Has anyone seen or heard this in person yet? It looks like a sweet table from the pictures on the VPI web-site.
I know you haven't. I was just teasing. You do not strike me as being easily dissuaded Paskinn. I don't think any one is pushing you into an anti-VPI position at all. We are merely eliciting opinions from those folks who have heard the Classic to be able to assist us in evaluating the merits and drawbacks of the table. I guess your blanket statements concerning "suspensionless or mass-loaded designs" (while clearly informed by comparisons you have made through ownership of tables across that spectrum) seemed a bit too unequivocal, especially as it related to the Classic which you admittedly have not heard, and that is probably what drew Harry Weisfeld (Brooklynboy) into the thread to explain his design principles. I am not a tt expert by any means (as I stated above I am shopping for my first tt setup ever), but what I hope to get from this thread is a good enough idea of what the pros and cons are of this table to help me better evaluate it, in conjunction with auditioning it versus competing products (which I am still waiting to do).
This is a difficult argument to make because it sounds like I am pushing my products, which I am not. wW can not make enough tables for the demand so my salesman hat is not on at all, this is my audiophile hat.
I personally own a Thorens 124, a Thorens 125, a Micro Seiki DDX-1000, a Denon DP-80, a JVC-TT101, a Kenwood LO-7D, a Linn, an AR-XA, 7 Empires, 5 Rek-O-Kuts, blah, blah, blah. As an audiophile I know what all these tables sound like, they are all different and when properly rebuilt or worked on they can all sound wonderful and reproduce a good semblence of music. I have also owned a Goldmund and a Versa over the years also.
What I am getting at is, for the price of the Classic you wil get 97% of what is available from any deck in the world, new or used. You will pay through the nose for that last 3% which you may or may not be able to extract anyways depending on your system and setup capabilities. More importantly, most of these decks are made overseas so you are also paying for the importer, the transportation, the incredible dollar value loss (sorry to keep picking on SME but they make great stuff - do you really think it is worth $35K????). Is an Aston Martin DB-9 worth 200K?? I wouldn't pay that much money for it and I have one, that is the replacement cost now - insane!!!!
The SSM Rim Drive from 500 HZ down is better than the Classic, it is 3 times the price, actually it is better than most tables but requires careful setup, but once set stays that way. I can set up a Classic and get it to the 99% point is 20 minutes, I'm 61, that's all the time I want to spend on a table setup at the moment.
Roy Gregory has played with more tables than I have, HP has one of the best systems in the world, so does Fremer, what they say has meaning in the context of explaining what the table or other component sounds like. You do not have the ability to audition all this equipment, they do. The problem is you buy something they recommend, put the wrong cartridge, preamp, loading, etc on it and you expect the same results, it will not happen. I tell people all the time which cartridge to buy with each arm, they never listen!!! They go into the dealer and he sells them a Shelter on a JMW-9, bad, 4 months of playing to make it work right is no fun for anyone.
The Classic is all about great sound for the least amount of money and at the same time pushing the limit at any price up to 10K or more. I use the Classic in my second system with a totally rebuilt Marants 2275 receiver, a pair of rebuilt DQ-10 speakers, and a VAS step up transformer with a low output Dynavector. Less than 9K and absolutely amazing sound.
Thx Harry for your response. I hear you on the law of deminishing returns. At the end of the day, every consumer is going to have to make the appropriate and personal decision as to what that last 3-5% of performance is worth to them. For some it may be worth very little and hence they will be fully satisfied by a Classic and others will pay up an additional $10K for your HRX setup or another $20-$30K for an SME, etc...(there is no dearth of insanely priced tt offerings). I am not one of those folks. With that in mind, sounds like a simple isolation platform, and a combination of periphery ring clamp and center weight, provide suffiecient isolation and a flat surface for reasonably optimal tracking, that that should deliver the bulk of the goodies. Appreciate your comments/feedback (be they as an audiophile or as head of VPI :-)).
>With that in mind, sounds like a simple isolation platform, and a combination of periphery ring >clamp and center weight, provide suffiecient isolation and a flat surface for reasonably optimal >tracking, that that should deliver the bulk of the goodies.
Absolutely true, nothing else is needed.
What TT is in your 1st system?
Harry, Did Michael Fremer also review this table in his system? you mention him in the post but I don't recall seeing a review by him on the classic. I went back to the Stereophile issues and didn't find anything on the classic. You also mention specific combinations of Arm,Cartridge,preamp with the classic work better..... So what are some of the great combos with the Classic? so we can look into it. H.P's review doesn't mention what stuff he tested it with, furthermore even if he did I would guess it would be hellish expensive given he has one of the worlds best systems. Most of the rest of us dont.
Fremer reviewed the SSM Rim Drive and Stereophile gave it turntable of the year, BTW a French magazine just did the same thing. This is not just about the Classic, it is about all tables and the way you have to read between the lines in reviews. He will eventually get the Classic but not till we catch up a bit. Actually Art D. was supposed to get it next!
I use the Classic with the Mac 2300 preamp and a Soundsmith "The Voice", you get a real master tape sound with this combo. Very smooth, very detailed, powerful midrange, and great dynamics. the Sussuro cartridge is even better but more than double the price. For the money though it is real hard to beat the Dynavector 20x, great cartridge. I've had great luck with rebuilt Citation 1 preamps and the Scott preamps. Many of them have adjustable phono sections (the VAS Audio reproduction of the Citation 1 is stunning with multiple curves)and bass and treble controls (heaven forbid).
Seriously, I can't recommend the 2300 enough, it is that good.
Can you address the differences in sound between VPI Classic and the VPI Scoutmaster w/th the JMW 9 signature tonearm? The two are similar in price but seem to have a different engineering approach. I'm wondering how each approach effects the sound for each table.
The Classic is very focused with rock solid speed, great transients, great low level resolution, pretty much everything cooks correctly. The Scoutmaster is a different beast, the 9" arm is not as smooth but very impactful, the 300 RPM motor is very quiet with very accurat speed control on the rotor but less control on the platter. The acrylic platter of the Scoutmaster has a very unique sound in this setup, it sounds slightly warmer than the Classic and in abolute mesurements terms over all quieter yet the Clasic in noiseless. It's interesting that what we can't measure we hear so clearly.
If you litened to classical the most I would lean towards the SM, for general great sound across all genres I would get the Classic. Tough decision either way but they both sound fabulous just different.
HW, I was about to invest in the SSM Rim Drive that Stereophile also gave a turntable of the year for this year and be done with the turntable. Can you address some differences in this turntable and the classic? (regardless of price). What are some of the key features similar or different in each? is one warmer than the other? What do I loose or gain by reconsidering the Classic instead of sticking with the SSM Rim Drive? Im sure both are great but some sound charachteristics/features would be nice from you the designer/creator. I don't have a huge collection of thousands of LP's but I want to get one last table and be over with it and start enjoying the music.
So little time left in the day to answer really good questions.
I get asked this all day "which is better, the Classic or the SSMR Rim Drive" and my answer is both, or neither. From 500 HZ down I have never heard a table more powerful, clean, dynamic, or flowing in bass line than the Rim Drive. It does as well as the Classic from 500 up but not better, slightly different but not better. The Classic is more liquid sounding, very smooth, very dynamic, but not as powerful sounding as the RD. The Classic is cooler sounding, has a huge soundstage, has amazing low level resolution, and make syou tap your toe. The RD will kick you in the stomach, knock you over on the coach, and leave you believing you just heard a live double bass.
If you add the ring and SDS to the Classic the RD is roughly double the price but you will never want another table. Tough decision but for all out sound, the RD is the winner.
Appreciate your description. I listen to alll kinds of music and decided to buy the Scoutmaster with the JMW 9 signature tonearm. I look forward to hearing the turntable with my system. Thanks
Good luck, you will love it.
Brooklynboy wrote: "If you add the ring and SDS to the Classic the RD is roughly double the price but you will never want another table." H.W., by this statement did you mean the Classic? or the SSM RD? as the last table....and not wanting another table.
Sam...I think he meant if you were to add the periphery rang and the SDS to the Classic it will be the last table you want at half the price of the SSM RD setup.
"Excellent first post", indeed. I finally figured it out... after reading the first few comments from Brooklyn Boy... Oy! HW is Harry Weisfield! I could plotz. I can smell the brilliance here... I am a 25-year owner of my HW-19 mk3, and the Classic's tenets of rigid mounting of all three points seems to really control random motion, and all of the things HW has said here. I have not heard it, so I don't have an opinion that deck, but everything seems to have culmaniated into the perfect Super HW-19! I seriously hope the real HW DOESN'T raise prices, given the positive press from the most esteemed writers so far. And I need all of 2010 to save up! Seriously.
Even with my current deck (w/Sumiko Premier FT3 & Monster Cable AG1000 mk2- Classic indeed! Wink- I want that orange AG2000!), I need to replace the plinth as heaviness from the Mk2 platter really did a number over the years. Having replaced my suspension years ago with Navcom Silencers and the platter etc, I have always been grateful that VPI allows for a completely modular upgrade and replacement path, even for discontinued products. That is the main reason I am so happy over the years, even though phono stages, and cartridges have changed over the years.I have always been searching for answer from VPI regarding suspension and isolation. I understand there are new Isolators, but little is ever inked on site to give a comprehensive understanding of the why and the how of the product lines. I'd like to see the designer's thoughts and conversations on the website one day...
Hi Jeff, glad to hear you are still enjoying the 19, I have one too, with an original Lustre 801. The new isolators solve the spring VS. Navcom VS. Sorbothane argument, they are better than either. I used the suspension isolators from the Classic, combined them with a machined delrin part and the end result is really good isolation but combined with focus and speed. I think you'll like it. They screw into the spring receptacles.
Thanks for the great info on the Isolators! I'll contact Sheila shortly. I love that you integrate so many products to work with a very wide range of your offerings, and with no changes to the existing turntable base. Thank you for such a quick response to my issue! You Rock!
Asking HW not to praise his decks is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. I accept you do get the manufacturers viewpoint (don't you just!) but where are all the other perspectives? With the excerption of me, virtually every single entry on this thread has been pro VPI, often to a distubingly uncritical point.I have owned, and used over hundreds of hours, 'cheap' and expensive decks from VPI, as well as other high end decks, both suspended and unsuspended. The suspended ones sound better...and that is why VPI offer them at the top of their range, as do all substantial manufacturers. Decks only have two jobs to rotate at the correct speeds (usually achieved to a high degree) and to isolate the cartridge from surplus vibration......usually not achieved.
One final point....perhaps you don't hear the same as HP with speakers such as the Grand Veenas because his judgement is far less godlike than seems to be the accepted truth. I gave up on his judgements many years ago...as I have Roy Gregory's. If they like stuff (such as Nordust) I usually find it bright and unnatural. We all have different tastes, the mistake is to elevate one set into some sort of 'reference' when they are actually just another set of views, experienced or not. Subjectivism makes certainty in this hobby impossible. Which is fine really.....anyway, cheerio.And good luck, whatever you buy..
Harry's record can stand on it's own and needs no backing from any of us. Why don't you try talking to him on the phone?
"Decks only have two jobs to rotate at the correct speeds (usually achieved to a high degree) and to isolate the cartridge from surplus vibration......usually not achieved."
Actually much harder than you think, correct speed is not just absolute speed but also micro second to micro second correct speed which is based on a number of factors. Rim drive gives absolute speed and the micro absolute speed that no belt will give you. That is why we locked the motor and platter together on the Classic to try and get the sound of the rim drive on a simple less expensive chassis. I know you have an SME and I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship and detail work they do but they are not the be all and end all of turntable designs. There are a few good ideas that did not come from the UK.
Until you hear HP's system you really have no way of knowing the soundstage, detail, musical authority, or goose bump effect it will produce while delivering an utterly smooth and coherent sound. It is a close to live music as I have ever heard. Anything that gets dropped into that system gets a real workout, there is no place to hide, and you would be shocked at the number of tables set up there and then removed because they couldn't cut it, including ones in the 30K+ range. Happy holidays everyone.
NOT SO, paskinn...
If you check my reply to Mr Plus, you will find I totally agree with your viewpoint about suspensions vs suspensionless decks. I specially agree with you in respect to good engineering vs some ways the hobby is going lately, with too much "magic", esoterism and subjectivism. Anyway, it's a hobby, a passion and should be an enjoyable one. Best Wishes for every one.
Harry, I have always been a fan of VPI's products and for that i thank you. i would also say that i am very pleased to see you pushing the envelope. no one told you to go out and take all your knowledge and put together the best at the lowest cost product. it is a breath of fresh air in this hi end audio world. i am not trying to kiss your ass, i am just saying this is real great and no one forced you to do it, would be great if all the brands did this, it might bring the idea of the abosolute sound back to the masses.
Thanks, I appreciate your comments. Have a great holiday.
With regards to paskinn's views and comments: H.W. have you compared any suspended tables with the VPI classic in your tests? When creating the Classic, what VPI or other tables did you use for comparing/building the Classic? paskinn also states/implies that his SME is the state of the Art in Turntables which I don't doubt, but H.W. have you auditioned/spent some time in detail with the SME table that paskinn is talking about? I am curious about your thoughts on the SME table in question. On a side note, for the 2009 Product of the years awards in Stereophile, an SME table was the finalist but the Award with maximum votes went to the SSM rim drive by VPI a non suspended design. i.e. I doubt that this many people could be mistaken in their judgement/listening views if the VPI design philosophy was so poor compared to the suspended tables. To me seems like both are great the question is the price difference and how much more do you get with that hefty price difference.
The Yamaha and the Steinway are both state of the art in piano production but they sound totally different, the same can be said of any two turntable companies . The SME sound reflects the wishes of the people running the company as does the Classic or any table I make reflect mine. I have listened to every form of table you could imagine in the last 40 years and have owned a ton of them so I can guarantee you one thing, unlike amps and preamps soundng closer and closer every year to each other, tables do not and probably never will.
The SME is a stunning work of art and a great piece of industrial design and engineering, other than that it has it's own personality and sound. I had a 20, not a 20/12 so I cannot comment on the absolutely newest SME but I have had and have mounted every arm they make but the new 12" version. They all sound the same, there is an SME house sound, be it good or bad, it is what it is.
The Classic has been compared to the best and most expensive turntables made in reviews all around the world and has been found to be in the top tier. It's speed stability is in the very upper echelon of best tables. As far as isolation, if you have a system that goes lower than HP's (4 - 18" woofers, good to 16 HZ)you may need an isolation platform. 99.9% of systems will simply require a good solid shelf.
I cannot say anymore than this without stepping on toes, I will simply say that VPI does not advertise or give the magazines any money, so that should be ruled out as an issue. What they write is the truth as the reviewer hears it and that HP, Roy, Alan S., are very honest and really try to help the readers as best they can.
As far as the price difference, I think you can figure that out, no more need be said.
Pro-Ject has a table/arm combo for about the same price. It would be interesting to do a comparison.
I'm new to this hobby and have been reading these posts with much to learn. I have a question regarding your post dated 11/30/09 where you said "The problem is you buy something they (reviewers) recommend, put the wrong cartridge, preamp, loading, etc on it and you expect the same results, it will not happen. I tell people all the time which cartridge to buy with each arm, they never listen!!! They go into the dealer and he sells them a Shelter on a JMW-9, bad, 4 months of playing to make it work right is no fun for anyone."
A dealer wants to sell me a Scoutmaster with a JMW Signature arm and a Shelter 501 MC cartridge. I was told that this combo sounds particularly good. From what I can tell by your post you don't agree. Can you explain why or am I not understanding. What would you recommend instead?
Yes, it sounds very good if you put a 3-4 gram headshell weight on the arm and get the resonance peak down around 9-10 HZ. Good sounding combination but you must add mass, it is a low compliance cartridge and likes to be mounted to tree trunks. Use the damping fluid with this combination.
HW, how about the Dynavector karat 17D3? It's been well reviewed, affordable. Do all dynavectors sound similar to thier signature sound and how would this one fair in the new arm with the Classic? Thanks
The Classic is the first arm we make that the Karat actully works well in. Good sounding combo, sweet, precise, liquid, and quite powerful sounding, with the right step up. Highly recommendad
Harry...since you have been nice enough to get back to folks on specific cart's compliance with the JMW 10.5SE tonearm, could you let me know how compliant the Benz Micro Glider S is with the Classic's tonearm and if you have actually heard that combo and what you think of it? It comes highly recommended from my dealer in the $1000 or less category. Thx very much.
They work beautifull together. The standard bearers, Benz, Dyna, Lyra, etc. all work well in the arm except if they have a really light (less than 6 grams) or really heavy (more than 13 grams) design.
You should have no problems at all with this setup and it should sound great.
Thanks for the time you use up answering all and every question from the community. Here's another one:
HP of TAS mentions an steel tube upgrade for the Classic tonearm.
Yet, there is no information on this subject in website.
What's your take?
HW. You mention proper set up. Do you recommend getting that done at factory or by a dealer or can we do it at home ourselves with equal succcess? Some people recommend finding a turntable expert locally and have them set it up. Also thinking about ordering Michael fremers analog guide DVDs, but not sure how much help they will be in setting up.
With the instructions and the jig we supply you should have no problem at all installing any cartridge yourself. Read the instructions untill you completely understand what we are tslking about, the rest will come naturally. Once you learn this you will be rewarded with great sound that you produced.
H.W. Could you please comment on the SYNCHRONOUS DRIVE SYSTEM (SDS) when used with the VPI classic. I know its not necesarry, but what is gained or lost when throwing this in the package? what sound improvements or changes occur? Is there evan an application of SDS to this table? any thoughts?
Roy Gregory did a follow up to his review of the Classic in the later issue that should just be appearing in US stores. In it, he concentrated on the SDS and the Peri Ring. The Ring made a big difference, the SDS not so profound. The Classic is pretty speed stable already and the SDS just adds to that on a a near-as-dammit imperceptible level. If you've got a wealth of 45s, that might be a different matter.
Editor, Hi-Fi Plus Magazine
editor [at] hifiplus [dot] com
Thx Alan for the heads up. Looking forward to read Roy's follow up thoughts on the Classic with the tweaks.
Just ordered myself a classic, sds, periphery ring, and dynavector 20xl - really looking forward to getting it. I am in the UK and as I understand it, I need the 110v motor for the sds. Several reviews have stated that the classic uses a 600rpm motor - is this correct? I am contused as there is disparity on forums with regard this. Also, I have read some a couple of comments on Audiogon stating that their classic's platter is not level - is this user error. Just trying to put my mind to rest on this as eveything I have read so far about this table seems excellent.
Does the super scout master rim drive reference perform considerably better than the classic? I can see from your comments above that it is a close call for the SSM, but wondered with all the upgrades added, whether the ssm would be a longway ahead.
Khfm865, please tell us about your associated equipment and once its set up let us know what you like or dislike about the table, its sound features....etc.... In what areas does it excell to YOUR tastes, likes and dislikes. Thanks.
I will do as soon as I get it set up - I have gone the full hog on the upgrade path as I have ordered it with the VTA tower an valhalla wiring too. I will be running this initially into a McIntosh C220 pre on to Bryston 4Bsst2, then on to Dynaudio Contour S3.4s. Wiring in Nordost and power conditioning from Isotek.
I am contemplating an AQVOX phonoCi2 mk2 phonostage at some point so that I can get a better MC cartridge in the future - probably Dynavector XX2. The AQVOX is a fully balanced phono - I will get the VPI balanced junction box wired in valhalla and run balanced cabling from the Classic.
Will keep you posted. Got my VPI 16.5 today and will be frantically cleaning my collection in earnest before the fun begins.
Just a mini update for anyone following this thread. I have got an AQVOX phono2ciMk2 (fully balanced phono) now alongwith vpi balanced junction box. Still waiting for the table and pther bits to arrive though. WIll keep you informed.
The Rig now comprises:
Vpi classic (with valhalla tonearm wire + vta tower + Valhalla balanced junction box) - valhalla balanced interconnect to Aqvox phono 2cimk2 - to Mcintosh c220 - Bryston 4Bsst2 - Dynaudio Contour S3.4.
Sorry - realised that your comments were with regards the ssm rim drive. Ignore my last question.
BTW, I am going to be running the high output 20xl into a Mcintosh c220 - hopefully will sound great.
That's one hell of a turntable you ordered, you will be shocked. Break it in about 20 hours and then get the VTA right, the 20X is VTA sensitive. track it at 2.2 grams. Good luck.
I wonder if anyone else try SDS with VPI Classic. HP brief review seems to indicated that it added only slight improvement to the Classic but HiFi Plus follow up review seems to indicated that it is quite significant. The reason that I am asking is that I am using 220v model so it is not a simple addition of SDS but I will also need to change motor to 110v and change some capacitors or something as well so I am wondering if it is worth the effort. I already have the ring clamp which I think is essential. I am also considering adding VTA on the fly but I am not sure how simple it is to add that once I already have the unit.
Does anyone know what the effective mass is for the JMW10.5i SE tonearm that comes with the Classic (without VTA tower)? Also, for anyone who has ordered the Classic with the standard JMW10.5i (w/ VTA tower and Valhalla wiring for $700 upcharge), what is the effective mass on that tonearm? Thx
I've been reading comments in magazines for 50 years about turntables(first about record changers!) and from the Linn on there have been innumerable comments about suspended tables. About what a pain they are to keep"in tune". It seems that they suffer from an infinite variety of problems as: the temperature, humidity, leveling every few minutes, the difference between ordinary weight records and 200 gram records, and on and on. The combinations of these and others present an insurmountable problem(s) to me. After listening to a Well Tempered for years, I just bought a Nottingham 294 and a Dynavector 17D3 cartridge. Havent use the squash balls (yet) but I'm sure that, unless the table - this one or ANY other- is put in a sound proof room so that sound from the speakers doesn't intrude at all no amount of weight will cure all forms of feedback to the needle, cartridge, etc. and will affect the sound somewhat.
Jack D II
I've heard the Classic and the belt gets in the way of the enjoyment of the music, just as every other belt I've listened to does.
Find a cheap SP-10Mk.II and get a decent plinth and be done with it all. Next month there will be another VPI table that HW states is the best thing since sliced bread and that the Classic is yesterday's news.
Folks, looks like we have a direct-drive afficionado here and this could get interesting. Brooklynboy/HW, where are you?