For 40 years we have built turntables in American and kept it in the VPI family. For almost 30 of those years we have built our turntables in Cliffwood, New Jersey. With us reaching a more entry level market we are still able to make our products in Cliffwood, New Jersey. Most companies when making entry level products source their components outside their country of origin. This is why we celebrate our heritage and our VPI workers by naming this turntable after the place they are built.
We are also excited to be teaming up with our friends from Brooklyn, Grado Labs! VPI engineered a cartridge shell specifically for the Grado to make it easier to mount and contribute to the sound signature. The VPI/Grado Green will be the factory standard mounted cartridge on all VPI Cliffwood turntables.
The Cliffwood will retail for 900 USD and will initially only be available for the US market but will later be opened to the global market. The tonearm is a 9" machined aluminum gimbal. Both easy and robust to use while providing top level sonic performance. Estimated shipping is end of July to early August.
We would like to thank the members of the "I love my VPI turntable" facebook group for contributing ideas and feedback regarding the potential for this turntable and reaching a different audience. We would especially like to thank the following members as well as everyone else who has been part of bringing VPI forward:
Aaron Tate, Andrew Bourke, Andrew Millett, Besflores Nievera Jr , Bruce Carr, Bruce Neely , Carl Eberhart, Carlo Lupo, Chadd Rohrer, Christopher Winnington, Corey Layton, Craig Weiser, Dana Holmes, David Fischer, Eric Franklin Shook, Eric Lader , Jeannine Smith, John Pollino, John Wittmann , Jon Vomhof, Jonathan Blackhall, Keith ODaniel, Kuan Ski, Lamont Cranston, Larry Trezil, Lee Scoggins, Lee Shelly, Lloyd Champion, Lou Lamoreaux , Lynn J Madison, Mark Williams, Mike Breedlove, Oswaldo Martinez, Patrick Mattucci, Paul DeMara, Raul Manlapig , Rob Presuto, Rob Roberts, Samuel Strongin, Sean Dolen, Sean Thomas, William Rains
Being retired from the audio industry after 40 years and being an audio purchaser since 1962 gives me a unique perspective on reviewing equipment for enjoying music. I have gut reactions to a lot of what goes on in the business and I have many personal biases as to what music should sound like.
Let me state right off the bat I believe music should sound like real instruments or as close as we can get. That is what I enjoy, but I also firmly believe that fidelity means true to the source. That source is the master tape or digital file that was produced at the recording session. So, we have two competing factions here; the real instruments and what we capture as the sound of real instruments. This is not always the same thing.
In reviewing components, in order to assess fidelity, it is essential to have the original source to work with and then see how close the competing format gets to that source, or how much it changes it. I am lucky to have collected a few hundred reel to reel tapes over my lifetime.
Some are one or two steps from the master, some commercial 2 tracks from the late 50’s, and a few really good tape machines to play them on. I will be comparing the sound of sources to this standard. Most of what I review will be equipment I actually purchased after I auditioned them, because life is too short to write about products I sent back. For cartridges, these will be short, concise reviews using only records of which I have the master tape copy or commercial 2 track copy.
The speaker systems I use will include JBL Everest, Joseph Audio Pearl 3, Kef Blades, Genesis Maestro, Pure Audio 15TB, GRF Tannoy 15” Gold, and Eminent Technology 8B. The rooms are treated and sound exceptionally natural with high ceilings and good dimensions.
I have collected over 10, 000 records over the years, but for consistency, I will use the following 10 records for all my reviews.
GRADO STATEMENT V-2
I will begin with the Grado Statement, Version 2. I have had the G-S V-2 for roughly 6 months now and it is has given me a new perspective on reproducing vinyl in a composed, orderly way.
In the last fifteen years, I have owned many, many Grado cartridges. Some have been rather unremarkable, while others have kept me up late at night listening to records as if it were the first time.
The new G-S V-2 is a completely new design and melds the speed of a moving coil to the renowned smoothness of mid-range of moving iron. I will not go into the usual marketing BS that accompanies so many reviews, but will instead concentrate on a few things that really matter.
The new Grado has the lowest background noise and lack of groove noise I have ever heard. It is lower than the Atlas, Etna, Hyperion, etc. The sound the cartridge produces allows the low level information from the record to leap out to great effect from a jet black background.
Most people remember reel to reel as a noisy but smooth medium. It is not. With a good machine and the right equalization, 60 year old tapes are relatively quiet while new 15 ips 2 tracks are “spooky” quiet. The Grado gives you a feel of what this is like, while tracking like a train on steel rails, as stylus chatter is virtually non-existent.
The most important part of this presentation is the ultimate smoothness this cartridge can produce without breaking a sweat. When listening to the Hugh Masakela disc the explosion of transients from a black background is absolutely tape like and gives rise to that old reference “goosebumps”! This is only possible if you load the cartridge at 10K or more ohms. I tried it at the normal MC loadings and found it to be good but constricted. The use of 10K or 20K loading opens up the upper mid-range and top while still keeping that smoothness and lack of grain. I found 47K to be a bit bright, but if you have a treble control on your preamp or speaker, this is easily fixed.
I found the best match for the cartridge to be a standard 12” JMW 3D arm. The cartridge requires the second outrigger pivot point to track at its best and to completely remove any of the Grado “dance” and produce tight clean bass and very stable images. The oscilloscope representation of a stereo signal was an almost perfect 45 degree line that varies slightly with frequency but remained stable over the run from 50 to 10K. It tracked the Shure test record very well, only slightly missing the toughest band. I used three rubber weights on the anti-skate for the test but none for listening. There were no issues of mistracking or cantilever displacement not using anti-skate.
My favorite test is the UA Steve Lawrence “Till There Was You”. This cartridge put Steve in the room between the speakers and a full soundstage way past the loudspeaker (KEF Blades) boundaries. It felt like I was listening to a tape with 55 db of separation instead of a cartridge with a promise of 30+ db of separation. The record jacket explains and shows how the microphones and instruments were laid out and the Grado accurately placed them in the same position as the drawing.
The special cut on “Hatari” where they spaced the grooves to let the bass get cut into the vinyl without any compression put you in the jeep with John Wayne chasing that rhino! The Atlas has more dynamic power, but the Grado was no slouch and dynamic enough to give you rattled teeth fillings. On the JBL Everest and the Genesis Maestro, the low end was stunning, so the Grado will only be limited by how much air your speakers can move.
Last but not least, the Grado on the 45 RPM reissue of “Take Five” was as smooth and natural as the reel to reel tape, only missing that last ounce of power, solidity, and speed in the top end that the Atlas can provide for 3 times the price.
The Grado Statement V-2 is very highly recommended and I could live with it the rest of my life!
Update: Harry has started a "Star System", he identifies the Grado Statement V-2 as 8 out of 10 stars.
We are very proud to have had a fantastic/successful 2017 Dealer Training Certification. Education has been an important part of the growth of VPI. The more the dealer/person selling a VPI knows about the product the easier it will be for them to be as excited as we are! Our training events usually run for 3 days. Friday the dealers get to hang with the VPI staff and enjoy some solid team building. Saturday is when we all roll up our sleeves and build some VPI turntables. Finally on Sunday we all gather together and listen to varies systems and approaches to developing a listening room.
Wayback Audio, Northern Audio, Prestige Audio Video, Kosmic, Living Acoustics, Brooks Berdan LTD, Krispy Audio, Reference Analog, Soundstagedirect, Audio Advice, and Fort Collins Audio
All three days are equally important for the dealers to get to know the people building the tables as well as the VPI team meeting the dealers who are selling them. Also is a chance to stores to talk with each other and share ideas!
Day 1 - Meeting the VPI Team
While it isn't required for the training, we love hanging out with the dealers! Seeing a VPI workstations helps to show the day to day responsibilities to build, test, package, and ship a VPI. This also gives the dealers a chance to have personal conversations with the VPI team and learn more about them. Also, it gives us a opportunity to share a long standing VPI Friday tradition... Whiskey Friday!
This tradition started to remind us whether it is a good week or bad week we all need to take a step back and celebrate our accomplishments. While in New Jersey we had to make sure to expose them to another long standing New Jersey tradition... a trip to Harold's Kosher Deli! Seriously, this is the best deli you can get before taking a train into New York!
We all survived the endless corned-beef and their world class pickle bar! Washed down with a "healthy" Napoleon pastry! To all of you audiophiles and dealers out there remember to never set up a turntable on an empty stomach!
Day 2 - Training Day!
The second day of training is when we all dig deep and build a turntable but first we have an overall factory tour, branding, and marketing, and general discussion with the dealership about VPI. It is important to make sure everyone understands and cares about the VPI product line.
Another exciting point was showing the dealership the level of testing and procedure that goes into every VPI and showcasing Mike Bettinger our Director of Electrical Engineering. On top of our improved electrical engineering, Mike also showed the testing and functionality of the ADS in greater detail and the pro-type for our new VPI Aurora Phono. The Aurora is projected to retail for $2,000 and be available sometime during the fourth quarter.
After the tour and marketing/branding meeting we broke out the tools and started to build. To give the dealers a full scope of what it takes to build and work on a VPI turntable we start them off by building the basic production model. This year was the Prime Scout in white. They added the feet, installed the platter, installed the VTA base, tonearm, and wired the motor.
Once the dealers have successfully built the turntable we take a break for some more food and some VPI related videos. We shared one of our favorite videos about working in a High End Store
After refreshing we got right back at it and started upgrading our Prime Scouts!
The VPI Dealers learned how to upgrade the feet, the platter, the motor, and VTA base, and the tonearm. The picture above was Cameron from Krispy Audio going overkill with him upgrading his feet to Avenger Reference feet! In that case the feet cost almost as much as the table but if a customer wants to make that upgrade it is totally possible!
The training ended with proper cartridge mounting and alignment. Harry Weisfeld led the dealers through the setup and some tricks of the trade to make their lives easier.
Day 3 - Music Room Listening
To end training we spend the last day listening with our dealers. We have 5 rooms setup at the VPI listening house. The equipment is continually changing but the direction of the rooms is to have an "entry level", "entry level audiophile", "you are an audiophile", "you are a single audio", and the "fair play room" there will be more about the listening rooms in a later post. It is important to know how a product sounds just as much as it is to know how it works. It was the perfect wrap up for our training and all of us coming closer together in the VPI family.
Nothing better than breaking bread and listening to music!
Picture with Mat, Jane, and Harry Weisfeld with Bill from Northern Audio
Prime Scout with Peachtree Audio Nova
Another Honorable Mention, Isaac Rivera from Living Acoustics for being certified 3 years in a row!
We are very excited and proud to have Audio Advisors join the "Titan Club" at VPI Industries. The VPI Titan is our latest statement turntable that is both high-end, diverse, and easy to use. Featuring a double stacked noise cancelling chassis with pneumatic air suspension feet and a Magnetic-Rim Drive platter assembly, the Titan is deadly quiet and accurate.
The Audio Advisors have stepped up as a strong VPI dealership with trained and VPI certified onsite turntable technicians. They are proficient in all types of VPI tables including legacy products. The Audio Advisors team has the Titan on live demonstration in their store in West Palm Beach:
2271A Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. West Palm Beach, FL 33409561-478-3100
Make sure to swing by their store to give it a listen and make sure to ask for Rudi, the only man strong enough to lift the Titan!
LKV Research to Launch Breakthrough Integrated Amp
New Hampshire’s LKV Research will introduce at the Los Angeles Audio Show its new Verito 1, an integrated amplifier that raises the bar for high end price/performance ratio. Priced at $2,700 the Verito 1 includes phono stage, preamp and power amp, each of which achieves performance rivaling that of the best audiophile separates available today. The Verito 1 is also available without the phono stage at a price of $2,200.
As LKV’s Chief Designer observes, “The Verito 1 is a groundbreaking piece of gear. We have taken the essential elements of our Veros One phono separate and Line One preamp and combined them with a state of the art Hypex designed power amp. The result is an incredibly musical, high end system in one box at an amazing price.”
The Verito 1 is priced to be the heart of an entry level high end system; but its sound quality is so good, it may also be the last system many audiophiles and music lovers will want or need. It includes:
An MC/MM phono stage derived from the circuitry used in LKV’s top-of-the-line phono amp, the Veros One. Like the Veros One, the Verito 1 is so accurate and quiet that it comfortably amplifies not only the 5 mV signal from MM cartridges but also the 0.3 mV signal from low output MC cartridges. This performance is achieved using Class A differential amplifier circuitry built with discrete bipolar transistors and hand matched jfets without any loop feedback.
A line level preamp whose gain circuitry is virtually identical to that in LKV’s Line One separate preamp, which also employs Class A differential amplifiers built from discrete parts. The preamp section offers selection among 5 sources (the above phono and 4 line level inputs) and volume control via an excellent ALPS potentiometer.
A Class D power amplifier which can deliver 180+ Watts into 2, 4 and 8 ohm loads. The Class D module employs state-of-the-art Hypex NCore technology which provides not only the well-known benefits of Class D amplification – high power, low weight and heat dissipation, and compact size – but also sound quality that rivals the best that Class AB amps offer.
The Verito 1’s combination of build and sound quality together with attractive pricing make it a unique integrated amplifier capable of broadening the appeal of high end audio.
We are very excited for LKV Researchto show their new Verito with the VPI Prime turntable! Can't wait to to see the room together and hear about the results!
For further information, contact Bill Hutchins via phone (603 730 7400) or email (Bill@lkvresearch.com).
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