i'm bt a chearleader for vpi, but the whole line is very musical....whatever that means to whoever.
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Turtable only contribute in part what gives out from the analog set up. Tonearn, tonearm cable, and cartridge combination can give seductive, musical and involving sound. Proper set up analog sysnery is also important.
VPI TNT turntable is kinda of dark (HP refers as "yin") sound,but with many resolving details. I have use Kostsu Urushi for many years, and find it a perfect match for musical sound.
I have a TNT 3 that I bought new in 1999 and have done a few things over the years to make it a bit warmer that might be of interest to you.
First, at Harry Weisfeld's recommendation, I got a Zebra wood armboard for the JMW12 tonearm to replace the acrylic one and also the Firestone air bladder feet instead of the springs. Both helped to balance the table toward the warm and rich side with minimal loss of detail. The SDS power supply should be considered a must have accessory also.
While there are certainly many tables with a more "romantic" sound, I don't think that you will find one that is more solid and reliable and, most importantly, that provides a better balance of warmth and accuracy for the ~$2500 that used TNT 3's (with the JMW12 arm) are selling for right now. If you can find one that betters the TNT/JMW12 combo for that money, buy it!
Let me amend and clarify my original query.
I don't mean the table alone.
I mean the entire VPI setup: table + arm
I've been at this game for a long time and am an experienced gear head, just not so much with analog. So I understand all about associated gear, room interactions, synergy, personal taste, blah blah blah. So we can save those conversations for another day.
I'm asking if, in general, the VPI brand has a particular sonic signature.
Some amps sound warm and involving...some sound cool and distant. The same can be said about speakers. And most folks don't dispute this...generally.
Can the same be said be said about a table / arm combo?
I was a VPI dealer in the past and am one again so I have considerable experience with them. There are two points I would make: 1, they do not all sound alike, 2 they do not have a "sound" that will overpower the cartridge or associated equipment used with them. I have never had trouble getting them to sound musical but you could make them sound bad if you tried. They are capable of giving a wide variety of sound depending on associated equipment. As pointed out above the suspended tables tended to sound a little "richer' and "darker" and the new ones a little more "detailed" and "faster'. Both are good, the choice would depend on taste and associated equipment. There are several tables on the market that will give very good sound with proper set up and the VPI is among them. In addition they are easier to set up than most and are good value for money.
"Some amps sound warm and involving...some sound cool and distant. The same can be said about speakers. And most folks don't dispute this...generally. Can the same be said be said about a table / arm combo?"
John, turntables are much different than CDPs, preamps, amps, and even speakers in that they take on very different sonic personalities depending on how they are configured. Everything, and I mean everything, changes the sound, sometimes drastically. That is why VPI offers so (too?) many tuning options via their accessories.
The sound of a VPI table/arm combo can be made to lean toward cool and analytical or warm and musical depending on how it is setup (suspension type, platter type, armboard, base platform material/construction, etc).
Regarding a VPI "house sound": Just as Stanwal points out, the older suspended VPI's (HW-19/TNT) tend to sound ricker and darker ("a slightly warm, embellished and romantic sound") and the newer ones with spikes and rigid suspension tend to sound more detailed and faster (accurate and incisive). The cool thing is that you can vary the sound of any of them quite a bit by changing their setup.
I hope that you find this post more helpful than my last one.
After a long hiatus from the vinyl world, I decided to get back into it and purchased the Scout with JMW-9 arm and Clearaudio Vituosos Wood cart. It was an excellent enrty level/learning experience. I would have to say that the table is very "tweeky" and responds to all the little adjustments well. (isolation platforms,star sound feet, weight on the plinth) Table was very musical after months of dialing in but right out of the box...very mundane.
All the comments suggest that any and all vpi machine/arm's sound is 'colored'. Yes, the dreaded word, and ban of all hi-end stuff. It would be nice if Harry worked on a table/arm that has 'flat' response, better known as netural. I am amazed that after all these years Harry has not found a material for the platters that stands out as the 'best'. The recent move to alumium is strange, I think it represents five steps backwards. Do I have a VPI? Yes, Aries I, origianl platter and 10 arm. Sounds great. Once my lottery ticket comes up a winner I will move to a Rockport.
No, that's not what "musical" means. Maybe it does to some who aren't familiar with the sound of music. Musical means it sounds like music. Sometimes music is soft and soothing, sometimes it is incredibly nasty and abrasive sounding. If a component can't do both then it can't be musical. If a component can only one or the other it can't be musical. Not many can do both.