Capital Audio Fest: Day Two VPI

It didn't take long for me grasp that this 2015 edition of Capital Audiofest was a big moment for the universally admired (and loved) VPI clan. Everywhere I looked, clan patriarch Harry Weisfeld (center in photo) was smiling and telling great stories. Harry gets my Best In Show award for fascinating tales and amazing tutorials (we talked a lot about drag racing in the 1960s and turntable/arm-bearing lubes). His son Mat (peeking over shoulders in the background) and Mat's fiancée Jane win the Best Couple Ever award and I saw them hugging, kissing, and holding up the "Holy Shit!—That's My Son and Future Daughter-in-Law" trophy.

Forget that VPI introduced two new turntables (the Avenger and the Prime): they brought every VPI employee with them to the festival. I am having dinner with Harry, and swapping whoppers about Dodge Hemis and 396 Chevelles and who shows up? The whole smiling bouncing VPI crew (below)! Why did they come? Because this was a clan shindig and they are a happy to be a part of the (Made in the USA) VPI world!!! Folks, this is high-end American audio at its best.

The majority of CAF show rooms were sporting turntables and many rooms were playing vinyl exclusively. The vast majority of the of record spinners were VPI and the most exciting of all were the two newest: The magnetic-drive Avenger ($9000–$30,000), designed by the patriarch, features a lower "master" platter which sits in an inverted bearing and magnetically drives a decoupled top "slave" platter. Harry claims the noise level is an astonishing: &150;100dB. He says, "I am very pleased with the results. I have compared many 45rpm records to 15ips ½-track tape masters on an Ampex ATR-102 modified by the late Mike Spitz, and will not shy away from saying it is 95% direct drive sound for a lot less money and a lot easier repair or replacement."

The new Prime turntable ($3800) is Mat Weisfeld's first solo design. It looks young sexy and hormone-fueled. It comes with a 10" 3D arm and my first listen with the Ortofon Quintet Red phono cartridge showcased weight, body, and testicular forward momentum. Hmmm . . . VPI's future appears to be now. The VPI/Weisfeld clan is growing and the product line is showing some powerful new DNA.

pwf2739's picture

I'm not sure which I enjoyed more -- listening to the audio system or talking with and hearing the stories Harry was telling. He was like a kid with a new toy, jumping up and running over to change the album playing to one he bought in 1966 and hadn't heard in a long time. His enthusiasm was infectious and his love for this hobby obvious. I also thought the system sounded spectacular. Having two tonearms with different cartridges allowed all listeners to hear the difference a cartridge could make.

hankaberle's picture

I bought a new Ortofon Quintet mono cartridge through an authorized online dealer and the cartridge fell apart after 7 months. This should not happen with a quality cartridge! Especially when it cost more than $400!! Obviously Ortofon is not a quality company any more. I will NEVER buy another Ortofon product and I urge others to think twice about an investment in one. I've been using VPI turntables, speed controllers and record cleaners for the past 2 decades and they never fell apart.