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    Maybe start a separate one? That question will be buried here. I personally think the 10s are enough because whatever gain you get from the reduction in tracking error you pay back in stiffness loss and mass. They do sound different though, IIRC.
     
  7. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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    CES 2017: MARK LEVINSON № 515 TURNTABLE (w/ VPI)

    https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2017/01/04/ces-2017-mark-levinson-№-515-turntable/

    [​IMG]

    HARMAN’s Mark Levinson Introduces the № 515 Turntable for Uncompromising Analog Performance

    The first ever turntable from Mark Levinson celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the brand

    CES – LAS VEGAS – January 4, 2017 – At CES 2017, Mark Levinson by HARMAN today introduced the № 515 Turntable, designed for the discriminating analog music lover. Designed and built in partnership with industry-leader VPI Industries, the № 515 Turntable is handcrafted in the USA, and is the first turntable worthy of the Mark Levinson name.

    The № 515 is the perfect complement to the Pure Phono stage included in the recently released № 526 and № 523 pre-amplifiers. A premium-caliber turntable, the № 515 leverages superior technologies and craftsmanship from VPI Industries to deliver performance, features and appearance unique to Mark Levinson.

    The № 515 is based on a highly damped vinyl-wrapped MDF and aluminum sandwich main chassis. The chassis is supported by machined Delrin and Aluminum Mark Levinson feet with a vibration-damping polymer core. The 20-pound Aluminum platter rotates on an inverted bearing, which employs a hardened stainless steel shaft spinning in a phosphor bronze bushing for maximum rotational accuracy.

    The powerful high torque AC synchronous motor is mounted to a separate vinyl-MDF-Aluminum sandwich chassis and housed in its own mechanically isolated enclosure. A precision-machined pulley and triple belt drive system provide smooth, quiet operation. A custom-designed, low-distortion analog oscillator and discrete, class AB power amplifier deliver pristine power to the synchronous motor for accurate 33 and 45 RPM operation.

    The № 515 features a gimbal-mounted, 3D-printed tonearm with integral headshell, stainless steel counterweight, and discrete internal cartridge lead routing. The tonearm is mounted to a rigid, machined Aluminum arm base featuring on-the-fly adjustable vertical tracking angle. A custom designed stainless steel record weight and platter mat ensure maximum stability of playback.

    “The № 515 is being released during a time of rapid growth and resurgence in turntable and vinyl record sales,” said Jim Garrett, Director of Marketing and Product Management, HARMAN. “It celebrates our 45th anniversary and provides a first-class analog source for our new 500 Series.”

    “This turntable was engineered to be a perfect complement our Pure Phono stage. The warmth, fidelity and overall listening experience delivered by the № 515 absolutely must be heard to be appreciated,” said Todd Eichenbaum, Director of Engineering, HARMAN.

    The № 515 turntable will be available either with or without a factory installed moving coil phono cartridge.

    Pricing starts at $10,000 for the version without phono cartridge, and both versions will be available in Summer 2017.
     
  8. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Sheesh, is VPI just going to become a manufacturer for boutique rebrands now?
     
  9. Dino

    Dino Friend

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  10. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    That's just an prime with a standalone motor. I'm sure Harman tuned it to match the Levinsons. Anything that increase volume for VPI is a good thing to me. They are a mature company that is run fairly well, unlike LH Labs, so the increase in buying power should bode well for them overall. This may very well be like the Shinola dealio, at a higher price point.
    Custom designed weight and platter mat, indeed.
     
  11. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    At least this one doesn't have a build in phono.

    I also hope to see VPI do well and strengthen their core brand with the increased volume and more discerning customers.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    The plinth sandwich construction is the same, but the Classic 4 has larger dimensions, hence about 25% greater volume and mass, which does result in marginally better table. The higher mass allows one to more easily get away with tweaks such as running two or three bands from the motor to the platter without increasing noise floor. (I've actually measured this). The tighter less slippery coupling between motor and platter provides a more authoritative sound. Likewise, the voltage on the SDS can also be cranked up a little bit more without increasing noise. I found 86V the sweet spot for the Classic 4. The longer arms do sound slightly different. Hard to nail down exact differences, but the 12" arm sounds grander and more expansive. The 10.5 arm sounds tighter and sharper.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  13. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    it seems that VPI is still offering Classics, just not really advertising that fact... you just have to call them up and order one, is what I heard from a dealer guy. haven't confirmed this with VPI yet.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Also, differences are not huge and gains diminish rapidly. A Classic 1 with a 10.5 arm AND periphery ring / center weight isn't that far off from the Classic 4. The Classic 4 does allow one to "get away" more without using the periphery ring than the Classic 1 where I feel the ring is a necessity. But my assessment is the Classic 1 is just a bit more rough and less refined compared to the Classic 4. The Classic 3 and 4 are very close.

    Still on sale at SSD: http://www.soundstagedirect.com/vpi-industries-classic-1-black-turntable-b-stock.shtml. Tell Seth I sent you and ask for a discount. If he doesn't give you one, tell him I'll be sending all my friends to his competitor going forward.
     
  15. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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  16. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    Tables are diminishing returns for sure. In some thread Harry states that the Avenger is a step forward from the TNTs as they are smaller space, with less ringing from the plinth mass. I think he sincerely believes what he says, but it comes off as contradictory.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    I can give HW a pass. Mat tends to say a lot of weird stuff round in circles. I tend to plug my ears and go "la la la la la" whenever they make any claims about their new betterer products. Still a VPI fanboy, mainly because I've priced out a machined 2" aluminum platter. Not cheap, so kudos to VPI.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  19. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    I just called and spoke to Seth who has a used Classic 1 for $1800 and can't give me any discount on the B-stock Classic 1. However there is a used periphery ring for $500 and he can set me up a package with the used Classic 1, periphery ring and 2M-Black for $2700. Should I pull the trigger on the package or just hold tight?
     
  20. JK47

    JK47 Guest

    That sounds like a sweet deal for the package. What about the HRX center weight? Grab that too if it isn't included, it goes hand in hand with the periphery ring.

    Walnut or black table?
     

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