VPI Aries with non-VPI arm

Anyone using a VPI table with an arm other than those made by VPI?

I have a new Aries/3D setup. I like the table but the unipivot style arm is not for me.

I'd like to switch the 3D unipivot for a gimbaled arm: Tri-Planar, Kuzma 4 Point, etc.
Can the Aries be retrofit to take these arms?

There is no local dealer to ask and VPI's phone info has not always been accurate.
Anyone using a Tri-Planar or Kuzma 4 point on a VPI table?
Maxh, I used a Tri-planar VII on an Aries 2. Worked fine. It looked a bit odd since I had to use the same spot where the longer jwm 10.5 was mounted. The arm board was in a fixed spot. The result was that the arm at rest sat at an angle instead of pointing straight out. But I was able to get the right pivot to spindle distance so it worked fine. That would be less of an issue if the arm was of similar length to the 10.5 instead of being a 9 inch arm.

BTW I bought an extra arm mount board or "puck" on Audiogon that I drilled for the Tri so I could keep the original arm board free of extra holes. Spacers were also needed to raze the arm up from the arm board.
...just wondering....do you not like your 3D arm?
I definitely don't like the arm.

I'm sure it is a good design & that is well manufactured but I'm not comfortable with the cartridge setup process on this uni-pivot arm. I don't feel that I'm getting the best sound from this system.

I have had tables & arms starting with an AR in the 60s, to Thorens, SME, Oracle, including a VPI HR19 and a Scoutmaster with their 9" arm.

I am not compulsive about cartridge setup or tweaking but this arm is way too twitchy for me. Setting the counterweight & azimuth is a nightmare. I am never certain that the pivot point is properly seated at the apex of the inverted cup. All the cartridge settings come into question because I have no confidence that the arm is seated properly.

Again, I'm sure VPI did a good job on the 3D. I think it's just the nature of their uni-pivot design.

I think I'll opt an arm that provides for more secure setup. This is an arm that I don't feel that I'm able to "dial in."
Max ... I truly understand your anxiety about the VPI uni-pivot arm. I own a VPI Classic, which comes with the uni-pivot arm. First couple of set-ups, ... I was a nervous wreck. Same questions and concerns you had.

At this point ... it takes me about 20 minutes to mount a cartridge. I have a Soundsmith CounterIntuitive (or something like that) which makes azimuth and VTF adjustments very easy and repeatable. The gizmo costs about $50 or $60. In fact ... it's almost ... fun???

I have a pretty high end cartridge, the Lyra Kleos. IMO, the Kleos tracks very well on the Classic wand.

But look, if you really get the itches thinking about the VPI uni-pivot, I think you might be able to swap it out for a VPI fixed gimbel arm.

If you have any continuing interest, call Mike or Jack at VPI. They are great guys and can clear up any questions you may have.


Thanks for the input.
The 3D arm differs from the JMW 9T in a few ways:
The 3D's counterweight relies on the friction fit of rubber "O" rings to keep it in place. It doesn't have the set screw of the old arm. Minor adjustments are very difficult. Moving the counterweight back to front can cause it to rotate around the axis of the arm. You essentially need to set the azimuth & tracking force at the same time.
The good news: the Soundsmith gizmo comes standard on the 3D.

I'm using the Kleos as well. In my system, the cartridge is revealing without being clinical.

The fiddly nature of the uni-pivot arm was OK with me at the $2.5K price point of the Scout/9T combo. At about $10K for the Aries/3D rig, I'm not so pleased.
Thanks for the info.
I think I'm jumping the VPI ship. I'm going to trade the whole rig: the new Aries/3D combo with SS Clamp, Outer-ring, and SDS drive.
I'll be shopping the audio shows soon.
Considering a TW Raven One with a Tri-Planar arm.
It's a shame that VPI doesn't make an armless table anymore. You should check out the Sota line,they still do.
The Soundsmith Counter-intuitive comes standard on 3D arms (Aries)? Both 10.5" & 12" arms? I assume your $10K rig is with the 12" 3D. I am considering moving from my Rega P9/Lyra Delos to a VPI Aries 3D (10.5") with a Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge.
Give a call to Seth Frank at SoudStageDirect.com. His TT guru, Jay, is very good at what he does and he may be able to help you. Plus Seth is very knowledgeable about the VPI line and offerings. He may even have a used gimbeled arm at his showroom he woudl sell.
"03-14-14: Maxh
I think I'm jumping the VPI ship."

Take a look at SME. They have a new TT coming out priced between the 10 and 20.
The early VPI 3D arms were a bear to set up, but the new ones are pretty easy. The counterintuitive, and the Fozgometer make it a foolproof proposition. ...and you really only have to set up the arm once..it never goes out of adjustment.