Some noise issues with my new VPI Prime


Hi everyone,

Was fortunate enough to purchase a dealer demo VPI Prime.  Have been enjoying it for the last week or so - it's a wonderful sounding table.  However, I am having a couple of noise issues with it.  It's still under warranty, but I was hoping to find a home cure if possible.   There are two issues:

1)  Motor noise.  This is from the mechanical operation of the motor - it doesn't change with volume of the system, but it's audible during quiet passages.  The motor makes a slight buzzing/rubbing noise with each rotation.  I am guessing that some lubrication is all that is needed.  I've tried setting the motor on a rubber pad, but that doesn't make any difference. 

2)  Buzzing from the tonearm wire.  I get a buzzing that increases with the volume. By 50% on the volume dial it is quite pronounced (you can hear it from the next room).  It is coming from the wire that runs from the tonearm to the Lemo connector on the junction box.  If I touch the wire, the buzzing changes as I move the wire around.  If I raise the tonearm very slightly off the unipivot spike, the noise becomes extremely loud.   I tried to wrap some tinfoil around it, but that didn't make any difference.  Could this be a defect?  

Any thoughts on some simple fixes that might address these issues?

Thanks,
Scott
smrex13
Ask your question over at the VPI Forum, Harry or Mat will help you out.

http://vpiindustries.com/forum/index.php?sid=8a363f19adf29702540bf39500b9475b
Thanks!  Done.
A 4 thousand dollar turntable shouldn't have the loud noise issue.  On my VPI scout, the motor makes a slight whirring sound but I get no noise from the arm, wire out of arm or Lenco connector.  However, my turntable is 12 years old. 
Scott, my Prime displayed a similar motor noise problem. However, I could feel that the motor shaft was loose, too much play. I bought it as a dealer demo, the dealer had me send the motor back and he sent me a new one, which worked fine.

Outside of that the table has worked very well.
Your dealer should take care of this for you. This is not your problem. It is your dealer's problem. He should be all over this to make it right for you. 
Scott, according to your description, not too many folks can enjoy turntable with these kind of issues!
You must be da man indeed!
In other words, it's tough to guess weather you're really enjoying it or not, but we all should only speak positive right?
To me it seems clearly manufacturing defect.

For the motor, try removing the belt and see if it still makes the noise. If it doesn't, hook the motor back up to the TT. Make sure the motor sits exactly between the 2 sides of the TT that kind of wrap around the motor. Then, experiment by moving the motor closer, and further away from the platter in small amounts. 

Its also good practice to spin the platter by hand whenever you turn the motor on. This reduces the stress placed on the belt and motor.

For the buzzing sound, you need to list your entire system, including cables, tweaks, etc... It may not be the TT's fault. For example, you could have a setting on your phono pre thats incorrect.  
And many of you guys like VPI ? Looks like quality control is not quite there. I also heard than some use Walker motor controller with VPIs not VPI motor controller.
Long ago, I truly wanted to purchase a VPI turntable. But over the last several years you constantly hear  of quality issues like this. THAT is why I purchased  a Well Tempered Labs 'table....... Simple, effective, beautiful sound. What more could one ask for???
What quality issues? I have 2 VPI TT's and they've been running perfectly for years. Its always possible that problems may lie elsewhere, like poor setup or improper phono cart/pre compatability.
The wire noise could be a ground issue. Make sure you have a suitable ground wire attached cleanly on both ends, from the posts on the cartridge all the way to the pre amp chassis. If that doesn't solve the problem yes please contact your salesman. For that kind of money you should have nothing but joy! 
Thanks everyone for the input. As an update, I let the motor run overnight for a couple of evenings.  It has quieted a bit, so some break in may be involved.  It's still can be heard at a very low level from my listening position (and sometimes it seems louder than others) when nothing is playing, but it's not intrusive.  

So, the main issue is trying to control the buzz that seems to be related to the tonearm wire.  For those who asked about the set-up...I'm using the same cartridge and loading that I was using with the VPI Traveler that I had before (Clearaudio Maestro 2, Silnote phono cable, Manley Chinook Phono Stage (MM setting, 47K, 0pF).  Grounding wire is attached from the junction box on the Prime to the grounding post not the Chinook.  At moderate listening levels the hum is not a problem, but when I want to crank it a bit it does begin to intrude.  I had planned to try some other phono cables, so I'll see how much difference that makes.

Thanks, Scott
try to run wire directly from arm tube to ground pin of preamp and see if buzz goes away. if it does, than problem definitely in manufacturing.
If the grounding solution doesn't fix the problem, lower the gain from 60db to 45db (if you haven't already done so). Also, have you made any other changes to your system like speakers, cables, etc...? Its hard to troubleshoot without knowing the entire system.
Fairly recently I had buzz that I thought coming from amp. When I brought it to my lab, there was no buzz when connected and hooked up. I literally checked all of my main system components, but it turned out the light bulb that was buzzing very loud. It's one of those crappy energy efficient coiled one. Definitely they're not 'audio grade' ones. Replaced by 60cent regular light bulb and problem was fixed.
I had the same problem with my Prime. After a conversation with a Tech at my local VPI Dealer I discovered the 3D Arm was not grounded, the needle or pin that the arm balances on is painted. So I took some very fine sandpaper and sanded the tip of the spike the arm balances on, and low and behold my hum problem went away. I was a little miffed that I had to sand that point myself, but it only took a little time and I learned a lot about getting loop ground noise out of a system. I really think this Prime is going to be the last TT I buy, dead quite, and that 3D arm really lets the cartridge do it's thing. 
Looks like VPI now selling DIY kits instead of finished product right?
As I think back I remember touching the wires, that come out of the wand, with my finger and thumb and the hum would get louder and softer as I changed pressure, after getting the tip of the spike clean that issue also went away. This is not a  problem with the 3D arm, I had people telling me my connects were bad, or my preamp was to blame, some people even told me certain cartridges were not compatible with the arm. 99 time out of a hundred a hum in a system is related to a bad ground. 
Every now and then I would here a low pitch hum in my stereo room, and my neck hair would stand up on end, I would start to think one or both of my amps are going bad, or something else was going on, turns out the mini fridge motor was making the noise. All things electrical can effect the music, light bulbs, other motors ect. 
"Looks like VPI now selling DIY kits instead of finished product right?"

Any good TT needs to be assembled. VPI is no exception. Can you imagine what a pre assembled TT would look like after UPS or Fedex got they're hands on it?

I certainly can imagine, but it seems to me far more complicated than that.
By kit I meant supplied parts to build from scratch from point zero:
Assemble motor, board, attach wires to arm... 
Attaching a ground wire to the tonearm the right way is almost same thing as rewire the whole arm. 
If just wires are supplied, you don't need to hassle and you can put together everything yourself.

Jperry was right.  You purchased this from a dealer and they will take care of it.  Part of the price you pay when you buy from a dealer goes into after the sale service.  Get what you paid for.  
" Jperry was right.  You purchased this from a dealer and they will take care of it.  Part of the price you pay when you buy from a dealer goes into after the sale service.  Get what you paid for.  "

Agree 100%, but I'm still not convinced the TT is at fault. It may be, but if you look at the OP's phono pre, it offers a great deal of adjustments. At the very least, I would call Manley as well, and see what they recommend.
Czarivey wrote " Attaching a ground wire to the tonearm the right way is almost same thing as rewire the whole arm."

Seriously? Attaching a ground wire is as simple as tightening a thumbscrew. Rewiring an arm is a job for a expert.

I have owned 2 VPI turntables over 32 years. The first 31 I had an HW19. Part of what I loved about it is that anytime I had an issue, I could fix it myself. Platter upgrade? just 4 screws needed to take out the old bearing and install the new one. I could swap out a worn out motor in 30 minutes. VPI always answered my calls and emails with a ready explanation, and they still service the table I bought in 1984.

That is a lot of why I bought a new Prime last year. It took about an hour to set up. Its fun to come on here and see all the people taking shots at VPI. But a lot of reviewers seem to think my $3800 turntable competes with some that cost $6000 more. And its nice to know that if it develops issues, help is just a phone call or email away.
Rewiring an arm is a job for a expert.

Not really. Not that hard after all
It's similar to replacing shift or steering cable in the boat or vehicle where old cable pulls new cable in place.