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.
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