For those who missed it, last year in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we took to action and began making PPE supplies for our Front Line Heroes! Initially it was because VPI was identified as being an "Essential Company" while music does have a strong impact on someone's life we wanted to do something that actually did give back to those who need. It stared with hand sanitizer when someone made a joke about us using our cleaning machine fluid for sanitizer in one of the forums. It led to us researching and setting up a whole workspace for creating FDA approved sanitizer.
The progression led to us finding other items like Face Shields, Intubation Boxes, and many other items. We are proud that TD Bank took notice to our efforts and filmed a video about what our team was able to accomplish. Thanks TD Bank for taking the time to learn more about what we worked towards accomplishing during these difficult times!
With everything that has happened during 2020 we had some major good news that we didn't get into this past year. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we were blessed with the news that we (Jane) were pregnant with our second child! Getting around and living your life during COVID-19 was difficult enough with the added difficulties of the usual doctor check ups and steps to take to have a heathy baby. Our first doctor's appointment I was forced to stay outside the building and found I wouldn't be allowed into any visits until 5 months later. It was a bit heart breaking not being able to be more directly part of the process because of the quarantine precautions.
We were also afraid to talk too much about any up-and-coming good news because we didn't want to jinx anything with the continued struggles of 2020 for everyone! We forged through, kept Jane at home as much as possible to minimize the risk of catching COVID-19 and kept it quite. To our surprise, our amazing VPI staff threw a mini and safe Baby Shower so we didn't have all celebration lost in the days of quarantine.
Jane has been amazing and has worked while severely pregnant up until last Friday, November 6th. This past Monday, November 9th was going to be her first day off while she sent the rest of the week preparing to bring home our new baby with an expected due date of November 14th. Like with everything in 2020, best laid plans go to waste and when a baby is ready to nothing is stopping them!
Early on November 9th around 7:15 AM I could hear Jane on the phone with the hospital letting them know we would be on the way. We start to pack which we immediately realize there is no time and we shovel anything we can into a bag while our little one, Shyla, was attempting to help pack (it wasn't much of a help but still appreciated). She paced around chanting, "the baby is coming!" in the more adorable way. Jane's mom comes over to take care of Shyla and we are off!
In typical dad fashion, I drove safely like a maniac to get to the hospital as quickly as possible and contemplated multiple illegal traffic moves. Pulling into the Riverview Emergency room I ran in yelling, "We have a pregnant girl coming in hot!" The nurse runs out in time for Jane's water to break in the car at 7:51. I won't go into the details of chaos that followed but at 7:55 half in the hallway Goldy Weisfeld was born!
10 finger and 10 toes, Goldy was born nice and healthy and ready to join the family! Because of how fast the delivery we were known as the "Emergency Room Delivery" with the "Rocket Baby". The nurse who delivered (more like caught Goldy) apparently had the nickname "Brian the Stork" from the experience! After that excitement everything couldn't have gone smoother! Goldy's and Mom's vitals were spot on and we were bale to leave and head back home in a little over 24 hours.
There was another person who was super excited for us to come home with Goldy! Her big sister Shyla was waiting with Grandma at the front door jumping and running with excitement to see us and to meet her little sister. Everyone is now back at home and safe with both myself and Jane being a bit MIA from VPI related work for obvious reasons.
We are now taking pre-orders for the new entry level Goldy cartridge... just kidding (for now) but we are excited to introduce you all and and welcome Goldy Weisfeld into the world! The 2040 VPI workforce is looking stronger and stronger everyday!
We hope everyone is staying safe out there and if anyone has VPI related questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org please be patient with response between COVID-19 related delays as well as having both Jane and myself with our hands full at the moment!
The VPI House might be closed for public events because of COVID-19 but you can bet we are still spinning music and trying to have as many virtual opportunities as possible! This past week we finally had the opportunity to work with an evaluate a cartridge that has been a hit item in the US market, the Hana cartridges. For the purposes of this blog post we are only going to focus on the Hana SL with the good, the bad, and joys of music. At VPI we are often asked by customers for our recommendation and opinions on cartridges. We make it a rule that we do not have an opinion either way on any product we haven't physically demoed and listed to in our listening room. That is the only way to be honest and provide the best information for an interested person.
For over a year now people have asked us about the Hana cartridge and I have always given the same answer, "we have heard good things about it from other customers who use it, but we have never heard it in our listening room." We finally made the plunge, called up Garth at Musical Surroundings and got both the high output SL and low output ML into the shop. We chose to demo the SL on an upgraded Prime Scout since that table hit the price point and made sense from a package price.
The rest of the system consisted of KEF Blades with Isoacoustic feet, Moon by Simaudio electronics, and Nordost cabling. Full disclaimer, a cartridge at the price point of the Hana SL would usually go into our "middle of the road" price point system but that system is temporally down. To get a baseline I compared it to a brand new Audio Technica OC-9 that was also brand new (this way both cartridges were on the same level of break-in). I mounted up the OC-9, let it warm up with playing through a full albumin, than pulled out a reference track. Because I live streamed the listening experience I chose the track "Birds" from the album "Nameless" from Dominique Fils-Aime because it is agreeable with the facebook police.
We played through the whole track on the live stream for everyone to hear and than after the live stream I gave it one more critical listen to make sure I really grabbed the sound signature before switching to the Hana SL. I had made jokes during the stream about needing more coffee because this was all very early in the morning, and everything is better with coffee! And this was where I made my first mistake! I should have taken the time for the coffee because I went to mount up the Hana SL to discover the body is NOT threaded.
I posted the above picture and some playful banter expressing my frustration (and need to make my coffee an Irish one). In the midst of the post dialogue someone commented I shouldn't complain like an amateur, and that person to an extent was right. Any set-up "guru" worth their salt can handle mounting a cartridge with through holes, but not everyone is a set-up guru. In fact, most people set-up (of have someone set-up) their cartridge and never have it set up again until they upgrade to their next one. The moral being, products need to be made with the expectation of the amateur handling them with potentially no access to a proper set-up professional. However, that isn't the end of the world as there are many cartridges that do the same. I.E. Audio Technica, Miyajima, and Grado to name a few all of whom we have yelled at about through holes as well.
After a number of records I had a good listen to the Hana and feel for its musical signature. The Hana was dead quite between the notes which let me hear more subtleties that I would usually needed a higher price cartridge to achieve. The Hana had a bit more on the low end/base compared to the OC-9 where I felt a touch more vibration from the floor when a musician would strike a base drum. While listening to the drum solo on my Charlie Byrd, Old Hymn, album I was able to feel the kick drum go right up through my legs!
I love that the Hana is a higher output making it more flexible and easier to match with your system especially from an entry level stand point. With the OC-9 I had the volume cranked up to 52 on my Moon by Simaudio electronics, but has it down to 33 when switching over to the Hana. I forgot to mute when I had the OC-9 which gave me a loud volume pop through my system, wouldn't have had that issue (to that extent) with the high-output Hana).
I have possibly been over hyped on what to expect from the Hana from other's opinions, mainly customers and dealers, which always has a subconscious impact when evaluating anything. Below is actual (slightly exaggerated) dialogue from Harry and myself about movies:
Harry: "That movie is the best, we just watched it and couldn't take our eyes of the screen! It will blow your mind, you need to watch it right now!"
Mat: "Wait, that's it? That's the ending? It was really good, I really liked it, but I was waiting for the life changing moment! I think Dad went a bit overboard."
The Hana is a hero for silence between notes, more base, and the ease of the higher output but there is some ease taken out of the equation from mounting a cartridge with through holes. If you have a set-up technician that isn't a concern, of if you like to have a personal challenge. I can 100% recommend the Hana SL but there are other cartridges that are worth an AB as well. In the end its more about someone's musical flavor than anything else.
Update: Recently got and listen to one of their models higher on the food chain, WOW! More on that later on.
*** Register on our Eventbrite page by clicking the 'Tickets' link ***
The hi-fi dealer Now Listen Here is pleased to announce a two-day event September 26-27 in King of Prussia, PA. Special guest Mat Weisfeld of VPI Industries will be on hand to demonstrate—for the first time—prototypes of their new modular direct drive turntable, universal arm pod, and phono preamp. Special guest Jeff Joseph of Joseph Audio will also be on hand to demonstrate the Pearl 20/20 Graphene loudspeakers. In addition, we will be demonstrating Fyne Audio F704 loudspeakers, Jeff Rowland and Chord Ultima electronics, Transparent cabling, and state-of-the-art digital frontends with Chord DACs and Sonore optical streamers. Special ‘event-only’ pricing will be available on all demonstrated lines.
When asked for comment, Now Listen Here owner Aaron Sherrick said:
“With the many show cancellations this year, including Capital Audio Fest where we exhibit, we really wanted to connect with the hi-fi community in a different way. We’ve heard from many customers how much they miss hi-fi shows so we’re doing our best to deliver a slice of that experience in a safe and controlled way.”
The event will be held at the Hyatt House in King of Prussia, located next to the King of Prussia mall.
In order to create a safe event for everyone, masks and temperature checks are required before being granted admission. No exceptions. To control the number of attendees and comply with Pennsylvania’s gathering limit of 25 people we’ve adopted a seminar format that requires registration (no charge—see link below). The time slots are 2 hours long where attendees will spend an hour in each of our two rooms listening to music and presentations from our special guests. The rooms are large—approximately 1,000 sq/ft each—to allow ample social distancing of chairs. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available to attendees. Hyatt House is following procedures and protocols developed in consideration of guidance and information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other leading organizations and experts, and local government requirements and guidance.
The hotel conference center space, where the event will be held, is located one floor down and is accessible by a wide, open staircase off the hotel lobby and by elevator. The conference center has its own ‘wing’ to reduce traffic from other hotel guests, and the entire conference center space has been reserved for this event to ensure privacy and no intermingling with other events. The conference room wing also has its own set of bathrooms.
Register for the event on our Eventbrite page below and choose a session time that fits your schedule:
240 Mall Boulevard
King of Prussia, PA 19406
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