VPI Traveler vs Pro-ject Xpression III?

Anyone heard these tables side by side in the same system with the same cartridge yet?

Resurrecting a thread here. Anyone put these side-by-side yet? I hope to be able to do this at the end of October when I plan to purchase a Traveler and complete the overhaul of my analog source.

I recently upgraded my phono stage from the Pro-ject tube box II with upgraded tubes to a Jasmine 2.0LP mkII. Very noticeable upgrade and the tube box is a pretty good phono stage (it beat out the Vincent Pho-8 2 boxer).

If the Traveler works out, I will have an Pro-ject Xpression III and tube box II phono stage with speed box I for sale locally (Redmond, WA near Seattle). Already received one damaged turntable from shipping. Do not want to be part of that again.
I can't speak for the Pro-ject, but I can say that the Traveler is a very well made piece. It is built like a tank, and when I upgraded from a Rega RP1 with custom acrylic platter, Ortofon OM-20 cartridge to the VPI it was leagues better. The sound is very nimble, yet it has alot of weight to it.

It sounds unbelievable compared to the Rega Rp1 and RP3 that I have heard.

I am running the Traveler through an Avid Pellar phono stage, a Dynavector 20-2H, Onkyo A-9555 integrated (Japanese built), and Focal 1027S floor standers
Thanks Crhiscox000. Did you notice better bass with the Traveler vs the RP1 / RP3? You are running a noticeably better cartridge on your Traveler than the Regas you heard.
Got a chance to hear the Traveler very briefly yesterday. It was at a local high end dealer that sells VPI, Audio Research, Linn, Wilson Audio, etc.

What I don't understand is that they had the Traveler (with a Dynavector 10x5) hooked up to a major high end Audio Research (their reference line, I think) driving some very expensive looking Wilson Audio speakers. I think they were using the Audio Research built in phono stage, and to tell you the truth, I think my Xpression III / Ortofon MC-3 turbo / Jasmine LP2 mkII / Audio Refinement / Tekton 6.5t monitor setup sounded much more involving, less dark and much more fun to listen and rock out with...

With that said, it was just one record (that is pretty much all they had, which I thought was pretty lame since they are a Linn dealer and did not have any Linn released LPs) and a very different system.

I hope to be able to bring some of my own LPs in very soon, or even better, borrow their VPI Traveler demo to take home and listen to in my system.

I guess I am pretty lucky that there are similar cartridges installed on the two tables I will be comparing (again, the Dyna 10x5 vs the Ortofon MC-3 turbo) but would people consider the VPI to be darker than Pro-ject and similar tables (Rega)?

Any comments, ideas, etc. would be appreciated here, especially if I am unable to bring the demo Traveler home.

Yeah, I'd try to get it home in your system (or get a Traveler from an online dealer with a return policy, such as Music Direct). So many factors other than the table could be creating that impression. Nothing beats a home audition.
Sigh, they are not going to let me take the Traveler home. At least they have a Linn system that they can hook the Traveler up to that with similar characteristics to my setup. I will be bringing in my LPs very soon.

Any other feedback?
Well, there are ways to get a Traveler into your home that will only set you back the cost of shipping if you don't like it.

I hate to lose your local dealer a sale, but if you are unconvinced or remain uncertain after hearing it in the Linn system, then you can give Music Direct or another online dealer with a good return policy a call.
So yesterday I got to listen to the Traveler with a 10x5 Dyna through a Linn system (pre with MM phono with separate power amp and 109 speakers). Probably as close to my system as I'm going to get without being able to take the Traveler home. I brought some of my own records in from classical Vivaldi Four Seasons (Argo - Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields) to Talking Heads (B side of True Stories, one of my favorites) to Art of Noise (In No Sense? Nonsense). All very good recordings and record condition). I also brought in my antistatic carbon brush and my Clearaudio Clever Clamp. Here is what I heard:

Pros: big neutral to warm soundstage with nice definition and imaging

I never heard the harpsichord on the Vivaldi sound the way it did with this system. It might have been a combination of the Traveler sound and the Linn system having the 109 monitors farther from the wall with more room tuning. It sounded amazing and right there. The violin on the Art of Noise Opus for Four was telling its sad agonizing story. Imaging and soundstage playfulness was there in spades as the tape loop master played with phase and other effects. The Heads sounded defined but just ok (more on this later). I also put on some Dire Straits Down to the Waterline and Knaufler's guitar did call out very nicely, similar to when I saw him live both times.

Cons: head belt squeak on startup (only listened to 33s), heard the VPI system dependent pop on turning off the Traveler and this table has very very different PRaT than my Xpression lll.

First of all, the belt squeak on startup is not a big deal at all. I usually give belt drives a nudge on startup anyway and I don't think I was nudging it enough because of the much heavier platter. The power off pop was disappointing to hear but not a deal breaker. No idea if this would happen on my system at home. Also, but just once I depressed the Traveler's power button while running at the table did not power down. My Xpression does not squeak or pop in my system and I like its 2 position toggle power switch better. But the big difference was the PRaT between the two tables. The Heads did not have their usual energy that makes you want to get up and hit that air guitar. Art of Noise did not have their same dance techno house beat energy. I even asked the salesperson to get a strobe disk, which he had, but it was a large paper one that did not also allow for the stylus to be on a disc to correctly measure speed with any stylus drag. My Cardas Freq Sweep LP allows for this and my Xpression shows pretty much dead on with a speed box mk l. So was the Traveler a little slow with stylus drag? Not sure as it looked pretty much dead on with the paper strobe disk. But the PRaT was very different. So different it made me double check the speed of my Xpression when I got home.

Conclusions: I wish I could combine both tables Pros into one table without the Cons. I could live with ether table but I bet I would lead to some kind of speed correction or adjustment with a controller to maybe tweak the Traveler's speed to be a tad fast. Is VPI's controller the only option here? Can you power on / off at the controller and avoid the pop? It does seem over the top wanting to purchase a $1000 speed controller with a $1300 turntable.

My system is listed in my profile system and the dealer's system was the Linn Akurate pream and amp with 109 monitors on factory stands probably 3x farther from the back wall than the 12" my Tekton 6.5t monitors are from my back wall. My listening room is also my family and TV room with the usual furniture and the dealer's room was minimalistic and setup for listening only with a single chair and I'm sure a great amount of room tuning and conditioning.

I really think both tables would be enjoyable in my system and I wish the Traveler had a little more pace, rhythm and tempo out of the box. Are there any speed adjustments I can make on the Traveler without any additional components? The manual did not mention any.

My $.02
All VPI tables benefit GREATLY by the use of Terrastones, or Bearpaws. Check it out....Edensound.com
Does anyone suspect that there was something wrong with the Traveler setup? What do previous Rega and Pro-ject owners think that have switched to a Traveler?
I have had a Traveler for about 2 weeks and one thing I can say is that it sounds completely different now than when I first set it up. It is currently running thru a CJ pre analog stage to Bryston monos to B&W 801, with a Ort 2M Blk.
Once up and running I noticed that the top pin of the gimbal bearing was not even touching the top spring loaded cup. I had to use a tiny (eye glass type) screw driver to adjust the tension on the north/south bearing axle. This had as much influence on the sound as vta. I found that the tension had to set to just enough to hold the axis in place but do not attempt to take any play out of arm with this adj (to do so seemed to create drag, which may be what original poster was experiencing). Also the instructions seem to imply that there is a way to adj the azimuth(page 6,C) I have not found how short of shimming the cart.I'm sure that I have not come close to fleshing out all that this table has to offer. The build quality is on par with other current VPI tables, tank like and left me asking "how can they build a table and arm like this for $1200-. The arm is a thing of engineering beauty. Faults: On/ off switch is not great (I also have had to push the button twice to get the "pop" which tells you that a vpi table is turning. I would think a little talc would prevent any belt squeek the original o.p.mentioned. I will be at CES so I look forward to meeting with the VPI crew and getting the latest on this table/arm.
The Traveler and the Linn gear was on what looked to be a very well made / rigid maple wood component rack. I wonder if this rack over dampened the Traveler and took its PRaT away?
VPI tables have never been known for PRAT.
Thanks Dayglow
What is prat? I've been away from vinyl for 30+ years, and don't recall hearing that term back in the 70s abd 80s. I'm also looking for a TT in the Traveler price range.
Pace Rhythm and Tempo. The Pro-ject and Rega tables are known for this and others...
Dayglow.....if set up correctly on a proper stand/Bearpaws, or Terrastones it is as good as any table you can compare it to.
Thanks Sbrownnw! Researching TTs before making a purchase is like going back to school, only a lot more fun!
"VPI tables not known for PRAT," you gotta be kidding me (or smoking something you shouldn't)! I have both a Traveler and an Aries 2 and they ROCK!!! If they have no PRAT why is it audio friends are toe tappin' & dancing?

And, as if some brands have it and others don't, please don't waste our time with such drivel.

C'mon TROLLS, out from under your bridges and into the light of day.
@Stevecham: What comparisons of VPI to other tables have you made? I'm asking because I am puzzled and curious to what I heard with the Traveler in the demo room vs what I hear in my system at home with my Xpression III. I also heard the same PRAT characteristics of the Xpression III in my dealers demo room (pretty much all analog shop that sells Regas and Pro-jects) - the VPI dealer carries a much broader product line. I wonder if the VPI dealer did not setup the table correctly as they only had one LP for demo use and are putting their efforts elsewhere??
Re-read the Stereophile VPI Traveler review done on Nov 5th, 2012 and it seems like what he heard with the RP3 vs the Traveler is very similar to what I heard with the Pro-ject Xpression III and the Traveler:

For its part, the Rega-Dynavector combo sounded just a bit faster and hurried, less at ease. And while the Rega did a fine job of distinguishing voices and instruments within its shallower, narrower soundstage, the VPI-Dynavector did a better job of infusing those voices and instruments with purpose, meaning, and life. Chan Marshall was brought more clearly into my listening room [swoon!], and images in general were rounder, fuller, more three-dimensional. Interestingly, the Rega consistently produced the more aggressive, more precise imaging, with seemingly faster transients, for an overall sound that was snappy and exciting. But the Traveler's more leisurely, deliberate way of making music—its smooth, easy sound and steady, confident pace—kept me listening longer, wanting and needing to listen to LP after LP after LP.

The question is, is there a table that is between the Rega RP3 / Pro-ject Xpression III and the Traveler that does the best of both worlds? How about a RP3 with the Groovetracer subplatter to correct the "Regas run a little fast issue" plus maybe their acrylic platter? I don't really like Rega's VTA solution...
The Rega RP6 beat the two others out, IMHO. My Rega has an Ortofon mc-3 turbo like my Xpression lll. It has the PRAT and the imaging I was looking for. :)
The Project 3 is a nice turntable that comes with carbon fiber arm and cartridge (and detachable ic's)all for $699-.

The VPI Traveler with tonearm, good cartridge and ic's will be pushing $2,000.

I spent hours with the Project3 at CES this year and found it a bargain at this price. Solid and well built but not in the Traveler league as far as build quality, weight, tonearm and any other way you can objectively measure a turntable. I believe the Traveler's platter is heavier than the whole Project table/arm/platter so, side by side, they are very different in fit and finish. But, turntables are built to make music and that is very subjective, what sounds good to me may sound bad to you.

I would have used the ortofon mc-3 turbo, so that is a fixed cost of $350 and puts the Xpression lll at $1050 + $30 more for a clever clamp. It puts the Traveler at $1750 and puts the RP6 at $1850 + $25 for the diuble-sided suede mat I am using. You can find all of these at lower "demo" prices. I was lucky to hear all 3 tables with the same or very similar carts: the mc-3 turbo on both I owned and the Traveler had a 10x5 dynavector. I think the RP6 showed up in spades doing exactly what I wanted. I liked the traveler also except the startup belt slippage and creaking plus I wanted a little more PRAT from it.
I'm a music lover and physicist working in a lab full of equipment. While I have no love for the less than stellar (being polite) precision, speed stability, and bearing noise of a VPI's, nobody is doing anything better at the price and I'd take the VPI over the project. Projects are spotty, good luck talking to them for help, VPI is here and will be here.

It's beyond me why a commpany making class stuff, like SME or Basis, won't enter this price arena and really show us great stuff that is affordable.
There, if you don't trust a biochemist/molecular biologist (me), then for goodness sake trust a physicist!
PRAT: For years I wondered what the devil folks were dreaming about with this term. It's hardly something you can put your finger on IMO. But, having perfect pitch, some tables would drive me crazy - nearly all those with servo circuits, and many belt drive. But Linn was one of the few that sounded speed stable. Then I started measuring them all. Huge differences in speed stability, like 100x from best to worst. And Linn is one of the very best.

My guess is that the PRAT they are referring to is their sensation of speed stablity they get from Linn.

Some folks don't seem to notice pitch instability at all.

I still hate the term, like I hate all "undefined, insider lingo" that cliques tend to use....usually to make individuals seem "in the know", and to elevate themselves above others that don't use the lingo, I believe.
About biological things I trust the biologist.

About mechanical things, things of physics, I trust the physicist.
I think the PRAT acronym speaks for itself if you listen, plus it helps having a musician / musical background.
It's all about speed stability. Making up a ridiculous acronym for something as simple as speed stability had a lot of us looking for a deeper meaning than that which is there.

Then if speed stability is a determining factor to PRAT, please provide data demonstrating lack of such stability in VPI's products.

Yeah, I thought so.

Most, if not ALL, so-called "speed instability," comes NOT from the table, but from the off-center hole of the record!
@stevecham, does this mean that tweaking a VPI SDS to run a tad fast with a VPI turntable with not result in more noticeable PRAT? If so, yet another reason why I am glad I have a RP6 instead of a Traveler that replaced my Xpression III.
Stevecham, a wow and flutter meter and an accurate test disc will open your eyes.

ANd your last sentence about most or all instability coming from the off center hole is flat out wrong. Some does, yes. But is that a reason to throw out speed instability of a turntable? Speed stability improvements on a given turntable are heard on MOST records, not just perfect records.
A wow and flutter meter I do not have, so if you have the DATA please share with us. Just because you perceive that I need to "open my eyes," I ask where's the data to support this claim? Unsubstantiated opinions claiming to science don't fly here.

So again, where's the results showing the wow and flutter that will "open my eyes?"

Another emperor without clothes.
Stevecham, I'll call your bluff. What part of the country are you in? If local you can come to my place for a listen, to see what R&D is, and to do measurements.

Send me a PM.