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  • VPI Press Conference, Part 2

    VPI Press Conference Part 2

    When the factory tour concluded, everyone drove (or was driven over) to the “VPI House” for some listening. Established several years ago with the intent of having a place to demonstrate gear to visitors and local audio clubs, the VPI House has taken on additional roles such as dealer training. As we all know—especially with modern day cartridges and arms–turntable setup is becoming a lost art. The VPI House is currently home to five listening rooms stuffed to the brim with audio equipment. Each room is carefully put together by the manufacturers that VPI collaborates with and mutually supports. In short, the afternoon was tantamount to a mini-audio show but with far more time for camaraderie. Among the companies represented this Saturday were:

    Alta Audio
    Audioquest
    Eggleston Work
    JBL-Synthesis
    KEF
    McIntosh
    Mod Wright
    Nordost
    Odyssey
    Ortofon
    Rogers Hi Fi
    Shinola
    Transparent Audio
    Wilson Audio
    VAS
    VPI

    One addition guest—in addition to the audio equipment—was awaiting at the VPI House. That surprise figure was in fact none other than Chris Barron, founder and lead singer of the ‘90s group Spin Doctors. Who knew Chris was a budding audiophile? As it turns out, Chris is collaborating with VPI on a limited edition, turntable Kickstarter project with him personally autographing the first ten turntables.

    Much had changed at the VPI House ince my last Holmdel visit over a year ago. On tap were some new electronics such as the Rogers Hi Fi integrated tube and Odyssey solid-state amplifiers as well as some new speakers from Wilson and Alta Audio. Even a professional Sony APR-5003 reel-to-reel tape machine to keep Harry Weisfeld’s Ampex ATR-102 company. And there some old familiar faces greeted me like the KEF Blade 1s, JBL-Synthesis and Mac electronics.

    Kicking off the afternoon listening rounds was a “modest” high-end audio system featuring the Eggleston Works Nika monitor speakers ($3700), Rogers 65V1 25 wpc integrated tube amplifier, Transparent Audio cabling and Shinola turnable. The Shinola draws some of its looks from the now discontinued Classic line sporting an Al top plate and 300 rpm motor.

    Next stop was the system headlined by the Alta Audio Hestia speakers first publicly demoed at the November 2016 NY Audio driven by the top-of-the-line $20K Rogers 34S1 top of the line dual mono integrated amplifiers. Everything down to the integrated amplifier’s power supply here is dual mono. Rogers Hi Fi also supplied their PA phono section with the newest VPI Avenger Reference replete with the latest rim drive ($15K) and VAS Nova cartridge tracing the record grooves. Everything in this system was connected by AudioQuest cabling.

    Then the food arrived and a short social, get to know everyone, break ensued. When that was finished, attendees next went into the room fronted by the JBL-Synthesis speakers, Mac electronics, three (Prime Signature, Prime and Scout) VPI tables and even a pair of reel-to-reel decks (Sony APR-5003 and Revox PR99).

    The fourth room on the tour featured Rogers Hi Fi 112 wpc Hi Fi EHF200 amplifier that is capable of being driven in ultra-linear and triode modes and choice of KT150 or 120 output tubes ($13,900), Mod Wright phonostage, Wilson Audio Sabrina speaker, VPI’s new Scout turntable with upgraded 3D arm, Ortofon Quintet Blue cartridge and even a Crown 800 reel-to-reel deck with DBX. Wiring here was all AudioQuest. It was a little hard to draw any conclusions here as the Sabrinas had recently arrived and less than 20 hours under their belt.

    Last up on the mini-show was the room housing the KEF Blade 1 speakers (that were in place last time). This time the KEFs were being driven by a pair of Klaus Bunge’s Stratos monoblock Odyssey solid-state amplifier and accompanied by VPI’s new Aurora phonostage and simply massive Titan table. A prototype of Harry Weisfeld’s new “Fat Boy” 3D printed tonearm adorned with John Grado’s latest and greatest new $3500 Statement 2 cartridge was mounted on the Titan table. Nordost’s Valhalla cables were used throughout the KEF system.

    This, along with the JBL-Synthesis room, was where much of my time was spent. That was in the case of the former system to hear more of the new Titan table and in the latter system reel-to-reel tape. And the KEF system didn’t fail to impress (nor have the new Blade 2s at the last couple of audio shows either). In fact everything, outside of the KEF Blade speakers in the system, was totally new. Perhaps the biggest sonic change in the system since the last visit was a more relaxed and effortless quality to the music. That was coupled with spot on tonality, imaging and soundstaging. Now I might have expected a midrange centric sound being there was a Grado cartridge being used. But the system seemed far more balanced than would have been expected with good extension at the frequency extremes. Perhaps where the system strayed the furthest from the ultimate was in the retrieval of low level information. Here for instance, guitars just didn’t have that last vestige of information and finesse that one hears lives. The new Grado—that because of the new design doesn’t have the wiggly jigglies of the old cartridgtes—certainly belongs on anyone’s cartridge shopping list in this price range.

    Last but not least, Harry (and his fiancé Stella) and I sat down after most of the guests had left and had an hour or so reel-to-reel tape listening session in the Mac/JBL-Synthesis room. Harry 20 years of so ago now was one of the first people to introduce me to the joys of tape. Besides the sound of tape, Harry used the reel-to-reel machine as benchmark for his turntable designs! Harry’s love for tape then waned for a couple of years during which I time I returned the favor and kept his interest in tape alive (for those who don’t know, Harry acquired Bert Whyte’s tape collection—consisting of many master tapes as well as those safety copies that recording engineers were known to trade with each other back then, many, many years ago). Then a couple of years ago, Harry bit the bullet and purchased from Chad at Acoustic Sounds a professional Ampex ATR 102; then Harry followed up that acquisition with a Sony APR-5003 deck from Jonathan Horwich of International Phonograph, Inc. (serviced by Jonathan’s top notch tech Soren). Now Sony decks are highly regarded but their Achilles heel was the onboard power supply that caused them to overheat. What makes Harry’s Sony deck unusual is that the power supply was moved outboard to overcome this issue with Sony decks.

    I had brought with me to listen a limited edition second generation copy of The Doctor Is In (lovingly transferred by Andre Jennings), Yarlung Records Smoke and Mirrors and International Phonograph’s latest Direct copy release of Dee Alexander’s Magic as well as the first time analog reissue and Direct Copy of Pierre Sprey’s Clifford Jordan Live at Ethels. All four tapes sounded outstanding—especially as the deck warmed up-- through the system. The midrange tonality of Dee’s voice as well as Joe’s custom made guitars was simply awesome. Nor was there any lack of dynamics or shadings on the Smoke and Mirrors tape. The sense of being in the audience listening to Clifford Jordan blow away on his tenor sax was nicely captured. Perhaps in a little bigger room the JBL-Synthesis speakers would breathe even more and the midrange would become a touch more transparent.

    Capping off the day was Mat bringing in one of the last of the original Scout tables off the assembly line in a silver finish for Chris Barron to autograph. Mat intends to keep this table around for the rest of year for others to autograph; at the end the table will be auctioned off with all the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project to support our veterans.

    Everything just turned out perfect this day. Couple a 70 degree winter day, great company and audio discussions, five rooms of gear to listen to and we’re talking the perfect audio storm! Thanks go out to Mat, Harry, Jane, Shirley and everyone else at VPI for putting this enjoyable and interesting audio visit together!




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

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    Sounds like a great time was had by all!
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mat Weisfeld welcoming everyone to the VPI House. A gaggle of Avenger decks (Standard, Plus and Reference) are on display.



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

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        System number one with Eggleston Works, Rogers Hi Fi, Shinola and Transparent Audio.


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

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          System number two fronted by the Alta Audio Hestia speakers! Alta Audio designer Mike Levy is giving low down on the design while Mat Weisfeld lurks in the background!
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          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
          -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            System number three featuring Mac electronics, JBL-Synthesis speakers, VPI tables and the first appearance of reel-to-reel tape machines. (note the outboard power supply next to the Sony deck.)

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

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              The fourth room featuring Wilson Audio Sabrina speakers and Rogers Hi Fi and Mod Wright electronics.
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              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                All out system five showcasing the KEF Blade 1 speakers.
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                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • Analog21
                  Analog21 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have to admit I am intrigued by the Grado cartridge. Looks promising. That's a great write up of the weekend Myles. Thanks for sharing. Love the posts.

              • #9
                The official signing of the Scout turntable that will be sold and the proceeds donated to charity at the end of 2017.


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

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Some final audio porn. The new Tzar cartridge from Russia and distributed by Robyn Wyatt and a one of a kind, non-operation, leather finished VPI Prime table.


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

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                  Comment


                  • Guest's Avatar
                    Guest commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Nice job. You have a knack for this sort of reporting.

                • #11
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
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                  I take it this is the "fat" 3D arm you referred to. is it actually a light weight version? the Grado Ref 2 are moderately-high in compliance (Cu 20).
                  TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

                  "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

                  Comment


                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I will need to ask about that.

                • #12
                  Does anyone have any comments re: Ars Nova cartridge?

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Stringreen View Post
                    Does anyone have any comments re: Ars Nova cartridge?
                    I heard it a while back. (the $3K model.) Very clean, fast and musical. If I didn't know better, might have thought it was an Ortofon.
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                    Comment

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