VPI Industries Traveler turntable Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Rega Research P3-24 & RP3 turntables with RB301 and RB303 tonearms, respectively; Dynavector DV 10X5, Rega Research Elys 2 phono cartridges.
Preamplification: Parasound Zphono•USB phono preamplifier.
Integrated amplifier: NAD C 316BEE.
Loudspeakers: PSB Alpha B1, DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3.
Cables: Interconnect: AudioQuest Sidewinder, Kimber Kable Hero & PBJ, RadioShack, XLO UltraPlus. Speaker: AudioQuest Rocket 33, Kimber Kable 8VS, RadioShack Megacable (used as ground wire).
Accessories: Furutech e-TP60 power distributor; Polycrystal equipment rack; Audio Additives, Shure SFG-2 stylus-force gauges; Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Geo-Disc cartridge-alignment tool; Hunt EDA record-cleaning brush; VPI HW-16.5 record-cleaning machine; a little flashlight, a little rum, a lot of ice cream.—Stephen Mejias

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

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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