I have no direct experience comparing to a Classic. I would ask if the Aries has been upgraded in any way. My Aries has the HRX bearing, platter, the motor upgrade, SDS, Stillpoints treatment and 12.6 arm. I'd have to hear a Classic directly outperform it before I would give up 'my' Aries.
I think the Classic is a good turntable for the money, but just that, it is getting a great deal of hype but when I have heard it, and I have quiet a bit at my dealer when I listen to used LP's there prior to purchase, it is not the best they have I prefer the Aries they have and the Ace Spacedeck. Again, it is a good table but I would prefer the Aries.
I had an Aries I, with the 10.5 arm, and replaced it with a Classic, and have never looked back.
When the Classic came out, I called VPI and spoke to Sheila. I described my Aries (original series; HRX feet and SDS). She advised to stick with what I had.
Can you please tell me the difference between the Aries and the Classic. I have heard the Classic one time but it had a different cartridge and phone-pre so I really didn't have a direct comparison. Some dealers are telling me the Classic blows away the Aries. Others on Audiogon are telling me the Classic is a great table for the money but doesn't compare to the Aries. It's amazing how opinions are all over the place.
Why would a 'dealer' tell you otherwise? There is really no way to make a direct comparison since cartridge, cables, SDS, accessories etc. make a difference. I have an Aries I and the only thing I miss is the ability to put an outer ring on it. If I was starting 'new' I would go with the Classic and load it up with accessories. However, if you want to put two arms on a table, best to look for an extended Aries.
Buconero, I am a VPI dealer who advised Taters to stick with the Aries. If you want a ring get the TTWeight one. I had a Super Platter on my Aries Extended and had both a VPI ring and the lighter TTW one and ended up using the TTW one more. A lot easier to use and does everything else about as well except flatten warps because of the light weight. They have heavier ones I haven't tried. Not a dealer for them.
My Aries was very bright compared to the Clearaudio Performance Magnum it replaced, and the VPI Classic which I now have. Not a contest, it lacked weight in the midrange, and with my gear some music just seemed to screetch.
I can't Imagine an Aries being bright. I have heard 2 other ones besides mine and bright is the last thing they are. What kind of cartridge and phono-preamp are you using?
The Classic is a good table; I have had a lot of VPIs in my 2 tours as a dealer and I have never had or heard a properly set up one of any vintage sound bad. I am just not sure it is an advance on the previous generation Scoutmaster, let alone the Aries. I should have mentioned in my previous post that the TTW ring fit all the VPIs I have tried it as well as the Basis.
I do not think my Aries I is bright. I have heard my table playing at the Dealers' after setup in the same location as the Classic table. We uplugged the classic and plugged in my Aries. My Aries was better but I think I had a better cartridge.
I had several cartridges that I used:
Sumiko Blackbird, Grado Statement Reference 1, Benz Micro Glider
used the phono preamp in my Cary SLP98p F-1, and when needed a step up transformer from Graham Slee. I also was auditioning other phono stages in this time frame, included Cary Audio PH II, several ARC's, the Graham Slee's, PS Audio GCPH (modded, what I kept), Bryston, etc...
Also, I always used the MintLP set up for the cartridges, very accurate, and fairly easy to use. So unless there was just some inherent problem with the arm, or wiring, it sounded bright. I don't know what your experiences have been, but that was mine.
Oh, and the table sat on a specific for that model, Ginko Audio isolation platform. The Clearaudio was to my ear, a much better table all around. I love the Classic, after overcoming the inherent problem of hum that accompanies an integrated motor assembly with a well shielded cartridge (Soundsmith), it's been a great table, that I am not looking to replace.
I have owned both (but now neither), and was able to play them side-by-side with the same cartridge for some months. To my ears, it was no contest - the Aries 1 (w/ the original heavy platter) was the better of the two, by a large margin.
I was surprised because the Aries was using the original JMW 10" arm and the Classic (now the Classic 1) using the 10.5i. Here's my short list:
- slightly darker, warmer, more "depth", better bass
- was quieter. Deeper black background
- better speed stability w/o SDS. No advantage with SDS
- JMW 10 arm does not track as well as 10.5i, but OTF VTA adjustment is a big advantage
- was better built and finished, IMHO
Classic (now Model 1):
- more neutral sounding, slightly more detailed
- smaller, so fits better on most racks
- more attractive (arguably)
I did not use a clamp on the Classic - don't like them. Cartridges used were Grado The Reference, Shelter 501 MkII (both stereo & mono), Soundsmith "The Voice", Dynavector 20x. Music was a large collection of jazz, classical, opera and female vocalists.
I am not claiming that this is definitive. These are just a summary of my results from my own testing, and with my own ears. YMMV
I think your description of the Aries is 100% correct. It's funny how the dealers I have talked too say the classic is better. Maybe they have never compared them side by side.
Well, everyone has different taste. Or, as the cannibal said "everyone tastes different!"
Certainly, dealers have an interest in promoting what they have to sell now, as opposed to many years ago. And, frankly, if it were me and I was listening to a Classic every day; would I really remember what an Aries 1 sounded like? Who has that much audio memory?