the basis is pretty hard to beat at any price
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I've owned the VPI and the Basis series. I would say it depends on what you are looking for. The VPI is fuller, warmer, richer, while the Basis has more resolution, articulation and transparency. You certainly can try to balance each combo's strength's with a cartridge that hides it's weakness'. For example, many will enjoy a Lyra/Transfiguration cartridge on a VPI table, while others will prefer a Benz/Koetsu cartridge on a Basis combo.
For my tastes, I prefer the Basis resolution...it's there if I need it, but if it's too lean I can buy a warmer cartridge.
It's all about balance.