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VPI Debuts The New HW-40th Anniversary Turntable

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  • VPI Debuts The New HW-40th Anniversary Turntable

    VPI Celebrates 40 Years of Giving Audiophiles Analog Bliss

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    It was a nippy and windy but sunny Fall day that found me arising early Sunday morning to catch a NJ Transit train (that the people of India would reject) down to Matawan, NJ and VPI Industries. The purpose of the trip was twofold. First was the grand opening of VPI’s newly renovated “house” along with a celebration of VPI’s 40th year in the high-end business. But the trip’s real purpose was the highly anticipated debut of the HW-40 40th Anniversary turntable (the first public demonstration of the new VPI turntable will be at next weeks Capital Audiofest!).

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    A Short History of VPI

    40 years in business is certainly cause for celebration! That goes triple in high-end industry, maybe even moreso for a company whose lifeblood is manufacturing and selling turntables and record cleaning machines. Yet through the bleakest days, VPI persevered, never went over to the dark side and gave up on the LP and now joins the illustrious ranks of Spectral, Audio Research, conrad-johnson, Magnepan, Grado, Wilson Audio, Krell, McIntosh, and PS Audio as one of the founding fathers of the high-end audio.

    VPI’s first commercial product was the HW-9 turntable base used by many Denon direct drive turntable enthusiasts. Harry Pearson, then editor of the fledgling high-end audio magazine The Absolute Sound, put VPI on the map with a terrific review of VPI’s first product (HP also named the fledgling company). A lifelong friendship between the two Harrys was born.

    While VPI is primarily known for their turntables, it’s perhaps their revolutionary record cleaning machines (RCM) for the day that really garnered audiophile’s attention. Imagine a machine that thoroughly cleaned a record in a fraction of the time of the then gold standard Keith Monks machines! Once again it was a rave review by HP turned the original HW-16 record cleaning machine into a consistently back ordered product. 50 units a month was VPI's maximal output and there was always a long waiting list for RCMs.

    The list of people responsible for VPI’s success story is numerous and includes the company’s founders Harry and his late wife Sheila Weisfeld, Sheila’s mom Shirley and the ever affable Leo. VPI has now been passed down and is in the very capable hands of Harry’s son Mat and his wife Jane. Don’t despair, however. Harry still works as hard as ever in retirement designing the next generation of VPI products in concert with Mat and relative newcomer to the VPI family Mike Bettinger. This partnership culminated in the new HW-40th Anniversary turntable. No history of the company, though, is complete without a mention of Mat’s late and older brother Jonathan. Harry, Sheila and Mat honored Jonathan’s premature and untimely passing by naming all the company’s tonearms in his memory.

    The New VPI House

    It was about a year ago that VPI held a press conference at their recently purchased “VPI house.” Mat and Harry had at that time some very ambitious plans to turn this place into a listening paradise that host VPI events, customer visits, rollouts of new products by other high-end audio companies. Fast forward a year later and visitors were treated to a new house replete with among other things four renovated listening rooms. VPI’s President Mat Weisfeld’s objective was to have listening rooms that catered to customers and audiophiles looking in different price ranged beginning with the lifestyle system, a second system priced around $10k, a third system priced around $30k and finally a price no object system (not counting the main listening room. A listing of the equipment populating each room includes:

    Lifestyle

    Shinola Runwell Turntable
    Shinola speakers
    Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge
    Transparent Audio cable


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    Good

    VPI Cliffwood Turntable
    VPI Cliffwood phonostage
    Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
    Totem Signature Speakers
    Moon by Sim Audio integrated amplifier
    Transparent Audio cable


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    Better

    VPI Prime Turntable with Gimbal 3D Arm
    Ortofon Quintet Bronze
    VPI Voyager phonostage
    Roger’s High Fidelity Integrated amplifier
    Wilson Audio Sabrina’s
    Transparent Audio cabling


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    Best

    VPI Avenger Turntable with Fatboy JMW-12 tonearm
    Lyra Etna Cartridge
    VPI Voyager phonostage
    Krell amplification and preamplification
    Genesis Technologies Maestro Speakers
    Transparent Audio cabling


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    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
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    Main system

    VPI HW-40 Turntable with Fatboy JMW 12-inch gimbal tonearm
    VPI Voyager phonostage
    Moon by Sim Audio amplification and preamplifier
    KEF Blades
    Nordost cabling
    Cartridges (Audio Technica ART 1000, Lyra Atlas, Grado Epoch) Harry has a drawer full so take your choice.

    HW-40th Anniversary Table

    How ironic is it that 40 years later that we’ve come back full circle to first adored, then later hated, direct drive turntable? My audiobuddy’s recollection of the original Technics direct-drive turntable was, “you could stand on it and it would turn at the right speed.” When it came to listening to music, however, his tried and trusted AR turntable won the battle.

    Jump ahead 50 years and direct drive tables are back in vogue. Why? Plain and simply the issue with the early tables wasn’t so much the design as the implementation of the direct drive concept. With new materials, computer aided speed controls, better noise isolation, better motors, etc. direct drive table have arisen like the Phoenix from the dust. Moreso, these new age, direct drive table bring a quietness and a vanishingly low noise floor that allows the minutest details to emerge from the record grooves. The sense of recording space. The freedom from intermodulation of low frequencies with the music that affect speed control and stylus drag. A lack of temporal smearing.


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    VPI’s new $15K HW-40th Anniversary table has more than a passing resemblance to their original Classic Direct table. That’s, however, where the similarities end. In fact, some of the technology used in building this new direct drive table is derived from the Mark Levinson turntable. For instance, the tonearm wire exits the tonearm base and goes through the plinth where it is connected to RCA plugs mounted on the back of the table given the table a very clean look. Ergo no ugly, exposed junction box.

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    A few other pertinent items about the new direct drive table. The table’s chassis along with the front and back of the plinth are fashioned from machined 0.7500-inch thick 6061 Al that is internally damped with an internal MDF plate. Everything—and I mean everything—including the power supply and control circuitry are internally located. The table comes with VPI’s newest 12-inch gimbal 3D printed Fat Boy Arm replete with ABEC 9 bearings made in Japan selected for their ultra low friction. The table’s high torque, direct drive motor (startup speed is said to be one second) is an updated version of their previously used thin gap, cogging free motor. The new table’s speed is controlled using a ring encoder providing 2500 pulses/revolution and sensing both velocity and positional information. The motor is fine tuned using specially developed and updateable software. Finally, the table comes with—yes—a dust cover.

    Expected shipping date is February 2019 (oh yes, there are some other goodies in the pipeline including the ability to convert current Avenger tables to direct drive and a new speed control and motor for the Vanquish table. Not to mention even the possibility of marrying VPI’s direct and magnetic drive for the ultimate in noise isolation.


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    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

    Comment


    • #3
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      Some Quick Comments on the Main Rigs Sound

      No, I hadn’t previously heard anything in the system but the KEF Blades. Yet the system possessed a very special quality evident from the very first LP Harry placed on the turntable platter. A vanishingly low noise floor. (That is a quality that I am very familiar with using VPI’s direct drive Vanquish turntable.) Harry started out with the Audio Technica ART 1000 cartridge mounted in the 12-inch gimballed arm. Here the system’s sound was very articulated, clean and very transparent though a touch cold. Harry switched over after lunch to a Lyra Atlas (Harry must have about 30 cartridges in his drawer) with which I have great familiarity. Now the system opened up, was much quicker and more nimble and effortless. Not happy with that, Harry then changed over to the relatively new Grado Epoch cartridge (geez that cantilever is buried under the body and there is more mass in front of the stylus than any cartridge I have seen). It took a little time for the cartridge to warm up but it was well worth the wait. Here was a sound somewhere between the two aforementioned cartridge with a bit richer and lusher but un-Grado-like coloration. Not to mention a very impressive sense of spatial recreation.

      Time flies when you’re having fun and before I knew it the clock read 7 PM. So it was time to pack up the new 12-inch gimballed arm that I was taking home for review and catch the train back to the big Apple! VPI newest table certainly looks like a formidable performer and one to keep an eye for when it’s released early next year!
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
      -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Some additional shots from the get together. Mat introducing a few of the other manufacturers at the VPI houze.

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        Left to right: Mat (VPI), Walter (Krell), Steve (Nordost) and Bes (Music Direct).

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        Top: Left to right: Mat (VPI), Bill (Audio Technica), Walter (Krell) and Steve (Nordost).

        Bottom: Walter (Krell), Mat (VPI), Steve (Nordost) and Jon (Transparent Audio)


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        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
        -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
        -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
        -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          Some other assorted shots from Sunday. Walter Schofield of Krell. The new Duo XD amplifiers with the new IQ Bias scheme sounded very good driving Gary Koh's Maestro speakers.

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          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
          -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
          -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
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            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
            -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
            -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              The end!
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
              -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
              -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                thanks Myles for the commentary and the wonderful pictures.


                With the HW-40 we have a direct competitor with the Technics SP10-R. The VPI will arguably have a better tonearm and is almost 5K cheaper. sounds like a winner to me.

                I really love how VPI DD motor is high torque with start up and stop at around 1 second. Personally I have never understood the logic of the Brinkman, Monaco, Wave Kinetics that take 8-12 seconds to start up - crazy imo.

                Hi Myles - They ran the HW-40 sans and platter mat? I would love to put in a micro seiki cu-180.

                cheers

                Comment


                • Metamatic
                  Metamatic commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Myles, sans mat is fine for the vinyl, as long as you stop the table each time you want to change records. That is the joy of the high torque dd"s that start/stop quickly.

                  On my belt drive, it takes ages to start/stop so I leave it running and use a softer compound mat.

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  My experience is you must keep the platter immaculately clean. Otherwise over time, the LP when used in combination with a center weight and ring clamp gets noisy. You can hear this if you have an LP for example where you only play one side. The other side gets very noisy.

                • Metamatic
                  Metamatic commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ah. The ring clamp and record weight. That makes more sense.
                  When I owned the HRX I used the rung abour half the time, but it was not metal platter back tben.
                  Now no ring or record weights.

              • #9
                Nice synopsis, Mr. Astor. Thank you!
                Sketsoteric Audio: "Analog Sound, Digital Flexibility"
                http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cassetteadventures
                http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cgmasteringservices

                Comment


                • #10
                  Excellent write-up with great photos of the premier.

                  Is it correct VPI has an edition size of 400 40th anniversary 'tables?

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by tima View Post
                    Excellent write-up with great photos of the premier.

                    Is it correct VPI has an edition size of 400 40th anniversary 'tables?
                    Yes there will be a grand total of 400 tables made.
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
                    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
                    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Thanks for sharing, Myles.
                      **************************************************
                      Every day is a good day to play analog.
                      - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
                      - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
                      **************************************************
                      Every day is a good day for live music.
                      **************************************************

                      Comment


                    • #13
                      Great report Myles. Thanks
                      Primary 2 channel stuff: Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.3, Pass Labs X600.5 amps, Aerial SW 12 subs, True Sound Works Ultimate Apogee Divas, Dunlavy SC4s, VPI HRX Reference w Avenger mag drive and Reference footers, Gimbal Fatboy, Yamaha GT2000 for Mono, Miyajima Kansui, Miyajima ZERO, Fidelity Research MC-201 & 202, VPI ADS, Vendetta Research SCP-1, Audio Note UK- 3.1X II balanced DAC, Meridian Sooloos, Western Electric Speaker wire, mostly diy balanced interconnects, Furutech Power Cords

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Very informative with great photos, Thanks Myles. Looking forward to your review of their new arm.
                        Speakers, Wilson Audio Sasha 2's; line stage, ARC Ref 6; phono pre ARC Ref 3; Amplifier, ARC Ref 75 SE; turntable, Dr. Feickert Firebird with a Kuzma 14 inch 4 pt and Transfiguration Proteus; CD player Ayre C 5 xe; tuner, Magnum Dynalab MD109 SE; Dr. Feickert Analogue CBPS; Double Matrix Professional Sonic RCM; Transparent Audio Isolator 8; Transparent Super cables and IC's; and a Atocha Designs Record Cabinet

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Great report Myles. Wonderful photos with descriptions. It's an interesting "house" concept. Is this meant to showcase products in system settings to potential customers, dealers, or both?
                          SME 30/12A, SME V-12, MySonicLab Signature Gold, Air Tight Supreme, Pass Labs XA160.5, XP-22, XP-27, Magico Q3

                          Comment

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