VPI's $900 Cliffwood introduced

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by ButtUglyJeff, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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    I have the Schick, and adjust azimuth on the headshell. Seems easier than complicating the arm anyway.
     
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  2. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    @bazelio , collectively, we have some great experience on this board. The reason I posted that was not to contend your point, but just mention that there is much more to all this than meets the eye. Now, if you are running the cartridge (T?) I am thinking, that is definitely a gross error and should really not have left the factory Quality Control frankly. You now also possess a very high quality setup and in your case, its paramount to have the precision and control over these kind of settings and you definitely pay for that as well.

    My point is, even without the azimuth setting, one can have a very good listening experience with a relatively well made cartridge (for example, most Denon DL-103's are very good about that and they don't cost much).

    @sfoclt , many headshells do allow for the azimuth setting and others don't. All the Ortofon SPU cartridges I own (Ortofon A95 SPU, Spirit SPU, GT E MKII, SPU T) that I use on the Schick tonearm, have no way of adjusting azimuth at all either.

    My point is, it is a great feature to have and becomes very important as you scale up in the scheme of things, but it isn't a deal breaker.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  3. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Thanks, G! Yeah I dunno, on this cart (Purpleheart) it never really bothered me because of the ease of adjustment on the arm. I guess I chalked it up to being a delicate little hand made product that is subject to variation. It sure sounds great either way!
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    No, we can't draw this conclusion. But, if I am a betting man, using the Force, and also taking into consideration Mat's latest cost-cutting creations, I'd draw the conclusion that the new VPI arm tends more toward POS than not. The similarities between the Schick and VPI arm are only cosmetic, and even then, not really if you look carefully. This is all about bearing quality and tolerances, something that Schick is very anal about. He's German after all.
     
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  5. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    Haha! You got that right Marv. The Schick design is very unique. It has absolutely no settings of any kind (well it does have VTA as the tower is adjustable), but other than that, it is a damn stick. But the magic is, it probably one of the best bearings in the business. The germans are meticulous, even if they don't intend to be and are born and bred engineers.

    Mat has been driven to pure cost cutting every which way he can, that is no doubt. However, I have to give him props to AGAIN trying to go at the sub $1k market. Mat is not the designer, Harry is....I just hope he did his job well even with the low cost offering. The design is valid (even sand azimuth settings). It is only a matter of listening to it and understanding if they succeeded (even with all the cost cutting) to bring forth a high value product for that price segment.

    At least, it gives the entry level consumer another choice. I'd much rather wait and hear it before making any judgement. I hope they accomplished the value proposition.

    I love the sound of the Purpleheart dearly :) Yes, it is hand made product and subject to sample to sample variation. Owners of such cartridges typically TEND to have higher end setups and should be able to mount it up with no problem (@drfindley is running one of his two purplehearts in the Helius Omega Silver Ruby tonearm which has no azimuth settings. Sounds perfect. I setup it up personally when I had gone to the Bay Area on a family trip). The buyer of this kind of VPI turntable ($900 total cost), would not typically aim to run a $3000 plus cartridge. If they do, they have other issues to work through first before ever attempting the cartridge mount ;)
     
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  6. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    It's just disappointing because the Traveler table was supposed to be the entry level VPI table, but it's price has crept up to $1500 which makes it not a good value.

    Shoot, there's a Micro-Seiki DD-40 going for $600 right now on the 'gon. I'd rather get this than the Clifford.
     
  7. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    VPI in general have turned out to go in a different direction since Harry took a back seat. Not the same company at all...they still offer well engineered products but are now priced beyond what VPI used to stand for. 5 years ago, Mike at VPI (who is retired), told me that the top spec. TNT 6 would need to be priced at around $20k to be existing in the line. He said, VPI doesn't stand for that and isn't what the company was built on...so they axed it. The HRX was born out of that as their top level.

    It isn't the same company....

    That Micro Seiki DD-40 is a fantastic buy. It is a direct drive. If only I had another spot for another turntable! :punk:

    I see there is a BL-91 (Belt Drive) for sale as well! I run the long base version of that table, the BL-91L with an SME 3012 series II Early Version tonearm.. Phenomenal quality and sound. Looks like a work of art and is heavy as hell.

    Here is the BL-91:
    [​IMG]

    Here is the BL-91L (ignore the gold plating):
    [​IMG]
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    I'm tempted by the BL-91 on the 'gon right now. But I'm trying not to become like you! Already got another table I need to set up.
     
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  9. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    Come over to the dark side. Feel the force in a whole new way! :sail:
     
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  10. JayC

    JayC Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    I'm curious, now that we're talking options under $1000 - would a clearaudio concept be a good option? I've seen some for 650-700 euro used without a cart..
     
  11. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    The Clearaudio Concept is a $2400 table new. At under $1000 used, that is a great value and yes, it is a solidly engineered turntable.
     
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  12. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    I just sent the guy a message accepting his pricing on the BL-91. You no longer have to worry about it @Marvey .
     
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  13. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Nice pick up. Gorgeous table.
     
  14. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Sure, perfect samples exist, and I guess it's luck of the draw. With the entry systems, I don't know if we should expect typical affordable cartridges used in them to have perfectly aligned cantilevers, but it's not intuitive to me that we should. Similarly, a while back someone was talking about his entry setup, and was disappointed with the lack of treble. Then he showed me this (it's blurry, but it was clearly back-side down):

    [​IMG]

    Well, that arm had no VTA adjustment, so we jerry-rigged some crude shimming on the front between the cart and headshell until it looked liked this:

    [​IMG]

    VoilĂ ! Hello, treble. And it could probably stand to come up just a skosh more, but he liked how it sounded there. This user wouldn't have even pursued this if we hadn't spoken since the arm's user manual didn't mention it.

    So, anyhow, for around the same price when I look at the VPI arm vs the Uturn arm, I like the look of the latter. I can see some adjustability options on the Uturn that appear unavailable on the VPI which intuitively should, or at the very least could, contribute positively to sound quality. Now of course, a whole lot of other variables exist as well. But I'm hard pressed to believe that VPI's 1" MDF plinth and AC motor is appreciably better Uturn's version of the same. Maybe the aluminum platter does offer an advantage, or maybe it's just a cast aluminum shell filled with damping material. Maybe Matt realized that used Classic 1s trump the Traveler and he needed to cut costs further. Or maybe they actually are gearing up to put VPI on the shelves of Best Buys everywhere. The rising popularity of vinyl might just make it the right time to do so.
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Excellent! Now I'm thinking about that DD40. I have a spare Denon DL103 that would go great with that. Why do I have all these spare parts?
     
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  16. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Think of it like ink printers and cartridges. You can buy a printer real cheap, but the cartridges cost a lot. Music Direct owns MoFi, and MoFi's bread and butter is expensive reissues. If they can sell a $1k TT that sounds pretty good, and a $2K table that sounds very good, and a phono pre that also is a bargain, now they've got you. You have a MoFi branded table, so what are you going to want to put on it? MoFi records of course! And Music Direct has plenty of MoFi records to sell to you.

    And later they can always try to upsell you to a bigger and better table, obviously with a trade in of your MoFi table, which they can then sell refurbished to the next victim. :)
     
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  17. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Hey...so no good vintage tables for us little guys? I was thinking about that table as a nice upgrade from my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. Vinyl is the strange mistress I just can't let go of, I love digital, but...
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Can you afford another arm for that table if the bearings turn out to be messed up? Would you feel comfortable machining a custom armboard to take another arm? How comfortable do you feel about re-jiggering a replacement motor, finding a compatible part? Do you feel comfortable about taking it part and resoldering the signal and power connectors? All these are the reasons I haven't grabbed it yet. There's no double standard here. If it's coming from @shaizada, that's one thing; from a random person I do not know, it's another.
     
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  19. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    You are wise, Obi-wan. I was joking about the double standard, but all of these questions are valid and yet frustrating for someone like me who is interested in getting a good solid table that may need some work. How else am I going to learn? Tinkering seems to be the key. My hesitation is putting money into a beater, hoping to get a good table; that is why it is nice to hear what you experienced guys think.
     
  20. spwath

    spwath Hijinks master cum laudle

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    Seems to me you can get more for your money with cheap used stuff. I got a Pioneer PL-12D for $100, speed wasn't right, just needed a new belt, which the guy I bought it from provided free of charge. Has a nice Schick (90% sure) tone arm, and a Grado ZC+ Cartridge. Adjustable anti skating, and another adjustment to do something I'm not sure of, and a built in overhang checker.

    But that was cheap, with not much to loose. With a more expensive table, little things matter more. I'm not sure of the quality of my bearings and motor, and I do hear some motor hum in the tracks, and it has trouble adjusting speed.

    So, all in all, it may be good, it may be bad, and I'm not completely sure of what I'm talking about.
     
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