I had the pleasure of hearing this table in 6 different rooms at RMAF, and it sounds and looks beautiful. Are there any owners of this table that could share their thoughts? I'm seriously considering ordering one. I have the original Classic TT and want to move up the VPI line.
Harry is a marketing fox, taken old components and re-purposing them for a 'new' machine. Beware of 'printed' tone arms, as they are inferior to those made of high quality machined parts. Harry knows that but needed to provide and excuse for a $15,000 piece of eye candy. My local VPI dealer tells me that set up for this machine will be very complicated, so a dealer will be spending a lot of time at your house. The dealer also indicated you need a solid platform to put this machine on. The platform alone could cost you 3-5 K. Think about it, a three arm version will cost you, including cartridges, about $30K. I will wait for some reviews in the audio press. I am sure Harry's PR machine is in overdrive.
The direct drive is still being made....personally by Harry. Its a special order item. The Avenger gets very close with much less money. The Avenger's mag/lev platter will be available for all those tables that use the Classic platter. (The platter and bearing has to be replaced...although there will be a rebate for the old equipment). The new platter and the 3D arm makes the Classic series much better...and very close to unbeatable.
Stan (Stringreen) ... wow, no kidding. I own a first generation Classic, with a Classic 3 tone arm, SS wand and motor (300 rpm) upgrades. The platter is the original 20 pound aluminum monster that rides on an inverted bearing.
Are you saying that thee is a new suspension set up that might work for my TT?? If so, I wonder what I could expect in terms of sound improvement?? FYI, my carty is the Lyra Kleos.
Bif....the 3D arm is MUCH better (by the way..the new Valhalla cable is a worthwhile upgrade so I understand..haven't heard it yet. I have the Discovery wire in my 3D which is better than the origianl Valhalla wire)....take out your VPI feet and insert Bearpaws.....the mag/lev platter is not in production quite yet...soon. Your cartridge is excellent...you will hear it much better with the above.
I'm always amazed at the people that bash VPI. I've owned the original Classic TT since it was introduced. It has been completely trouble free and has delivered beautiful sound since the day I got it.
As for the Direct Drive being a bust, Michael Fremer rated it A+ in Stereophile and said if he ever replaced his reference, it would be the VPI DD. I have no doubt after hearing the Avenger that it will satisfy my needs for a very long time.
I too don't understand bashing VPI, when one has the option of not buying. Certainly their products are nicely made and "honest". However, just on a theoretical level, while there are possible advantages in terms of noise floor, related to the maglev, what I wonder about is the idea that the maglev mechanism adds another source of elasticity to the system, which could (I say only "could") result in loss of some speed stability, in moments where stylus drag is peaking and the motor is struggling to produce more torque to overcome the resulting effect on rpm. I looked closely at an Avenger during the Capitol Audio Fest, and I did see that the magnetic bond between the top and bottom platters is substantial, so as to minimize that effect.
I think the VPI Avenger is an old model. Years ago I would guess about 10 years. I saw a VPI pre production model that very much looked like the Prime. It was anounced as the replacement model for the HRX.
However that was pre-crisis. Instead of introducing a new top of the line model they Clasic was released. Later followed by the Classic two and three. Now the Avenger apears once more.
I have the Avenger with two 3D arms and love it. I set it up myself with the assistance of a bud who knows far more than me. Relatively easy process. I find it to be fabulous. I've had the Scout and an Aries 2 and will be a VPI'er for life. Great product, great people, great sound. Haters are gonna hate.
The avenger will be offered standard in two versions, signature and reference. The signature will have a prime motor, no mag drive, no ring, no sds. It will have HRX Center weight.
The reference will add everything the signature lacks along with an HRX single pully motor drive, the dual motor will be discontinued along with HRX table in January (it will move along with the direct to harry's workshop)
The signature comes with 10" 3d arm and the ref comes with 12" 3d reference arm which adds vinyl carbon fibre look wrap along with nordost wiring.......
The signature will be 9500.00
The reference will be 21000.00
FYI: Mag drive alone for retrofitting other tables after January will be 6,000.00
Hey all, there are a lot of responses so I'll try to hit everything with my post on this subject. First of all Harry is retired and is very happily away from this craziness while still consulting and helping with VPI designs. The PR team is me. I've had companies ask me who are PR firm is and personally I don't believe in PR companies. You're either excited about what you do or you're full of it. The one time we tried a PR person, he was completely full of it and we tossed him out the door pretty fast. Anyone who has to "beware" of a 3D printed tonearm has never actually heard one. If we want to talk about marketing it is in reverse. I'm sitting on tons of metal arms that no one is interested in because of the sonic excellence of the 3D arm. If we wanted to "move product" I would make up something magical about the metal arm to move the inventory. The metal arms are still great but the 3D arm is superior.
We pulled away from the Classic Direct Drive because of me. I don't like anything that I can't personally take apart, put together, and fix on the spot. The Direct Drive motor is very technical and specialized. Also very delicate in shipping. When a Direct Drive motor is damaged, it HAS to come back to the VPI factory and be fixed by a trained VPI technician. However, that VPI technician with the capability is Harry. A lot to of ask of a guy who is trying to enjoy his retirement.
Another issue... not issue, rather a perversion of our industry is how expensive turntables get. The Direct Drive is very expensive to manufacture. When we released it at $30,000 that was actually cheap compared to what we should have sold it for. Also, at that price you can only mount 1 tonearm. Eventually the technology will trickle down and become more affordable but it simply isn't there yet. Harry has done many listening tests of our Direct Drive versus the "Great" Japanese Direct Drives and the VPI DD eats there lunch and every other meal as well. They sound slow and bloated in comparison.
That brings us to the Avenger. The Avenger technically started as a design concept over 10 years ago and Harry had worked on the project as a different shape version of the HR-X. He had the Magnetic Drive in mind, but never finished it because, you guessed it, he made the Classic Turntable instead. The Classic overwhelmed the production pipelines and essentially killed all design work on the "Tripod Project" (the original name). Last year at our dealer Training event I found the dust caked original chassis while we started our renovations. With the binder identifying it as the Tripod and a very early stage design for what would be the Mag Drive. We dug it out, cleaned it up, Harry finished it, and the prototype gave the Direct Drive a serious run for its money.
Avenger Vs Classic Direct
Before we talk about the sound quality, we need to talk about the design for the customer. The Avenger is the ultimate High-End Sandbox for the customer. You can start at $9,500 and slowly upgrade all the way to the $30K three arm model. You can mount any length arm, any manufacturer's make, and up to 3 of them. The Classic Direct can only house 1 arm. (technically you can mount a second but it is a DIY mess that isn't fitting for a $30K table). The Avenger is mechanical. Live on a mountain in Wyoming? No problem we can send you a replacement part that you can install without a degree in electrical engineering. The Classic Direct... hope you have a UPS store within 100 miles of where you live.
How does it sound... I'm going to copy and paste exactly what Harry says about the two tables...
"We have done the listening test with all three tables having a 12" 3D arm and moving the same Lyra Atlas between the three of them. The Mag Drive feels quieter than either DD but the DD has a slight advantage in power or shall we call it dynamic range. Hard to define but the bottom line is the speed stability of the DD is still unmatched but the Mag drive is so quiet and so close to the DD it is simply different color roses, not roses verses carnations!!"
Well this post has gotten much longer than expected, thank God I don't a PR team because if they wrote it it would have cost a fortune! Hope this clears things up and happy listening!
Every year one must disassemble the Avenger, disassemble the main bearing, replace a worn out part, reassemble and redo the setup in order to get a "new" sounding turntable again(?) Seems to me this new idea is going to get old real quick! (Quite apart from the wider public perception of an expensive T/T whose parts wear out quickly(!) i.e. once they start thinking of top hardware engineering companies such as SME who make their main bearings sealed or maintenance free for the lifetime of the product?)
..and you are planning to offer the same sense of deep joy to other VPI users?
Please note that I'm not a "VPI basher" but I do find some of their design decisions troubling... Kind regards,
Glad you like the table Miner42 :) It is a personal favorite since it was named after me, I'm the Aries of the family.
Moonglum, first off I want you to know that I don't take it as VPI bashing. More like an opportunity for me to clear up some potential confusion.
The Avenger bearing does not have to be disassembled and rebuilt like that once a year unless it is being put through some major DIY process that we haven't tested. The projected wear and tear was more in the 5-10 year projection pending upon use. Regardless of any turntable brand there is always an element or mechanism that will need to be replaced in time. Luckily with VPI owners we will still be around to help you with whatever that part is years later.
buconero, do you know "Harry" personally? Do you hang out with him? Shame if you do since you hammer his products. I own a Traveler and can't believe how well it's built and how great it sounds. Any company must market their goods it's a fact of life. VPI goes several steps further and delivers great turntables. If you don't know "Harry" you might want to come off of your arrogant pedestal and become human.
Hi, I am considering getting one Avenger, but have a little concern. Unlike the reference version, the standard Avenger does not have a speed controller. How one can be sure if it runs on the right speed? Also, anyone here has actually used JMW 12-3D Reference arm, which one of these carts would fit best: Phasemation PP1000, AMG Teatro, Dynavector XX2, Clearaudio Concerto, Ortofon Candeza Black, Ortofon Winfeld, and Transfiguration Proteus? Grateful for your advice.
Carsman I am a dealer for a few of the lines you mentioned. I personally use an Avenger and Proteus which work wonderfully together. I have also sold quite a few of that exact combination.
As for speed control, you can go a couple routes. You can use the stepped pulley along with a strobe to set speed, an ADS (SDS replacement) and strobe, or a phoenix engineering eagle. One of the added benefits of using a control device is it allows the use of an HRX pulley and multiple belts, along with being able to switch from 33.3 to 45 at the push of a button rather than physically moving the belt. Anyways, if you want to discuss sonic differences etc your welcome to PM me or call if you would like.
There is the decision that had to be made at VPI... (Do we hire a PR person to address any issues our (loyal) customer base has? Should this PR person also address the failures in our bringing products to our customers as well?. Should this PR person have an additional responsiblity of explaining why, even though a valued customer just spent $800- 1200 on a new platter/bearing, only to find that it isn't the best out now at that very moment? Should this PR person also have to explain why a customer that just purchased a Classic 4 have their purchased made obsolete by the introduction of the Avenger? Should this PR person have to explain to a customer that saved their hard earned money for a Prime, only to find out a month later that their Prime is now available in upgraded form? Should this PR person have to explain the cost our customer just paid for a SDS, only to just be made of a better?, cheaper alternative, the ADS? Should this PR person have to try and explain why there was for a brief time a ceramic coated platter, they only found out by reading (deep) in the forums that at once was marketed by VPI's dealers but not readily available?? Should this PR person also be responsible for calling customers who just purchased a first production run of the 3D arm that had (twisting issues) and try to explain why their hard earned $ just seemed like $'s down the drain?)
I for one, would NOT want that job for it would not pay nearly enough for all of these issues that arise.
The above post by referenceanalog, really shows, in a very striking way, why some are turned off by VPI.
Only after purchasing an expensive product, one then finds a very new product that acquires (help) in order to figure it all out.
Stringreen, Long before I started posting here, I was a follower. I always noticed that you would be a proponent of a VPI product based only on Harry's recommendations, not by your actual use of said product. Since, I see you try to incorporate your current (non-use) recommendations of any VPI products with a note that "Harry recommends this". I think this is a wise choice.
Not sure what accounts for the vitriol here. The OP had seen and heard the Avenger at RMAF, was impressed, and was hoping some folks who own one might report on their experiences to help with an upgrade decision. What followed were some pretty sharp attacks on VPI (the company and the founder). Having visited VPI twice within the past year, I can tell you that it is a family owned small business that is run with warmth and professionalism. The vibe is upbeat and everyone on staff is wildly enthusiastic about the core mission: advancing the art of vinyl playback for the broadest possible range of consumers. During my visit I was fortunate to be able to meet with Mat and Harry. During our discussions it was abundantly clear that priority one was meeting the needs of an extremely loyal following by offering products that provide consistently superior sound at reasonable prices. We talked about music, new product offerings, exciting ideas still on the drafting table and ways of ensuring that new developments could be brought to customers for reasonable prices. Like any small, successful business, the place was popping but both Mat and Harry graciously took time to give me a tour and talk passionately about their work. The suggestion made by some here that the focus of VPI is on hyping overpriced product with overzealous eye toward the bottom line simply doesn't square with my experience. My first high end table was an HW19 back in the early 1990s. Since then I've owned a Systemdeck IIX, Linn Sondek and Townshend Rock. I returned to VPI with the release of the Scout and have never looked back. The Scout was greeted in the audiophile community with well deserved accolades for delivering remarkable performance for relatively little money. We should all be grateful that Mat has taken over the reigns upon Harry's retirement. As his gracious responses here attest, he is a man of character and integrity who will offer the next generation of vinyl enthusiasts an affordable means of achieving truly high end sound in their homes as well as cutting edge products for those who want (and can afford) to acquire a top flight record spinner. It would be one thing if people who had heard the Avenger under controlled conditions did not like the performance and commented accordingly. It is quite another to willfully steer the discussion toward baseless assaults on the company and those who run it.
I've been enjoying my VPI Avenger for over 6 months now. It's the finest TT I've ever owned. I owned the original Classic since it was introduced, the Avenger is simply in a league above. This is the last TT I will ever buy. I bought the base Avenger but paid extra for the magnetic drive. It has such a quietness to it, I'm totally satisfied!
I'm not in front of a computer and haven't had a chance to read the full response but I need to respond to this motor claim. From Scout on up (Avenger... Titan) the motors are all made in America. The Chinese slanderous comments were started by a competing company and they are totally false. We value our company and I don't believe in PR firms or PR people. Tried that once and the guy was full of it!
I got into this industry because of family and the loses we faced and try to be true to myself and our customers. I wear my heart on my sleeve with VPI, I can't do anything upon how that passion is perceived by others.
Mat, I'm glad that you put to rest the origin of the Hurst motors.
I took you at your word, previously, that you took comments in a way that allowed you to clear up any confusion. Although none of my other remarks had any affect, at least you cleared this one up. I'm a life long VPI customer, so I too, wear my heart on my sleeve when I post. Thanks.
Mat, Could you tell us the process VPI uses to put a Hurst motor into a shipped product? Do you receive these motors from the Hurst factory and after mounting/aligning the pulley, directly ship them out? Do these motors undergo some sort of testing before any of the above? If so, what is the percentage of good vs. bad motors you receive? If I were to buy a Hurst motor directly from their factory, and reinstall a pulley, would I then have the same exact motor VPI supplies their customers of their tts?
I have, in the past, ordered Hurst motors and their policy is no returns. How does VPI get around this?
I hope Mat addresses my questions above that I feel have merit.
I am miffed by others posting: (I assume that the term (vitriol) was aimed at my posts.)
These questions/concerns I have are valid and weren't presented in any way other than to express them as I have thought about them and experienced them. I'm certain if I had the chance to visit VPI, I to, would come away with the same positive feeling. My thoughts/concerns are over years of being involved with their products and experiences in contacting them, not by just one visit.