VPI Industries Traveler turntable

On May 21, 2008, five months after purchasing my very first turntable (a Rega Research P3-24), I decided that my obsession with LPs had grown to the extent that I could no longer function without a good record-cleaning machine. I'd done some research and found that the device best suited to my life and wallet was VPI's time-honored HW-16.5. I was certain, anxious, determined. But that morning, when I gave VPI a call, the line was busy. When I called again in the afternoon, the line was busy. When I called again in the evening, the line was busy.

When someone finally answered my call, I was surprised—partly because I'd grown so accustomed to hearing that busy signal, but mostly because the person on the other end of the line sounded so familiar. She was kind, candid, and her tone almost immediately took on the warm, concerned, slightly overbearing touch of a mom—my favorite kind of person. This was Sheila Weisfeld—cofounder, with her husband, Harry, of VPI Industries. We talked and talked. After a while, I wondered if Sheila was more interested in sharing stories about her sons than in selling me a record-cleaning machine.

Turned out that her first, Jonathan, had been killed in a car accident 13 years earlier. Jonathan and I would have been about the same age; like me, he'd wanted to be a musician. After Jonathan's death, VPI shut its doors for a month. Sheila dedicated herself to promoting safety-awareness programs and to helping her younger son, Mathew, find his way through the family's loss. Harry holed up in the basement for two years, perfecting a design that he and Jonathan had started together: a tonearm that, in honor of Jonathan, would be named the JMW Memorial. In our January 1997 issue, Michael Fremer called the tonearm "a triumph of industrial design" with a sound that was "intoxicating, almost magical."

Loss had inspired beauty.

Sheila, I figured, had taken a liking to me. (I'm great with moms.) But before we said goodbye, she expressed her displeasure with my choice of turntable. She was gentle, diplomatic, and unambiguous. "Perhaps you'd like me to loan you a turntable? Your call!"

My call? I was reminded of my own mom, always offering more of my favorite meal: I was too full to accept, but couldn't bear insulting her. I explained to Sheila, as tactfully as I could, that while I'd always been fascinated by and attracted to VPI's turntables, they were out of my price range. Plus, I had no idea how to set up a turntable. The Rega made setup relatively easy, but a 'table like VPI's entry-level Scout ($1800, with JMW-9T tonearm) was too intimidating.

"Can I take you up on the offer in a few months? By this fall, I might be able to give a VPI the attention it deserves."

"Whatever makes you happy."

Whatever makes me happy? I could almost see her smile.

When my conversation with Sheila was over, I immediately missed her. After speaking with her for just a few minutes, I felt I'd known her all my life. This was Sheila's effect on people. It's no surprise that her line was so often busy.

Days passed, spring turned to fall, one winter blurred into another, and I never again called Sheila. I figured we'd renew our discussion in person, at a Consumer Electronics Show or some other event.

In June 2011, when Sheila Weisfeld was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer, the doctors told her she had three months to live. She responded by going on long trips to Australia and to Texas; travel made her happy. Having surpassed the doctors' expectations, Sheila next planned to attend the January 2012 CES, where she would say goodbye to friends and colleagues and accept Stereophile's award for Analog Source Component of 2011, for VPI's Classic 3 turntable. She didn't make it. On December 16, 2011, Sheila Weisfeld passed away. I never got to meet her.

At CES, I handed our award to Mathew Weisfeld, who mentioned that he'd be taking on more responsibility at VPI. In April, at the New York Audio & AV Show, Mathew handed me a business card, explained that he was leaving his teaching job to work full-time with his dad, and introduced VPI's newest turntable, the Traveler. Dedicated to Sheila Weisfeld and meant to appeal to a younger generation of music lovers, the Traveler was designed for easy setup, would be available in a range of fun colors, and would cost $1299 without phono cartridge—almost exactly the price of my Rega P3-24 without phono cartridge.

The VPI Traveler
On the flight home from the 2012 CES, 27-year-old Mathew Weisfeld reached into the pocket on the seat back in front of him, pulled out a paper bag, and sketched a design for an attractive, user-friendly turntable that even his friends could afford. The 'table's size and shape would be very important. It would have to be sleek, small enough to fit on a standard equipment rack, and at least somewhat portable.

With a footprint of about 16.5" wide by 12" deep, the Traveler easily fit on the top shelf of my Polycrystal equipment rack, and left room for my VPI Crosscheck turntable level and Hunt EDA record-cleaning brush. Mathew Weisfeld boasts that he carried an early-production sample of the Traveler to the recent Newport Beach Show in his luggage. But at a hefty 24 lbs and standing about 5" tall, the Traveler is significantly heavier and bulkier than my Rega. While I wouldn't think twice about schlepping the Rega over to Uncle Omar's house for a listening session, I doubt I'd be able to tuck the Traveler under one arm and go.

The Traveler's chassis is made of 3/16"-thick aluminum and ½"-thick Delrin, the latter a commercial name for polyoxymethylene (POM), a thermoplastic attractive for its high rigidity, low friction, and outstanding dimensional stability. Harry Weisfeld explained that, in the Traveler, this combination of aluminum and Delrin creates a very quiet, self-damping structure while allowing all parts of the turntable to be perfectly aligned for smooth, controlled operation. The 'table's aluminum top plate extends just beyond the Delrin foundation, and comes standard in a range of colors that includes red, white, blue, and silver. (Other options may be available in the future; photos on VPI's website show Travelers in pink and gold.) My sample came in VPI's standard black finish and exhibited some cosmetic imperfections on the chassis' underside—due perhaps to being hauled around in luggage, or to the usual strains of shipping. The instruction manual recommends using the Panel Magic or Stainless Steel Magic cleaning products to eliminate any odd markings from the Traveler's surface.

The Traveler's machined aluminum platter is damped with a stainless-steel disc and has an integral cloth mat. As in the VPI Classic, the Traveler's motor is built into the chassis. While it might seem counterintuitive to place a vibration-inducing motor in direct contact with a vibration-sensitive chassis, VPI believes that a properly integrated motor provides steadier and more efficient speed control. Unlike my Rega and many low-cost turntables driven by DC motors, the Traveler's AC synchronous motor runs on the stable 60Hz line frequency, and is said to be immune to voltage variances. I asked Harry Weisfeld to explain.

"An AC motor knows where it is. A DC motor knows where it was."

I asked Harry Weisfeld to explain.

"An AC synchronous motor reads the line frequency coming from the wall, which, in the US, will always be 60Hz. The motor's rotational speed (600rpm, in the case of the Traveler) is set by the line frequency. You can vary the voltage from 70 to 140V, and the speed will still be 600rpm. If you slow the platter down with your finger, the motor will fight you to get back to the correct speed of 600rpm—it's a known, fixed item."

Using a record brush on a spinning LP, I noticed that the Traveler paid little attention to the downward pressure exerted on its platter, but continued to run smoothly, unperturbed. This is not at all the case with my Rega, which can be slowed to a near stop with the slightest touch. According to Weisfeld, AC motors are more sensitive to music's timing and, therefore, sound more dynamic and compelling.

And DC motors?

"A DC motor is very quiet, very easy to integrate into a turntable, passes CE and UL regulations with no problem, and is cost-effective. But what speed does it run at? [A DC motor] needs a feedback loop to maintain speed accuracy, and that causes a time delay when the [rotational] speed is changed by groove velocity."

The Traveler's main platter bearing comprises a high-tolerance Thomson shaft, a chrome-hardened steel ball, and a thrust plate of polyetheretherketone (PEEK), an extremely durable thermoplastic with outstanding creep resistance—perfect for high-stress applications. Hinting at a potential upgrade, Weisfeld claims that the Traveler's motor and bearing assembly can easily handle the Classic 3's substantial 20-lb platter.

VPI Industries, Inc.
77 Cliffwood Avenue #3B
Cliffwood, NJ 07721-1087
(732) 583-6895

mrplankton2u's picture

JA said:

"Both those forums are frequented by some of the best audio engineers around, who have decades of experience in designing and testing audio equipment. There are also posters to both forums who demonstrate how easy it is to mis-use test gear."


with regard to DIY audio and Parts Express forum participants. 


Factually, Mr. Atkinson - the bulk of participants on the DIY audio and Parts Express forums are carpenter novice dunces when it comes to electronics, electrical engineering, and acoustics. And factually, the computer programs and simulators they use are so easy to use, and the instructions for their use are so easy to understand, that even they are capable of producing accurate, reliable, useful measurements on a regular basis. I've seen this for myself. Does this make them infallible? Obviously not. No more or less infallible than you as some might take issue with your technical approaches  (another matter). I'm reluctant to side with JohnnyR. He has a history of being abrasive and at times short on the facts. But in this instance, he is absolutely correct. Your excuses are just that - hollow excuses.



John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
Factually, Mr. Atkinson - the bulk of participants on the DIY audio and Parts Express forums are carpenter novice dunces when it comes to electronics, electrical engineering, and acoustics. And factually, the computer programs and simulators they use are so easy to use, and the instructions for their use are so easy to understand, that even they are capable of producing accurate, reliable, useful measurements on a regular basis.

As with JohnnyR, I believe your apparent lack of first-hand knowledge leads you to believe that meauring components is easy when it is not. Here is the paradigm for published audio component measurements I gave in my 2011 lecture to the Audio Engineering Society: In the final exam for my bachelor's degree more than 40 years ago, I was given a box with 2 terminals and was asked to determine what it was purely by measurement, using whatever test equipment I needed. Now while you state, perhaps dismissively, that "the bulk of participants on the DIY audio and Parts Express forums are carpenter novice dunces when it comes to electronics, electrical engineering, and acoustics," ask yourself if that were true, how well would any of those people do on such a test. But someone who can succeed on such a test of their skills is the only kind of person to who I would entrust to perform measurements.

And please note that  you, GeorgeHolland, and JohnnyR, are conflating different criticisms. In this thead, the valid question was asked why I do not measure analog playback components. I answered that that is indeed something I would like to do, but that lack of resources make it not practicable. However, this explanation has now been taken as the reason why I don't measure cables, magic bowls, and tweaks, etc. This is incorrect. The reason I don't measure these things is because I am not sure what, if anything, should be measured.

I have said before that some of these tweaks actually have an effect, apparnetly repeatable, on the listener's perception, not the audio system. Measurement of a physical parameter is thus irrelevant.

In the case of cables, again this is something I examined in my AES lecture. As a result of the measurements I _have_ performed and my experience measuring audio components in general, I conjectured that the effect of cables, if not due to LCR, concerns differences in grounding and RF pickup/rejection, both of which produce small but audible changes in the character of the system noisefloor and its low-level linearity. Both of these effects are highly system-specific and in the case of RF, are beyond the capabilities of the test gear to which I have access. However, recent work by Ben Duncan and Martin Colloms has shown large measured differences in cables when it comes to RF pickup/rejection that, when you consider that in a feedback amplifier, the output port is also the input port to the feedback loop, that support my conjecture.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

I lost count of the EXCUSES given in that reply Atkinson.

You always like to appear SO superior by saying how we don't have first hand knowledge about measuring when you know nothing about us at all. You make out that's it's rocket science to take a measurement when in fact we know better.Then you always throw in your education like that's something no one else has. Then your "lectures" at the AES which by the way ANY member can participate in if they wish. Just because you got up and spoke, doesn't mean that what you said had merit or was even correct. Shall we bring up your wrong headedness when you spoke about digital jitter a few times? Haha I bet you don't wish to.

"I have said before that some of these tweaks actually have an effect, apparnetly repeatable, on the listener's perception, not the audio system. Measurement of a physical parameter is thus irrelevant."

That's just saying you think it's voodoo and nothing more. So if these tweeks have an effect on the person which changes how it sounds to that person BUT at the same time can't be a frequency or phase difference then it is magic. Preposterous and insulting to your readers Atkinson.You have at last gone off the deep in defending these snake oil products with such a hilarious statement.I'll just say that's it another EXCUSE for not bothering testing them,

"In the case of cables, again this is something I examined in my AES lecture........."

Sorry but I didn't feel like pasting the rest of your nonsense. Again you use CONJECTURE (your own statement) that if it's not LCR differences, then it's RF pickup rejection that is causing the differences "heard" in different cables. BLAH what crap. Remember the magic bowl fiasco where YOU said in another CONJECTURE, that it was microwave frequencies that the bowls blocked and that is "why" they "worked"? Hilarious and so wrong.

Of course the simple, yes the SIMPLE use of a DBT or even a SBT would clear up these fallacies of tweeks and  cables sounding differnt BUT you have stated over and over that DBT and SBT are oh so hard to implement and dismiss them out of hand.More EXCUSES. How convenient that you have a philosophy that goes around in a loop that covers all your EXCUSES as to "why" you can't test certain objects. You are either a complete dunce or a liar, plain and simple Atkinson.

John Atkinson's picture

JohnnyR wrote:
John Atkinson wrote:
I have said before that some of these tweaks actually have an effect, apparently repeatable, on the listener's perception, not the audio system. Measurement of a physical parameter is thus irrelevant.

That's just saying you think it's voodoo and nothing more. So if these tweeks have an effect on the person which changes how it sounds to that person BUT at the same time can't be a frequency or phase difference then it is magic.

Not at all. As my friend, the skeptic JJ has said, _everything _ matters when it comes to perception. For example, in the December "Letters," veteran speaker engineer Don Keele mentions the fact that the _color_ of a speaker has a repeatable hence predictable effect on listeners' perception of sound quality. If you actually read the magazine you so readily criticize, JohnnyR, you would find that you don't know as much as you think you do.

JohnnyR wrote:
Then your "lectures" at the AES which by the way ANY member can participate in if they wish.

That is not correct, I was invited by the Audio Engineering Society's Technical Council to give the Richard Heyser Memorial lecture at the 131st AES Convention. This was an honor shared by relatively few audio engineers. I followed in the footsteps of Ray Dolby, Walter Murch, Ray Kurzweil, Leo Beranek, Floyd Toole, Manfred Schroeder, and others - see www.aes.org/technical/heyser/lectures.cfm.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture


"Not at all. As my friend, the skeptic JJ has said, _everything _ matters when it comes to perception. For example, in the December "Letters," veteran speaker engineer Don Keele mentions the fact that the _color_ of a speaker has a repeatable hence predictable effect on listeners' perception of sound quality. If you actually read the magazine you so readily criticize, JohnnyR, you would find that you don't know as much as you think you do."

.....you are an idiot Atkinson.Ohhhhhhh so NOW you admit that sighted bias DOES exist?????? Hmmmmmm that validates my reasons for wanting DBT or at the least SBT tests but of course you can't be bothered with those pesky science based tests can you? The difference between what you just refered to and what you have said earlier about things like the magic bowls and Tranquility Bases is 100% different. Give me an example where the magic bowls or the Tranquility Bases could influence how we hear the sound differently It sure isn't because of a color difference. Perhaps it's the bogus idea you had of microwave blockage hahahaha yeah right. MORE EXCUSES. Me thinks you know even less than the average electronics graduate at the local college.

I am very familiar with Richard Heyser and his excellent test done in the defunt Audio magazine. Why anyone would invite YOU to give a talk in his honor is beyond me.

"since then has measured 750 loudspeakers, 500 amplifiers of all kinds, and almost 300 digital products" the very short bio about on on that link........wow lots of measurements but not ONE cable huh?  Figures. Still roaming the forums in all your free time that doesn't exist according to yourself? How about training one of your stooges how to test before you kick off? Have to look for the future ya know.

Yep like always you just ignore wht you don't want to talk about or can't explain. Typical Atkinson the EXCUSE man.

mrplankton2u's picture

I believe we agree on far more than we disagree. I would also like to remind others who participate here that progress and improvement - whether its personal improvement, improvement of a product, or improvement of a service - is hardly ever an easy or comfortable exercise. I've always believed that humility is a necessary ingredient to progress. Unfortunately, in a lot of places, humility is in very, very short supply.

My comments come out of a concern for this small niche industry's future. I've witnessed trends that I'm very uncomfortable with. I have seen a number of other comments from prominent individuals in the industry that mirror my own concerns. I hope that my comments will be viewed in that context - as concrete analysis and suggestions for improvement - not rants intended to demean or cast apsersions at others.

smittyman's picture

I think you are probably right that we agree on more than we disagree about.  The main thing is to disagree respectfully and listen to what the other person is saying, and I think we're there.  Strange how when we're respectful and listen to others how many of our differences disappear.  I need to remind myself of this from time to time.

I also have to say, after reading Stephen's rave review I wish that I had auditioned the Traveler before I bought my RP3.  I might not have picked the VPI but I should have given it a listen since my dealer had both TT's in stock. I'm happy with my choice nonetheless.

Regadude's picture

This is a great site. Most of the posters are cordial and contribute positively. It nonetheless seems we will have to endure a few negative posters...

mrplankton2u's picture

Yes, I'm flattered with the butthole and negative poster labels. But truthfully, I'd be happy just being called the guy who dared pull back the curtain. 

Vogelhaus's picture


tevirs's picture

Wonderful piece of writing. This human connection to inanimate objects is the whole reason I read this magazine. To be honest, I could care less about the measurements. I like to read about people's experience listening to music, checking out cool gear, and sharing music suggestions. Graphs and charts don't appeal to everyone, and not every review needs it. If a person enjoyed airplanes, and reads a terrific article about an epic trip around the world with full descriptions of meals eaten, miles travelled, a few great photos of the scenery etc... and they don't mention the accuracy of the damping capabilities of the landing gear... I would say it is still a great read! In the end, it makes me want to buy a VPI turntable, mostly to support such a personal company. It is romantic. Just saying...

GeorgeHolland's picture

 An audio magazine should supply all the info it can about the equipment it "reviews" so the public can make up it's own mind to buy or not. If I wanted human interest I'd read Reader's Digest. Ignoring those charts and graphs just means you stopped trying to learn anything new and don't care.

tevirs's picture

I have to say I still enjoy learning, and I care, just not about what is in the graphs. My point was that there are different types of readers. That is all. I am not saying there is a right or wrong. Not at all. I just think that there are different types of readers, and ones like myself don't seem to post as much as the guys who are pointing out what is missing, or what is "wrong". I will admit, much of the tech side of it is beyond my grasp. I try, but we all have different aptitudes to what we can self teach. I wish I understood it more, honestly. But for now, I will stick to listening to the music, enjoying the craftsmanship of the products, and the fact that we still make some cool stuff in the US. Some of you guys may not renew your subscription because of a lack of data, I would not read it if it was just JA's measurments. Funny thing is, when I read the measurement section, I tend to skip to the end and just read the part where he speaks in plain English. It would be fine with me if they had measurements for every piece reviewed, but I sure do enjoy that I can relate to a guy like Stephen, and read about people like the ones at VPI. Readers Digest would not hold my attention for a second.

mrplankton2u's picture

We're not talking about a travel magazine or stamp collecting. This is Stereophile - remember? -The magazine whose raison d'etre for the past 50 years was to evaluate sterephonic equipment in an objective and unbiased way - the objective being to clearly and convincingly establish a stereo product's impact on sound quality?

I don't think there's any real difference of opinion regarding the importance of what is heard AND what is measured - both are necessary components to establishing an accurate assessment of a product. Measurements by themselves are nearly useless. Subjective blather that's not supported by any kind of concrete data or evidence is equally useless - on the same level of a paid advertisement. When the two come together and re enforce one another - that's where credibility and value are generated.

And I would agree with others who have weighed in here. I know what's involved in measuring equipment. Today, there are a wealth of affordable (some even free) software packages that allow the use of a powerful desktop or laptop to obtain an extensive array of powerful performance data - with a few mouse clicks. When I started more than 25 years ago, spectrum analyzers, signal generators, and reference quality amplifiers were prohibitively expensive and somewhat challenging to master. Digital technology has changed all of that. And for John Atkinson to suggest that only he is capable of conducting measurements is totally disingenuous and false. He might be able to get away with that argument with his boss when arguing for a raise or some job based perk. But factually, any of the skilled reviewers like Mike Fremer are more than capable of mastering essential measuring techniques and providing very reliable data with a very meager amount of instruction/training. I've watched this interaction and tried to give Atkinson the benefit of the doubt but now he's simply crossed the line. His argument doesn't hold water and frankly - it's more than insulting to readers like me. It's insulting to other members of his own staff to suggest they aren't capable of handling these tasks that should be considered essential skills for someone in the review industry. This discussion has been an interesting onion peeling exercise. And with each response, it is becoming increasingly clear that a less than honorable agenda is being supported by Stereophile and key staff members with respect to what is tested and what is not. Enough with the excuses.




John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
For John Atkinson to suggest that only he is capable of conducting measurements is totally disingenuous and false.

That isn't what I have said. There are many skilled, talented engineers to whom I would entrust measurements to accompany Stereophile's reviews. However, they are either employed elsewhere or are financially out of reach. The responsibility thus devolves to me and as I have said, I am currently maxed out.

mrplankton2u wrote:
factually, any of the skilled reviewers like Mike Fremer are more than capable of mastering essential measuring techniques and providing very reliable data with a very meager amount of instruction/training.

Not in my experience. Please read my other response this morning.

And again, I have to ask: if you don't read the magazine and don't trust its content, why do you feel I am under any obligation to adjust how I edit the magazine to suit your specific needs?

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

"And again, I have to ask: if you don't read the magazine and don't trust its content, why do you feel I am under any obligation to adjust how I edit the magazine to suit your specific needs"

Well speaking for myself, I would like to just read some TRUTH in your rag instead of the subjective BS that passes for testing in there. YOUR obligation to your readers and the public at large is giving us the TRUTH not pandering to the manufacturers and the advertisers or the owners of your rag. You can decide to either be remembered when you pass on as a good honest person in the world of audio or as a complete screw up that did nothing to help people learn and weed out the BS in it Your call Atkinson. be a real man and die in peace or a wimp and laughed at for all time afterward.

volvic's picture

I read Stephen's review and it sounded exactly like something I would have written and something a lot of other people would have written.  It resonated with a lot of readers and said that to JA at an event at Innovative Audio a few weeks ago.  The reason I subscribe is that I read articles from reviewers like Michael Fremer, Art Dudley and Stephen that leave a big smile on my face.  I don't like reading pages and pages of technical measurements so if the article gets to the heart of the matter as to how it plays music, interacts with other components and is a good deal then I believe the author has done his job.  I do not claim Stereophile is perfect, some of the reviews sometimes tell me nothing, but far be it from me to knock great articles I have read from Dudley, Fremer and others over the years that keep me coming back for more.  The day I find the magazine to be another Stereo Review will be the day I stop buying but so far that hasn't happened and I am glad it is still around and has a solid readership.  Also the fact that the editor takes time to reply to posts is a credit to his commitment to his readers. 


tevirs's picture

Amen! Well stated Nick.

Vogelhaus's picture


Really not trying to flame here, but nobody has mentioned the fact that Stereophile Magazine is a business. As someone who works in the creative industry I can tell you I'm much more interested in making a human connection with an article or work than I am being slammed with specs. If you want specs, call the manufacturer, if you want to know what the experience was like, read the magazine. Bashing the editors and writers for not providing the information you'd like to see is beyond pointless. They're a business, two-dimentional spec sheets are utterly boring, nobody would buy it. A lot of hard work goes into each article, organizing information from submitters, manufacturers, setting up interviews and traveling to venues isn't easy work.

Presently, economic times are down, making every aspect of reviewing and marketing products that cost in the thousands an especially hard task. Stereophile has been in some transition, but it's evolve or die with magazines. Adapt or close the doors. I for one think they're adapting well, things are looking up especially with the writing talent found in this article. Just like great music, great writing comes from personal experiences and always from the heart. 

I learned in my years in design and marketing, you sell the benefit not the product. If the benefit of these peieces of equipment is a better experience, that's what I want to read about. Not read a spreadsheet. 

Keep up the good work, Stereophile. Hope to see more articles like this in the future. 

tevirs's picture

Stereophile, how about putting "like" buttons on the comments like FB? that would be a nice feature. I would click like on this one.

Audio Asylum Bruce from DC's picture

Let me add to the plaudits for this review.  For most of us, audio is about what comes out of the speakers, not about sets of numbers.

A comment for Stephen from a guy who was vinyl when there wasn't anything else (well, I had R2R tape, too.) and who has owned a VPI HW-19 Mk III and the JMW Memorial tonearm for quite a while, regarding hum, buzz, RFI and so on.  The JMW arm (and I assume this one) is electrially insulated from all of the signal leads.  The ground terminal is connected to the metal parts of the arm, and should be connected to the metal case of your preamp.  There can be a problem if there's any metal in the body of the cartridge you're using and the cartridge manufacturer internally connects one of the signal leads to that metal body or metal parts, if they make metal-to-metal contact with the headshell.  There will be two electrical paths to ground: one through the signal lead and one through the ground wire.  Usually, the differing electrical potental that results will produce a 60 Hz hum or buzz, or, possibly RFI, if you're living near an AM radio transmitter.  The giveawy is when the buzz gets quieter when you disconnect the ground wire.   The long term solution is to insulate the cartridge body from the headshell, using plastic tape on the underside of the headshell and nylon hardware (nuts and bolts) to attach the cartridge to the headshell.  If the body of the cartridge you're using is all plastic, just ignore everything I've said!  

ra7's picture

I'm a member of both diyaudio and pe, and not all of the measurements posted there are repeatable. And what's more, I haven't seen any measurements of turntables, tonearms, cartridges and definitely never anything on cables.

Show of hands... how many of you have measured speakers and posted the measurements online for others to critique? Nobody is stopping you guys from doing your own measurements. Let's see'em.

I guess the criticism of cable, turntable, tonearm, and cartridge reviews is fair. Certainly, some of the other staff are more than capable.

FlyhiG's picture

Very much enjoyed reading this article. A turntable built inspired by such a great heart. I find myself as time goes on I want my stereo system to not just sound good, and be made well, but have an X factor. That factor in part has come to be the inspiration and the people connected with it. Silly perhaps, however it serves to connect me to my music all the more. And adds to a pride of owership.

Phil Sommers's picture

Great job doing your first big-time review.  It reminds of the Cheapskate in his prime.  Keep it up, please.

I too am devoted the Weisfeld familty, who have always treated me as more than a customer.

YsoMcH's picture

I am new to the online Stereophile,But I was a subscriber for many years, In fact teh only reason I stopped is..Well I ran out of room. Sooo I located all the reccomended component issues and a few other's with gear I have owned..aww.. and gave away the rest to my local Library.

Oh seeing how brutal alot of people are..your right I am not exactly an english major..Now I dont know if I'm just lucky but this is only the second thread I have read thru here...The first was some Insanely irritating rant with some sort of ridicuous merit..duhhh but ridiculous....It ended in some link to a "Review The Reviewers site" where apparently this person is a budding version of what he has such a big problem with in the first place??? I liked the equipment talk tho....just like my Wife and me enjoyed Stereophile for years...still do..I think some of the most fun was the crazy $$$ gear reviews.."G hope it's good"..F*****G better B! we would laugh..and read. and Drool you know teh routine. Pretty harsh it seems to expect Stereophile and Mr Atkinson to be all you want always..Seriously these kind of threads are not what I hoped to find..and I hope to read some where people talk about audio, and their gear mega $$ (lucky you!!)  and Lower Priced $$ great gear and types of music your listening to ,Gear that works well with this or that..Becuse those are the kind of discussions that at least give you an idea of what works for someone?..It's hard to get this right.  Sure tastes are all over but well described these types of conversations do help people wade thru it all..more fun to read than what sounds like a bunch of... well..Really it's enuff to make me RiP the stylus out of my Dynavector 10X5 and slit my throat...I learned alot about high end Audio thanks to Stereophile .>and years of practice.. including that you DONT have to spend classA  money to get class A Musicality or better dare I say in some cases.Yes even if class A keeps changing..Geez what the He**  the magazine would have to be called "ClassABCDnotFairaphile" if they left all the previous members of any classs. I would think you would remember if it was so important...the one's that arnt there any more are still good... Dcryingnt Fret..heh heh..they are Still singing Class A tunes all over the place I'm sure..I learned >BUy ThiS stuFF USED!!! if possable..I learned (THe HarD waY) when you build a system that makes you happy...freaking listen to it dont just wander into every new pc.of gear that gets reccomended. I learned how to pick things that work together because a really nicely put together modest system with a great synergy is better than IMHO a Class A System that you stare at and listen for this and that about the gear and how it blah blah..you know.. talking about gear WHILE the musics playing etc..."did you hear that!?" NO!!!...But I think I just heard..ThiS!> wow nice....:) glad we got it.(THEN).>OMG look at this pre-amp/speaker/amp/TT/Cart/cables,this IS what we need!! for years at great expense and even urmm...Greater STUPIDITY...ps: tho I dont believe there's any noob's to high end around here...if there are BEWARE OF ..ya ready.....TRADEING STUFF IN!!! dont do it nooooo I could kick my own A** for things I have lost because I was not Savy enough to realize that it NEVER ENDS!!! so beware of high end dealers and there "FAIR" trades...you will LOSE 95% of the time..over the years Mayan if I had kept all the stuff i got rid of.. I would have had Class A LOnnng time ago...hmm sounds familiar..I may write a song tonight..HA! oh yes..I would have saved & saved ,becuse I never should have got rid of literally MOst oF iT!! when it's musical to YOU,and has the goods as per YOU,..Unless ya have money flowing like water..(sweet)..where was I...OH.Just.build a nice system and be happy..and be sure any ANY changes to that foot tapping system you made are really something that will enhance your system... your musical satisfaction and NEVER change out a pc of gear just becuse you read it was good,,ya really have to listen to it in your home with a return policy or dont do it...Indeed I have bumbled so many good systems."hard way to learn" I can kinda get away with a very educated guess on what I need and what works well together..Anyways,.No matter how messy this stereophile site seems to be...I thank them ,I learned alot...I also want to say Please stereophile warn new comers to this wonderfull hobby..that it's only fair to be honest with the one's who stumble into it and go a little nuts and waste alot of money they could not really.afford..it happens.....and dont get drunk and rip your needle off the face of the earth of your beloved cartridge!! as I did with my Benz Lo-4 ..nice cart that was...the little Dyna 10x5 is a treat...like amazing for what 400$ pfft I've ripped the stylus off better ..>not "THAT" much better really...I dont miss my awesum?? sounding??..0_O stare at me I'm georgeous !Take my ToP offf BeBeee yeaH!> Mark Levinson #28 pre-amp damn how can something that frikkin awesum sounding and built soo sweet.... But>..wayyyyTTT!!! I hate this thing!!!! LMFAO...got a CJ pre after that phewww finally no more preamps for awhile..it's actualy been years the lil thing rocks...I bet you know which one I'm talking about with phono stage ..looks like a PV10B...oh..well yeah...it's clobbered many way more $$$ preamps at my house...not at everything but...MUSIC...yep clobbered even more $$ tube pre's that did other things better but not ...as endearingly musical ,tappin your foot just becuse the thing started tapping on it's own..." OMG this Band Rocks!" good...the music is what you NeeD To Be praising if your going to get exited and spew something out during listening..not the gear. ps:audiophiles I kust wanna say Mark Levinson is better than the preamp I bought just becuse it was a Mark Levinson..I just got stupid and even ignored a stereophile warning that kinda said what I found out..Gawd I really waNTED that Levinson..! dangit..whYYY WhYYYYYY!!!! I very much liked my #23 amp..yep I traded it....sigh...now I am comfortable in my gear I am making a change right now first one in years...relapse? nah I got a pair of B&W CM-9 dayam Bebeee look at me..take my Grills off..oh..I got 2 for teh price of one.so $1500 for a pair..couldn't resist:) the addict awakens!! and..my little tube amp will stay on my Green Mountain Audio Speakers..You think I talk alot Call "Roy" the designer of the Wonderfull Green Mountain Audio line.(better pack a lunch as they say)anyways.

the CM-9 >hmm  A great deal at what I paid for em..but...I would have spent more and got diamond series if I wanted B&W.. but I bought on Impulse I never had B&W..Many others tho long list...I really am liking the B&W as a second system speaker..My GMAudios are better IMO...I think I will go Conrad Johnson Pre and high current SS amp..been alot of fun scouring the web for AmpS that I'm purty dang sure will do the trick for CM9...A plinius maybe? or if I can find one that fits my budget.... A fairly powerfull Conrad Johnson tube amp$$$ even....hell If I can score a deal on the CJ and the CM-9's dont like it they can leave!! nahh I'll get a fair trade in price...(JK)..

So Be nIcE ...If you can an stopp accusing stereophole of making you an AUDIOHOLE!!! and stop looking for something to argue about cause you could do it better... so do it..but play nice. If I was new to this hobby I may have been scared off and never looked back. really you should see yourselves what r u thinking!! ok I'm done...anyone have a nice powerfull Tubey Amp fer sale? or high current class A ..solid state.. gawd...I am bad..My experience tells me that SS may be a better choice than another tube amp..but hey..I'm pretty sure it will work...lol...Wellp I am gunna get back on the used amp search..fuuuunnnnnn!!! shhh...I managed to come away with some very nice gear after all the mistakes..but hey..I regret it..oh wait...Hey..it was FUN...sorta till..Well anyway I'm goin serious amp shopping first big purchase in yeaRZ! YAY....wiser and confident after the purchase I will have picked the right amp...by the way I got some Gutwire Chime speaker cables an interconects got em dirt cheap never heard of them exept they were highly praised by seller who said bring em back if you dont like them..I will be Keeping them!! Less than half price! that means I almost got them at cost...almost ...lol I cant imagine a system that wont work with these...very good in everything I've hooked them to.  I also remeber speaking on the phone with VPI >I remember a very sweet lady..I know this is an older thread but that is really sad I have owned VPI TT loved it..traded it in..A few TT later I'm in a Sota Sapphire w SME309 & the killer bargain of a deal Dynavector...I really was surprised by how it kill's my Grado Platinum Sonata that cost a couple hundred more...Next time I have alot of $$ to play with I will upgrade my home theatre system...M&K/Denon/PS/3 anaWii I guess I could part with a guitar I have like 30.....sheesh which one? that's what I tell the wife..Which one? who get's Sold?WHO!! how do I pick?..You do it.!!.She does..>I'm like noo not that one pick again...an again an again...BYee hehh Stereophile didnt I put an M&M on my speaker..or was it my head becuse of you..LOL ThanX!!! :) freaking hillarious memory...

Stanley1's picture

Sorry to put a damper on everyones love fest with the VPI Traveler turntable.

This has to be the worst designed tonearm I've ever seen. The tonearm should never have been released to the public in it's original form. It is simply not robust enough. The four small spikes holding it together are a joke. You can break the damn thing simply  by carefully taking it out of the foam packing.

I have read several reviews by professional reviewers who had the same problem I had. After pointing this out to the young president of the company, I was simply told that either I or UPS was too rough. I sent him the reviews of others who had the same problem. He simply refused to believe them. The dealer I purchased from was rebuked by Mat for not shutting me up.

I told the people at VPI that all you end up doing is accusing the customer of being too rough with the tonearm, when the real problem is the bad design.


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