VPI Industries Traveler turntable Page 2

Though Weisfeld had wanted to equip the Traveler with a unipivot tonearm like the JMW Memorial, doing so would have significantly increased the turntable's price. Instead, he devised a 10"-long, spring-loaded tonearm with a gimbal bearing. Aluminum, stainless steel, and Delrin are used "in the right places" for strength and rigidity. Pins of hardened steel fit into V-shaped bearings of sapphire, permitting motion in the vertical and horizontal planes, while springs maintain tension on the bearings during play; according to Weisfeld, there is essentially no motion in the audible range. While the gimbal bearings are cost effective, they nevertheless allowed Weisfeld to design a tonearm that would be accurate, quiet, easy to use, and exhibit outstanding manufacturing consistency—every arm, he says, is exactly the same. Lastly, Weisfeld feels that a 10" arm produces less skating force and less tracking distortion than the typical 9" design.

Like VPI's popular Scout turntable, the Traveler stands on four aluminum cones, but trades the Scout's steel-ball tips for rubber-compound surface contacts. A small name badge is applied to the Traveler's low front panel. I would prefer a more discreet screen-printed or etched design on the top of the plinth; as it is now, the badge seems an afterthought that I was often tempted to peel off. Otherwise, the Traveler has a solid, no-nonsense appearance. It looks like a machine.

Like all VPI products, the Traveler is manufactured in the US, using as many US-made parts as possible. Even better, it's made in New Jersey—just like me.

The Traveler comes packed with everything you'll need to successfully set it up and mount a cartridge on it: two drive belts (one is a spare), two sizes of hex key, a spanner wrench, three sizes of cartridge-mounting screws with washers, a cartridge-alignment jig, and a Shure SFG-2 stylus-force gauge.

Nevertheless, my first attempt at setting up the Traveler was not entirely successful. Following the instruction manual, I placed the Traveler atop my Polycrystal equipment rack, made sure the 'table was level, placed the platter on the bearing shaft, screwed the aluminum spindle into the shaft, tightened the spindle with the wrench, fitted the rubber drive belt around the platter and motor pulley, connected the supplied AC cord to the Traveler's rear socket, and gently slid the tonearm assembly into place. All that took about two minutes. Then I got to the part about mounting the cartridge. Which is when I got scared and decided to take a break.

I spent the next few weeks learning how to properly mount a Dynavector DV 10X5 moving-coil cartridge on my Rega P3-24. (Read all about it in this issue's "The Entry Level.") When I'd mastered that fine art, I brought my newfound skills to the Traveler. Working leisurely and deliberately, I disassembled the Traveler, started over, and managed to have the 'table ready to go in almost exactly one hour. It wasn't at all difficult, and I feel certain I could now complete the job in about half that time. The Traveler's manual is written in clear, simple English, includes helpful illustrations, and offers encouraging little asides such as this: "Time is better spent listening to records than setting anti-skate on a 10" tonearm." Wise words.

Once I had the Traveler set up, all I had to do was to run a pair of interconnects from the 'table's RCA outputs to the Parasound Zphono•USB phono preamp's inputs. My first choice of interconnect was Kimber Kable's PBJ, but with the PBJs in place and the volume control of my NAD C 316BEE integrated amplifier set at a normal listening level, I heard very strong radio-frequency interference. The unshielded PBJ is particularly susceptible to RFI, so I tried Kimber's more expensive, more conventionally shielded Hero interconnect. With the Heros in place, the RFI was less prominent but still far too strong to ignore. I tried XLO's pretty, purple UltraPlus interconnect. No dice. Then I tried AudioQuest's Sidewinder. This reduced RFI to a level I could stand, but I still wasn't happy. Finally, I ran a length of cheap RadioShack Megacable speaker wire (catalog #278-1273, $24.99/50') between the Traveler's and the Parasound's ground terminals. Now, with the AudioQuests in place, my system was dead quiet; I did all of my listening with the Sidewinders. Later, for a laugh, I removed the ground cable and tried using RadioShack's stereo patch cables (catalog #42-487, $6.99/3' pair) to connect VPI to Parasound. Worked like a charm. Go figure.

Listening to records
I had used Drake's Take Care (LP, Cash Money/Universal Republic B0016280-01) to adjust the Traveler's arm height during setup. Since that record was already on the platter, I decided to begin my listening with its title track. Right away, I noticed several interesting things. First, the song's opening piano parts sounded far more delicate, natural, and controlled than I'd ever heard. Rihanna's voice shared that delicacy, had impressive texture, and was large and solidly placed at the center of the soundstage. While the LP's normal surface noise was as audible as ever, that noise was noticeably distinct from the music, as if the Traveler were somehow brushing it aside to the edges of my listening room, leaving more space for pure, clean sound between my speakers. Bass was more forceful than I'd anticipated, but never intruded on the rest of the music. And, at around 3:15, I was shocked by the amount of space surrounding Gil Scott-Heron's overdubbed vocals and their accompanying reverb trails.

I listened to Take Care from beginning to end, all the while astonished by how something so familiar could sound so new. The finger snaps that keep time throughout "Shot for Me" were crazily present, forceful, distinct, and fun to follow. In "Make Me Proud," the starts and stops of Nicki Minaj's rapid-fire rapping had eye-blinking impact and precision. In "Marvins Room," the clarity of such low-level details as subtle breaths, pauses, and sighs allowed me to more easily sense the sadness and desperation in Drake's tone. Similarly, the Traveler's outstanding low-end control and awesomely silent backgrounds helped make sense of the rumbling synthesized bass and warbling electronics in "We'll Be Fine," turning into music what I'd previously heard as mere sound.

I shook my head, reached for my cell phone, and began sending delirious text messages to audiophile friends. And while I was wary of too quickly jumping to conclusions, sharing my thoughts allowed me to focus on an aspect of the Traveler's sound that would persist throughout the review period: It had the confident, relaxed fluidity of open-reel tape.

Whenever I've heard reel-to-reel tape, I've been impressed by the format's drama, impact, immediacy, presence, and, most of all, its seamless fluidity. Music simply flows into the listening room undisturbed, with no hint of mechanical edge or artifice. The expense of restoring an old tape deck and building an entirely new music library has always been enough to erase any thoughts of experiencing that same sound in my home. But with the VPI Traveler leading my system, I wouldn't need an open-reel player: I could get a taste of that smooth, easy fluidity right from my LPs.

"Intoxicating, almost magical." Indeed.

Against the Regas
Initially, I compared the Traveler with my Rega P3-24, both 'tables equipped with a Dynavector DV 10X5 moving-coil cartridge ($450). That comparison didn't last long: The Rega was no match. Compared to the Traveler, my dear old Rega ($1270 without cartridge; now discontinued) seemed little more than an expensive toy, sounding small, distant, and vague. The Rega conveyed all of Drake's words but not his desperation. And while I'd always appreciated the P3-24's warm bottom end, that warmth now sounded soft and dull when compared to the Traveler's clarity and control. Through the Rega, "Pablo's Heart," from Four Tet's There Is Love in You (LP, Domino WIGLP 254), sounded loose, ragged, and frenzied, as if the 'table had to struggle to keep the highs and lows moving together in time.

Next, I compared the VPI-Dynavector combo with Rega's new RP3, equipped with its standard Elys 2 moving-magnet cartridge ($1095). The RP3 sounded significantly cleaner, leaner, and more engaging than my P3-24, but still lacked the VPI's clarity, presence, and authority. Replacing the Elys 2 with the Dynavector DV 10X5 enhanced the Rega's scale, immediacy, and impact, but not quite enough to match the VPI.

Through the Traveler, "Woman Left Lonely," from Cat Power's Jukebox (LP, Matador OLE-10793), was easily the best reproduction of that recording I've heard: spacious, open, silky smooth, and well controlled, voices and instruments occupying distinct spaces on a wide, deep soundstage. Musical timing and flow were also excellent. There's a brief passage in this song when the voices, guitars, and keyboards drop out, allowing the drums and bass to gently sway together. If the timing isn't right, the passage can sound a bit confused or disjointed; the drums and bass stretch too far apart and the melody is lost. The VPI, however, kept time perfectly, held strong to the melody, and allowed the song to roll along smoothly and confidently.

For its part, the Rega-Dynavector combo sounded just a bit faster and hurried, less at ease. And while the Rega did a fine job of distinguishing voices and instruments within its shallower, narrower soundstage, the VPI-Dynavector did a better job of infusing those voices and instruments with purpose, meaning, and life. Chan Marshall was brought more clearly into my listening room [swoon!], and images in general were rounder, fuller, more three-dimensional. Interestingly, the Rega consistently produced the more aggressive, more precise imaging, with seemingly faster transients, for an overall sound that was snappy and exciting. But the Traveler's more leisurely, deliberate way of making music—its smooth, easy sound and steady, confident pace—kept me listening longer, wanting and needing to listen to LP after LP after LP.

Whatever makes you happy
Too often we're afraid of doing what makes us happiest, afraid of even spending the time to figure out what would make us happy. And that's a shame. We fail to realize that, by making ourselves happy, we make those closest to us happy. Love can be a selfish thing.

When Mathew Weisfeld was a child, his mother, Sheila, discouraged him from becoming too deeply involved in high-end audio. Rather than persuade him to join the family business, she encouraged him to follow his dream of becoming a teacher. Sheila, too, had been a teacher (of high school English), but had given up the profession to raise a family and join Harry in leading VPI. Sheila was soon answering customers' phone calls, taking orders, processing invoices, and building a strong dealer network—all while packing lunches. She loved her work and loved her family. To anyone who had the pleasure of speaking with her, that much was obvious.

In January 2009, Mathew Weisfeld accepted a full-time position teaching high school technology, but insisted on continuing to help out at VPI in whatever ways he could. It wasn't until his mom became sick that Mathew took on a more active role with the company. After school, he'd go straight to the factory to answer calls, respond to e-mail, and learn more about Sheila's everyday tasks.

For a time after Sheila passed away, Harry Weisfeld found little pleasure in the business—the fight against cancer had taken its toll on him, too—but Mathew knew that, in order to keep his mother's memory alive, the family would have to keep VPI alive. He convinced his father to build a turntable that would be affordable enough for younger listeners, yet good enough for the most demanding audiophiles. His mother would be proud.

From time to time, I'm drawn into boring conversations about the relative sonic merits of CDs and LPs. To me, it's never been about sound. I prefer LPs because they make me happy. A part of me wishes I had accepted Sheila Weisfeld's offer, back in 2008, to listen to a VPI turntable, but another part of me is glad I waited until now. I can't imagine a happier way of listening to LPs than with the VPI Traveler. At $1299, the Traveler isn't merely reasonably priced—it's a remarkable bargain, built to last a lifetime. And it's made with love, right here in the US.

At least 10% of Traveler profits will go to Girl Scouts of the USA, and to the Lustgarten Foundation for research into a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Happiness breeds happiness. Loss has again inspired beauty.

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

Vogelhaus's picture

Now that's how you write a product review! Well done, thanks for the article! I was very interested in this table when rumors were going around about a new turntable from VPI. 

Et Quelle's picture

But, can an owner remove those hideous feet; put stillpoints or anything? A retailer at the T.H.E. Show Las vegas told me that you can. More importantly, he told me that price has little weight on electronic quality. Which most of us kinda know?

baumer's picture

Stephen, this is the best thing I've ever read of yours, and, in fact I think it's the best thing I've read from Stereophile. Well done.

philipjohnwright's picture

The Kid is the future. Thank you Stephen, lovely article; life first, hi-fi second, as it should be.

MrGneiss's picture

LPs make me happy too.. :-) Great article!!

itsratso's picture

i am going to start saving for this TT. not just because it seems like a good table, but moreso for the story you told. these are the sort of people that deserve the business.

Regadude's picture

Great review Stephen. I really enjoyed reading it!

I have a question about the setup of your Rega P3-24. Did you put a 2mm spacer between the arm and the plinth, to raise the arm? I know from experience, that the Dynavector 10X5 will sound much better with the arm raised 2mm on a P3-24. If the arm is not raised, the VTA will not be correct. 

If you can, try it. You'll probably find that your P3-24 - Dynavector combo has a lot more to offer!

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thank you, everyone.

Regadude, thank you for all your kind comments. Yes, I did use Rega's 2mm spacer with the Dynavector cartridge. I write about that experience in "The Entry Level," also in the November issue. We'll post that column to the website soon, too.

Regadude's picture

Thanks for the information Stephen. I look forward to reading November's "The entry level".

Like yourself, my turntable is a P3-24. If you wish to significantly improve its performance, you could try out a Groovetracer reference subplatter and/or a Michell Technoweight.

I have both. The GT subplatter will widen the soundstage, add detail and make the music "more there". The Technoweight will significantly improve the bass. You will get more bass, and it will be better defined. If you plan on keeping your P3-24, these 2 upgrades really elevate the performance of the table. 

Stephen Mejias's picture

I look forward to reading November's "The entry level".

That column has now been archived here. I hope you enjoy it.

mrplankton2u's picture

The specifications give a rumble figure of  at least - 80db and wow/flutter rating of .2%.

Yes, it was quite touching to find out that you've formed a special relationship with the manufacturer:

"Sheila, I figured, had taken a liking to me. (I'm great with moms.)"


-but is it too much to ask that you actually test the product that is being "reviewed" to verify that what the manufacturer is saying about it is actually true in the case of the test sample?



You folks have been drinking your own Kool Aid for so long, you have completely lost touch with what you're supposed to be doing. Just say'in...


: )

JohnnyR's picture

"Michael Fremer called the tonearm "a triumph of industrial design" with a sound that was "intoxicating, almost magical.""

Were there any tests done to show us the "sound" of that tonearm? I mean  if a tonearm is going to resonate and add it's own signal to the recording being played then isn't that NOT what we want as a listener? I'm so glad I gave up on turntables and vinyl years ago in favor of an accurate digital playback medium. A lot less costly PLUS it plays back how it was meant to sound. Dinosaur Sterophile strikes again.


mrplankton2u's picture

I guess there were no tests conducted in the "review" of this turntable. But at least we have this gem of an observation to make up for it -


"While the LP's normal surface noise was as audible as ever, that noise was noticeably distinct from the music, as if the Traveler were somehow brushing it aside to the edges of my listening room,"


And in conclusion, this turntable "brushes aside" normal LP surface noise to the edges of listening rooms better than most other turntables...(eyeroll) 

Perhaps Steven can get to work on a glossary of hi fi snob terms/phrases to assist new readers and those who are just not "in the know" with expressions like "brushing aside normal noise to the edges of the listening room" - that is if Stereophile truly wishes to clue its readers in on what the hell its reviewers are talking about... But then, that may just be the point - they really don't want the reader to know what the hell they're talking about or perhaps most likely - they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Vogelhaus's picture

@mrplankton2u How about you go listen to one, form an opinion not based off a written article, and tell us all about it. It's a magazine man, they're doing their best to describe their experience with music, components and venues that you can't HEAR. [Edit of flame by JA]

mrplankton2u's picture

The whole point of a proper equipment review is not simply to present pure subjective opinion but to put forth some data or facts that support the purely subjective opinion. Your suggestion that I need to go listen to a component to verfiy the claims for myself defeats the entire purpose of a magazine that's supposed to present a "convincing" argument one way or another about the component's quality, value, and degree to which it has achieved its objectives. The above "review" contains absolutely no data or physically reproducible evidence that would back up or tend to back up the claims of the "reviewer". 

Moreover,  a good portion of the "review" write up was devoted to describing the "reviewer's" personal relationship and/or impression of the individuals that produce the product being "reviewed". That clearly calls into question the "reviewer's" ability to objectively and impartially  "review" the product in question. The dividing line between "reviewer" and manufacturer has been completely obliterated.

Additionally, the hostility with which you responded to me does nothing to bolster your opinion or perspective. If anything, it detracts from it as your response contains more animosity than useful, actionable information or credible argument.

smittyman's picture

Well, Stereophile is based on subjective reviews; the reviewer listens and describes what he or she hears.  The 'objectivist' magazines died out quite a few years ago; they didn't do much more than test the equipment to make sure it met or exceeded the manufacturers' claims.  Since the equipment pretty well always matched its specs, the results of their 'reviews' were pretty much a foregone conclusion.  Hard to see any added value there which may explain why they aren't around anymore.


Which makes me wonder, if you don't like subjective reviews, why read Stereophile?  And if you're looking for test results, why not just read the spec sheet?

mrplankton2u's picture

Questioning my motives for reading the magazine or electronic version is again, attacking the person - not focusing on the questions raised. So in that context, some of your response is of no use to the discussion. 

And now back to the heart of the matter. I've been consistently raising questions as to why Stereophile employs a signficant number of measurements with some equipment reviews but a complete lack measurements with others. In my view, there is absolutely no legitimate basis for going completely subjective or completely objective. The value of Stereophile's contribution comes when it combines the two. That happens with loudspeakers and to a lesser extent with electronics. But the other products that have  exclusively subjective reviews noting "vast" differences from one product to the next - that have no associated measurements - stand as a clear challenge to the credibility of Stereophile's otherwise "balanced" approach of combining subjective with objective information. If cables, suspenders/footers, power conditioners, DACs, and other similar products are determined to have significant audible differences - those differences should be measurable in some way. There should be some effort expended to explain how the audible difference is produced. When there's a complete absence of effort to explain the origins of these purely subjective differences, that's when credibility breaks down. With speaker reviews, there has been a consistent trend to at least attempt to explain a correlation between what is heard and what is measured. That brings value. And when an attempt is made to explain how construction details/design impacts measured and sensed performance - more value is added  

If anything, I've been consistent in the pages of comments regarding how important some of us feel the balance between subjective and objective is in terms of establishing and maintaining credibility. It's not simply a matter of re enforcing specifications. If a turntable has very low levels of rumble or background noise with a given cartridge combination - what is so difficult about posting a graphical reprentation of noise with frequency when the table is rotating and the tone arm is in its rest position? That is so simple and would take virtually no effort. When a reviewer says the component is absolutely dead quiet when producing soft music passages - you have something concrete and reproducible to back that subjective impression up. This is not rocket science folks. A discrepancy clearly does exist between how Stereophile approaches reviewing different product classes. And this does more to re enforce doubts about Stereophile's credibility than anything else. It cannot be explained away by saying some products can be measured while others can't. Turntables/cartridges for example can be measured extensively but they aren't. There is simply no legitimate explanation for this unless you consider "we're lazy" a legitimate excuse.

smittyman's picture

OK, so I didn't mean my question as an attack - at least not entirely.  Of course what you choose to read is your business.  I just don't understand why someone reads a magazine or other publication whose editoral practices or policies are different than their own beliefs, then complains about those differences.  I don't go to a vegan restaurant and complain they don't serve steak.  You say you are trying to suggest how the content could be inproved and I will take you at your word.  In any case, you are correct that this part of our discussion is off topic.

Where I don't agree with you is the assertion that audbile differences should be measurable in some way.  The old school subjectivist magazines measured everything that was measurable at the time and didn't find anything significant to say; if things measured the same they must sound the same was their position.  But a lot of people thought they heard differences.  So then we get into a vicious cycle; the measurements don't so any difference so anyone who hears differences must be crazy, a snake-oil salesman, etc. on one side; I hear differences in spite of the measurements, therefore measurements mean nothing, so why measure, on the other. (I know you are suggesting that a balanced approach is better and I agree; I'm just stating the extreme positions here.)

There are a couple of other options.  It is entirely possible that there are measurable factors that could substantiate the differences people hear between similar pieces of equipment, but we don't know what they are yet; we might be measuring the wrong things.  It is also possible that the instruments that we use to measure this equipment are not an exact pardigm for how we hear - that microphones and voltmeters do not respond to sound in the same way the human ear does.  Not trying to sound philosophical here, just suggesting two reasons why measurements may not work, or not work as well, on all types of components.  And it certainly suggests that maybe we should be looking for new things and/or new ways to measure.

Having said that, your point that there is an inconsistancy in what Stereophile measures is a valid one.  If they are trying to strike a balance between the two extremes then perhaps they should expand the range of what they measure.

John Atkinson's picture

smittyman wrote:
Your point that there is an inconsistency in what Stereophile measures is a valid one.  If they are trying to strike a balance between the two extremes then perhaps they should expand the range of what they measure.

I agree that it is a valid criticism. The problem is one of resources. The scarcest resource we have as Stereophile is my time. I already work a >60 hour week and, other than a day off here and there, have not had a vacation for several years. For us to accompany our reviews of turntables, tonearms, and cartridges with full sets of measurements represents a major increase in my workload and that just isn't possible. Not an excuse but a reason.

A few years back, we tried a system whereby Michael Fremer would measure the LP playback components he was reviewing and I would do the analysis, but that didn't work out.

And my thanks to you and mrplankton2u for arguing without flaming.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

mrplankton2u's picture

Valid points but might I suggest you start training reviewers to take on some of your workload. There is obviously some talent and knowledge there. Mikey has demonstrated that he is more than capable of delving into a huge array of intracies in turntable setup. Does John Atkinson have to test/measure everything directly? Why can't he work with other reviewer/writers to establish measuring protocols - supply the needed equipment (which these days, in many cases is pretty modest) - and let them take on a more comprehensive role?

smittyman's picture

I am Canadian and we are required by law to be polite.laugh

GeorgeHolland's picture

We will await a real test of something other than speakers but won't hold our breaths.

John Atkinson's picture

GeorgeHolland wrote:
We will await a real test of something other than speakers but won't hold our breaths.

I don't understand your statement. Not only do I measure speakers, but also preamplifiers, phono preamplifiers, integrated amplifier, power amplifiers, CD and other disc players, D/A processors, A/D processors, computer soundcards, music streamers, etc. I have stopped measuring headphones, leaving that to my colleague Tyll Hertsens at InnerFidelity.com, who has a Kemar mannikin.

BTW, I saw you complaining about having some of your posts deleted. I warned everyone last week that I will now delete posts that, in my opinion - not yours, please note - are nothing more than flames.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

GeorgeHolland's picture

But you don't test cables or power cords or tweeks because?  Oh yes the "no time" reason. it couldn't possibly be because you know they do nothing but would offend some one if you showed the world that.

I see that JVS stated on a post from the RMAF that you have in your possesion  a BSG Technologies QOL Signal Completion Stage and will review it. Does this mean a full fledged measurment test?  If not then please give your reasons for not doing so. The "no time" reason will not be good enough I'm afraid.

Yes I can see how you tend to stamp out any postings that bring up the topic of greed or the inability of your readrs to be interested in anything other than the staus quo.

John Atkinson's picture

GeorgeHolland wrote:
I see that JVS stated on a post from the RMAF that you have in your possesion  a BSG Technologies QOL Signal Completion Stage and will review it. Does this mean a full fledged measurment test?

Of course.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

John Atkinson's picture

The BSG Signal Completion Stage has an easily audible effect on the signal and its measured performance suggests why. It's hardly snake oil, as GeorgeHolland appears to be implying.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

............sorry but labeling your failure or EXCUSE as a reason just doesn't cut it. So you are saying nobody but you can operate any measuring equipment or aren't smart enough to be trained? Your so called 60 hour work week includes plenty of time to browse and respond to not only Stereophile's forums but other audio forums also. No time to do anything else he says. So busy. EXCUSES. *YAWN* typical Atkinson response. Too busy, can't be helped. Can't leave out testing of a speaker instead and test a cable or magic bowl. Don't know how. Can't be done.........EXCUSES.

John Atkinson's picture

JohnnyR wrote:
sorry but labeling your failure or EXCUSE as a reason just doesn't cut it.

It is neither a failure or an excuse. It is the _reason_ we can't expand our measurement regime. I love my job but I am maxed out. And please note that measuring audio components requires a combination of skill, education, knowledge, and experience that is relatively rare. I was fortunate to have been mentored by Martin Colloms and the late John Crabbe, but I already had a technical education and had designed my own audio equipment and my own test equipment when I implemented the test regime at Stereophile.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

I suppose all those people on DIYaudio and Parts Express and other forums must be geniuses then because they do a VERY good job of measuring. If you haven't gotten it written down in a step by step method after all this time, then you are doing it wrong. You could easily train someone in a day how measure using a computer and simple add ons. YOU designed the test equipment that Stereophile uses?  I highly doubt it's being used today. Just fess up that you don't want or don't DARE test cables or magic bowls and stop saying you don't have time. You could have tested 10 cables in the time it took to reply to just MY posts on here Mr Excuse.

John Atkinson's picture

JohnnyR wrote:
I suppose all those people on DIYaudio and Parts Express and other forums must be geniuses then because they do a VERY good job of measuring.

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.

JohnnyR wrote:
You could easily train someone in a day how measure using a computer and simple add ons.

You illustrate the fact that everything appears simple to those who lack understanding of what is involved.

JohnnyR wrote:
YOU designed the test equipment that Stereophile uses?

I didn't say that. In the early 1980s, I designed some pieces of test gear that I used at that time  - for example, a spl meter of mine was published as a DIY article in a 1981 issue of HiFi News - and in doing so gained an education in measuring.

JohnnyR wrote:
I highly doubt it's being used today.

It isn't but I didn't say that it is.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

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.