VPI 40th Anniversary Table After Warranty Support Question


Hey guys. I am new here and I wanted to bring up a "thought question/experiment". While talking with a friend about turntables, I brought up the new VPI 40th. My friend mentioned a few interesting points that made me think before jumping on it.

The main question is "What will the after warranty service be like?". Will VPI continue to support this table after the 5 year warranty and for how long? This product is a limited run item so it brings up the question of will there still be parts or replacements for it after 6, 10 or even 20 years? Would it even make sense to stock extra direct drive motors for that long? Would there be applicable "aftermarket" options?

We can reference the Traveler turnable, which started selling in 2012-2013 but discontinued not even 5 years after, as a cautionary tale. Other members on this site have tried to get their Traveler tonearms repaired through VPI only to be told that they cannot be fixed because there are not replacement parts to fix it.. A replacement "used" arm would cost $500, almost the same amount as the resell value of the table itself. This also shows a severe depreciation in value (about 50% drop from MSRP) for the Traveler. In a broader light, are people still able to acquire parts, like the bearing, at a reasonable price for older tables (HRX, TNT, Aries, Classic, HW-19 or HW-17/27) from VPI?
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/vpi-turntable-repair

The other question refers to the reliability of the table. Even with a 5 year warranty, nobody wants to have to use it. VPI is pretty well known for "1st gen" problems. Easy examples are again the Traveler, but also newer products like the ADS,the Nomad, and even the Prime tables. And a constantly revolving issue is the 3D tonearm, with the most recent issue being leakage.
http://vpiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=9674
http://vpiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10772
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/need-help-and-advice-on-a-vpi-3d-arm

With a limited run table like the 40th, it would be pretty costly to redesign a V2 version. Have they performed an extensive quality check? Or will problems start to arise 1 year after? And if problems can hold out past the 5 years, how costly would it be to the user? Or would there be no parts for it?

Similar, but obscure discussions were brought up about the Voyager Preamplifier, which I have only seen article reviews of but no customer/ end user feedback. Any information on is also limited to 2017, nothing in 2018.
http://vpiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9514

So what are your thoughts on the new VPI turntable?



magmadster
You have obviously done some research, therefore, the fact that you failed to acknowledge the thousands of user posts celebrating VPI’s customer service and chose merely to focus on their shortcomings, reeks of a hidden agenda.

Sure, you have a legitimate concern about a company’s ability to honor their warranty and their ability to service a legacy product, but you again failed to acknowledge that VPI has been in business for 40 years. If the past is any indicator of a company’s ability to survive a fickle audio industry, at least VPI will be around in 5-years to service their products. What other manufactures of turntables are you considering that will give you the comfort level you desire?


VPI is not Sony or Panasonic; they’re a small boutique company operating successfully in a specialty market. I am not a VPI owner nor fanboy, but I am a fanboy of small boutique companies trying their best to survive in a tough industry. If this hobby is to survive, we need to stop eating our own.


I would be leery of buying anything that's a first run product whether it's a car or anything else. Plus, as far as I know, this is the only direct drive table they have....could be wrong. 
Why not call Mat Weisfeld at VPI and ask him?
If there are any bugs or issues it's pretty much guaranteed they will surface within the 5 year warranty period.  
bsmg54 posts01-22-2019 9:28am
I would be leery of buying anything that’s a first run product whether it’s a car or anything else. Plus, as far as I know, this is the only direct drive table they have....could be wrong.
No, this is VPI’s second direct drive turntable.

I note that the OP just joined Audiogon today and that this is his first post. Given his reservations about this turntable, it is probably not the best choice for him.
@testpilot
If we look at Sears, a company that survived for over 130 years, it filed for bankruptcy last year. Now it may not be a proper comparison from public company to mom-pop shop, but it doesn’t mean a successful company in the past can’t fail or make poor decisions in the future, even with 40 years under their belt. Also for an item marked $15000, shouldn’t the quality of it be kink free or at least very minor? To be in the high-end/specialty market, should the standards and QC be proportionally higher?


Edit: Remember, this is a thought experiment. A lot of people probably know the pros about it, but I am playing devil's advocate to bring out the cons.
magmadster
Also for an item marked $15000, shouldn’t the quality of it be kink free or at least very minor?
Are you suggesting that there are issues with this turntable? I certainly haven't heard of any problems with it. Have you seen an HW-40? Have you heard one? Have you spoken to anyone who has experience with it? Or, are you just raising a paranoid concern?
That a significant investment.  Call VPI with your concerns.

Bases on your questions, and I were a dealer, I would suggest you  be a digital listener, and stay away from turntables.

Looks like a lot needless overthinking. I have nothing but positive experience with VPI. No company is perfect, but they support their users.

If you have that kind of dough for a turntable, I wouldn't be on a forum. I would be in a dealers face with questions. If he can't answer them, look elsewhere.


Hi fellow forum members!  As a thought experiment I just want to make anybody currently considering buying a VPI turntable to stop and have a panic attack.  There is the possibility that five years from now you may regret your decision.  Twenty years from now don't say I didn't warn you!
Here's another thought experiment; you could order one of these fine new VPI turntables and get killed in a car crash before it gets delivered.

Or the VPI could die in a Fedex truck crash and you would have to wait for another one.
Hey all,

Thought I would hop in and say hi on some points.  It has been a bit crazy with the post holiday time and a lot of staff changes (adding additional staff and the training curve that comes with it.)

Regarding the Traveler arm there might be a miss communication somewhere because we do have and are ready to service all Traveler tables/arms.  I will say there is a bit of a lag time since all the the Traveler parts are stored off site and my main Traveler tech needs to be cloned so I can get him over there.  Regardless, its on my radar now so I'll grab my guy Jan and head over there to grab whatever he needs to service your arm.   Now I'm not 100% familiar with all the details of our table and what has been going on and not sure what communication has already happened between my office and the floor.  Again though, they have been extra crazy with the time of year and we will get everything wrapped up :)

In general, all VPI products are serviceable.  Some of the much older tables might have alternative replacement parts from what it was originally made with but in the end I don't want to (knowingly) leave anyone hanging with their VPI.

It is true about first generation items and learning curve and we certainly learned a lot from the Classic Direct which was our first Direct Drive.  Overall the HW-40 (and Classic Direct) are all serviceable long after the warranty.  Although, the only Classic Direct can we had to replace was one that had a forklift go through the box during shipping :p

I don't know if we will be around in 130 years but we will certainly be around for another 40 and if my daughter (or other future children) take up the mantle they might keep it going for another 40 there after.     

We are not perfect, and yes we have learned a lot as we have explored new aspects of technology and design but we will always do our best to the support the customer and all tables regardless of the price point.
Why not just buy the Technics SL1200G for 4 grand?  It bested my Prime by a long shot and if you are worried about service years from now, there shouldn't be any problems getting it fixed.  Technics makes their own DD motors where VPI purchases them from a supplier.
I have no stake in the game or the " thought experiment" but I must say good on VPI Industries for their response very well written and thought-out always showing that they are 100% customer-oriented.
magmadster, Seems you are dreaming bad dreams about problems that are yet to happen.  This leads to inactivity and paranoia.  Enjoy the here and now and trust that tomorrow will take care of itself, or not.  If you consider this hobby a form of investing, you are in the wrong hobby. On the other hand, we have people like me and several others here who have purchased 30 and 40 year old turntables with no hope of aftermarket factory repair, and yet most of our turntables are up and running.  After all, it's just a motor and a platter.  What's the worst that could happen?  Or was this just an opportunity to vent about some real or imagined issue with a Traveler turntable?
Vpi has always bent over backwards to help me. They have sent parts to me for a HW19 and an Aries 1 and not charged me a dime. Both of these in the last couple years making both tables 20 years old, give or take. Dealt with Harry both times, once on the phone and once through e-mail. If I were in the market for a HW40 these things you are speaking of would be the furthest thing from my mind.
In 1986 I bought an HW-19 Turntable and an HW-17 record cleaning machine.  The turntable has needed only routine lube for the bearing and the occasional belt.  The record cleaning machine needed service due to operator error (that would be me using too much cleaning fluid) about 30 years ago.  It has been fine ever since.  VPI sponsors a very helpful forum that you might want to visit on their website where you will get an idea of the kinds of questions and issues that owners share.  VPI is a great little company.  I also own a Prime and am happy with it too, as well as a Technics SL1200GAE, which is also excellent.  You can't go wrong with any of these.
VPI support is outstanding.  I have a Classic 4 and love it with the 3D arm which was an easy retrofit for me to perform.  I consider myself a loyal VPI customer.  They have earned it!
All of the questions you asked could legitimately be applied to every turntable manufacturer, including Technics. Did Technics service their tables after warranty? Does anyone know what Technics has done for parts backups?

Your post is not a thought experiment. It’s a fear experiment, with the intent it seems to scare people from buying a table you have no experience with, from a manufacturer you misrepresent. 
While it may be a thought experiment (since very few people have seen an actual HW40 outside of a trade show or the roll-out at the VPI house), I think the OP raises some legitimate concerns.  The concerns could certainly be addressed, but from what I can tell, they haven't been so far.

lewm said that a TT is just a motor and a platter.   In the case of their belt drives, that may be true, those are relatively simple devices.  The motors are made by Hurst and readily available and if not, you could drop almost any AC motor into the table and have it work properly.   The HW40 apparently uses a very specialized motor. You can not just replace it with a close substitute made by another mfr if the OEM ceases production.  Same for the electronics that run the HW40 motor.  I think it is a valid question and I would have hoped for a more detailed response from VPI.
The comparison with Technics is also valid.  Technics made their own motor and controller, and even if those parts are no longer available, they sold millions of those tables, so a secondary market emerged to repair the older tables and even hot-rod them.  Just by the sheer number of tables sold, there are plenty of donor tables available to rob parts from if need be.  At this price point and the advertised small production run (400 pcs), this would not apply to the HW40.
To reiterate: It doesn't mean VPI can't address these concerns;  I think the OP is asking how they will.
My experience with VPI is mixed. I’ve had three, two different Classic models and a Prime Signature.

On one of the Classics, the tonearm pivot point was defective after battling cartridge alignment for about three months. I called for help and they were quite helpful in working with me to determine the problem, then charged me for the pivot point while still under warantee.
When I received my Prime Signature the platter would not turn at the right speed. It was very slow. Turns out the grease they use on the bearing had hardened and was binding. The grease had to be picked out of the platter bearing receiver and then it had to run for a few days before it loosened up. Definitely not a pleasant experience after plunking down $6K and it won’t work out of the box. I still have difficulty resetting the platter after removal for cleaning, etc. I can’t get all the excess grease out.
With the ADS, it is six months old and when I power it up sometimes it will begin spinning the platter. I guess it should be sent back to them.
They always answer the phone. They are always friendly and nice, Matt has called and emailed me to respond to issues and Marc can do phones pretty well. You won’t always like what they say though.
Rollin
I think Lewm has it exactly right and this smacks of another recent thread bemoaning our inability to audition top flight cartridges before buying. Your concerns are certainly valid and worth considering. However, as I see it, due to the nature of our hobby (!) participation in it requires a certain amount of abandon when it comes to $. There is no way one can expect a definitive or reliable answer to your questions about what the future may hold for a boutique company; even one with the best intentions and a proven track record of customer support.
I am (very) biased in my opinion. I own a VPI ARIES-ONE turntable. It has one belt. It works very nicely. The arm wobbles a little but I like it anyway.
It has an excellent arm lift and gently lower the stylus onto the record.
I had often looked at the TNT-6 with the HRX double motor system, but it's discontinued. I am not interested in rim drive or direct drive. My records sound very good- comparable to (good) digital. VPI has a somewhat simple manual but with a little help from the dealer I set it up
in a couple of hours. My last turntable was a Thorens which did not sound anywhere near as good. The new Prime Tables look very simple
which also look very appealing. VPI holds a nice niche in the record-playing universe. Like I said, I like simple. I love the Linn LP12 also, but
the suspension is Extremely sensitive. 
I have had several VPI tables over the years and have dealt with Harry and the late Sheila several times, both were always very helpful. I have no experience with the new VPI owner except knowing that he is the son of the founder. I hear some of the issues here and must say that they are typical of small boutique companies, especially when real engineering modelling and production processes aren’t used. The bearing grease example above is a perfect example of hit and miss material selection errors. I moved to a turntable built by a company who’s owner is an engineer, one of the few in our hobby, and the build quality and “engineering” absolutely surpass VPI in every way. What I won’t do is bash VPI though as I enjoyed their products even if several of them had poor engineering problems.  They were always great to deal with and tried to the best of their ability to resolve the few problems I had. They always felt like part of your family when you called - much respect!!
It always surpsises me how some wealthy people are full of crap. If you can afford a $15,000.00 turntable, then who gives a crap what happens after the warranty? If it breaks, toss it into the garbage and buy whatever is new, equivalent and makes you happy at that time. 

On the other hand, if you purchased a $15,000.00 turntable by taking out a 10 year mortgage and are now eating canned carrots for dinner, then you’re an idiot! If it breaks and you’re still paying it off or can’t afford a new one, then you’ll deserve all the misery that comes your way. Don’t play with expensive toys you can’t afford.


Well, THAT was pleasant reading!  Geez.

**** if you purchased a $15,000.00 turntable by taking out a 10 year mortgage and are now eating canned carrots for dinner, then you’re an idiot! ****

Did anyone say that?  Nonetheless, I would agree with that comment.