Original VPI Aries vs VPI classic 3

I currently have an original Vpi Aries and it works just fine. I was just thinking about upgrading tables and I have been looking at the Vpi classic 3. I'm wondering if this is worth the upgrade. I can get around 1800.00 for my table so I'm looking at spending about 4000.00 to get the classic 3.
You don't mention the tonearm you're using, so advice is provisional. Having owned the original Aries with an upgraded JWM 9 Signature arm and having heard the Classic 3, I don't think there's any comparison. You're comparing a good turntable with a near-reference level 'table. Take the money and get the Classic 3!

And please let us all know how you like it.
Have you considered an Aries 3? I'm moving from a Classic 1, to an Aries 3.


I just got the Classic 3 and I must say it is great. It retails for 6000 so you can afford it. What cart will you use?
Keep the original Aries. Heard now and Aries, Aries 3 and Classic 1 and Classic 2 compared head to head in same system with same cart. No contest - both Aries were superior in about every category. Newer not always better - especially with VPI.
I was actually looking at the Classic 3.
I agree with Philb7777, it sounds like you are talking about a lateral move at best to me.

Interesting read here about the Aries 1, scroll down under Class B, and you will see that the writer feels it is the best of the Aries series, and superior to other more expensive VPI tables.
I have the original. If you don't already have one buy the SDS. Other than that I recommend the Black Diamond Racing pucks (made for the Aries) and fishing line.

I haven't heard the others and have no desire to upgrade. Spend your money on a new cart or a great phone preamp.

I already have the SDS.
I have years of experience with the Aries 1 deck and very little w/ the Classic series, but I continue to believe that the original Aries deck (properly rigged) is one of the best kept secrets in the audio world. I still regret selling it, mainly because I got tired of the WAS (wandering azimuth syndrome) w/ the JMW tonearm. If there is a difference compared to the Classic 3 (aside from those related to the tonearm), IMO they are going to be quite minor.
Hey, I too have the original,with SDS and the Black Diamond Racing pucks (made for the Aries). It sits on an inch of granite, suspended on inverse steel spikes. The 10.5 has a Clearaudio Victory MC. Great sound, great value in the used market. I paid $2K for it, about four years ago. Don't waste your time changing the feet.
Hey, I too have the original,with SDS and the Black Diamond Racing pucks (made for the Aries). It sits on an inch of granite, suspended on inverse steel spikes. The 10.5 has a Clearaudio Victory MC. Great sound, great value in the used market. I paid $2K for it, about four years ago. Don't waste your time changing the feet.
I had a big jump in performance when I added 3 x StillPoints to an original Aries with a JMW-12 arm. I hear more from the Aries / JMW-12 than I ever did on a Classic 3 using the same cart.

And I'm not sure if it's PRAT, but music from the Aries seems to be more fun than the Classic [insert your favorite number here]. Classics seem to be a bit more dry and analytical. But that's just my impression.
I'm using the Jmw-10 tonearm.
I was hoping more people would be in agreement here. Everyone seems to have their own story.
I have an Aries I since 1997, that is now fitted with Classic feet, the SDS, the Classic platter (in comparison with the Supper Platter I used to have on it, I thought the Classic platter had much better dynamics), the outer ring, the JMW 10.5i arm and the Rim Drive. Very much a melding of the Classic and an Aries I. It is amazing, amazing, amazing. Running a Lyra Atlas on it now, and it's hard for me to bring myself to play anything but vinyl. The original Aries plinth is a gorgeous piece of MDF and Acrylic, and with the modification paths, I'm guessing it more than compares with any of the Classic's, that frankly I have always found a bit graceless looking. Love this table and I can't imagine ever changing unless it's to a SME/30 etc...
03-07-13: Taters
I was hoping more people would be in agreement here. Everyone seems to have their own story.

Taters, it sounds like you wanted everyone to say the Classic 3 would be an awesome upgrade, to validate your purchase decision. Many don't see it that way, so what? It's your money, if you want to buy a Classic 3, go ahead and buy one.
If it's not worth the upgrade I'm not going to do it. It seems the dealers are the only ones telling me it would make a big difference.
03-07-13: Taters
It seems the dealers are the only ones telling me it would make a big difference.

LOL!! What a surprise!!!
Do yourself a favor and get away from the VPI upgraditis, audio nervosa stuff-- hopefully forever. If you want to make a change make it a real change.
I agree, Harry is a fox, once he gets into your 'coup', he will take you to the poor house with upgraditis. Don't get me wrong, Harry makes great products. Just stick to the original and forget the upgrade band wagon. Harry is the master of 'product extension', truly a great 'marketer'. Watch for his new ultra sonic cleaning machine.
I was on his website but I didn't see an ultrasonic cleaning machine.
I upgraded from an original Aries with JMW 10.5 to an Aries 3 with JMW
10.5i. To perform the upgrade, I simply purchased an Aries 3 plinth from
VPI and then traded in my 10.5 for the 10.5i. Once I received the new
plinth, I moved the platter, bearing and feet over to it and then mounted the
new arm. This was a HUGE upgrade.

The original Aries is not in the same league as the Aries 3.

How much did that upgrade cost you?
Upgrading from my Classic-1 to an Aries-3 costed $990.00.

I think around $1700 - but this also included a second arm tube. I had a JMW 10.5 with two arm tubes (one for my stereo cartridge and the other for my mono cartridge). VPI took this in trade for a 10.5i with two arm tubes. They wouldn't take my Aries 1 chassis in on trade, but I easily sold that on Audiogon for a fair price. This was about 5-6 years ago, so I can't say if VPI will still take 10.5 arms in on trade, but it can't hurt to ask.

As mentioned previously, this was a huge upgrade. I credit the Valhalla wiring in the 10.5i plus the more rigid mounting of the 10.5i for much of this, but certainly the chassis/plinth helped too. Dynamics became more explosive, PRAT improved SIGNIFICANTLY, as both were being smeared with the original Aries plus 10.5. Resolution improved too, and with this soundstaging and imaging improved too. Clarity and tonality improved as well. The overall improvement was so dramatic I was left thinking that the original Aries wasn't that good of a table. The upgrade was well worth the dollars I spent.

I should point out that the same platter and bearing were used, so my observations remove that as a factor. The platter in use back then was the TNT V platter. I subsequently switched to the clear acrylic plus outer ring and center weight. Later this year I will likely swap in the Classic platter.
Macster, According to the VPI website the difference in price
between the classic-1 and the Aries-3 is 1200.00 and that doesn't include a tonearm.
I'm using the platter, arm, and feet from my Classic. :-)

Trust me.

Call them, and see if they have something in place for you to trade your table in and get what you want and for them to get what they want. They may even have a blemished one or something. Be positive.

Curiously, what direction did you decide to go in?
I just decided to stay with the Aries. I think I can do better in my system with the 4k.
Good move. Harry recently told me that an Aries 1, like we have, would today be 8k to retail. He said it is as good as the Avenger. I have Ultra 5s attached to the plinth and Ultra Minis attached to the motor pod. Plus a 12" 3D arm. After living with this setup for a while, I decided against a TT upgrade all together. Only place left to go is to a uber $$ table and I don't feel at all compelled to do so.

I have an original, but updated TNT. If you have an original Aries, you have the acrylic-lead-aluminum platter. I would not change it for the current aluminum platter in any form. IMO, and that of many others, what you have is superior. I have two or three suggestions to improve your TT's performance. My guess is that with the older platter, the VPI ring weight is not a possibility. I highly recommend a TTW ring weight and a center weight. Another thing I would do is that I would either describe (or send a photo of) your bearing to VPI and ask if they had a later one (possibly even used) that would offer superior performance. They have a lot of old stuff lying around and it would not cost very much. That could make a very nice difference. Finally, and this would very much depend upon your setup and room, you might consider a softer suspension, either the VPI mini-feet or a squash ball suspension like Ginko--though you can very easily make it yourself.
Aries is fine, I would look to replace the arm with a 3D mated with an upgraded cartridge. The 3D is much better than the 10.5..less hi fi sounding...smoother, yet more detailed with greater depth of field
Still working with my original Aries 1, albeit heavily modified. Classic platter (I ABed all the prior platters with it, and its my favorite by far), a Rim Drive, Outer Weight, Center Weight, Classic Feet, XLR inputs and 3D Arms. Pretty darn good to my ears. Holding pat.
I have a Superscoutmaster with Rim Drive, etc. like yours. Harry told me that there is nearly no difference between ours and the D/D. No point in focusing on the Direct Drive. One thing I could suggest....when I replaced the Classic Feet with BearPaws, it made a leap forward in sound.
String, what size Bear Paws and do they attach or does the table just rest on them? Do you rest them on a cup of some kind or directly on the table?
Okonrad....get in touch with the guy who makes them (forgot his name) Someplace in Vermont...anyway he'll guide you. I also tried his Terra Stones....didn't like them. Bearpaws are big brass cones that screw in with the same threads as the original VPI feet. Big difference for the better....if you don't like them send them back.
I had the original Aries with JMW 10 arm, and it is a great combination, but no match for the Classic 3. The 3 is faster, far more dynamic, much bigger stage, and better in just about every way....except price... PT
Plasmatech...sound like you had a platter other than the Classic one.