LOL. Two tables each with some big things going for and against them. Very different schools/camps, so you’ll get very polar responses. I guess if it were me starting over and choosing between this pair, I’d give the Prime Signature a shot - but only in the wood finish (it’s honestly gorgeous), and after replacing the unipivot with whatever their best gimbal arm currently is. Ring clamp would be a great add-on, too - who doesn’t want the ability to perfectly flatten warped vinyl? Then I’d brace myself for the Mk 2, 3, 4, 5, ... N versions to roll through over the next few years.
Either one should be a really nice setup, with caveats.
Do you have a springy floor? are you wall mounting? do you need more isolation? things to consider with these two different camps in table design. suspended table with some mass (VPI), unsuspended low mass table (rega). both can be great if you have the proper set up to take advantage of both tables issues.
I'd prefer the VPI over the Rega but that's because I can not wall mount in my place. I also feel the VPI will hold its value better in the long run, IMO
Now if it was my money I'd buy a Garrard 301-401 or TD 124 and build up a reference table.
Hi, and thanks everyone for your responses, it looks like the unipivot arm is not everyones cup of tea. so to answer Glen, I have concrete floors and a target rack. I guess i'll tell you about the system, I'm using a mission table right now,with a glider(benz micro) cart. I have a cary sli80,love it, esoteric sacd player,bottom of the line. and focal satellites and sub.all pluged into a ps audio regenerator. with kimber kable. I love the look of the vpi table but I've never really set up a dialed in an expensive cart. I live in Tulsa and we have no dealers near by. so buying a premounted cart is appealing. but I have reservations about being locked into the rega ecosystem. as far cartridges go is the apheta2 a good one? and yes I do consider myself lucky to even be making this choice. thanks again everyone!
I would also highly suggest you contact the Reference Analog. The owner is Jeff Harris and is one of the best analog guys around. He does in home cartridge setup and will not steer you wrong. I’ve bought all my gear from him, including all my VPI tables and other gear. PM me and I can get you connected with him - I think it is worth a call to see what he can offer you (pricing, service, etc). He has been a great resource for after service care with setup and other issues that have came about. I think you'd be surprised how close the pricing is with some of the used VPI tables on the market, and with the knowledge and support Jeff provides, it is well worth it, imho.
In the long run, you will be better off learning how to setup your own cartridge. Even if a bouncy unipivot doesn't bother you like it does some, that doesn't really make it any tougher to setup a cartridge. You could always buy an inexpensive cart to get started and get your confidence up and change it when you feel that you're up to it.
Honestly, I wouldn't choose either of these tables at this price point, but if you lean to the Rega, I'd be cautious regarding the Apheta carts. A number of threads about trouble with hum, etc. with them that had no easy solution. Pretty widely documented. FWIW, I am a former VPI owner (TNT6HR, 12.6 and 12.7 arms), and would never go back to a VPI. Not looking to throw shade, but for all the VPI owners, there's also a bunch who have moved elsewhere to greater satisfaction. Cheers,
I own a VPI Prime Signature. It's honestly one of the best tables for the money today. The Unipivot are is a pain - unless you add the dual pivot (a used table may have it already). Makes setting azimuth a breeze and can almost be done on the fly. But save your records and move the arm back to the rest first. I recently added a 2nd arm to mine. No, an actually mounted 2nd arm. No mods to the table were made. And this is the nicer thing about VPI tables, they can be modded. Heck, Harry and Mat both commented positively on the mod!
Anyway, I digress. The Prime Sig. has such great features I can objectively say the advertising for it is not hype. Of course, your cartridge choice will make a huge impact on how it plays. But that's the thing with VPI tables. You can start with the basic table and add/swap/change around the different things as time goes on to build it better. They have a gimbaled arm if you don't like the Unipivot. Add the SDS/ADS/Phoenix speed controller. Add the periphery ring. Get multiple arm wands and swap cartridges based on needs.
For the money, the VPI is and was my choice.
I haven't heard the Rega. I am currently using a one-off VPI "Scout Supreme" which approximates the Prime Signature on the Scout chassis. After years of using VPI unipivots (JMW-9 and 3D-10) I went with a gimbaled 3D-10 on this table. Could not be happier. Easy peasy to set up and use, sounds incredible. My recommendation is that if you choose the VPI Prime Signature, swap out the arm for a gimbaled fat boy and you will be very happy.
Those who criticize a VPI for their arm are those who either have NEVER owned one or just hate for hate's sake. The VPI unipivot arms is a great performers and smoke the Rega arm in any level in any category of comparison.
The VPI Prime Sig is a real turntable and worth it’s price new. Finding one used is a stroke of great fortune The Rega RP10 can’t compete with other tables in its retail price range much less a quality table like a Prime Sig.
i had a VPI Scout and a VPI Prime and moved on to a Technics SL1200G. The reason, I hated the unipivot arm. It was way too fiddly. My wife was so afraid of it she wouldn’t go near the turntable. So, you are in error when you say people that don’t like VPI never owned one. For myself, it’s never again will I own a VPI. There are much better out there. My Technics at the same price of the Prime, blows it away and I am now happily spinning vinyl again.
For those perhaps wanting a VPI, but not liking unipivots (I am such a person), consider looking for a nice used Aries 1, which can be had, if like me you get lucky, at a very reasonable price. I found an Aries 1 plinth and motor in Mint - condition for $400, then it’s missing platter and bearing (in likewise condition) for another $300. I can’t think of a table for twice or even thrice that I would rather have (except a Townshend Rock, but their owners don’t sell them. I luckily already have one.). Some prefer the Aries 1 to most of the TNT’s.
I didn’t have to buy a VPI unipivot to know I didn’t want one. Just seeing the VPI tables with that arm at my prior dealer was enough of their unipivot for a lifetime, lol. I realize they’ve made improvements to smooth out the unipivot experience, like the optional dual pivot. Which is really making it a hybrid, like the Graham Phantom (I still own a Supreme). The Graham does a stellar job mitigating the issues of a unipivot. VPI’s new gimbal fatboy looks interesting, and like I said their Prime Signature looks amazing - should be a hell of a combination.
Sure, I’m biased, because I like big heavy Koetsus - if you strap that onto a classic VPI unipivot it’s like putting an alligator tail on a chihuahua. When it comes down to it, I just prefer the feel and universally good performance (with a wide range of cartridges) of great rigid gimbal bearings, and I don’t think that’s an uncommon opinion in this hobby.
Most people here remember my frustration with VPI.
I finally set up my Classic 3 Sig SE / 3D unipivot/ dual pivot mod/ ADS/ 3 belts and was really blown away. I had previously a SDS that was going bad and the STP was off from the factory. It’s now exceeding my expectations.
The arm is fiddly...made better with the dual pivot mod. I’m using my home made mat and a Stillpoints LP-1 with my Acutex 425 STR. You would not believe the musical/deep bass this little cart retrieves from the grooves.
Slaw, I agree regarding the Acutex carts. I have two, the LPM 415 STR, and the LPM 320 III STR, great cartridges, and very surprising, considering their small size and weight.
I also got sick and tired of the VPI wobble (Scout Signature), and built my own Garrard 401 with a Dynavector 501 arm, which is a delight after years with the JMW arm. Sounds fantastic, too.
I didn’t have to buy a VPI unipivot to know I didn’t want one. Just seeing the VPI tables with that arm at my prior dealer was enough of their unipivot for a lifetime ... Sure, I’m biased ... I just prefer the feel and universally good performance (with a wide range of cartridges) of great rigid gimbal bearings ...I feel the same way - I've never met a unipivot arm that I like. Although I know many users like them, they just don't inspire confidence and don't feel precise. It's a bias I just can't overcome.