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Signal Cable makes custom cables and so does Morrow Audio I have worked with both companies and they are a great value. Also, Many tone arms have fixed cables that cant be easily changed (unless you rewire the whole arm)
The fact that VPI lets you buy any cable you want is nice. I will say I dont like all these cables and connections your going to end up with, the more breaks in the phono cable chain the more chance for sound degradation and noise. This is not good at all for low output MC's. I would use one cable (even if its RCA and not XLR) from the TT to your pre amp for optimal sound.
Roger Modjeski at Music Reference will make you such a box for a fraction of $399. Remember The Mod Squad? When they were closing their retail store (Music By The Sea) they had a clearance sale (I bought Steve’s ARC SP-6b). While there, I asked Joyce if they could make me a Mode switch. She said they would have to do some R & D, that it might be expensive. I realized she had absolutely no idea what a Mode switch is, and pointed out the one on the front of the SP-6b faceplate. Incredibly, she showed not a hint of embarrassment or shame. There is a lot of pompousness in high end; a switch box (or Mode switch) ain’t brain surgery.
Matt: You are definitely correct about all these cables, But I need to use a balanced phono with my Atma Sphere MP-1 pre-amp and the only simple way is to use the VPI tone-arm and balanced junction box.....The biggest problem is the VPI part.......I have several VPI systems but I totally dislike the unipiviot tone arm.....So I wanted to use a Rega 700 tone arm I have and put the "lemo" connector on it and plug it into the VPI balanced junction box.......But I'm not going to pay 399.00 for the VPI box, so I need to make one or wait for a used one......And I have plenty of time.......Will
Will, I share your dislike of unipivots, having had two of them in my youth. But I haven’t spent any time with the Graham, which my old pal Brooks Berdan liked and sold a lot of. By the way, the very interesting Trans-Fi Terminator is an arm featuring radial tracking, an air bearing, and a dual unipivot design!---Eric.
It is one of many examples of greedy business practices in the audiophile market, and naive customers who take this for granted because they have allowed themselves to be persuaded that normal technical rules of the game do not apply. As someone recently wrote: extortionate prices are a tax on ignorance.
"It is one of many examples of greedy business practices in the audiophile market, and naive customers...extortionate prices are a tax on ignorance."
This is a very silly remark there is no extortion going on here because there is no coercion you seem to be suffering from the belief that what is right for you is right for everyone but the actual truth of this particular matter is that the $400 price that you consider to be illegal because extortion is itself illegal is actually for some members of the audiophile community a trivial expense and the kind of cost they can absorb without having any negative impact on their household budget. While for some audiophiles the cost might mean they have to eat beans for a week instead of steak for others the $400 cost is what Americans call "pocket change" or "walking around money" if you do not like the price of coarse you are free to not make the purchase and pursue another means of accomplishing your audio objectives but to call this a tax on ignorance is itself an ignorant statement but it probably makes you feel better about yourself because for you this price is something you cannot pay and I understand that.
Am I reading your issue correctly?
You have a Rega tonearm that you would like to convert to XLR connections to use with Atma-sphere pre-amp. You plan on re-terminating your Rega cable by attaching a Lemo connector to be used with another manufacture’s XLR phono interface box. Your issue is with the pricing of this other manufacture’s phono interface box to be used with your Rega DIY solution.
So the price is too high so why not just move on to another solution like getting your tonearm re-terminated to XLR. Why single out this particular manufacture who has nothing to do with your issue unless you have a hidden agenda?
If you were a small business with very limited resources (manufacturing all by hand) and could only produce X amount of products per year, and your product became very popular (demand increases exponentially), the only thing you can do is raise your prices to decrease demand.
I don't think the audio businesses really have large production capabilities unless they are outsourcing to China or the like.
The dealers aren't talking about it too much yet, but we do have a gimbal option now :) Totally agree, the uni-pivot can be a pain to deal with and we have been long overdue for having a gimbal option.
Regarding the price of the box, we always try to do the best we can to keep the costs down/fair while still being able to keep the doors open and the lights on. The XLR junction box is a low volume item as well using the Nordost wire (the cost of wire is a whole forum thread in of itself), and the parts are sourced in the USA. A lot of it is because of the low volume and additional cost of the components. Our standard RCA is $200 with standard wire and $300 with Nordost. Hope that helps on the insight of the pricing.
Matt I've tried to do business with your company with no success , There was a time I could call Harry and get what I needed in as few as a couple days.....But VPI has decided that dealing direct with customers was no good.....The closest dealer is 400 miles from here so that doesn't work very well.....I have about six VPI turntable systems that I can't maintain because I can't get parts, so I'm trying to convert to a VPI , Rega system......That doesn't seem to be working either.....Dealers don't want to order and sell something unless they make 200 % mark-up, so its had to order a belt or something like that with any success , and if you get the wrong part you really have problems.....Communication, that's the solution ......Will
Hey Will, you can still give us a buzz and talk to us :) you will more than likely get me instead of my dad, unless you happen to catch him on a Tuesday or Thursday. We do support and direct dealers through our dealership first but are happy to jump in directly when we get the sense that you aren't getting the appropriate dealer support. It is always a tough balance. If you want to talk gimbal arms or XLR junction boxes give me a buzz and we can kick it all around. 732-583-6895.
@willemj " Long live the stupidity of the rich. "
Good for you do you feel better now? Sometimes releasing your extreme inner frustrations and emotional angst can release you from the pressures that concsume your daily existence and hold you back from achieving your lofty goals and living the extraordinary life of your dreams these emotions are a hindrance on your ability to grasp the people and world around you. As you mature may learn to control these eruptions so that you do not do it in the presence of other people which can cause you embarassment and cause them to recognize that your point in personal development is not sufficient to allow reason to control your actions and decisions and instead cause you to suffer from being a prisoner to your feelings and often blame others for your unhappiness please feel free to hurl like this in the group anytime as far as I am concerned it is no trouble at all. Most men live lives of quiet desperation but there's no need for you to suffer in silence let it all out!
Actually, most extremely wealthy people i know are quite smart- i'm not talking about the wealth that buys a fancy house, car, vacation, and the other trappings of "success" ala the professional class. It's the kind of money that gets passed down generationally. Unfortunately, sometimes the heirs don't live up to the standards of the folks who made the money in the first place, but that's another subject.
I could care less about money per se, or the people who have it. It's what they do with the money that counts--- and I'm not talking Mother Teresa stuff but leading interesting lives. And actually, to do that, it isn't money that is the driver, it's a sense of curiosity and persistence. (which is often how fortunes are made).
Not sure if you are aware of this but if you're Rega 700 has the stock wiring in it, you will need to do some minor surgery (or have it rewired) to configure it for balanced.
Rega is one of the very few arm manufacturers whose arms are not very simply converted to balanced signal transfer with the addition of a balanced tonearm lead.
I’m trying to follow all of this and be helpful. I have a VPI table and unipivot arm, about which I have no complaints. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that your phonostage has balanced (XLR connector) inputs and the VPI signal block on the turntable has RCA connectors and a grounding screw. If your phonostage has a balanced circuit, then you are running balanced, even with all RCA connectors and two-conductor cables. Here’s why: at the phonostage end, the two conductors connected to the RCA termination are both "signal" leads and feed opposite phases of the input stage. At the turntable end, with the "box" the 2 signal leads of each RCA jack (which ultimately connect through the tonearm wiring to the signal lead pins of the cartridge) are not connected to ground. The ground connection is made by a wire that you install from the grounding screw on the VPI "box" to a grounding screw on your phonostage chassis. If you’re using a step up transformer (as I am), it also has a grounding screw (connected to the "cans" shielding the transformers), which needs to be wired by you to the grounding screw on the phonostage.
A so-called balanced interconnect, with XLR terminations, simply incorporates those 3 conductors into one cable and one termination: two signal conductors and a ground conductor. Cardas (and probably others) make an RCA to XLR cable that solves your problem. The XLR connectors on the cable go to the phonostage and, at the turntable end, the ground conductor in the cable is broken out so that you can connect it to the grounding screw on the VPI box. The two signal leads in the cable are connected to the two elements of the RCA termination. With this cable, you don’t need to have a separate ground wire between the phonostage and the VPI box on the turntable, because the ground wire is part of RCA > XLR cable. (And I'm not talking here about RCA>XLR "adapters," which are an entirely different animal and do not maintain the ground connection.)
In most arms, including the VPI arm, the 4 signal leads are electrically isolated from the arm or any other metal parts. So, this is a completely righteous setup . . . and you’re running balanced, whether you use two-conductor cables with RCAs or 3-conductor cables with XLRs at one end and RCAs plus a grounding wire at the other. Be aware, however that some moving magnet cartridges will couple one of the cartridge signal leads to either the cartridge body (if it’s metal) and/or the metal parts of the tone arm. This raises all kind of hell with ground loops, buzzes and hums. My first cartridge in this setup was a Clearaudio moving magnet that did this, and it took me months (and some expert assistance) to figure out the problem. The solution was insulating the cartridge body from the metal headshell and using nylon hardware to attach the cartridge to the headshell.
But you don’t need a new "box," you simply need 2 new cables. And, since you have to have cables between the turntable and the phonostage anyway, this should be a much cheaper solution than getting or modifying the VPI to make the connections I've described internally, rather than externally, which is standard.
Bruce: To make this simple one could pay VPI the 399.00 for the balanced box that they already make and plug in the JMW VPI tonearm and you have it.....What I would do , is since I don't want to use the VPI tonearm, I would take a Rega 700 tonearm.....Remove the cable and change the cable connection to right channel +&- and the left channel +&- and make the ground separate hooked to each ground in the XLR's..........But I won't pay 399.00 for that little box, so I guess I'll have to make one............Problem solved.......MAYBE !!
I liked @dc_bruce’s posting on the substance. I know some of you like to swap or upgrade the phono cable, but for the most part, i’ve used hard wired tone arm leads, no junction box.
I appreciate the benefits of balanced connections generally, but how much of a sonic improvement by running the phono leads into a balanced input on the phono stage? (My phono stage, an Allnic, does not have balanced phono inputs. I’m pretty happy with the sound, not a question of modifying or changing gear, just curious).
PS: Is the improvement mainly in the area of lower noise when you are dealing with tiny voltages to begin with?
I have worked at many different kinds of companies, including textbooks, religious books and periodicals, computers, home audio, shoes, and others.
The uniform rule of thumb for calculating retail price is to multiply the cost of manufacture (parts and labor) times four. If a textbook costs $12.50 to print, its retail price will be $50. A $400 stereo receiver in 1972 cost $100 to make.
This pricing is not based on greed, but on reality. The total cost to build a product is not just parts and labor; there is also documentation, income tax, rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, insurance, property taxes, packaging, shipping, distribution, and advertising.
Sure, if you're a lone guy with a day job banging out junction boxes in your garage when you get home, your cost per unit is much lower. It explains why I have an all-tube handwired PTP phono preamp available for a little over $1K. But as soon as you scale up and turn it into a self-sustaining enterprise, the true cost of manufacture goes way up.
Henry Kloss almost brought down his entire Advent Company, which made the most popular enthusiast audio speakers at the time, because he under-priced his Advent VideoBeam big screen TV. He had to bring in a financial expert to save the company. The first thing the guy did was double the price of the VideoBeam from $2500 to $5000.
Johnnyb53: The point to be made is that if you keep your parts business in house, then you can cut the price almost in half......Audio dealers don't want to stock things so everything you need has to be ordered and shipped......And if its a complicated item , sometimes you get the wrong thing altogether....There was a time when you could call VPI and get a part shipped the next day or two, then the new management took over and most of them didn't even know what you were talking about, so you got the wrong price and then the wrong part.....So instead of training a PR person and parts person they just passed it on to the dealers....Another parts mark-up, another week waiting.......No service......The one thing that the competition can't take from you is service and public relations...............Harry had it !!
@autospec you do realize that VPI is a relatively small company that employs less than 10 full-time staff. Dealers are always looking for opportunities to provide more value and better service to their customers and that is why VPI holds regular Dealer training seminars to allow B&M Dealer to answer service and technical questions.
Also, your impression of the former VPI under HW is viewed with rose colored glasses. VPI use to have limited customer service hours with shipment and parts delay all the time. Their customer service model was not scalable, so something had to change.
(((the new management took over and most of them didn't even know what you were talking about,)))
We have had a numorous amount of detailed parts needed.
Upon detailed email requests to Marc at VPI we consistently receive a lightning response, excellent support, and advice.
(((the new management took over and most of them didn’t even know what you were talking about,)))
Unfortunately, it's sometimes not realized turntables tonearms belts pib boxes overhang VTA, tonearm distance record cleaning machines etc are products with many detailed working elements and can provoke a curiosity to the hobbyist who sometimes cannot comprehend the business side.
All of this brings many long-winded conversations of analytical expertise needed into a business as well,
Mostly appreciated but sometimes way under appreciated.
In the big picture, they care and make it happen