View Full Version : VPI "Classic" in for Review


pbda
09-28-2009, 04:00 PM
Earlier this week I received from the folks at VPI a Classic turntable that I'm going to be reviewing for the webzine I write for, Affordable Audio. I spent a couple of hours setting it up yesterday; most of the time was spent mounting a Grado Reference Sonata cartridge that I yanked off my LP12.

This unit is as much a work of industrial engineering art as it is an piece of audiophile equipment. It weighs more than some of my vintage receivers. The platter alone...well, let's just say "don't drop it on your foot".

Some teaser shots attached; keep your eyes on the magazine for updates on my experiences with this turntable.

marc mc
09-28-2009, 04:27 PM
Tell us about the stand. I may as well be the prick. But I have yet to get good results from a glass only stand. Are those metal tubes and supports hollow?

marc mc

MuthaFunk
09-28-2009, 04:31 PM
I'm really curious to find out if the Grado hums on the Classic. The motor position is different from most tables out there and it puts the motor closer to the cartridge.

:lurk:

Mr. Lin
09-28-2009, 07:05 PM
I'm really curious to find out if the Grado hums on the Classic. The motor position is different from most tables out there and it puts the motor closer to the cartridge.

:lurk:

Looks to me like the cartridge is farther away from the motor than it would be with a typical turntable.

mhardy6647
09-28-2009, 07:05 PM
I didn't know you were part of Affordable Audio's harem... I mean, stable... I mean... you know...

;-)

MuthaFunk
09-28-2009, 08:47 PM
Looks to me like the cartridge is farther away from the motor than it would be with a typical turntable.

Really? I can't see that. I guess if you consider the Rega placement of the motor the typical spot. I was refering to VPI's own HW-19 or like my Oracle Paris where the motor is placed at the farthest position from the cartridge.

KeninDC
09-29-2009, 10:04 AM
I look forward to your review.

Ken

thedelihaus
09-29-2009, 10:07 AM
Very cool. If testimony is true, besides a few small niggling issues, VPI has a first class winner on it's hand with this beauty.

pbda
09-29-2009, 01:56 PM
I'm really curious to find out if the Grado hums on the Classic. The motor position is different from most tables out there and it puts the motor closer to the cartridge.

Yep, the Grado hums all right, though much less so than it does on my LP12. That may well be due to the fact that the motor is farther away from the cartridge, as others have suggested.

The motor on the Classic has amazing torque; it spins the platter (which appears to weigh 20-25 pounds) up to speed in a couple of seconds.

JohnVF
09-29-2009, 02:00 PM
Yep, the Grado hums all right, though much less so than it does on my LP12. That may well be due to the fact that the motor is farther away from the cartridge, as others have suggested.

The motor on the Classic has amazing torque; it spins the platter (which appears to weigh 20-25 pounds) up to speed in a couple of seconds.

You're right about the torque. I can't get over how fast it gets up to speed for how heavy the platter is.

High-torque motor....no suspension...massive plinth...massive platter...uni-pivot arm...should make quite an interesting comparison against the almost polar opposite LP-12. Not that there aren't two ways to solve one problem.

pbda
09-30-2009, 01:47 PM
High-torque motor....no suspension...massive plinth...massive platter...uni-pivot arm...should make quite an interesting comparison against the almost polar opposite LP-12. Not that there aren't two ways to solve one problem.

This is part of what I love about the hobby! :thmbsp:

wajobu
09-30-2009, 02:03 PM
Earlier this week I received from the folks at VPI a Classic turntable that I'm going to be reviewing for the webzine I write for, Affordable Audio. I spent a couple of hours setting it up yesterday; most of the time was spent mounting a Grado Reference Sonata cartridge that I yanked off my LP12.

This unit is as much a work of industrial engineering art as it is an piece of audiophile equipment. It weighs more than some of my vintage receivers. The platter alone...well, let's just say "don't drop it on your foot".

Some teaser shots attached; keep your eyes on the magazine for updates on my experiences with this turntable.

Oh how I wish you all who own (or are reviewing) these beauties would stop posting pictures of them. It would have to be the college tuition years and in the midst of an economic downturn. I look forward to your review pbda.


:D

Holst
09-30-2009, 04:08 PM
Oh how I wish you all who own (or are reviewing) these beauties would stop posting pictures of them. It would have to be the college tuition years and in the midst of an economic downturn. I look forward to your review pbda.


:D

I know, it's very lust worthy!

markd51
09-30-2009, 05:03 PM
I know, it's very lust worthy!

I read some recent comments somewhere, probably over on the Asylum, were one owner liked the Classic better than a VPI HR-X he once owned. Now that's some "big shoes" to fill, and of course I take those comments with a grain of salt.

Acoustic Solid of Germany has been making some tables that look very similar to the Classic, and that might be where Harry perhaps got his "inspiration" from? All thier Tables appear to be of very high quality, and thier prices are not overly outrageous for what they are.

Downside might be, if you are a USA owner, a possible lack of factory-dealer support? Mark

JohnVF
09-30-2009, 07:18 PM
I read some recent comments somewhere, probably over on the Asylum, were one owner liked the Classic better than a VPI HR-X he once owned. Now that's some "big shoes" to fill, and of course I take those comments with a grain of salt.

Acoustic Solid of Germany has been making some tables that look very similar to the Classic, and that might be where Harry perhaps got his "inspiration" from? All thier Tables appear to be of very high quality, and thier prices are not overly outrageous for what they are.

Downside might be, if you are a USA owner, a possible lack of factory-dealer support? Mark

Those Acoustic Solid tables are beautiful. The 'wood' model does look very similar to the classic.

Holst
09-30-2009, 07:51 PM
The Acoustic Solid's are to die for, but I think the classic is a HW-19 with all the cool new parts and a big tonearm. The AC's seem more like metal Scheu's.

RickB
09-30-2009, 08:08 PM
Take that Sonata off and stick a Benz Ace S LO if you really want to hear what the table can do...

Denon DL103's, though, will not fit properly...tried it...

pbda
10-07-2009, 07:38 AM
Some more thoughts/comments on this turntable and setup. I've had a number of exchanges with the Weisfelds and thought that I'd share here.

-The turntable is not yet optimized in my system. VPI suggests placing the unit on a 2" slab of maple, so I've found a massive cutting board that I'll be using for this purpose. It will rest on a stand with MDF shelves.

-The counterweight supplied as standard is too heavy for my Grado cartridge, so I can't get tracking force over 1.45 grams; I'm awaiting a lighter counterweight from the Weisfelds. I have a couple of other cartridges in mind that I'll be playing with in due course.

-While it is suggested that the user place the vinyl directly on the aluminum platter, Harry is also sending me a (prototype) paper mat with which he's been experimenting. He feels that it makes a difference in the sound which may or may not appeal. We'll see.

-Harry also suggests using damping fluid in the unipivot with Grado cartridges. I've been doing without for the moment, but will eventually add the fluid and determine if this influences the sound.

With luck I'll get all of these ducks in a row over the next week or two, then I can start listening seriously.

nolitan
10-07-2009, 09:05 AM
pbda,

Can i clarify this statement "-The counterweight supplied as standard is too heavy for my Grado cartridge, so I can't get tracking force over 1.45 grams; I'm awaiting a lighter counterweight from the Weisfelds. I have a couple of other cartridges in mind that I'll be playing with in due course."

Which Grado Cart do you have ?
What should the weight of the cart be so it will work with the std counterweight ?

pbda
10-07-2009, 02:06 PM
pbda,

Can i clarify this statement "-The counterweight supplied as standard is too heavy for my Grado cartridge, so I can't get tracking force over 1.45 grams; I'm awaiting a lighter counterweight from the Weisfelds. I have a couple of other cartridges in mind that I'll be playing with in due course."

Which Grado Cart do you have ?
What should the weight of the cart be so it will work with the std counterweight ?

I've got a Grado Reference Sonata cartridge. Weight: 6.5 grams. With the standard VPI counterweight fully forward the cartridge tracks at 1.45 grams.

I'd conclude that if you want a cartridge to track at, say 2 grams, you'll want a cartridge that weighs more than 7 grams. Or a lighter counterweight. Or a headshell weight (VPI sells one).

nolitan
10-07-2009, 04:41 PM
I've got a Grado Reference Sonata cartridge. Weight: 6.5 grams. With the standard VPI counterweight fully forward the cartridge tracks at 1.45 grams.

I'd conclude that if you want a cartridge to track at, say 2 grams, you'll want a cartridge that weighs more than 7 grams. Or a lighter counterweight. Or a headshell weight (VPI sells one).

Thank you for clarification!!

nolitan
10-21-2009, 04:39 PM
An official review is out from AudioBeat. Interesting reading!!

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/vpi_classic.htm

JohnVF
10-21-2009, 05:04 PM
An official review is out from AudioBeat. Interesting reading!!

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/vpi_classic.htm
From that article:

" Harry Weisfeld is keenly interested in the history of LP playback, citing the Empire 298 from the early 1960s and the renowned Kenwood L-07 direct-drive 'table from the late 1970s as two of his influences in designing the Classic. "From the Kenwood you learn about the speed stability of a really good direct-drive, and from the Empire you learn about the explosive dynamics a high-speed belt-drive system can produce."

It was no coincidence that I bought my Classic two weeks after buying an Empire 208/298.

nolitan
10-21-2009, 05:22 PM
From that article:

" Harry Weisfeld is keenly interested in the history of LP playback, citing the Empire 298 from the early 1960s and the renowned Kenwood L-07 direct-drive 'table from the late 1970s as two of his influences in designing the Classic. "From the Kenwood you learn about the speed stability of a really good direct-drive, and from the Empire you learn about the explosive dynamics a high-speed belt-drive system can produce."

It was no coincidence that I bought my Classic two weeks after buying an Empire 208/298.


Since you own the VPI Classic, do you more or less agree on the reviews ?

JohnVF
10-21-2009, 05:42 PM
Since you own the VPI Classic, do you more or less agree on the reviews ?

Yes, I do, though I don't slight the deck at all (like the above author hinted at) for not having a 'warmth' to its presentation. I have found that it presents such an accurate picture of what's on the vinyl, and is so detailed throughout the frequency range, that I can tailor the sound (or not) with selection of cartridge, phono stage, preamp, tube or ss..etc. I don't think the author was really laying it out there as a fault, just that it was a matter of taste.

I don't want for a better turntable anymore, and that was really why I bought it. I wanted a no-fuss TT, without worrying about years of possible upgrades. I just wanted to love the sound from the start, and then enjoy listening to my vinyl collection. And that's what I've been doing. I have 5 or 6 other tables and the only other one I've listened to at all since getting the VPI is the Empire, which is in another system. I think this will be my main turntable until as far off into the future as I can see.

nolitan
10-21-2009, 05:57 PM
Yes, I do, though I don't slight the deck at all (like the above author hinted at) for not having a 'warmth' to its presentation. I have found that it presents such an accurate picture of what's on the vinyl, and is so detailed throughout the frequency range, that I can tailor the sound (or not) with selection of cartridge, phono stage, preamp, tube or ss..etc. I don't think the author was really laying it out there as a fault, just that it was a matter of taste.

I don't want for a better turntable anymore, and that was really why I bought it. I wanted a no-fuss TT, without worrying about years of possible upgrades. I just wanted to love the sound from the start, and then enjoy listening to my vinyl collection. And that's what I've been doing. I have 5 or 6 other tables and the only other one I've listened to at all since getting the VPI is the Empire, which is in another system. I think this will be my main turntable until as far off into the future as I can see.

the VPI's are known to be warm tables or some say "dark". Reading from the lines, the CLassic sounds like a "neutral" sounding TT which is a departure from the VPI house sound. That's a welcome.
Am i correct in my assumptions ?

JohnVF
10-21-2009, 06:01 PM
the VPI's are known to be warm tables or some say "dark". Reading from the lines, the CLassic sounds like a "neutral" sounding TT which is a departure from the VPI house sound. That's a welcome.
Am i correct in my assumptions ?

I've never heard another VPI, to be honest. It does not sound dark to me, though, at all. It's very lively, extremely dynamic, there's a definite drive and momentum to the music, and everything sounds as I think it should sound. I don't typically like a dark sound, so I'm guessing that it doesn't have that house sound, but as I've said, I've no experience with other VPI tables. I bought this to get off the upgrade wagon after having a revelation about the sound I could get off of vinyl with my Empire 208. The family resemblance to that particular Empire is there, though, very much so.

A lot of reviews focus on it's rhythmic qualities, but I think that is because it simply excels at that, and not that it doesn't do other things well.

BULLWINKLE
10-21-2009, 06:23 PM
Looks great! Await your review.

nolitan
10-21-2009, 06:29 PM
John VF,

Thank you for your clarifications and enjoy your VPI Classic. I look forward to getting my unit in a few weeks time.

Noli

JohnVF
10-21-2009, 09:48 PM
John VF,

Thank you for your clarifications and enjoy your VPI Classic. I look forward to getting my unit in a few weeks time.

Noli

I think you'll really enjoy it, let us know, if you would, how you like it.

nolitan
10-22-2009, 03:22 AM
I think you'll really enjoy it, let us know, if you would, how you like it.

Thank you!! I will once it arrives.

nicoff
10-25-2009, 12:20 AM
Earlier this week I received from the folks at VPI a Classic turntable that I'm going to be reviewing for the webzine I write for, Affordable Audio. I spent a couple of hours setting it up yesterday; most of the time was spent mounting a Grado Reference Sonata cartridge that I yanked off my LP12.

This unit is as much a work of industrial engineering art as it is an piece of audiophile equipment. It weighs more than some of my vintage receivers. The platter alone...well, let's just say "don't drop it on your foot".

Some teaser shots attached; keep your eyes on the magazine for updates on my experiences with this turntable.

I just bought the VPI Classic and I am using the same cartridge as you are (Grado Reference Sonata).
A few comments first: I noticed the hum just as you did; also, I had to add extra weight to the cartridge to be able to use the supplied conterweight.

Questions
1. What weight are you using for tracking on the Sonata?
2. When is your review coming out?
3. How are you planning to eliminate the hum? Are you going to change to a different cartridge? If so, which one are you considering?

Thanks!

jrtrent
10-25-2009, 07:36 AM
Just second-hand information, but from reviews and other forum threads it appears that getting rid of the hum was at least in part what led VPI to market a lower-output (1.5 mV) version of the Grado cartridges for use with their turntables. The Statement series (0.5 mV) might work well, too. I'm sure VPI would be happy to make a recommendation regarding this if you give them a call.

RickB
10-25-2009, 11:05 AM
If you like what the Sonata brings to the table but don't want the hum and the lack of inner detail exhibited by the Grado, then once again I suggest a Benz ACE, at least. I own a Sonata and am intimately familiar with it's sound, I've been a Benz Glider owner and own a H2O now, and if you like nice, warm cartridges that don't shave off the inner detail, have great dynamics, and startling clarity without coldness, then one should check out the Benz line...a real favorite of mine...

I've been working on a customer's Sondek/Armageddon/Ittok LVII/Ace S-L totally tuning the deck with new springs, grommets, belt, etc., I also replaced the really aged and brittle original Linn arm lead with a Cardas Neutral Reference...I replaced Dynavector DV-20 LO with the ACE...he was now absolutely in love with how the Linn sounded with this cartridge and he and his wife made many comments on how this was the best their system had ever sounded.....he dropped off his Linn yesterday complaining of speed issues and when he came in to pick up his table after a bit of tweaking (he uses the Linn snap on 45 RPM adapter that can shift the motor and screw up the speed when you put on and remove the additional pulley...he and his wife are very sensitive to changes in PRAT...I have one of these, too, and have seen this on my Valhalla Sondek) and was asking about more upgrades for the Linn, especially for speed control and the Keel...I didn't talk much about them, the Lingo is an $1800 now, and instead sat him down in a seat and let him listen to our Classic with Benz Ace S-H...

We listened to Dire Straits "Making Movies"...now, this fellow has had the Linn for years, has had the Ace on it for a couple of months, but was immediately taken by the sound of the Classic...and after only the first cut, he liked it so much that he's seriously thinking about what to do with his Linn and pick up the Classic...his wife is also a critical listener, so he is going to bring her in and let her listen to the deck and see what she thinks...after listening to the first side of the LP, the VPI had convinced him that there was life after Linndom....

He said he never thought that he'd be sold on anything but a Linn, but being shown the VPI Classic by a Linn tech/owner, like me, and from what he actually heard, well, he put all thoughts of upgrading the Linn out of his mind...

Yes, the Classic is just that good.

Yes, the Classic is just that neutral.

If you want a warm sound, put a warm sounding cartridge on it.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite budget cartridges, the Denon DL-103, won't fit....there's not enough space in the "headshell" between the cartridge body and the cartridge leads for the cartridge to be aligned properly....I hope Harry addresses this in later versions of the arm wand....

If you want a cold and clinical sound from it, put a cold and clinical cartridge on it...

Just don't use a cartridge that is susceptible to hum, like the high output Grados, as the motor is an AC one and does set up a bit of a hum field...perhaps the low output versions ameliorate this somewhat, but I can't see them having better inner detail....but, the Statement might...but for that price there are a lot of cartridges that I have heard that, in my opinion, I would rather have...

.

JohnVF
10-25-2009, 11:29 AM
If you like what the Sonata brings to the table but don't want the hum and the lack of inner detail exhibited by the Grado, then once again I suggest a Benz ACE, at least. I own a Sonata and am intimately familiar with it's sound, I've been a Benz Glider owner and own a H2O now, and if you like nice, warm cartridges that don't shave off the inner detail, have great dynamics, and startling clarity without coldness, then one should check out the Benz line...a real favorite of mine...

I've been working on a customer's Sondek/Armageddon/Ittok LVII/Ace S-L totally tuning the deck with new springs, grommets, belt, etc., I also replaced the really aged and brittle original Linn arm lead with a Cardas Neutral Reference...I replaced Dynavector DV-20 LO with the ACE...he was now absolutely in love with how the Linn sounded with this cartridge and he and his wife made many comments on how this was the best their system had ever sounded.....he dropped off his Linn yesterday complaining of speed issues and when he came in to pick up his table after a bit of tweaking (he uses the Linn snap on 45 RPM adapter that can shift the motor and screw up the speed when you put on and remove the additional pulley...he and his wife are very sensitive to changes in PRAT...I have one of these, too, and have seen this on my Valhalla Sondek) and was asking about more upgrades for the Linn, especially for speed control and the Keel...I didn't talk much about them, the Lingo is an $1800 now, and instead sat him down in a seat and let him listen to our Classic with Benz Ace S-H...

We listened to Dire Straits "Making Movies"...now, this fellow has had the Linn for years, has had the Ace on it for a couple of months, but was immediately taken by the sound of the Classic...and after only the first cut, he liked it so much that he's seriously thinking about what to do with his Linn and pick up the Classic...his wife is also a critical listener, so he is going to bring her in and let her listen to the deck and see what she thinks...after listening to the first side of the LP, the VPI had convinced him that there was life after Linndom....

He said he never thought that he'd be sold on anything but a Linn, but being shown the VPI Classic by a Linn tech/owner, like me, and from what he actually heard, well, he put all thoughts of upgrading the Linn out of his mind...

Yes, the Classic is just that good.

Yes, the Classic is just that neutral.

If you want a warm sound, put a warm sounding cartridge on it.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite budget cartridges, the Denon DL-103, won't fit....there's not enough space in the "headshell" between the cartridge body and the cartridge leads for the cartridge to be aligned properly....I hope Harry addresses this in later versions of the arm wand....

If you want a cold and clinical sound from it, put a cold and clinical cartridge on it...

Just don't use a cartridge that is susceptible to hum, like the high output Grados, as the motor is an AC one and does set up a bit of a hum field...perhaps the low output versions ameliorate this somewhat, but I can't see them having better inner detail....but, the Statement might...but for that price there are a lot of cartridges that I have heard that, in my opinion, I would rather have...

.

That's very interesting. The neutrality of the Classic is one of the things I like most about it. Well, one among many things I like about it. I haven't switched carts on it, though will at some point, but the sound is so clear and detailed that it's let me really concentrate on the sound I'm trying to get further down the line, with my preamps and amps.

Number 6
10-25-2009, 01:11 PM
Thanks RickB for the LP12/Classic comparison. I've been planning on getting several carbon fiber upgrades for my LP12, but since these threads regarding the Classic have appeared I've started considering the Classic instead. I'd appreciate anyone else's opinion regarding the LP12 versus Classic.

JohnVF
10-25-2009, 01:25 PM
Thanks RickB for the LP12/Classic comparison. I've been planning on getting several carbon fiber upgrades for my LP12, but since these threads regarding the Classic have appeared I've started considering the Classic instead. I'd appreciate anyone else's opinion regarding the LP12 versus Classic.

Keep both. I imagine they'd compliment each other very well, though I don't have an LP12. The closest I've come is a Systemdek IIX. Even though I have a Classic I'm not getting rid of it, and plan to buy the Origin Live motor upgrade in the future to use it in anoter system.

pbda
10-25-2009, 09:39 PM
I just bought the VPI Classic and I am using the same cartridge as you are (Grado Reference Sonata).
A few comments first: I noticed the hum just as you did; also, I had to add extra weight to the cartridge to be able to use the supplied conterweight.

Questions
1. What weight are you using for tracking on the Sonata?
2. When is your review coming out?
3. How are you planning to eliminate the hum? Are you going to change to a different cartridge? If so, which one are you considering?

Thanks!

1. I like to use about 1.8g for the Sonata.
2. First installment will be in the November issue, God willing!
3. I intend to change cartridges at some point. Very intrigued by the SoundSmith moving iron cartridges, and have discussed obtaining a review sample. I've also heard that the Benz Glider is a great cartridge with this TT.

pbda
10-25-2009, 09:42 PM
Thanks RickB for the LP12/Classic comparison. I've been planning on getting several carbon fiber upgrades for my LP12, but since these threads regarding the Classic have appeared I've started considering the Classic instead. I'd appreciate anyone else's opinion regarding the LP12 versus Classic.

At some point I anticipate comparing the Classic to my LP12. Way too early for that at the moment.

jrtrent
10-25-2009, 10:10 PM
...he and his wife are very sensitive to changes in PRAT... was immediately taken by the sound of the Classic...and after only the first cut, he liked it so much that he's seriously thinking about what to do with his Linn and pick up the Classic... after listening to the first side of the LP, the VPI had convinced him that there was life after Linndom....

It is a shock after 24 years of LP12 ownership to find that you can like something else even better. In my case, it's the WTRP. The Linn is a bit better in timing, but the WTRP bests it in rhythmic coherence and is loads better in terms of pace. When I tried hooking up the LP12 a few weeks ago, I was surprised by how much less involving I found it than the WTRP. I also happen to like Grado cartridges in my system and am currently enjoying a Statement Platinum through Grado's own phono stage; unlike the LP12, there is not a trace of hum despite the Well Tempered's AC motor (but then, it is mounted quite a bit further away than on the LP12).

nicoff
10-27-2009, 07:10 PM
If you like what the Sonata brings to the table but don't want the hum and the lack of inner detail exhibited by the Grado, then once again I suggest a Benz ACE, at least. I own a Sonata and am intimately familiar with it's sound, I've been a Benz Glider owner and own a H2O now, and if you like nice, warm cartridges that don't shave off the inner detail, have great dynamics, and startling clarity without coldness, then one should check out the Benz line...a real favorite of mine...
.

you are recommending the Benz Ace. This cart comes with several outputs Low, High.
Are you recommending the high output only or just any of them?

RickB
10-27-2009, 07:13 PM
What ever floats your boat...the most refined and detailed is the low output one...but whichever one matches the capability of your phono stage will do you well.

markd51
10-27-2009, 07:21 PM
you are recommending the Benz Ace. This cart comes with several outputs Low, High.
Are you recommending the high output only or just any of them?

It sounds like, he's recommending the entire Benz line to me. Benz is like the "Rodney Dangerfield" of Cartridges. Don't overlook them.
And lastly, about this "Grado Hum"? When is Joe Grado, gonna get his head out of his Dupa, and finally produce a Cartridge with no hum? With all the patents he has, one would think he would tell his manufacturers to make something that will compete with other 1/2 way decent cartridges.

As for Grado, you can tell him from me, I wouldn't take one for free. I hate hum!
Mark

MuthaFunk
10-28-2009, 05:03 PM
It sounds like, he's recommending the entire Benz line to me. Benz is like the "Rodney Dangerfield" of Cartridges. Don't overlook them.
And lastly, about this "Grado Hum"? When is Joe Grado, gonna get his head out of his Dupa, and finally produce a Cartridge with no hum? With all the patents he has, one would think he would tell his manufacturers to make something that will compete with other 1/2 way decent cartridges.

As for Grado, you can tell him from me, I wouldn't take one for free. I hate hum!
Mark

:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::huge::yippy:

pbda
10-28-2009, 07:54 PM
Got some good news today; I'll be getting access to a Benz Micro Glider S (low output) cartridge and a Clearaudio Maestro cartridge to try out on this 'table. Also a Nova Phonomena phono section to review as an alternative to my Bellari. This is going to be fun.

The first installment of the review (focused on setting up the TT) will appear in the November issue of Affordable Audio.

MX117.MC7150
10-28-2009, 08:40 PM
Looking forward to your review. Been trying to decide between a Scoutmaster Sig and the Classic. Is that the standard platter with the Classic or an option?

pbda
10-29-2009, 10:13 AM
Is that the standard platter with the Classic or an option?

The aluminum platter is standard and has, I think, replaced the initially-planned acrylic platter.

nicoff
10-30-2009, 07:47 AM
Got some good news today; I'll be getting access to a Benz Micro Glider S (low output) cartridge and a Clearaudio Maestro cartridge to try out on this 'table. Also a Nova Phonomena phono section to review as an alternative to my Bellari. This is going to be fun.

The first installment of the review (focused on setting up the TT) will appear in the November issue of Affordable Audio.

We are both moving in similar direction! I should receive the Nova Phonomena in a day or so; also, I am waiting for the Benz ACE SL to arrive in a few days.

What settings in the Nova are you using for the Benz Micro cartridge? Would they be the same for the Benz Ace SL?

nicoff
10-31-2009, 06:23 AM
Well the Nova arrived but the Benz is still "in-transit". I did a preliminary comparison between phono preamps: the new Nova and my Threshold FET ten phono section. With the Grado Sonata, the NoVa sounds louder but the Threshold sounds more musical. I still need to do more tweaking, but I am impressed by the Threshold! No telling what will happen when the Benz arrives.

MX117.MC7150
11-01-2009, 06:36 AM
The fet 10pc is the best sounding phono-stage I've owned. Only upgrades are the later/larger power supply and a recap. Nelson Pass knows what he is doing when it comes to good sound.

pbda
11-01-2009, 05:13 PM
We are both moving in similar direction! I should receive the Nova Phonomena in a day or so; also, I am waiting for the Benz ACE SL to arrive in a few days.

What settings in the Nova are you using for the Benz Micro cartridge? Would they be the same for the Benz Ace SL?

I'll let you know once I've received it! :D

MX117.MC7150
11-03-2009, 06:43 AM
The aluminum platter is standard and has, I think, replaced the initially-planned acrylic platter.Oil is up (again) and aluminum is way down. Likely has nothing to do with improved sonics. They should anodize the al platter black rather than clear, though.

markd51
11-03-2009, 07:18 AM
Oil is up (again) and aluminum is way down. Likely has nothing to do with improved sonics. They should anodize the al platter black rather than clear, though.

I think the clear anodizing looks rather attractive-striking. There's been a bit of rumor, that the Platter was sourced from overseas. The Alu Platter was no doubt one reason there was a bit of a setback with the introduction of this Table.

I've read conflicting reports of the Platter being claimed to be machined, then read that it was Investment Cast? In either case, I'd assume the Platter was damped with some material, and also in any case, balanced as well?

Hard for me, and perhaps others as well, to say where exactly the Classic's Platter fits, into the VPI hierarchy? I have little doubts, that the Platter itself, it's sum of materials, and it's construction imparts a considerable sonic signature to any Table, and wonder how the Classic would've sounded with another Platter on board? Let's say VPI's now discontinued "Super Platter"?
I would assume at the once asked selling price of the Suoer Platter, that it would be superior to the Alu Classic Platter

Or I should further say-wonder, would the Classic Platter be a sonic upgrade (if it would fit?) to some other VPI Tables, past, and present?

I do note, that it appears the Scout II is utilizing the Classic Platter as well. Mark

nolitan
11-03-2009, 07:36 AM
Those of you who owns the VPI Classic, how many boxes does the unit come with ? 0ne or two boxes ? thanks!!

Theseventh1
11-03-2009, 07:39 AM
Those of you who owns the VPI Classic, how many boxes does the unit come with ? 0ne or two boxes ? thanks!!

one

nolitan
11-03-2009, 07:44 AM
one

Thank you for clarifications!

nicoff
11-12-2009, 02:01 PM
I'll let you know once I've received it! :D

FWIW, I spoke with the folks at Musical Surroundings and they suggested to start with a loading of 120 ohms for the Benz ACE SL cartridge and play it at that setting for a while and then experiment if wanted. The Nova has a 121 ohm setting so I started there.

pbda
11-12-2009, 05:28 PM
The Nova Phonomena has arrived, but not the Benz yet. I'm using the Phonomena with my Grado, using the settings for MM cartridges suggested in the (very useful) Phonomena owner's manual.

The big green eye is mesmerizing.

pbda
11-13-2009, 01:48 PM
The Benz Micro Glider S (low output) arrived today, so I set it up in my system. Per the suggestion of the distributor, I set the gain on the Nova Phonomena to 60dB gain and load at 243 ohms. Tracking force is at the higher end of the recommended scale: 2.0 grams.

The cartridge needs some breaking in (40 hours is suggested), but right off the bat there was a huge difference: The hum is gone. I have to conclude that the Grado Reference Sonata is just not a good match for this turntable.

nicoff
11-13-2009, 02:46 PM
right off the bat there was a huge difference: The hum is gone. I have to conclude that the Grado Reference Sonata is just not a good match for this turntable. I agree 100%!

I am amazed at the music that the Benz/Nova can get out of the grooves. I have a ARC PH3-SE phono preamp coming for more comparisons.

Please keep us posted!

RickB
11-13-2009, 02:54 PM
Those of you who owns the VPI Classic, how many boxes does the unit come with ? 0ne or two boxes ? thanks!!

The last couple of Classics that we received had the platter separate from the rest of the table...i.e., two boxes....

Just saw that last Saturday...

.

markd51
11-13-2009, 02:56 PM
The aluminum platter is standard and has, I think, replaced the initially-planned acrylic platter.

Just some info that's been shared over on Audio Asylum. The VPI Classic Platter is becoming availble for seperate purchase, and will be retrofittable to the HW-19 Seies, and I imagine, various other VPI Tables.

The cost is $800. Mark

markd51
11-13-2009, 03:09 PM
The Benz Micro Glider S (low output) arrived today, so I set it up in my system. Per the suggestion of the distributor, I set the gain on the Nova Phonomena to 60dB gain and load at 243 ohms. Tracking force is at the higher end of the recommended scale: 2.0 grams.

The cartridge needs some breaking in (40 hours is suggested), but right off the bat there was a huge difference: The hum is gone. I have to conclude that the Grado Reference Sonata is just not a good match for this turntable.

Congrats!:banana:
There could be even more small changes with the Gilder even after the 40 hour suggested break in period. Until that time, you may find loading all over the map. You can of course set it where you like it for now, but do suggest trying again after you logged a good number of hours, and then set the cartridge where you like it the best in your system.

There's no wrong, or harmful setting, but try finding one, where the Cartridge seems to have the best overall balance, the best detail without being shrill, or tinny, where it provides clean, tight bass. It is a bit "fiddly" acquiring, because other settings such as VTA, and VTF can affect such performance as well. Sometimes, an initial setting may sound very good at first, but after some play time, you may note the sound tiring. You would most likely find 47K Ohms overdone, too bright, raw, unbalanced, with a LO Glider.

Probably 25X the Cartridge's Internal Impedance will be very close to right, but shouldn't be set in stone.

The Benz sound should be warm, smooth, full bodied, detailed, tuneful, dynamic, strong solid bass, sweet pure mids, but never fatiguing-tiring.

Again, congrats! Do share a review in the future when you feel the time is right. We'll all enjoy reading it. :yes: Mark

RickB
11-13-2009, 03:10 PM
The Benz Micro Glider S (low output) arrived today, so I set it up in my system. Per the suggestion of the distributor, I set the gain on the Nova Phonomena to 60dB gain and load at 243 ohms. Tracking force is at the higher end of the recommended scale: 2.0 grams.

The cartridge needs some breaking in (40 hours is suggested), but right off the bat there was a huge difference: The hum is gone. I have to conclude that the Grado Reference Sonata is just not a good match for this turntable.

And, if you still have the Linn setup in your signature, you ought to try the Glider on it....Linns and Benz cartridges go very well together....and, I speak from personal experience there, too...I set up a LP12/Ittok LVII/Armageddon with an Ace S L a few weeks ago and the owner was unprepared for how much better the ACE worked with his table than the low output Dynavector he had on previously....I've used a Glider on mine, and have an H2O that shares it's table time with a Denon DL-103S (too bad Denon doesn't still offer this Shibata stylus version of the 103 as an option, all the qualities of the 103 with even better detail and texture)....

I think you are going to find that all the qualities that most claim to like about the Sonata is going to be there with the Benz, in spades, but you will also gain a quieter cartridge as they do not pick up the AC fields like the Grados do, plus you will gain microdynamics, clarity, and a level of inner detail that the Sonata only hints at, but never successfully delivers...and, the Sonata is the first Grado cartridge in their lineup that even starts to hint at that....none of the lesser Grados do that at all...and, yes, I have examples from the Black to the Sonata to draw my experience from...I think you will also find that that elusive quality of "texture", the sound of a reed vibrating in a clarinet for example, or the sound of the bow across a violin's strings, will be much more present and give an even greater sense of reality to your reproduced sound....

And that quality is what has always bothered me about any of the Grados I have owned...now, perhaps the two upper Grados, the Reference and the Statement, may do that, I've never had any personal experience with them, but at their prices you have a whole lot more choices in esoteric cartridges to select from....

Have fun!

Mr. Lin
11-13-2009, 08:11 PM
I think you will also find that that elusive quality of "texture", the sound of a reed vibrating in a clarinet for example, or the sound of the bow across a violin's strings, will be much more present and give an even greater sense of reality to your reproduced sound....

And that quality is what has always bothered me about any of the Grados I have owned...now, perhaps the two upper Grados, the Reference and the Statement, may do that, I've never had any personal experience with them, but at their prices you have a whole lot more choices in esoteric cartridges to select from....

Have fun!

So wait Rick, I'm still unclear - do you, or do you not like Grado cartridges? :D

I quoted the above because I noticed exactly what Rick describes here: texture, when I first got my Benz Glider. In fact, I used the word at least a couple of times throughout my mini review in this forum, as it was the most striking thing about the sound of the Glider, and more refined than I'd ever heard before. Now, considering that mine is the medium output, and not the new S version, AND I only had the option of 47kohms when I used it, this low output S Glider must be something special.

RickB
11-13-2009, 11:12 PM
So wait Rick, I'm still unclear - do you, or do you not like Grado cartridges? :D

I quoted the above because I noticed exactly what Rick describes here: texture, when I first got my Benz Glider. In fact, I used the word at least a couple of times throughout my mini review in this forum, as it was the most striking thing about the sound of the Glider, and more refined than I'd ever heard before. Now, considering that mine is the medium output, and not the new S version, AND I only had the option of 47kohms when I used it, this low output S Glider must be something special.

See, I warned you!

I remember you waxing about how much you liked your Silver...and that spurred me to really set up my Gold properly, try every conceivable mounting geometry, adjust VTA using a feeler gauge, and never, I repeat never, was I able to get the cartridge to perform to my satisfaction, no matter how many hours I put on it, and while the Sonata IS better, it's still the same Grado house sound that I just do not care for....

Especially since I had several years with a Denon DL-103S and DL-300, an Ortofon X-3MC and an MC-10 Super, a Linn Asak, a Blue Point Special, a couple of different Supex models, even a late and greatly lamented SAEC HOMC, and any of them I vastly preferred to any of my Grados just due to the very same observations Art Dudley made of the Gold1 in his Stereophile review of the same...the Benz Glider, and later the H2O, were just so far better than anything else that I had used, though, that they really do stand apart...but, the DL-103S is a close contender and the cartridge that is usually mounted on my Linn...

I missed all the texture, and true coloration of the instruments that my moving coil cartridges brought out in the music I listened to, but the Grados were OK on most crummy rock recordings, whether from their original labels, or audiophile reissues, and helped smooth over a lot of the glaring engineering disasters that occurred in the original sessions...but even with that caveat, I never even consider my Sonata as a "go to" cartridge....

I really thought I was the odd man out with my disliking of the Grado house sound, due especially to all the good press here on AK, until I saw Art's description and his observations matched mine....so, I feel a little less odd...

But only a little!

MX117.MC7150
11-15-2009, 07:27 AM
I really thought I was the odd man out with my disliking of the Grado house sound, due especially to all the good press here on AK, until I saw Art's description and his observations matched mine....so, I feel a little less odd...

But only a little!Your oddity continues to shrink. Had a Sonata in a Rega P3 with the RB900 TA feeding a McIntosh C38 preamp and did not find it involving or musical at all. Very 'flat' sounding. But, there are conditions - The C38 was also a flat and boring preamp and the P3 is not a TT I would recommend. The RB900, on the other hand, is a terrific TA and playing the Sonata through the FET 10/pc, while better, did not bring it to life.

pbda
01-06-2010, 04:15 PM
Part 2 of the VPI Classic review ("Listening") is in this month's issue of Affordable Audio (www.affordableaudio.org)

RickB
01-06-2010, 05:04 PM
Part 2 of the VPI Classic review ("Listening") is in this month's issue of Affordable Audio (www.affordableaudio.org)

OK, I read that yesterday, now, for those of us who are wanting to know, contrast and compare the Grado vs. the Glider, leaving out the obvious difference of hum, of course, and let's see what you think about them....also, if you get a chance, try it on your Linn...I loved it on mine, but I hated it's overly exposed cantilever....I feel the same about the Blue Point Special and most of the Clearaudio cartridges...

I'm anxiously awaiting vilification or vindication on my Grado Sonata vs. Benz opinions....

JohnVF
01-06-2010, 05:52 PM
Part 2 of the VPI Classic review ("Listening") is in this month's issue of Affordable Audio (www.affordableaudio.org)

Wonderful review. I hope to get to the rest of the magazine soon. I agree with pretty much everything you said. The rhythmic drive of this thing is astounding.

pbda
01-06-2010, 06:00 PM
Rick, I find that there's quite a bit of difference between the Glider and the Sonata on the Classic. The Glider is a much more neutral cartridge, to my ears. By this I mean "smooth" rather than "clinical". The Sonata, by contrast, interprets the grooves a bit more, adding a sound that you might call "warmer"...but not muffled. If I had to choose between them on sound alone, I'd go for the Glider, but to be honest, I thought that the Sonata punched above its weight (bear in mind that it's about $400 cheaper than the Glider). Having said that, the hum issue with the Grado made the decision a no-brainer.

Grado has promised to send me for review a low-output version of the Master, which should be more of a fair fight.

I'll also be receiving a Clearaudio Maestro cartridge for review later this month (I hope). This should be interesting.

pbda
01-06-2010, 06:02 PM
Wonderful review. I hope to get to the rest of the magazine soon. I agree with pretty much everything you said. The rhythmic drive of this thing is astounding.

Thanks for the kind words, John. I hope to do a follow-up piece in due course, perhaps playing around with the different mats that VPI makes available (but does not recommend using!), and trying out different cartridges.

A pity that I need a day job... :D

Number 6
01-06-2010, 09:46 PM
I recently auditioned a VPI Classic with a Benz Ace through a SimAudio LP3 phono preamp. It sounded very bright, and quite frankly somewhat harsh. I'm increasingly getting the impression that the phono preamp's characteristics are extremely important in high resolution systems. Its just as important to match the phono preamp to the cartridge as the cartridge to turntable.

I'm using an origin live dc motor with my LP12, and an AR PH3 phono pre. After doing some tube rolling I found I was able to get great resolution with a far more realistic sound than what I heard from the Classic/Benz Ace combination.

By the way, the best table-cart combo I've ever heard was a ClearAudio Performance/ClearAudio Maestro cartridge.

MX117.MC7150
01-07-2010, 04:54 AM
OK, for those of us who are wanting to know, contrast and compare the Grado vs. the Glider, leaving out the obvious difference of hum, of course, and let's see what you think about them....also, if you get a chance, try it on your Linn...I loved it on mine, but I hated it's overly exposed cantilever....I feel the same about the Blue Point Special and most of the Clearaudio cartridges...

I'm anxiously awaiting vilification or vindication on my Grado Sonata vs. Benz opinions....Ran a Sonata in a Rega P25 with a RB900 arm for about a year before selling it. Was about the most boring cartridge I've owned. Even switched preamps in an attempt to get it to 'come alive'. Just didn't work for me. The Glider and BPS are both better cartridges to my ears. Sorry, but no vindication here. Too bad, as I assemble an 'all American' system it would be nice to use a Grado in a VPI.

nicoff
01-07-2010, 10:27 AM
Part 2 of the VPI Classic review ("Listening") is in this month's issue of Affordable Audio (www.affordableaudio.org)

Very nice review! Thank you for the link!
What settings did you end up using on the Nova Phonomena preamp after all?

nicoff
01-07-2010, 10:38 AM
I'm anxiously awaiting vilification or vindication on my Grado Sonata vs. Benz opinions....
I bought the Benz Micro Ace based on your recommendation. I love the way it mates with the VPI and the Nova phono preamp. I also had thrle Grado Reference sonata. Hum aside, the Benz has more detail. The Grado sounds nice but the hum issue made it a no brained for me.

pbda
01-08-2010, 11:04 AM
Very nice review! Thank you for the link!
What settings did you end up using on the Nova Phonomena preamp after all?

Thanks.

I set the Nova for 60dB gain and loaded it @ 243 ohms (switch 4 on). This is per the distributor's recommendation. I've played around a bit with loading, but have generally come back to the 243 ohm setting with the Glider.

HypnoToad
01-08-2010, 11:38 AM
I have a Benz Micro Ace H on my ProJect Perspective and it's a matter of not what is does right but what it doesn't do wrong.

I has very low surface noise, detail to die for, non fatiguing sound, smooth mid range and nice crisp but not bright highs. It doesn't leap out at you but the more you listen the more you like it.

I often wondered how it compared to the Grado Sonata but don't want hum.

I have a Grado Blue P mount on a Technics SL-7 and it does a fine job but the soundstage is narrow and the some of the detail is just not there. But it does sound very engaging.

Grado's are like resorts a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there.