VPI Classic - Now you have one......

For all who have had the Classic for a while now...what's it like to live with and is it what you expected it to be or more/ less?
My expectations were low, I didn't like the other VPI tables I had owned and was kicking myself for buying it, especially since I had to wait so long. But since I got it, 5 months ago, it has been nothing but pleasure. It's my fav deck of all time. It made me actually get a better cartridge because for the first time I felt like my turntable deserved something better than my beloved Sumiko Blackbird.
I've been exceptionally happy with mine.

Though I had expected things would need time, as I was also breaking in a cartridge, phono preamplifier, and obviously, the tonearm wire, I was initially kind of bored with the sound. However, with some help from a few buddies in the art of ensuring my setup was spot on, and the patience of letting a few miles accrue on the odometer, I've reached the point where more than 90% of my listening is now vinyl. It's a no muss, no fuss kind of table, which is what I want, and from what most owners, including me say, it's very good sounding as well.

Going forward, the only system upgrades I'm looking towards are a VTA on the fly tonearm, phono preamplifier, cartridge, and a whole lot of LPs. My feeling is that this turntable can carry me pretty far into the future.
Trejla...you can order the JMW10.5i tonearm with the VTA on the fly feature from VPI (it's a $700 upcharge). Just fyi.
I am absolutely delighted with mine, I went from listening to vinyl about 1/3 of the time to about 3/4 of the time now. Easily the most seductive component I've ever owned (over 40 years worth with many, many changes).
Have mine in house about 2 weeks now. Ive owned the HW-19 MkIII, Scout, Scoutmaster and Aries tables. The Classic reminds me of the Aries 10 combo in signature, but it does surpass the Aries in coherence, dynamics, quietness, and the bass is amazing! Love the new platter, although how does one keep the darn thing clean and scratch free??... Quite a table though!

I'm running a vintage Grace F9-E with Ruby cantilever and sounds great...have a new Dyna DV-20H on order...but Im looking to perhaps give it an even better cart....and may sell the 20 before opening it.

Not to high-jack this thread, but what carts are Classic owner running on their 10.5i SE arms with good sound??
I have a new Grado The Reference 1 Statement (low output), it's been steallar.
I'm coming back to my earlier thread: Would one of you guys by kind enough to let me know the clearance below the table (i.e. how much free space is below the table) and the Height of the top of the junction box above the rest surface on which the TT is standing. You can post it here or email me at [email protected] Thanks you very much in advance.
Wow, sounds like another VPI winner. Does anyone know how to get in touch with the Broward County Florida guy who is discounting these tables from his home? Money has been tight lately because of the economy. Thanks in advance.
EL841...don't do it. Check out this thread on AVGuide.com. Check out the post by Ron. He bought discounted VPI table and accessories from a guy in S. Florida and it turns out that guy is selling defective VPI product. Here is the link to the thread: http://www.avguide.com/forums/vpi-classic

Could be the same guy you are thinking of buying from.
It is great to hear good things about the VPI Classic. I have ordered mine from 11/4/09 and I am still waiting to get it. I even called VPI and they said orders are backed up and promised that mine would be shipped to my dealer on Monday, but I was told that before. Anxiously waiting for it. I even bought the VIP special version of Dynavector DV20M in anticipation of the Classic.
For those of you who have recently put in an order for the Classic tt, what are you being quoted for delivery times? I know they are back-ordered but are we talking a few weeks or a few months or what? Thx
I ordered mine months ago and finally got it!
This is the real deal, don't even hesitate if you are into vinyl!!
This trounced my previous setup which was no slouch. I will be looking for a new cartridge as well, let us know which cartridge classic owners are using?
I've had mime now for about 4 months and am quite pleased. I must state that this is my first analog rig..so I have little to compare to. My "listening session" frinds have much much more accomplised rigs than myself...so that comparison is a bit unfair..although much closer than I expected. Its been a rough 4 months letting cart, wires, cables, phono stage burn in. I'm running my Classic with the standard arm (no VTA..although I am interested in this upgrade at a later date) a Benz ACE S HO, Furutech AG-12 cable, and built in phono stage of a McIntosh MA6900. Now that things have had time to burn in and settle a bit I'm in the process of ordering a mintLP alignment tool....to realign everything. In regards to listening, I think that I'm most impressed with the completeness of the sound. On one hand its robust and full and on the other its quite resolving....lots and lots of detail without being etched or forced. PRAT...out of this world. And as others have mentioned, the bass is very good...both full and articulate. I had the opportunity to add the HRX center wt. and periphery ring for a short period.....subtle difference...I'll add at a later date. For now, I'm very pleased with my "new Classic".

Thanks, John
John...I am considering the Classic with A Benz Micro Glider S Lo output cart for my first ever vinyl set up. What digital do you have in your system? And givent hat this is your first vinyl set up, how would you compare the sound of the Classic to your digital set up? Pros and cons vs. digital? Thx

I have a McIntosh MCD201 SACD Player, Kimber Kable Silver Streak IC, Black Sand Violet Z1 pc, Finite Element isolation. All in all, about $200 difference b/t my analog and digital front end. So, a fair comparison. I find that my rig has become very recording dependent (both digital and analog)That said, they are very close..(I'm not going to use all of the audiophile descriptives)give a little here take a little there. But the ringer is this (as my wife summed up) "The CD player sounds great, but it sounds as if the music is filtered through a machine and the turntable sounds more real more alive."

Thx John. Appreciate the response.
I have been quite happy with mine for the last several months, using Dyna XV-1s, ASR Mini Basis, Ortofon SUP and optional ring clamp. My biggest complaint I think is that in my system (ASR Basis Exclusive II, Usher BE20, Synergistic Research Tesla IC/speakers and quite a few PCs), the bass was deep, powerful but a bit only mellow/polite side. It is great on jazz,vocal but less fun on pop and large scale orchestral work. I don't think it was my system as my old turntable (Blue Note Piccolo) certainly was more fun, more pace although it could not match the VPI in most other aspect. Luckily, my dealer just replaced my VPI wire with Valhalla wire it it made a significant difference. Now the turntable has much better speed and rhythmic control and pace. Although Valhalla wire sounded a tad leaner right now on vocal but with better clarity. Let see if that will improve after breaking in a bit more.
I definitely think Valhalla wire is well worth the money. My dealer ordered Valhalla wire for JWM 12.5 for me so there is a little extra wire left to rewire the box as well.
Suteetat..have you tried using an SDS with your setup? It may make a difference in adding some punch and pace to the low frequency presentation of the Classic (and it may actually do so across the frequency band). Just a thought in case you have not tried it. Let us know. Thx
Cmalak, I have not tried SDS yet. I am using a 220v model so I will also need to change the motor to 110v to use SDS. This is something that I will eventually need to try. I am still waiting for my ASR Basis 2010 phono to arrive first before doing more upgrade.
Quick question on the JMW 10.5 tonearm that comes with the Classic (SE version without VTA tower) and those of you who ordered the standard JMW10.5i (with VTA tower and Valhalla wiring). Can you please tell me what the effective mass is for both versions of this tonearm. I checked out VPI's website and could not find the info (not even in the manuals that they post on their website). Thanks very much.
I asked similar question several months ago but could not remember where. If I remember correctly, with the optional steel wand (standard now, I think) effective mass is something like 12.3g.
Suteetat...looks like your cart is a great match with the 10.5i. I put in the Dyna XV-1S' 12.6g weight and 10 compliance with the tonearms 12.3g effective mass, and on paper, you get a resonant frequency at 10.07, which is smack in the middle of the sweet spot. Nicely done. I am sure the cart sounds great and is a good match with the tonearm. Thx for the response.

Has anyone experimented with replacing either the feet and/or the clamp on the Classic? Mine arrived late today and I'm extremely pleased with it (using a Glider S Hi output), but wonder what inexpensive upgrades are available. The stock clamp is adequate, but I'm thinking of replacing it with one from TT Weights. They also sell feet. But I'm hoping my large Audio Points will fit. I'd be interested in any other tweaks that have been successful.
Why not just enjoy it for a while and get to know it more before all this tweaks?
I sold my SDS after a few weeks with my Classic, it didnt' make the same, or any, difference, as it did with the Scoutmaster Sig. I also don't use a Gingko Platform as I had with other tables. I only use the Ring Clamp, that this is great.
You're speaking from your head, not your heart! Life's too short for that.
I got mine last week and really like it.
I had one question for those of you with more experience then myself.
I ordered a John Boos maple butcher block thinking it was 2.25" thick but instead received a 1.5" thick version.

How much difference does thickness make when it comes to using a maple block. In the classic manual it says to use a 2" thick block. Should I return what I got and try to find a thicker one?


-- Sanjay

Within Audiogon, you'll find Michigan Maple or Dawnsplatforms. 3" thick maple boards that just fit under the Classic sell for $75. Seems like a good price compared with other vendors.
I tried the Boos 1.5" and the 2.25" cutting board supported by #2 Vibrapods around the perimeter. The 1.5" for me was the best by a wide margin. I use 1.5" Boos that I cut to size under my DAC's, tube & solid state electronics, and transports with very good results. I currently am using a Gingko Cloud under the Classic. The other turntable in the system with the Classic is on a 1.5" Boos and Stillpoints. I have found that one must experiment with supports.

I use a Benz ACE SL S cartridge, a VPI cable, and an Allnic H1500 II SE phono stage with the Classic. I found that dampening fluid was necessary. Without it, I had lack of focus and a sound stage that was very wide with little height.

The periphery ring clamp a center weight is a good upgrade.
Two questions for those who own the Classic:
1. Would the Classic fit on a 20'' x 15'' maple block? I know its dimensions are a little bigger, but was wondering if its footprint was small enough to fit on a block this size.

2. Does anyone own the Classic with the special edition of the Dynavector 20X cart made exclusively for VPI that VPI offers on its website as an option? It has a higher output than the standard 0.4 20X but lower than the 2.5. I was curious how it works with the Classic and whether it's worth the extra $100.


I own a Classic. Answer to 1st question is "yes". I would not buy anything smaller - length or width. I can't answer the 2nd question as I mounted a Benz Glider that I had on hand. You might want to call Galen Carol at Galen Carol Audio in San Antonio, TX. He sells the Classic and is a straight shooter and can probably answer your question.
I bought mine from Galen too. He rec'd the Benz Glider to go with it and as it seems that the Benz is on backorder, I am waiting.
Thank you Rockyboy. I already have a maple block which supports my Scout, but was thinking of upgrading to the Classic, hence my question. That's good news!

Funny that you have a Glider as it's a cart I am also considering. I can get it factory rebuilt for $500 from Osage, in any output. Which one do you have and how do you like it with the Classic?
The best cartridges for the Classic or Scoutmaster rim drive... Benz Ebony LP, Dyna XV1S, Soundsmith Ebony Voice or Sussuro
"Quick question on the JMW 10.5 tonearm that comes with the Classic (SE version without VTA tower) and those of you who ordered the standard JMW10.5i (with VTA tower and Valhalla wiring). Can you please tell me what the effective mass is for both versions of this tonearm."

The effective mass of the SE is 11.2 grams. I don't know about the i version. I'd email VPI directly for this information.

I have the Glider high output S. While I love the sound, there may be a better matchup for the Classic; since I already had the Glider, I didn't do any research. I believe VPI recommends a Dynavector that they'll mount for you at a decent price.

As far as arm mass, I was told it was 12.3g.

Regarding using a maple board under the Classic, I wanted a dust cover to protect the TT and arm; so, I bought a Ginko table top dust cover from Galen (and love it). Hoever, keep in mind that you'll probably need extra headroom with the table top dust cover if your board's dimensions are smaller than the Ginko's (to accommodate the heighth of the board).
Thanks Rockyboy for the info and advice. Interesting that VPI in their email response to me stated that the effective mass of the Classic tonearm is 11.2 grams. What was the source of your information?

Good point about the dustcover. I currently have the Scout and got a custom made acrylic cover ($99!) for it, but it rests on the plinth. It saves both the cost and the space. I believe I saw the same type of cover at my dealer's on the Classic from Ginko while it lasted (they have 4 Classics on backorder!).
Actusreus, do you have a picture of the cover you have? I want one for my Classic like that, low profile.

Mac, I can take a pic with my phone later today and forward it to you if you want (feel free to contact me privately). The cover is absolutely top quality and made perfectly to my specifications. The only downside to ordering custom is the wait time. But for a fraction of the price Ginko charges still worth it...

Regarding mass of the arm, pulled it from somewhere on the 'gon; but can't find it now. Sent an email to VPI asking for correct arm mass; I'll post their answer as soon as I get it.
Per Mike at VPI - mass of Classic arm is 11.6
Not sure if this was mentioned in this thread (I don't think so)that the lastest version of the VPI Classic is now being made with solid Walnut Sides, rather than Laminated Walnut.

The newest version has more rounded edges, that it looks more akin to the older HW-19 Table.

About the only other thing I have noted from other Classic owners, is the claim that the Aluminum Platter seems to scratch easily, and this gives me the impression that this Platter was never Hard Anodized. My opinion is, that they should be, to lessen scratching, as well as oxidation. My assumptions could be wrong as far as this goes? Mark
I recently read an article (or part of an article....March 2010 Stereophile "As We See It" by Steve Guttenburg p.3)in regards to the Classic. I don't have the article in front of me and its been a few weeks since I have read so forgive me if its not 100% accurtate..but you'll get the picture. The Classic has already been revised. The arm has been lengthened by 6mm, the motor is mounted with a different plate, the platter although visually the same is made by a different process and the bottome is covered with a damping materieal. Now it seems that the plinth has been changed as well....after reading the last few posts of this article. If anyone can confirm or comment about these changes please do so.
Thanks, John
can vpi classic owners tell me if its normal for the table to make a popping noise when turning the table off? i just demoed the classic and thought it sounded wonderful, but the noise when turning the table off was annoying.
I've not had that or any other problem with my Classic. I love the table! Popping is not normal and that table should be replaced.
I do get a very slight pop too with turning table off. I do not think it warrants replacing the table, nor do I think VPI would/should. Such pops vary with each household and how your wiring is done and also varies with your choice of amp and preamp. I get a much bigger (and frankly, a somewhat worrisome) pop each time I turn on my VPI 16.5 RCM. If one is really worried about such things, you can simply mute your volume with your preamp.

So while I am typing away, I will say that I absolutely love my VPI Classic. The sound I am getting is amazing. Better than CD when the vinyl is good. I love the match of the Classic and the Benz Glider LO and the Simaudio LP5.3. If anyone wants a sure way to get great sound with vinyl, these three are a can't-miss combination IMHO. I played the re-issue of Miles' Walkin' last night and the night before. There is a depth to the sound of the trumpet that I had never heard before except in live venues. Rock really rocks-an old B52s album from my college days (the first one, starting with Planet Claire and ending on side A with Rock Lobster) sounds amazingly dynamic with real jump.
If I search hard for a nit to pick, it would be the isolation feet. I find them a bit finicky and wobbly (apparently they are wobbly by design-just like the arm) and the little bearings on the undersurface of each footer don't particularly rotate smoothly on a wood shelf. So leveling is often a painful process of pushing up on the corner of this heavy table if rotating the footer clockwise. Luckily, one need not level the table very often.
Thought I'd chime in here. In a few conversations with Mike at VPI, the 10.5 arm on the Classic is a little longer than the 10.5i with VTA model. According to Mike those looking to use the 10.5I base w/vta should request the Classic tonearm wand. I believe he mentioned that it can also be wired with the Valhalla option.
Just check on this in case I heard wrong before ordering though.
I should mention here as well that Mike is VERY helpful at VPI and find his customer service better than most in any manufacturing!
Alun...did you order one with the VTA tower and Valhalla wiring? do you know what the price difference is to the base Classic configuration (i.e., with the 10.5SE tonearm)?

Are a lot of people getting VTA on-the-fly and Valhalla wiring?
Oh I guess I've worded that reply wrong. I have't ordered any of the arms yet as I'm having to save up to purchase one. I just installed a Jelco 10.5" arm in the interim and so far it's pretty impressive for the money.
I don't have any finalised pricing on the VPI arms but from what I remember the Classic arm without VTA/Fly is about 2/3'rds cost of the 10.5I. I dont' think there is an increase in cost in using the classic armtube over the 10.5 armtube and that may include the valhalla wiring.
Remember you can adjust VTA on the classic arm as well, it's just a little more scary when trying it on the fly. The 10.5 is an easier method and offers better lockdown after adjustment. Personally I'd buy the 10.5I with the Classic armtube. Not so sure about the Nordost wiring upgrade.
You'll have to check with VPI for availability of this setup as the dealer may not be aware of the armtube differences.
Wonder if anybody compared VPI Classic to TNT V or HR-X? Read this review by Brian Bloom where he mentions ".. The amount of high frequency on the VPI was over the top—it almost sounded like white noise." Any body experience this?
Here is the link..