VPI Turn Table

Has anyone ever heard how good the VPI turntable is?
You don't indicate which VPI model, so let's start with defining their product line. At the bottom end is the VPI HW-19 Jr, which is inexpensive and a good entry-level table. One of the advantages to the VPI line is that you can upgrade in steps. So, from the "Jr.", the next step is the HW-19 Mark 3, which features a better platter, bearing, and suspension springs. At the top end of the HW-19 line is the Mark 4, which features a 20-lb. platter from VPI's TNT series, plus the TNT-quality bearing, and heavier suspension springs which are tuned to 2.5 Hz. The Mark 4 turntable weighs about 60 pounds, so you can see it is a pretty serious piece of equipment. Going up in price is the Aries, which is cosmetically better looking than the HW-19 series, and has an isolated motor. The top-of-the-line table is the TNT Mark 5, which costs about $6500. With regard to your question, how good is/are the VPI tables. In a few words, they are one of the top 5 turntables made today in each of their respective price ranges. You can pay more, but you won't do any better overall. VPI also makes a superb tonearm, the JMW, which is available in 10" and 12" arm lengths. This tonearm is also among the best being made today, and sells for around $2400. I currently own a HW-19 Mark 4, which I have upgraded over the years from the Mark 2 version. Each upgrade has made a distinct improvement in performance. My current tonearm is a Rega RB-900, which is an excellent match with the Mark 4. Harry Weisfeld and his wife Sarah own and operate VPI, and Harry does most of the design work. They stand behind their product and offer excellent customer service. I don't know what other tables you are currently considering, but the VPI HW-19 Mark 3 or Mark 4, or the Aries, should definitely be on your list. If you are not limited by budget and can afford the TNT, then it also should be on your "short list". I think of the VPI line as the "Vandersteen" of turntable manufacturers - excellent build quality, with a focus on high performance at a reasonable price.
I'm also interested in getting back into vinyl. I have a fairly large collection, but my old turntable is shot. SD,you seem to have a lot of knowledge in this subject. Do you have any recommendations in regards to buying a pre-owned table? Is it better to buy new? I know that VPI is well respected. M dealer that use carries VPI and Basis. Is the Basis line another good one to consider? I know that the 1400 is not upgradeable, but the 2000 is. I don't have much knowledge in this area. Any advice would be appreciated.
I have the HW-19jr, and it's great, definitely the best for the money. With it, the AQ PT-8 arm, the Benz Lo4 cartridge, and the Musical Surroundings Phonomena phono stage. Nobody would believe how well these work together.
Kleiman: There are several other very good turntables which compete effectively with the VPI tables: the Basis 1400 is a good table, as are the Rega Planar 25 and Planar 9, Kuzma Stabi, SME 10, Linn Sondek LP12, and Thorens TD325. The turntable, of course, is only half of the equation. The tonearm is the other half. Here, you have a number of options among pivoted arms. The better pivoted arms include: VPI JMW, the Graham 2.0, several of the SME's, the Kuzma Stogi, and my personal choice for "Best Buy", the Rega RB900. Which arm you choose will dictate to some extent your choice of cartridge. The VPI JMW, for example, is a relatively high-mass arm, and will usually perform best with medium-to-low compliance cartridges. The Rega RB900 can be used with almost any cartridge, as can the Graham and Kuzma.