VPI Classic Direct Drive Signature turntable Specifications

Sidebar 3: Specifications

Description :Direct-drive turntable with outboard power supply.
Dimensions: 23.5" wide by 17.5" deep.
Price: $30,000 inlcuding JMW Classic 3D tonearm.
Manufacturer: VPI Industries, Inc., 77 Cliffwood Ave. #3B, Cliffwood, NJ 07721. Tel: (732) 583-6895. Web: www.vpiindustries.com

VPI Industries, Inc.
77 Cliffwood Ave. #3B
Cliffwood, NJ 07721
(732) 583-6895
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Phil Sommers's picture

A mensch is Yiddish for a "person of honor and integrity." Few of his tens of thousands of customers would dispute the word being used to describe Harry Weisfeld.

Michael, you should have moved this statement to your final paragraph: "I'd say the Classic Direct with its JMW Memorial 3D-printed 12" tonearm comes as close to the Caliburn's sound as has any turntable, and for less than one-fifth the price..."

Feel free to append a qualification if you have a problem with my editing. But I bet you have no problem with my description of Harry.

Doctor Fine's picture

Well gee if Mikey liked the VPI Direct Drive turntable I wonder if he will ever admit he likes the bargain of the century Technics SL1210M5G at less than a tenth the price?

I see the Technics is still listed on B&H's site through no help from the "High End" reviewers who have given it a cold shoulder for years. I am surprised you guys haven't killed it yet. Makes so many "High End" tables look silly.

Try one with oil damping upgrade by KAB and get Art Dudley to hook you up with a Denon DL-103 moving coil cart and matching transformer. Art knows the ones I am thinking about.

Once, just once I would like to see the egg on your faces when you realize how much sound such a combo will produce for not a lot of dough.

High End indeed.

DaveThreshold's picture

I have that exact same table Doctor! Almost all KAB mods with three different cartridges: AT OC9-III, BP EVO-3, and a Grado Ref. Sonata.
(Pardon my happy-rant)
A few months ago, I bought a Threshold Fet-10e PC dedicated phono preamp, and just two weeks ago, a threshold Fet-10e High Level. There are very few companies left with GOLD PLATED circuit boards. (I also have a Spectral DMC-6 Series II with one.) I also have a Rothwell MCL Transformer, which I am working with, and with the OC9-III it does away with ALL the pesky phono noise, but I have to check a few things before I implement it.
Thank you or the review Michael! I bought one of your DVD’s, and learned a TON.

otaku's picture


Did you catch Harry at Stereo Exchange unloading and loading LPs on the Direct Drive while it was still spinning?

DaveThreshold's picture

Michael, have you ever used a dual head stethoscope, for a quick TT noise listen? I bought one, and it is FANTASTIC. The membrane side is about 15 times more sensitive than the normal, cone side.
From it I have experienced the following: Older, 70’s era belt drive tables with the tiny diameter pulley's and the higher speed motors, (Pioneer, etc.) Sound like the inside of a WW2 submarine. A couple of older rim drives, sound like Sherman TANKS. My Sumiko Pro-Ject RM-9 (belt) was audible.

Now for the quiet ones:
The third quietest was my Technics M5G stock. Tied for first are my modified M5G with EXTERNAL transformer, I can no longer hear ANYTHING, and the real shocker: A Vintage, Sony TTS-3000 BELT drive! The way they engineered the motor was genius: It is literally suspended by small and very compliant rubber bands. With the Sony, after a clean/lube, I disconnected the belt, spun it as fast as I could, and checked it again. Nothing! DEAD quiet.
I realize that sound is more important than specs, but I think it BEHOOVES V.P.I. to include a rumble spec. – I bet it’s a low rumble record breaker.

Doctor Fine's picture

Don't get me wrong I spend a ton of money on things that really matter like set up, acoustic treatments, wiring, prime quality components with "life" in them, etc. Speakers, amps and sources all have to have a palpable sense of real quality or all is lost later in the playback chain. You can't get back what isn't there in the first place.

But it makes me crazy to see folks spend big money on things with tiny acoustic returns on investment. Belt drive turntables in general will sound terrible using a low compliance cartridge as the belt will start wobbling as it pulls the cart through tough passages.

A direct drive table will just sail on through the mess.

So if a direct drive is well made otherwise AND it has speed stability using vintage cartridges---what's not to like?

Spending big bucks on a platter so big it is ridiculous and looks like a "wedding cake." I mean, c'mon are you kidding?

stereophilereader's picture

the new generation of direct drives are light years ahead of the sl1200, which was a pale shadow of the sp10.
i've heard the vpi and it is nothing like an sl1200.

otaku's picture

Just noticed Mikey's comments about not stopping a direct-drive turntable by hand. Seems counter-intuitive to me, but I guess that is why Harry was not stopping and starting the turntable at the show.

morricab's picture

I think Mikey you have forgotten that the great Japanese companies effectively beat the "cogging" issue by the late 70s. The Kenwood/Trio L-07, Yamaha GT2000 and others all sported their own proprietary cog free drive systems. The Kenwood and Yamaha both had coreless, slotless motors with no iron in the stators or rotors. Also, they applied much more sophisiticated control systems that effectively eliminated "hunting" of early quartz locked PLL systems. Finally, they employed high mass metal platters (7Kg for the Kenwood and 6kg for the Yamaha) and heavy solid non-suspended plinths (The Kenwood weighs 35Kg and the Yamaha 30kg). The only problem with the Kenwood was RFI leakage, which is easily solved by putting a layer of mu metal on the bottom of the platter.

So, while I admire what VPI has done, they are really retreading the same ground that was perfected by the Japanese just as the "end" of vinyl was near due to the introduction of cd. It is important to note though that the Japanese super tables of that day would be VERY expensive today as well (probably close to the $30K of the VPI).

Vinyl Love's picture

The interesting fact here is that Mr. Fremer uses the Continuum Caliburn as his yardstick judge all turntables. If it sounds close to the Caliburn, it's good. If not it isn't.

soundofvoid's picture

Direct drive was getting there at the end of the '80s.
There were BIG direct drive tables that were silent,non cogging and musical.
It's just that when CD came, the small firms that kept the analog scene alive didn't have the resources and knowledge to make a superb DD table...and when they did it was ultra expensive.
It's crucial NOT to load the motor with a flimsy platter.
You need mass and inertia acting as a smoothing agent to the power of the motor.
They -the japanese i mean- had got it at the end AND gradually got away from the flimsy wooden chassis ...but then the CD hurricane came and the rest is history...

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