VPI TNT MkIII - pluses and minuses?

I'm considering a used VPI TNT MkIII. The seller says it was produced between '95-'98. I know nothing about VPI tables. What should be the reasonable value of such a VPI table that's reported to be in excellent condition?

And could the potential performance of the VPI MkIII be exceeded or equaled by current model TT's selling at the market value of the used VPI TNT MkIII?

Thanks in advanced for the assist!
How much does the seller want? Does it come wih an arm? Which arm?
This is a big/heavy turntable. As good as it is, it is very difficult to ship so that you would get it in excellent shape. Shipper should have original packing for best shipping.
I own a TNT6, and think it is a fine turntable, and have always liked the sound of TNT's in general, when well set-up. I strongly urge you to go to Audioasylum.com, and in the "Vinyl" page search for "TNT tri-pulley"; much info that you should be aware of. Good luck.
Frogman- lucky you...
i wish i had bought a TNT-6 (preferably with a super platter) when i had the chance a year or so ago.
somehow it appeals to me more than the HRX and seems to have all the
necessary tools (SDS, JMW ARM, Motor assembly) to get a very good result without pumps and unnessesary bells and whistles. How do you like your player?
The VPI TNT is a very versatile table that can accommodate any tone arm, including tangential arms. You have the choice of belt drive, belt plus flywheel, or rim drive as the drive system. There are numerous platter options including 100% acrylic, Delrin with lead, Delrin with aluminum, Delrin with stainless steel, and 100% aluminum. You also have the option between a standard well bearing or an inverted bearing (depending on the platter selected). The suspension can be either spring loaded, pneumatic air bladder, or air ball suspension. The TNT is a highly tweakable table. Add in the VPI SDS speed controller, you have an excellent table that will continue to last for years.

With respect to the TNT3 table. The acrylic plinth is the same material used for the TNT 3 to 6. The TNT6 has a different motor cut out. The Mk3 uses springs for the pillar suspension. Replace the springs with the air ball suspension available from VPI. The TNT 3 uses a 600 rpm motor without a flywheel. The TNT 3.5 added the optional flywheel as standard. The TNT 3’s platter is made out of a sandwich of aluminum and delrin. Look for a Mk5 platter made from 50% stainless steel and 50% delrin or a delrin/ stainless steel/delrin sandwich Super Platter. These 2 platter offer a substantial upgrade over the Mk3 platter. If you want a more dynamic and less colored presentation, you can upgrade to the VPI Classic 100% aluminum platter. You have a lot of upgrade/tailored options.

The biggest drawback of the TNT is its large footprint.
The choice of platter, if one were to upgrade, may be limited by the cutout in your plinth. IOW, not very platter is an option for every TNT. I have seen Mk3's with Delrin/lead insert platters, not the Delrin/aluminum sandwich. I would also be careful about the description of the aluminum platter being "less colored". Leaner than the Delrin or acrylic platters, but that is assuming that one considers the weightier sound of the other platters to be wrong; I don't.

French_fries, my TNT6 is actually a hybrid with a MK5 platter as Brf suggests. For whatever it is worth, and to go back to the issue of the aluminum platter's sound, according to Mike at VPI the MK5 platter is "along with the Super-platter, the best they ever made".
Frogman, I “believe” that VPI stopped using the lead ring delrin platter in the TNT Mk2.

VPI used 2 different well type bearings during the TNT production. Mk 1-3 used a aluminum bearing housing with bronze bushings. TNT 4-6 used a stainless steel bearing housing with a rullon bushing and a large locking collar to affix the bearing to the plinth. The Super Platter utilizes an inverted bearing as does the VPI Classic platter. All former TNT platters, Super Platter, and Classic platter can be accommodated on an older TNT, although some may require a pipe like spacer. The only platter that a TNT cannot accomodate is the HRX platter

The VPI Classic is not learner than Mk5 and Super Platter, it is more dynamic and does not smear some inner detail. It becomes a matter of personal preference. BTW, I own the Mk5, Supper and Classic platters and I go back and forth between the Mk5 and Classic platter.
Brf, thanks for clarifying the issue of the bearings; I believe you are correct. Re the platters, take a look at this Mk3:

Frogman, I don't believe that the platter pictured is a mk 3. The table has an original TNT 2 piece acrylic plinth, the towers and feet are mk1. The mk3 TNT has stainless steel towers with the elephant feet. There is nothing that I would consider mk 3 about the table linked in your post. In fact the table looks to be an original mk1 with an updated tri-pulley system.
Correction to my above post. IMHO, the table pictures is a mk 1 with an updated tri-pulley and updated " standalone" motor ( replacing the old square motor).
I've been all over the TNT with modifications since the mid '90s. The most significant improvements are replacement of soft rubber belts with thread drive, elimination of the three-pulley system, replacement of 600 RPM motor/pulley with 300 RPM assy, addition of outboard flywheel, addition of a good drive controller, and replacement of the soft sprung suspension with mass-loaded suspensionless pillars. It's a keeper f you're a tweaker.
Frogman...to MY ears the Classic platter is very much better than the Super Platter. If the op intends to use the rim drive only consider the Classic platter, since Superplatters are rarely round, and if they start out that way, they are not stable in their roundness. This will cause the arm to rock in time with the out of roundness of the platter. Aside from that, the Classic just sounds better..cleaner, clearer, more open, etc.
Since Superplatters are rarely round, and if they start out that way, they are not stable in their roundness.

why then.. are they called Superplatters - Stringreen?
Hi Coltrane1
I have owned a HW19MKIV and a TNT2 / both modded.


Silent background

Some don’t like the looks – My son thought it looks a big tarantula.

I thought it looked really cool too.

Excellent sounding when hooked up with thread and an SDS – 100% agree with DG.


Hard to move because modular – you need to really think before doing it.

Rubber belts.....

The PLC is a piece of crap. – anyone selling one should discount $500 off the price.

Can’t believe people get $200 -250 used for this light dimmer box on classified.

You need to factor in an SDS used $800. – TNT with SDS and thread competes big.

It was designed to run with a speed controller – it runs way to fast without one.

The Original TNT’s were designed for the ET2. I guess VPI and Eminent technology had a fall out.

Thats why TNT's with other arms have a single hole in them from the original ET2.

Rubber belts :^(
04-23-13: Stringreen

correction Stringreen.

marketing + PPRROOFFIITT

If this forum allowed it I would have made it a bigger font instead.
I'm considering a used VPI TNT MkIII. The seller says it was produced between '95-'98. I know nothing about VPI tables. What should be the reasonable value of such a VPI table that's reported to be in excellent condition?

I would recommend an earlier TNT with SDS to a friend any day for $2000-2500 give or take a few hundred based on condition.

You can use it , tweak it, and then sell it for what you paid for it. It has already passed the test of time.

And could the potential performance of the VPI MkIII be exceeded or equaled by current model TT's selling at the market value of the used VPI TNT MkIII?

A $2000 TT setup correctly will sound better than a $5000 set up wrong. This is a learned mechanical process. You also have not told us what tonearm is involved or the other tables.

Good Luck.

Another shout out for a silk thread to replace the rubber belt, but you will need an SDS or equivalent to make that work. The string diameter is very different from the rubber belt diameter and will result in a different speed.

The old MK III platter was very good, for what it was. Far better than the acrylic crap that followed it for a while and some say more dynamic than the old MK IV platter. The MK IV was quieter but dryer sounding. I do agree that the new Classic platter (especially the brand new ceramic coated one) is quieter still with a better sense of background silence and more dynamics and speed stability. You can see it in my system link.

I never had a problem with the Super Platter or the Mk5 platter when using the rim drive. I do however; run the rim drive on the stainless steel portion of the Super and MK5 platter. I have since switched to the Classic platter.

I agree that the VPI PLC is garbage and a “real” speed controller is necessary i.e. Walker or a SDS.

The tri-pulley should not be used; it only injects noise into the system.

The 600rpm motor is best when used with the optional flywheel; otherwise the 300rpm is a touch better if going direct to the platter.

Thread drive does offer a sonic benefit, but I would leave this tweak last until you get familiar with the table. The thread drive is a bit finicky to set up.
Hi Brf:
What do you find to be the difference in sound between the Superplatter and the Classic platter?
Firstly, the Super Platter and the TNT Mk5 platter are awesome platters. The Classic platter, to my ears, presents a more lively and dynamic sound. It does an extremely good job at retrieving inner detail. There appears to be more separation between notes in the lower register whereas the Super and MK5 platter present a more singular note. I am not the best at describing the sound difference between two pieces of equipment, but I felt it to be a worthwhile upgrade.
This is one of those things that sounds like it looks. I always chuckle to myself when someone places a piece of equipment on a darker looking slab of something and sure enough, the sounds seems deeper and fuller. But in this case I believe it is true. I listen to a TNT Mk IIIish table as well as a HW-19 and while I like how both sound, the TNT sounds more grounded and stable. Not a lot, but you get the feeling that nothing could disturb the playback. I love the sound. Folks say it can sound ponderous and slow but I feel it sounds unperturbed. The tone arm is a SME V, one day I'm gonna try it with the Terminator T3 that sounds just marvelous on the HW-19. I believe that will be a kick-ass combo!
What would a mint condition, original owner TNT 2.5 with air bladders, SDS, and JMW 12" arm on zebrawood armboard be worth these days?

I paid around $4,000 for my TNT 3.5 (according to Mike at VPI) with SME-5, tri-pulley, SDS a handful of years ago here on audiogon. It had the spring suspension which at some point I converted to the squash ball type. No regrets and no upgradeitis.
The other thing I like is that often discarded tri-pulley set up. I like the idea of keeping the main bearing evenly loaded. Less wear and things should stay centered.
..regarding the SuperPlatter..... if you go to the faq section of the VPI website, it says that the Superplatter is not good.
Thanks Wntrmute2. I appreciate the info.

There is a nice example right here on Audiogon.

I don't see an SDS included but they are available used occasionally and of course, new.

I am on my 4th VPI , I started out with a HW19 , then a TNT Jnr , then a TNT Mk 1 with a MK4 platter and lastly I have a TNT 5 ( at least I think its a 5 , it has an opaque platter as opposed to the earlier composite ones ). I would steer way from the later models that come without an armboard and are machined for a specific tonearm , I think it limits future options . Overall , at the right ( or even a reasonable ) price , I think its a great turntable . And its one product that has a defined and relatively easy upgrade path .