Which Tonearm to go for VPI HW-19 III?

I currently have a rega RB300 and Benz Ace. If i am looking to upgrade the system, does it make sense to start with the arm? Or should I buy a new table instead?

Thanks for looking.

Based on my own experience with the VPI "HW" series turntables, I suggest you begin by upgrading to the HW-19 Mk 4 version. The heavier platter and new suspension springs make a noticeable improvement in performance, which in turns makes a better platform for a higher quality tonearm. If you get the "Mk 4" upgrade package, you will also need to buy the thicker acrylic "Super" armboard, to compensate for the increased height of the platter. When I upgraded my "Mk 3" to the "Mk 4" version, I was very pleased with the substantial improvement in performance. Shortly after making the upgrade, I bought a Rega RB-900, which proved to be an excellent combination with the "Mk 4" turntable.

A used Rega RB-900 is a fine value, as is the VPI JMW 10.5 (used) or JWM 10.0.
Steve, Sdcampbell hit that one right on the head. The MkIV upgrade is VERY significant. I also use the RB900 arm. If you can afford the MkIV upgrade, do it. Your stock RB300 arm may fall slightly short after the upgrade.

Although, your 300 arm can be upgraded quite nicely. See below:




The RB900 arm is a very nice arm. But, it is even better with some of the mods such as VTA adjuster, Heavyweight counterweight and internal wiring. All those same mods can be performed to your 300 arm (which you already own). If you ever decide to upgrade to the 900 arm, you could carry over the mod. parts from the 300.

Best of luck, Ed.
I hear that the Eminent Technology arm is a great fit. I have the ET2 arm on another table and believe it is the best turntable to support this arm.
I strongly suggest you investigate this option.
I agree with Scott and Ed, the mk IV upgrade is well worth it. If you want to take it further, you can add the Stand Alone Motor Assembly (SAMA) and Synchronous Drive System (SDS). That takes the HW-19 concept about as far as it can go, which is pretty far indeed. I'm happy using the JMW 10.5 tonearm with my full blown HW-19 setup. I never tried the Rega RB-900, so I cannot compare. I did originally have a RB-300 and I'm much happier with the sound of the 10.5 tonearm.
The mk IV upgrade is the first place to start though.

Thank you all for the valuable inputs. If I decide to upgrade to IV, should I contact local VPI dealer or talk to VPI directly? and how much will be?
I saw an ad here at audiogon from discovery cable for rewiring services for RB300. Have you all compare different rewiring products? How does the rewired RB300 compare to RB900?


Steve, many of the dealers of cartridges and turntables, (Elusive Disc, Acoustic Sounds, Audio Advisor, Etc,) will carry the MkIV upgrade. It can also be ordered from VPI directly. I can tell you that VPI is really backed up and presently the Aries Black Night platters are in very short supply, if at all. You would probably be looking at about 3-4 weeks for delivery.

I believe that the MkIV upgrade (platter, bearing and suspension) is about $600.00+, the drilled Super armboard (1" thick) about $100.00+.

The RB900 arm is factory supplied with a better quality tonearm cable than the factory 300 arm. I don't know any details on that specific wire. There are many different manufacturers of Rega upgrade cables. I can tell you that my upgrade cable is by Incognito, and the actual wire is Cardas Litz. ANY good quality upgrade cable will work wonders for your RB300.

A fully modified, rewired RB300 is sonically, a completely different tonearm than the factory RB300 tonearm. Quite frankly, it is within spitting distance of the RB900 arm and then some. But, that's comparing to a fully modified RB300 including rewire, weight, endstub, VTA adjuster, and maybe even the TWL mod.

My opinion? Go for the MkIV upgrade first. It will put that turntable in a whole nother' league. And you can sell the existing MkIII platter and bearing here on Audiogon to offset the cost of the upgrade.

Check out this link and scroll down to MkIV upgrades:


Have fun, Ed.

I would deal with VPI directly. I've found that to be a more direct route. As for the Discovery cable, many tonearms come wired with Discovery cable. All VPI JMW arms are wired with Discovery, as are the Wheaton arms (Tri-Planar). There are a couple other tonearm manufacturers, but I can't remember them right now. I liked my VPI JMW 10.5 so much I tried a 1 meter length of Discovery Essence between the arm and the phono stage. It was a big improvement over the more expensive Phono cable from Transparent Audio that I had been using. So this is something that may interest you, after the mk IV upgrade of course.

Thanks Ed and John,
Are you suggesting that I can order the upgrade parts from VPI directly and install myself?
Yes, it's fairly simple. If you have any questions, VPI has answers too. Great customer service.