Sprung vs Unsprung VPI Turntables.

Taking a look the new VPI unsprung tables I feel that they have taken this path based more on economy than on sound quality. Take a look at there new Classic. Its clearly a replacement for the revered HW19 MKII,III,IV but with out the suspension. Now think about the manufacturing process. For unsprung tables once your plinth is cut and ready all you need to do is bolt the parts on and you are done. With a sprung table things are complicated. You need to match your suspension parts first, assemble them and then they need to be calibrated to work properly. You need skilled labor and fine tuning to get the tables to the stores.
So, my point is no need to jump to a new fad just because...
I was a dealer for the HW 19s and now am for the new tables. While the 19s were good tables I like the new ones better and ones like the Scout are great buys when you consider the arm is included. The 19 would be quite expensive today if still in production. I have used tables like the older TNT and Basis Ovation and come to like the greater detail I hear from non suspended tables. But not everyone will agree, suspended tables can sound VERY good and not everyone has a concrete floor as I now do. The execution is at least as important as the design principals so either way it depends on the individual table and you own taste. I have no more idea than the next person exactly where VPI is heading right now, in several directions at once is my best guess. IF you are happy with what you have STICK WITH IT. Don't change just because a new model is out.
Where is VPI headed? Toward profit, profit and more profit. That translates to turn, turn, turn. Harry needs to get the installed base to buy new as he does not get the entry vinyl person who goes to Project and Music Hall first. How do you explain the turn to the aluminum platter? Fad? I think so, as two dealers I regularly visit say this new platter does not sound great and appears related to lowering the cost of the motor used, which are less expensive since they do not need the lift power. By the way, I am in the Unsprung camp. With my rig, it just sound better.
I'd be suspicious of any dealer making the claims you are stating. As I understand it, quality acrylic in sizes needed for large platters (2+ inches deep) is getting hard to find. So VPI's change to aluminum has more to do with materials availability at a price than anything else. Besides, aluminum is easier to machine consistently. As far as the motor is concerned, the aluminum platter is of a similar weight to the super platter, or at least close enough that it requires similar torque. If VPI really wanted to cheap out on the motor, they would have stayed with a lightweight solid acrylic platter (although cogging then can become more apparent.) What is lift power by the way?
I have a Fully Updated VPI HW19 MK.IV, with SDS, and its SPRUNG. I have always been happy with my Table, on both concrete, and a @nd Floor Wood Floor Apartment, with a Nice Homemade shelf for Isolation, and a Birch Wood Shelf, I made it all myself. Anyway. I recently talked to Mike at VPI...and the OP hit the Nail on the Head! Its all about cost, and conserving money. Mike told me that my table, the HW19 MK.IV was just about as good as it gets. He also said that at ant time I could always experiment with removing the springs, and putting in the Foam Swimming Noodles, in 3 inch peices, to get a Non Suspended Table, without buying the Special parts they sell that drop in, with same result, for far less money.

Mike also stated that the only reason that they stopped making the HW19 Series of tables was they were far too expensive to keep on making. He said he preferred them to the modern UNSPRUNG VPI Tables, and that if anything at all, would possibly improve my table. it would be to keep it Sprung, as is, but to replace my Tonearm, with a JMW 10.5i...and he would make me up the custom armboard, but for a considerable cost. Im not sure I agree that the JMW Tonearm would be a better choice than my ZETA Silver Wired VandenHul Tonearm. The ZETA was once a world class arm, and by many standards, still is. So, without getting to hear the JMW 10.5i Arm on my Table, I really couldn't fairly say, but Im just telling you how the long conversation went with Mike regarding the HW19 Series of Tables, and I called him to ask this in particular. Reason is, is that I have listened to the Airies, Scout, Scout Master, etc....and have not found any of them to make me feel like WOW...that I felt, and still feel, with my VPI HW19 MK.IV...I love this table, And have been fully pleased with each upgrade, from the HW19 Jr. when I started, in 1986, then went to the Mk.II...Mk.III, and finally into the MK.IV with all the best updates, the better platter, and even went with the SDS, from the Power Line Conditioner. Had to jump in here, as this was a recent discussion I had with Mike, that lasted quite some time, and he stated that they just could not afford to keep on making the HW19 Series of Tables. ray
I rest my case.

Well I live in an apartment building in NYC with a concrete floor and I use an Arcici Lead Balloon stand filled with lead shot. I have a 1" think piece of felt on top and then a 1" piece of acrylic on top of the felt.

My tonearm is the SME V (ca 1987) and I use Grado Cartridges and the SAMA motor.

IMHO the sorbothane suspension is far better than the sprung suspension. The bass goes far deeper and the imaging is higher and deeper.

That's my experience.

I've switched back for a while when I changed out my speakers and amplifiers and ended up with the Sorbothane pucks again.
I still have my VPI Sorbothane pucks, but wont be using them. I really prefer my HW19 MK.IV with Sprung Suspension. I really couldn't ask for more bass. VPI produces wonderful bass as is, HW19's were famous for that. And my ZETA Tonearm was well known for it bass reproduction. Also cartridges come into play, as well as speakers, etc...ALON has incredible Bass, not exagerrated, just very deeep and tight. I have read posts in here, where guys told about excessive supports under their turntables, with concrete floors, using slabs of marble, plus other layers of dense naterial, and some felt, and they were advised by other members that it was overkill, and would hamper performance, I dont understand this, but it can be found either here, or in the Vinyl Engine. It may be overdoing it, with a concrete floor. Ray
If you were able to read the TT tweak section of mapleshade records before it was removed (now missing from their website), he spoke about one of the biggest improvements being to remove suspension of the turntable and of the motor in order to remove "random motion" between the two. In fact this is what Harry has done on the most recent TT (Classic) and I think there is merit to this.

I may try substituting isoblocks under the motor and surefoots under the TT instead of sorbothane even (provided I'm on one of those maple blocks of course....) if I don't upgrade to the Classic.

BTW - I do not believe that VPI would make any change that is not related to improving the sound at a given price point. His business does fine on record cleaners and accessories alone for him to be worried about replacement markets.
As I am seeing now, many long time very serious Audiophiles, are now taking a step back to the Vinyl Heyday, of the late 70's into the full part of the 1980's. They mention that the best of the best was made during this time period. So, they are going after Classic Cartridges, hopefully NOS....with good suspension, but rubber renew has been known to help the grommet stay supple, in suspension. This is why I think I have never heard a Non Suspended VPI that I liked....I feel that they moved away from the best ways of doing things, in order to change for changes sake...hence selling more tables. Lets face it, they made the Non Suspended decks much sleeker and nicer looking than HW19's but I dont believe anywhere near in sound. I have not heard the Classics, and the only other VPI that I like is the TNT...certain series. Its easy enough to isolate your motor, and your springs, without spending much money, and the way was told to me by Mike of VPI. I did take him up on the motor isolation. Its almost like the crazy so called improvements with the SuperPlatters, for the HW19's MK.IV and in reality, only one of the platters, was the true best one, not the clear platter, etc... there was another in there, also sucked. So, I will stick with what I continue to hear. Harry even makes posts regarding the HW19's on Audio Asylum or Audio Karma, I have read all of his posts. But remember, some of it is still to do with sales. Ray
The older TNT turntables have really come down in price since the introduction of the Classic. Would one be better off with a Classic or say a TNT 3 or even the HW-19 mk4 mentioned above? Are the aluminum platters or the acrylic platters supposed to be better. Completely confused by the VPI line. Bob
I use a scoutmaster with a Arcici stand with really good results. IMO it is like having a sprung table, the entire shelf the TT sits on is on three air bladders.