It is time for another trip to Asia! Unfortunately we won't be able to visit all the countries we visited last year but will make sure to get back there another time. For this year VPI will be part of and attending the Thailand Hi-End Audio Show 2017 at Bi-Tec on July 27th - 30th. Sponsored by What Hi-Fi Thailand!
We will be showing with our distributor, Audio Excellence who will be displaying the VPI Titan! We had hoped to have our Rose Gold Titan ready in time but it will be a standard colored Titan with a Rose Gold center weight and periphery ring to show the finish that is possible for all customers!
The Titan will be played using Jeff Rowland Electronics, Genesis Speakers, and Lyra Cartridges! Mat Weisfeld (that's me!), Jeff Rowland, Stig Bjorge, Michael Fremer, and Chad Kassem will be in attendance as guest speakers to talk about products and the industry!
The Lyra Atlas will be used on the new VPI JMW Titan Tonearm (AKA The Fatboy!) The JMW Titan arm has been a developing tonearm based on VPI experience and engineering as well as feedback from our VPI dealership/distribution.
This will also be the first international public showing of the VPI Cliffwood turntable! (Yes, we put the Rose Gold weight on there for fun!)
Looking forward to seeing everyone in Thailand!
Today is a bitter sweet day for VPI! We are proud of our very own, Tom, for getting accepted into a program that is the next direction for his new path in life. Tom originally started as a part-time intern at VPI who clearly liked music (previously worked at a record store) and loved making turntables. Tom was instrumental in developing our repair department as well as our transition to "Lean Manufacturing". His main job was building, testing, and boxing Scouts and eventually the Prime Scout. Every Prime Scout in the world made up to today has been built by Tom and we couldn't have had such a strong and successful start without him. We all want to wish Tom luck on his new venture and hope one day to have him back on the floor building turntables again!
From his VPI Bio:
"Meet Tom Moscinski, Turntable Technician and emerging Service Manager. Tom has been building turntables with us for a little over two years and has become a vital part of the production floor team. Focusing mainly on Scout type turntables, Tom also handles warehouse duties and the service and repair department. Tom wasn’t chosen for service, he stepped up, got the job done, and made it his own. Tom is always quick to help, learn, and execute any job with an accommodating and positive attitude."
His favorite whiskey is Maker's Mark so we ask everyone to raise a glass while they listen to their Scout or Prime Scout and toast our VPI Family member Tom!
We are very excited to have a VPI Prime in the Pure Audio Project Listening room! Fantastic speakers that give you full customization with your listening experience! Initially we connected with Pure Audio Project after Harry had read some information on their speakers. He liked what he read so much he took a shot and bought a pair. That pair has since been brought to his personal home listening room!
"A great weekend of celebrating our meeting with VPI Industries is almost over... :)
VPI Prime turntable arrived few days ago, and after a careful setting during which one learns to admire the personal touch of VPI design, together with Exogal, LLC it filled the whole weekend with true analog bliss like only top-end turntables can.
The two speakers that took the call and played non-stop were Trio15 PAP-Horn1 and the fabulous Trio10 Voxativ.. Thanks VPI Industries, Mat Weisfeld, Harry Weisfeld, for providing such a great product and music experience, and for following what we do in the speakers domain !"
It is truly a wealth of riches for an old audio hand like myself to have anywhere from 5 to 10 phono sections to play with at any given time. At the moment I am looking at the DSA, the Merrill, the Arion, the Moon by Simaudio, the Herron, the Mark Levinson, the Sound-Smith, and the subject of this article, the Modwright (M-W) 150. I will try to write in the simplest way possible to describe how this item really sounds to a listener.
Let’s get the subject of physical beauty out of the way early, this is one beautiful piece of gear. No bent and painted sheet metal, machined aluminum, anodized surfaces, machine screws not sheet metal screws, and a wonderful fit and finish. A unit you are proud to display in your rack or in the open on your rack. It mechanically feels as good as it looks, I love it! It looks like it is worth the price they charge for it as opposed to a lot of gear that does not.
I began using this exceptional phono section roughly two years ago at the Capitol Audio Fest on the Blade 2’s and had very good results. Being a tube design, I expected a nice clean midrange with very low grain structure and smooth yet transparent presentation of detail. I was not disappointed. As the months rolled on and it broke in, the sound became more open, creating a deeper picture of the soundstage with vocals having wonderful life-like stage presence.
When I used it playing my very early clear vinyl pre-production copy of 45 RPM Peter, Paul, and Mary (I know, not on my play list!), it was an eye opener. It created an exceptionally large soundstage. Peter was in the next room, Paul was outside on the lawn, and Mary was locked dead center. On the next cut, they switched, and Mary was on the lawn with Paul and Peter dead center. The effect was so startling on the Kef Blades that the listeners with me had a “jaw dropping” experience. They had never heard separation like this. At that point, I was using the Classic Direct, 12” 3D arm mounted with Ortofon A-95 and Mac 2500 line stage. The A-95 and a lot of other moving coils like to be loaded by a transformer, the M-W accommodates them.
Steve Lawrence “Till There Was You” on United Artists “Ultra Audio” presented with a dead accurate human voice, no halo around the voice, no grain, and no spit. It was a pure human voice like when you speak to someone in real life. The instruments around him were in a 30 foot soundstage and they had space and depth in spades! The Blades were singing!
I obtained the similar result using the Eminent Technology-8B speakers (a $2500 wonder). The sound was open, detailed, clean, but warm enough to tame the ET’s sometimes analytical capabilities. I typically find the ET’s to have the best mid-range I have ever heard from any speaker. However, under some circumstances, they become slightly hard if pushed with bad digital or bad solid state amps. Not so here with the Mod-Wright. It was a perfect match.
Using the ET’s with the M-W phono, Prime Signature with Ortofon Quintet Bronze, and a pair of VAS mono tube amps produced a seductive sound, drawing you into the music in a way that can be lost on many systems. I spent many happy hours listening to this system and was rewarded when a very well know speaker designer said “This may be the best midrange I have ever heard”. The combination of ET’s, VAS Citation 2 mono amps, and M-W is that good!
Best of all, the M-W has the following features; adjustability for resistance and capacitance on the front panel along with gain, a mono switch, and muting. Loading the Quintet Bronze at 100 ohms was an almost ideal match, very quiet, very clean, open, crisp, and huge soundstage; all the buzz words we love to talk about but rarely actually hear.
In comparison to the Herron, also a tube unit, the Herron is a bit more open and slightly better bass definition, but it does not have the midrange and the adjustability I require for best results. The M-W also has slightly less grain, a very stable soundstage, and palpable space surrounding the instruments, as though they are floating in air. I don’t like to make comparisons because it is never fair as it depends on individual preferences and compatibility. Both are truly excellent. You need to decide if the adjustability and superior build are worth the extra dollars, as they are to me. It should be noted that the M-W has a separate power supply that feeds it with a dedicated umbilical cord. One of the reasons the backgrounds were so black can be attributed to this feature.
When I used the JBL Everest’s and the 45 RPM Dave Brubeck “Time Out” the drum reproduction was outstanding, gripping the low end and going very deep with power and rhythm. It felt like a drummer was actually playing, not a reproduction. Same with the bassist and Brubeck on the piano, full, rich, powerful. Music has an ebb and flow, a group delay and a group progression that when not presented properly makes you take up a good book while listening. This listening session created that “ebb and flow” beautifully.
“Hatari” had all the right notes properly reproduced and with great impact on the Everest’s four 15” woofers. I have a 15 IPS 2 track reel to reel of this record and it was extremely close, with the tape having the last sliver of openness and power in the upper bass/ lower midrange. But, I’ve got to tell you, the M-W was close.
Using the Joseph Audio Pearl 3’s, Avenger Plus with Grado Statement V2, and the M-W, with the lights out I could not tell where the music was coming from. Late at night, lights off with no visual cues, the soundtrack of the original 1951 (RCA Charles Gerhardt) “The Thing” raised some hairs on the back of my neck!!
The eye opener was “Bob and Ray”, they came in from the left on their horse and buggy but it began in the next room and went right through my listening room. If your system is not reproducing music in an envelope larger than the distance defined by your speakers you need some new front end gear? I consistently was blessed with Cinemascope soundstages using the M-W but still had great focus and localized energy.
I love this unit and highly recommend it for its sound quality, build quality, general feel, and value for the money. Most solid state units have a somewhat tighter low end and possibly go deeper but they cannot match that liquid midrange and clean smooth top end of the M-W and Herron.
I will begin using a star system and rate this as an 8.5 out of 10 stars. As a reference the Grado Statement last time would get an 8 out of 10 stars. BTW, 8 out of 10 is a very high rating, very few will get higher and will have to be of extraordinary quality, build, sonics, and value.
Happy July 4th from all of us at VPI! As a "Made in USA" Company we take great pride in the birthday of our country! We hope everyone takes a moment while enjoying the break, BBQ, and fireworks to remember the importance of this day.
VPI will be closed July 3rd and 4th for the July 4th weekend but will be back in the shop answering phones and making tables on July 5th.
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