VPI Classic 3 turntable & Classic-JMW tonearm Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn, Cobra, Castellon turntable, tonearm & stand; Kuzma 4Point tonearm; Ortofon A90, Lyra Titan i & Helikon SL, Soundsmith Sussurro cartridges.
Digital Sources: Playback Designs MPS-5 SACD/CD player–DAC, BPT-modified Alesis Masterlink hard-disk recorder, Meridian Sooloos music server, Pure Music software.
Preamplification: Ypsilon VPS-100, Einstein Turntable's Choice phono preamplifiers; Soulution preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: MBL 9011 monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX 3.
Cables: Phono: Hovland/Graham MG2 Music Groove. Interconnect: TARA Labs Zero, Stealth Sakra, ZenSati, Wireworld Platinum balanced. Speaker: TARA Labs Omega Gold. AC: TARA Labs The One Cobalt, Shunyata Research King Cobra Helix CX, MBL.
Accessories: Shunyata Research Triton power conditioner; Oyaide AC wall box & receptacles; ASC Tube Traps, RPG BAD & Abffusor panels; Finite Elemente Pagode, HRS SXR equipment stands; Symposium Rollerblocks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Furutech DeMag & deStat LP treatments; VPI HW-17F, Loricraft PRC4 Deluxe record-cleaning machines.—Michael Fremer

VPI Industries
77 Cliffwood Ave. #3B
Cliffwood, NJ 07721
(732) 583-6895

anonymous's picture

It’s always helpful to give credit where credit is due and since there were no comments on this VPI Classic review, I thought I’d add one…..or two …. or so very brief comments.


Turntable:  Using the same stereo system for all tests my friend and I tried the VPI Classic 3 against a Clearaudio Innovation (XV-1s/1t), Brinkmann Bardo (Lyra Titan), and a couple other turntables and it really held its’ own.  The Classic 3 has great pitch stability and a lively presentation that is rather addictive, making it quite the bargain compared to this stiff competition.

Tonearm:  Using the 10.5i unipivot arm we tried a Soundsmith Zephyr and Dynavector 17D3, each around $1k,  and the 17D3 was the hands down favorite with a greater amount of detail, dynamics, larger soundstage, and wider frequency range.  Moving up to the $5k range with the Benz Micro LP S-MR and Dynavector XV-1s, the Dyna was again the favorite primarily due to the unrestrained dynamics, clear separation around each instrument (wow!), and wonderful musicality.

Options:  In the Classic 1 the stainless steel arm tube and Nordost Valhalla wiring options will bring it up to near Classic 3 status, without the on-the-fly adjustable VTA, and are both highly recommended if looking towards the less expensive Classic 1 vs. the more expensive 2/3/4 models.  With that said, the center weight and outer edge ring are must haves since they really lock down the soundstage – try it, the difference is pretty amazing.  What about the SDS to better control the speed?  Using a strobe the VPI is awfully close to dead-on, so the SDS seems more of a like to have than need to have. 


We were both surprised the Benz LP S-MR didn’t do as well as the Dyna XV-1s given the recent reviews we’ve read (we each bought an XV-1s after listening), but it really highlights the need to listen and trust your own ears.  (At least we can say the Classic/17D3 and Classic/XV-1s sound like great synergistic matches to us.)  I suspect the tonearm/cartridge interaction was the key deciding factor here, but maybe the kind Mr. Fremer can shed some light on tonearm/cartridge matching?