Technics 1200G VS VPI Prime Signature

Has anyone specifically compared these two turntables? Longevity plays a role here, but ultimately SQ is paramount. Aesthetically the Prime Signature (rosewood) is a beautiful looking table. Thinking about either table with Van Den Hul Grail, and VDH DDTII special. I have heard nothing but good things about Technics 1200G.  I have heard of some QC issues with VPI. The simplicity of the Technics unit is also a plus. Any input about this will be appreciated...
I will chime in here. I owned a Prime (not signature). I hated it from day one. Yes, it is beautiful and impressive looking but that 3D Unipivot arm is a piece of junk. I can’t believe they market that arm and people like it. The arm is flimsy feeling, does not give a good level of confidence , and mine constantly needed adjusting. Whenever I wanted to spin vinyl, I had to allow 15 or 20 minutes to get the arm to work properly. It was always slanted towards the left or right and I would have to play with the side weights. The motor was noisy from day one, VPI told me they were all like that. When the motor started up, there would be a shudder between the platter and motor.

I found myself not spinning vinyl any longer. After 2 years of ownership, I traded it in for half of what I paid (I was glad to get even that for it) and bought a new Technics SL1200G. I LOVE this turntable. It is very well built, the fit and finish is first rate, the arm is a joy to set up and use and it is set and forget, just like Ron Popeils Showtime Rotisserie Oven. The cueing is very accurate and precise, you can use any kind of brush on the record while spinning and the motor won’t bog down, I get no acoustic feedback which I did get with the Prime and my vinyl sounds sublime.

The Technics SL1200G is my last turntable.
Stereo54, Thank you! I have had similar feed back in regards to tonearm and always adjusting! I really appreciate your input. are you using the stock headshell? As indicated thinking VDH DDT2 special. What cartridge or cartridges are you using? I also like your Ron Popeils metaphor!! 
I am very happy with my 1200G. I am a record collector and needed something that would play vinyl and shellac well. I use everything from ADC to Miyajima and Phasemation cartridges-the headshells vary depending on the application. I got a damper from KAB and use Audio Sensibility cables.Whatever you do, don’t buy a VPI without using it first. They have a different "feel" that needs to be experienced.

Thanks Andy, I'm going Technics 1200G. Too many red flags with VPI. You mentioned damper? can you explain? I know Kevin at KAB, good knowledgeable guy.

I am using a ZU Audio Denon DL103 going into the MC section of my McIntosh C2500 preamp.  I am planning on the Dynavector DV20HXL cartridge in March or April.
I just purchased a SL-1200G today.  I await its arrival. 
I have a VPI Scoutmaster and I am sick of fiddle F**cing around with it.
I will give a report in a few days.


You are going to love it.  You will find yourself spinning much more vinyl.

I purchased mine on Monday! Please do report back. Stereo 54 likes the Oracle Acrylic Platter Mat, I've read about Achromat. What cartridge are you going with and have you decided your phono stage?
I got a damper from KAB ...

Fluid damper required ONLY for very high compliance cartridges on this tonearm. 
Keep us updated on the 1200G I have the 1200GR and Love it. One thing, some VPI's can be ordered, I thought, with a Gimball tonearm
HIfi Heaven just called to tell me my 1200G was damaged. Only one in stock. I can find the GAE, I want the 1200G. Help! I need to find one...
Call Adirondack Audio and ask for Jason or Fred. I bought mine there.  They are located in Queensbury, NY   
Just got mine set up last night. Its a demo and I am ok with that as it came to me with a Ortofon quintet black S cart on her. More on that later.
I was only able to spin a few but I must say at first impression overall the fit and finish is second to none.
Post removed 
Happy to hear that. Are you happy with the cartridge? I've heard the lighter record weight is a good addition. I'm going to start off with the stock mat. Keep me posted and I'll share my observations when I'm up and running. I won't get my VDH phono stage until mid to later Jan. 
Everyone should be happy with their possessions .  I've been using a VPI arm for many years and haven't had problems in that many years.  It may "feel" weird for the first couple of times you use it, but then a new mattress one adjusts.  Once its set up properly it is stable in the groove (not in the handling), but remains one of the excellent arms being manufactured today.
Mine is an SL1200GAE, functionally the same as the G, and for about 3 years it sat next to a Prime until I upgraded the Prime to VPI's HW-40 last year.  I would say the two turntables are focused on different customers with quite different priorities.  The Technics is definitely easier to set up and to use especially for those who might want to change cartridges frequently.   For example, I have two Ortofon 2M cartridges, a Black for stereo and and an otherwise identical 2M SE Mono wired for mono.  The Technics with it's interchangeable headshells is ideal for things like this.  The Technics is also dead accurate for speed.  By contrast the Prime right out of the box is not so easily set up and changing cartridges is best accomplished by buying a second arm.  Doable for sure, but not quite the same thing.  And the Prime was off speed until I added the Phoenix Engineering tachometer and controller, oh and triple belts.  Then there was an extra $1,000 for a periphery ring.  Then VPI came out with a mod for the arm that stabilized the unipivot and then...well you get the idea.  The VPI is an on-going work in progress.  The Technics is for the record collector that does not want to spend a lot of time and effort messing with the TT.  Set it and forget it.  That's the spirit.  The Prime is for the audiophile/hobbyist who likes to mess around, seek improvements, takes delight it hearing the benefits of tweaks.  The VPI definitely can be made to outperform the Technics, but that is not true right out of the box and not everyone has the patience or the money to go that route.  Like I said, two turntables that are focused on different segments of the market.  I think we should be grateful to have the choice.
Bill that's kind of what I have interrupted from reading and listening from different posts. I think you have summed it up nicely...
The VPI definitely can be made to outperform the Technics, but that is not true right out of the box and not everyone has the patience or the money to go that route.
This is very helpful. I'm not currently in the market, but always window shopping and looking towards the future. 

I love the look of the new VPI Prime 21+, but I'm torn if I'd enjoy constantly tweaking. Right now I really enjoy how minimally I need to do anything with my Mofi Ultradeck. I certainly don't mind a lengthy initial set up, and maintaining things annually (give take), but I don't want to feel like I need to mess with it on a weekly basis. Knowing that the VPI doesn't really beat the 1200G out of the box feels like maybe that table might be a better long term fit in my life. 
The VPI definitely can be made to outperform the Technics, but that is not true right out of the box and not everyone has the patience or the money to go that route.

Technics will kill it with the right cartridge for this tonearm right out of the box. Technics also can be modified, if you will change tonearm for something ultra high-end (like Reed 3p '9 inch) this Technics will put in the dust many turntables with 10 times higher price tag. 

Tonearm and cartridge is a key to a perfect sound with Technics coreless direct drive. Tonearm and cartridge is what you hear, not the drive!

This type of turntable will last forever.  

Technics will kill it with the right cartridge for this tonearm right out of the box.
So I know Technics originally showcased the 1200G with the 2M Black, but I'd be interested in what carts might be the best match. Also curious if any of the 1200G's "best" would also be a good match on the VPI Prime arm. Do they have any overlap, or different enough designs that it's generally not a great match for both arms. 
There are a wide range of cartridges that can be in “best match” category. No matter what was Technics choice. Tonearm mass with shell and cartridge compliance at 10hz is what you need to know. If you can avoid low compliance MC (made for super heavy tonearms) and very high compliance MM (made for extremely light mass tonearms) everything else is a perfect match for Technics tonearm. You can fine tune it with headshells of different mass and a subweight provided by Technics for tonearm. 

In my opinion Audio-Technica AT-ML170 OFC with Gold-Plated Boron pipe cantilever and MicroLine stylus tip is a perfect match for Technics tonearm, and it’s spectacular MM cartridge (mid compliance). 

But I could add at least 5 more excellent carts. With fluid damper and stock headshell you could use high compliance cartridges too. Grace Level II or F14 are superb! Stanton 981, CS-100 or Pickering XSV/4000 and XSV/5000 are great and still reasonably priced for NOS (they are excellent performers, exceptionally good). 

Other people will point you to the mainstream basic stuff that I am not interested at all. 

If you want something special look above, those are real killers!

I have an older VPI Classic 1 with the Unipivot arm and it is a bit disturbing at first watching the arm pivot from side to side. Once I got it setup properly it has been a joy. Takes time to set up however, it was part of the fun. I ended up having Brian Walsh professionally work his magic and totally satisfied. Plan on keeping the Classic 1 for quite some time. 

Hi Dears,

Is a Zyx Ultimate cartridge a good match with the 1200G?

The compliance is 12×10-6cm/dyne but no frequency is mentioned. As it's a Japanese manufacturing, I assume it's given at 100Hz,  so roughly 20×10-6cm/dyne at 10Hz. Will not be challenging with the Technics tonearm?

I am also hesitating between 3 TT: The VPI Prime, the Pro-Ject Signature 10 and the Technics.


I’ve asked before, why does there seem to be a lot of “ B” stock Vpi’s at Music Direct?

I have a VPI with 10.5 arm....very dependable...never needed to have had it repaired....Using Winfield cartridge.  All good


Music Direct currently lists 28 B Stock Items, 2 of which are VPI. The most, 9, are Mark Levinson.

I’ve had a VPI Classic SE with 10” 3D uni-pivot arm for the past 8 years, no issues. I don’t think it’s any more difficult to set up with a cartridge than other arms and it’s as stable as any gimbal arm playing on the record. It’s totally adjustable including azimuth, some arms are not. It’s also an amazing tracker, in all this time it has never skipped or malfunctioned—pretty amazing.

I know that some do not think the arm on the technics is that good. Well, I will tell you that it is. Its very versatile, the 1200G package is tough to beat. Yes you could change the arm to a Triplanar and probably get close to state of the art quality but the arm that comes with this table is no slouch, trust me. Great value for the money.  The arm that comes with the 1200G definitely blows away the arm that comes with the prime.  very stable design and great tracking arm

Since I moved my Zyx cartridge from my Rega P5 to the Technics 1200G, I am very happy.

I don't know why  I wasn't able to to get good performance from the combination P5/Zyx (I tried everything: spacers, tungsten CT, thin or thick mat, etc...).

With the Technics, that's really good, with great respect of the whole frequency bandwidth.

Now, the poor records sound poorer than poor and the good ones (good mastering / press) are amazing.


Interesting thread, I too would strongly lean to the Technics given the choice.  I have owned two VPIs--a Scoutmaster (which I hated) and the original Classic (much less hate).  I really didn't like the tonearm on either and recently got out of the VPI business and bought a Pure Fidelity Harmony--which is just leaps and bounds better than the VPIs to my ear. 

The dealer I bought it from is also a VPI dealer and so I had him switch tables during the demo.  After two songs on the Prime or Prime Signature, all I could think of was "sounds like a VPI".  To me, they are all about "audiophile sounds" and less about connecting you with music.  You want tone and a nice big soundstage, buy a VPI.  You want an engaging listen, try something else. To me it's an "admire it" vs "be moved by it" type of thing.

As always, it comes down to a personal preference--I know there are tons of folks who LOVE their VPIs.  Just figure out what camp you are in.  I do think the Technics is a good enough base to support much higher aspirations.  A couple of guys in my local audio group have added the added an Integrity Tru-Glider tonearm to the Technics and seem thrilled by the combo.  

I had a VIP and hated it too, cheaply built, the designer does not “believe” in anti-skating, can you imagine an engineer not believing in science? The tonearm fatboy has a lot to be desired.

the motor is too light to keep from moving when changing the speed. So many things that are just not right.

I ended upgrading everything and never sounded good.

I am

glad I sold it even if it was at a significant loss.


Can’t speak to the Technics but it’s very well reviewed so you can’t go wrong. I’ve owned a VPI Scout 2 for about 5 years with the 9” unipivot arm and it’s been flawless. Once it’s on the album it tracks beautifully. 

@displayname The 1210GAE's(black version of the 1200GAE) sold in Japan came with a Nagaoka JT-1210 cartridge that was developed (so the advertisements said) with Technics for this TT. Then Nagaoka released the same cartridge with the JT-80BK model name in black (better looking). I purchased the Jt-80bk for my 1200 GR and I have to say it's the best MM cartridge I have ever heard. I plan on doing a video on my Youtube channel soon about my thoughts a couple months into owning the JT080BK. You can check out the basic sound charactor here on this video