Hi, I just got the new Classic and really, really like it a lot. I bought the Ortofon A90 cartridge along with it, and the combo is better than any other analog setup I have had.
10 responses Add your response
let me give you a different perspective.
I have not heard or seen a VPI Classic, but I do own a SSM Ref with rim drive and super platter. VPI is a very direct, immediate, and lively sounding TT, JMW 10 arm (or any JMW arms) is a pain to adjust if you are a perfectionist and want to get azimuth perfect. if you have suspended floor and subject to vibration from foot fall, VPI is not the table for you because JMW arm will rock side to side for seconds every time there is a low bass energy.
I also own a Hyperspace with 12" Anna arm. Hyperspace is dead quiet, the huge platter with graphite mat really lowers the noise floor. the motor noise is never heard, bearing is very precisely milled so platter spins very quietly. in fact, I think Hyperspace is quieter than VPI SSM overall. the arm like many pointed out, could sound a bit soft. but if you couple it with the right cartridge, say a Lyra or Shelter which are known to be fast, dynamic, and a bit lean, you can achieve a superb tonal balance that's hard to be found elsewhere.
take notice the older Anna arm can't adjust azimuth, but you can get around the problem by adding blue tack or weight on either headshell or counterweight.
I have the Hyperspace custom fitted with a Basis Vector 1 arm and Transfiquration Temper Supreme cartridge. I've never had it in any other configuration except without the wave mechanic when I first bought it. I've had it for some 6 or 7 years now and it still tickles me. It's wonderfully musical and gives a very insightfull view into recordings. You get used to the platter start up routine real fast and IMO you have to have the wave mechanic or some speed controller with it, at least in my neighborhood. It's extremely sensitive to VTA changes so get it right and you'll have virtually no maintanance.
To add to my previous reply.
Nottingham arm, though also uni-pivot, is much more stable than VPI JMW. I have never seen the arm rock side-to-side, image has been very stable for me.
In terms of service, both VPI and Nottingham are superb.
One thing I noticed about Hyperspace, the distance between motor and platter is very critical and you need a strobe disk/light to ensure it spins at the right speed.
Another thing to note is VPI Classic uses aluminum platter which some love and some dislike.
Thank you all very much for your replies and advice. I got a little overexcited seeing the table for the first time up close and, not being familiar with the NA line, I made a mistake identifying the model. It actually is the Space 294 turntable with the 12" Space tonearm, not the Hyperspace. Also, the actual price the store owner agreed on, is $3400, and not $3000, as the salesperson originally quoted. The reviews for this model seem to be overwhelmingly positive, but I wonder if you'd still recommend it over the Classic with this higher price.
If anyone owns or used to own the Space 294, please share your experience and advice.
I have had the 294 for a year and am a very happy owner. I would strongly recommend adding the optional heavy kit (comes standard on Hyperspace) if the store owner has not already included it in the asking price. There are also a lot of different 12" arms that you can try out with the Nott. My bias is that while the Notts are world class tables the arms (while good) are not up to the same level. I have a two arm set-up where the space-arm is used with a mono-cartridge and a SME 312S is used with a Stereo cartridge. As I've said many times, the Nott's don't have the marketing buzz of a lot of other products. They are just very well engineered tables that have stood the test of time and provide good value for the $. In particular, the Notts have some of the quietest, blackest backgrounds that I have experienced.
My Notts Hyperspace benefited so much from addition of the Walker Precision Motor Controller that I came to think of it as an essential part of the turntable system. Possibly the Notts motor controller would be just as good, but don't leave home without some sort of motor controller, i.e. an AC synthesizer that can control motor speed by changing frequency. The Notts motor appears to be a single phase type, which if true explains why it goes so well with a single phase controller like the Walker.
You may not need a motor controler if you use a PS audio power plant or power director. I used a Walker Ultimate Motor Controller for a few months but did not feel it added anything and sold it. Using a KAB strobe the Nott's speed was rock solid with or without the Walker. Then I realized that the PS Audio device was ensuring a clean sine wave so the Walker was probably redundant in my system. One of those purchases that was well intentioned but in the end not really necessary. Others may have different experiences in their system but this was mine.