Well, I have some experience with VPI and Basis, yes, Basis is a different league. The better your System is (Preamp, Phono) the note you will notice. More weight behind every detail, a better musical flow, dramatically reduced distortions (coloration), deeper soundstage based on better parts (material, precision).
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I've owned a few VPI tables, and a Basis 2500 Signature. Personally, I preferred the Basis table, but just as with anything else in this hobby, it is all system synergy dependent. The Basis was more revealing and transparent, while VPI tables tend to be warmer and fuller sounding.
I would say the sound is more different than better, just like asking someone whether they prefer Nordost cables or Purist Audio cables, they each will work fine with the appropriate gear.
Moryoga. FYI regarding the Basis 2200 Signature with Vector 4 arm. I recall that Paul Seydor reviewed that very setup in tas a while ago. Googled and found it was published on the tas website. Although I've not heard the 2200 I've owned other Basis 'tables--they've been stellar and support from Basis whenever I've had questions has been precise and exceptional.
On a Basis 2500, a friend of mine had both a Vector 2 and a Graham Phantom arm. Using both a Lyra Titan i and a Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge for comparison, several listeners compared the two arms while cartridges were switched in the arms. Everyone preferred the Vector 2. I personally thought the differences were quite small (Phantom seemed a bit darker and slightly less energetic sounding).
I don't know about a comparison with a 2.2. Another friend of mine actually likes the 2.2 more than the Phantom, so this is really a matter of taste.
I currently own a Basis Debut with an outboard motor controller and vacuum clamping system. The build quality is exceptional. Unlike some other tables where you can see slight play or out-of-round "wobble" in rotating parts, absolutely nothing of that sort can be seen with the Basis.
But, I have also owned a VPI HW15-IV and it too is quite a nice table. Yes, it is not built quite as well as the Basis, but it is a lot cheaper and worked well for many years (it is currently in a friend's system still working away).
I don't think you can go wrong with either brand.
Lots of fine sounding tables out there - I have only owned Basis in my vinyl reincarnation. I have heard many great tables at shows but that must be taken with a grain of salt versus played in your own system. I just think in general vinyl sounds so much better - I can tell within seconds if it is digi or vinyl when I walk in a room.
I was fortunate, my dealer started me out with a Basis 1400 sig that knocked me out of digital forever...or at least the last several years.
I upgraded to the 2200 sig and can't imagine buying another table. It is a music maker. AJ at basis offers terrific support.
Hello Moryoga. I have not used the Synchro-Wave so I cannot comment on its merits. But can comment on what A.J. says. From a number of conversations with A.J. over the years I've observed hes as honest as they come and responds to questions conservatively without flamboyant exaggerations. He does not inflate sonic improvements instead he understates them, such as advising against an upgrade as the benefits would be subtle when in actuality there was a worthwhile 15-20% improvement. When he's been enthusiastically positive, such as you mentioned he was about the Synchro-Wave, I've taken his recommendations and its always been like money in the bank.
I have a synchrowave and it makes a difference, though I would hardly consider it to be a major improvement. Pitch stability is good with Basis tables without a separate power supply so what one hears is not so much related to obviously better pitch stability than one hears a more "solid" (weightly without sounding bloated or sluggish) sound and sharp imaging.
It is the real deal when it comes to power supplies. In order to use it, the motor for the table has to be sent back to Basis for modification. That is because the power supply does not merely use a capacitor to split the power for the dual phases being fed to the motor like some power supplies do.
The really cost effective upgrade with their tables is buying their top grade belt. This might actually make a bigger difference (particularly if the belt on the table is worn).
LOL! I have had several conversations with A.J., and yes, he is a very good guy. I have always enjoyed our chats immensely, and the fact that I can speak directly with the designer of a product. He is very thorough with his advice. That being said, I always felt like he was trying to sell me something every time I spoke with him, and many times I did buy something from him. I do recall him being very enthusiastic about his Synchro-Wave power supply, I also knew a Basis dealer who was very enthusiastic about the Basis power supply, though I never did buy one. I was quite content with my Walker Audio Motor Controller, but since I never owned the Synchro-Wave, I cannot say for sure if it would have been an improvement or not.
I do recall A.J. once spending 45 minutes raving about his new Microthin Revolution belt, and I did buy one for my 2500 Signature. To be perfectly honest, I did not notice the mind blowing improvement that A.J. had me expecting. Perhaps I would have noticed a difference if my expectations were not so high, who knows?
Anyway, I would just suggest starting off with the Basis table and see how you like it compared to your VPI before going further down the Basis path. If you buy the Basis and enjoy the sound, as many here do, then you can start to think about going further in that direction.
Thank you all again for your thoughtful and insightful feedback. I've purchased the 2200 with a Vector 4 tonearm, isolator base and cable isolation system. I'm buying used so it's being sent to Basis to have them do a once over before I get to hear it and I'm very much looking forward to hearing what it can do.
Good choice. Basis has 2 setup DVDs geared mainly for dealers, but they really teach you how to set the thing up properly. One of AJs design priorities was that the tables were capable of being set up properly by the average enthusiast, which took quite a bit of thought, as you will see. In any case, you should definitely purchase them from Basis. You have a beautiful table and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Now all you need is a cartridge. I would ask AJ what goes well with the Vector.
Congrats Moryoga! Let us know what you think. I have talked extensively in the past with A.J. regarding cartridges, he was pretty non-committal, though I did buy one from him.
Of course that was before he became the North American Importer for My Sonic Lab cartridges. So my guess is that he will recommend MSL cartridges now.
The Vector arm should work well with ANY of the commonly used cartridges. The arm is very good at dampening/grounding vibrational energy from cartridge, meaning that it would work with demanding cartridges that impart a lot of energy to the tonearm (e.g., Lyra cartridges).
When I went from a VPI HW-15 IV to the Basis Debut/Vector 3 setup, the initial impression was that the sound is a bit "darker" and less energetic. But, once I got used to the difference, I really appreciated what the Basis setup was doing. The noise level is low and there is greater clarity (not lean sounding, just less muddled). Some of what I took as energy or excitement in my prior setup now seems more like an artificial "jangliness" that I mistook for more energy. The real dynamic contrast of the Basis setup is terrific (not that the VPI is in any sense bad). The Basis sounds more solid, composed and poised, and it is NOT lacking in liveliness.
Hi Moryoga: Congrats on your turntable acquisition. Enjoy!
Hi Jmcgrogan2: Some clarification about my mention above regarding advice received from A.J. This referred to the Vector tonearm, Basis interconnects/speaker cables/power cords, & a turntable upgrade. Based on those conversations I went ahead and purchased a Vector. I couldn't be happier with that move. And it was not like the 2 Airtangent tonearms I owned prior to that acquisition were shabby. I do miss the way nifty electronic end-of-record lift one of the AT's had but that's it. The Basis cables I acquired were a revelation enabling the system I had at the time to finally strut their stuff. Whereas prior to their use I had thought my amp was impeding the sound.
I never felt A.J. was selling something, just the reverse. When I mentioned interest in a pricy upgrade (moving from a Basis Ovation to a Debut) he subtly steered me away from that indicating the Ovation had about 95% of the Debut's sonics. Nevertheless, as I wanted to acquire my last ever turntable (ha!) that extra 5% seemed important. I went ahead and got the Debut. Was quite surprised & pleased the sonic improvements were more significant than he mentioned.
Tubes108, don't get me wrong, A.J. is a great guy, and I enjoyed my conversations with him, and I do love the Basis gear that he makes. It's rare to get a manufacturer as willing to spend as much time with you on the phone these days as A.J. All that being said, somehow whenever I called A.J. and we had a 30-60 minute chat, I always wound up buying something, maybe as small as one of his new belts to a Calibrator base, to once when I called to pick his brains about cartridges, he wound up selling me a cartridge. LOL!!
Yes, he also did try to talk me into buying one of his Synchro-Wave Power Supply units, but I didn't due to the cost. I'm sure that it is a great unit, but I was pretty happy with the Walker Audio Motor Controller that I was currently using, and I couldn't imagine that it could have gotten much better. I'm sure that I could have been wrong, but my funds are not unlimited. I have to draw the line somewhere. I still enjoyed all my conversations with A.J., and I have no regrets. However, I can honestly say that he never talked me out of a purchase.