VPI is Introducing a high-end Direct Drive Table


A large group of audiophiles from the NYC area were invited to the VPI offices on Saturday for a fun day of music, learning, food and conversation. Very nice of them.

Harry Weisfeld was excited to introduce two new products still in prototype form: the first is high-end direct drive turntable that is going to be their top product - he was particularly proud of the motor, designed for this purpose and apparently sourced from a military equipment manufacturer. In its current prototype form the turntable resembles a Classic 3. Harry was very enthusiastic about the absolute speed control that was better than any belt drive table. His words.


The second is a new composite arm-wand manufactured on-site using a $350,000 object printer. It is made of hundreds/thousands of layers of laser cured material and resembles their current arm-wands except for the black material and the complex shape changes made to further reduce vibration transmission. I listened to the combination of the new table and arm-wand for about an hour and was thrilled by the relaxing musicality produced.

I understand that these new products will be at shows soon - still in prototype form.

Surprisingly, there was a large display of classic amplifiers, reel-to-reel tape machines, turntables, tonearms and more. One that caught my eye was a mint direct drive JVC TT-101 turntable (very much like mine). It was the target/inspiration for the new table - I would love to compare the two, but that wasn't possible. Maybe at my house some day.

It was great to see that VPI is so committed to moving the state of the art forward using both the latest technologies and thinking and the best of the past.
aigenga
VPI certainly doesn't rest on thier laurels. Is there any way you could get pics and specs to us?

I saw another DD battlewagon at CES this year that was built by Micro Sekei engineers. This thing was massive and was mated to a $35k Graham tonearm w/headlights, of course! Thier is a pic of the Air Force One on page 64 of April Absolute Sound.
Thank you Harry for bringing new life and value to my large collection of 80's direct drive turntables from Sony and Denon. I knew they would come back. I'll be marking them at at least 100% as I seel them on e-bay.

Harry is a genius marketer, having exhausted the belt world, he will now make his second billion on direct drive. My using DAC type clocks, speed control will now be 'perfect', no need for SDS?

More power to you Harry for keeping the hobby alive. See you at the New York show.
Belt drive, rim drive, direct drive, Standalone motor assembly, motor on plinth, motor with platter, standard plinth, heavy plinth, wood finish, auto finish, red, blue, white, black, silver. 24 different table types and combinations and counting. Version 1, 2 and 3 and that’s just their tables.

Boy, I miss the simpler VPI days when marketing was secondary.
I was there also and heard the arm demo, using the same cartridge (Grado Gold) on the same table - just swapped out the arm wands with no other changes. The improvements with the new arm were not subtle. Much better separation and soundstaging and clarity, with an immediately noticeable increase in dynamics. Hard to believe that changing the arm wand could make that much of an improvement. IMO, the JMW arm was always the weak spot in their products, but no longer. This is new arm a major upgrade.

Something else that was on that table but not necessarily mentioned is a new ceramic coated platter, basically the Classic platter with a ceramic coating.

As for the direct drive motor, Harry said it was uber expensive at his own cost because it is military spec. So even when it does become available on their new "premier" product it is going to push the cost into some rarefied air.
Thanks for the report. Is that DD motor a DC motor or an AC motor? Did Harry mention how the speed was controlled? I am just curious.
Another company going for the uber-expensive market to survive!

VPI reached their peak in the 90's with the TNT MKIII and original JMW 10 and 12.

The latter "upgrades" were not substantial improvements, just more profit with cheaper parts.

Harry changes what "he" considers the "latest tech" every six months!
Don,

Considering that they recently introduced the $1400 Traveler maybe speaks that they are a business trying to capture mote than just the middle but also from both ends of the vinyl (especially resurgence) market.

Harry and family at VPI are not running an art museum nor charity shop, they are operating a business and to make a profit. Nothing wrong with that as long as you provide products and services that enough customers may want to buy and at justifiable prices. If VPI gets their products and prices wrong they will suffer at the cash box. Look at the sorry state of the t.v. market today and at how once mighty Japanese Cos. are bleeding out in red ink. Business is business. VPI has a good reputation of not only making a wide range of quality products but stand behind what they sell.
@ Le creative edge

Does the $1400 traveler blow away your Technics SL 1200 MkII ????
I was told by Jack Rubinson, a VPI salesman, that the new DD will be in the $30k range. Almost reasonable compared to the Micro Sekei engineered Air Force One that touches $100k.
Does the $1400 traveler blow away your Technics SL 1200 MkII ????
Funny you should ask, I have both, Kab Modded (Cardas Litz tonearm rewire to new Cardas RCA's, fluid damper)1200mk2 and a Traveler. Due to the VPI's tonearm, I believe, the Traveler is clearly a better performer in most areas. I also think that if I could mount this 10" Arm on the Technics deck is would better both. The Techy 1200 deserves a better tonearm rather than all the little things we do to the underwhelming arm that comes with it.
I was told by Jack Rubinson, a VPI salesman, that the new DD will be in the $30k range. Almost reasonable compared to the Micro Sekei engineered Air Force One that touches $100k.
Does the $1400 traveler blow away your Technics SL 1200 MkII ????
Funny you should ask, I have both, Kab Modded (Cardas Litz tonearm rewire to new Cardas RCA's, fluid damper)1200mk2 and a Traveler. Due to the VPI's tonearm, I believe, the Traveler is clearly a better performer in most areas. I also think that if I could mount this 10" Arm on the Technics deck is would better both. The Techy 1200 deserves a better tonearm rather than all the little things we do to the underwhelming arm that comes with it.
Hi Don.

First, sorry I no longer have the Technics (I need to update my equipment list :-) ). I run a Rega P3-24 with TT-PSU and I just mounted a Jelco SA-370H tonearm. I have not heard the Traveler. It gets very positive reviews though. It was not available when I bought my Rega last Spring. If it was, I'd ave been tempted to buy it.

That said The Kab modified SL-1200MKII I had (my brother-in- law has it now) was a very good turntable. I never got rid of it because it was not one that punched well above its weight. A couple of years ago I took the plunge and moved it on to my Bro-in-Law as I bought a vintage JVC QL-Y5F (I drooled over it as a young kid back in the day) and I had to own one at one point. Once time had past I then just wanted to move on (this turntable hobby can be insidious :-) ). I was looking at the Rega RP-6 or a Clearaudio Concept MM. But I found a dealer demo at a killer price on a P3-24 with TT-PSU and bought it. It's a great turntable for the money. Oh it won't be my last as again this hobby can be insidious. But I enjoy it very much. The Jelco arm was added as I want to hot swap cartridges with ease, namely swapping between my Denon DL-110 and my mono Grado ME+.
I am sure Harry will want to sell you an electron microscope table, $100K, to rest it on.
$30K, you've got to be kidding. I read somewhere that the DD motor is military spec‘d, perhaps out of the space shuttle.
Zenblaster,
Just a little correction- The Air Force One that was exhibited at CES with a $35000 arm- that arm is not Graham, the other Air Force One in Lamm's room was with Graham Arm, and I believe it was his very new $9K arm, that isn't even available yet
Or you could buy a Vibraplane isolation platform for 1/50th that cost and be done.
I'll say one thing. When it comes to marketing turntables VPI is by far the best.
Maril 555,
You most certainly are correct, my apologies. The exotic arm I saw was a Vertere which was in the more traditional tonearm location. This was like something I have never heard/seen. Really state of the art/science. I don't know where to begin when trying to put my head around this table. This thing is massave.
VPI is a great company and i am sure there are many folks out there with a TNT, probably somewhat modified as well, as are older and newer models, all which have gotten good press and satisfied customers. but i have to agree somewhat that, with a good platter and bearing, and a good stand-alone motor(s) and/or flywheels, that the speed issue (oh, also the SDS was supposed to cure any deviations...?) is, in my mind, splitting hairs. lowering the noise floor further might still be an issue to pursue, as well as resonances. but the Aries-I with the JMW-10/12 arm went a long way towards playing records at an extremely high level, and i would imagine a TNT-6 with a super-platter would seal the deal for all but the fussiest people (going for a VPI product that is). i don't imagine belt-vs-direct is going to get "solved" one way or the other for a very long time.
all it takes is a warped record to ruin your day anyway.
It sounds like the composite arm is a unipivot, is it the same design as the JWM unipivot? It would be great if it was a direct drop in with the current VPI tables, other than the Traveler. Has anyone received any information from VPI or those that saw the arm, does it look like the same design, with different composite material?
Captain_winters, the new 3D arm will be a drop in replacement for all Classic series arms. I got this info directly from VPI. No idea when the arm will be commercially available.
Yes - The new arm is a drop in for the JMW unipivot. I spoke to Harry about it. The arm is very light, and has no resonance points. I have one on order and their new ceramic platter. I'll post my findings when I get the stuff.
Stringreen,
Very good, I presume the arm is using similar metal counterweight. I would guess the uni-pivot point which is steel on the current JWM would also remain steel. Interesting the arm is much lighter since that will affect resonance frequencies. Please let us know when you can release the pricing for the new arm.

The VPI 3D tonearm is a one-piece structure, from its head shell to its counterweight stub and is made from an epoxy-plastic that is both lightweight and rigid.

I would assume that the arm will be costly, as it takes 24 hours to print one arm wand.

With respect to the TT direct drive motor, I heard that it is designed for military submarine application where smooth and quiet running motors are an absolute necessity.
With respect to the TT direct drive motor, I heard that it is designed for military submarine application where smooth and quiet running motors are an absolute necessity.
Heh... sounds like Harry hired Tom Clancy to write some ad copy.

The last company that sold the Navy's submarine-quieting technology publically was Toshiba. It cost the CEO and several other execs their jobs and the company forfeited a gazillion dollars in fines and lost sales. The company I worked for cancelled nearly a million dollars in Toshiba contracts, and we were a minor customer.

I doubt any company supplying the Navy would repeat that infamous goof to sell a handful of motors to a few vinyl nuts. Still, it's a great sales pitch!
Doug I think it's better said that the motor is based on a Navy design. With today's cost cutting (just as what happened at the end of Star Wars), many military hardware manufacturers are looking for other civilian uses for their technology.
When is this table actually going to be available?
End of Star Wars? As I recall, they burned some outdated military hardware on a bonfire so the Ewoks could stage a dance party. ;-)

Of course you have a point, Myles. Thanks to Star Wars, my GPS works pretty well, not to mention Google satellite view and a zillion other things. Just funnin'...
Perhaps this new turntable will need to be submerged in water, if it uses a submarine propulsion motor, as described by Tom Clancy. That might have a sound deadening effect, but what about the radiation danger?