VPI's $3500 "Next Gen" Prime Turntable Debuts at New York Audio Show 2014

VPI debuted the new $3500 Prime turntable at The New York Audio Show 2014. Created by 29 year old Mat Weisfeld, son of VPI founder Harry Weisfeld, the Prime is a literal "next gen" design.

Mat said he sought to find a way of including a 3D "printed" tone arm in an under $4000 turntable and he's accomplished that by using a thick, MDF plinth. Otherwise the 'table features a massive aluminum alloy platter and robust bearing system found on more expensive VPIs. He's also chosen to put outboard the motor, encased in a heavy aluminum chassis.

If it sounds as good as it looks, this massive turntable fitted with a 3D "printed" tonearm should shake up the popular $4000 and under price point.

Fsonicsmith's picture

While there is a thread about this table on another Board, I am still quite surprised that no one has said a thing about this table here. I will. I commend Matthew on pricing this at $3,500 and most likely cutting off his own sales of the Classic 2 and 3 to a very large degree. I would love to know if anyone can objectively state whether the outboard motor approach is more effective or less effective overall (all considerations taken together) than the fixed, high mass approach of the Classic. I am going to guess that this approach betters that of the fixed motor/platter plinth of even the Classic 3.

Danzspkrman's picture

I love your thoughts on this one. I just took delivery on a VPI Classic 1 in trade for speakers and another table, because I couldn't afford the Classic 3. By the time I bought interconnects, a dust cover and decent cart, 3d arm, I was at almost 9 grand!. Nothing but questions in my mind now. Don't get me wrong, I pretty much stole the Classic 1, and it performs at far better than my humble budget would suggest. My thoughts on this work of art......Holy MOLY....all of the goodness, DONE in a big way for UNDER 5 large, with a midrange cart, cover and connections. I agree, with the Classic sales, going to definitely change the field here. My take for what it is worth, Imagine all of the goodness of the scoutmaster, larger footprint with better isolation because of the new feet, about 90% of the resolution of the classic 3 because of different motor/plinth design for less than half the $$. If I didn't already snag the Classic 1 on trade....I would have been ALL over this thing in a BIG way. As you probably already know, the motor isolation school of thought comes as a tradeoff. My thoughts would be that the lighter(not by much) plinth coupled with the much more advanced feet make this a much better choice if your garden variety audio rack can't deal with a 50+lb turntable system. Classic gets it done like you said with BIG mass and forced control of resonance by building everything with one piece. This beast gets it done by using motor isolation and a lighter plinth, and lowering noise floor. The lighter system IMO probably does not allow quite the bass extension as the big massive Classic rig, but still will go lower than most rooms, systems will allow. You won't even get into the sub terrain bass of the Classic till your system and room bandwidth get below 40HZ. That requires by many standards a MUCH larger room than most people (including me) have. 3d arm too?....Holy S...T, yea, he DEFINATELY outdid himself this time. This thing IMO should go for at LEAST 5 large, and even more if you adorn this bad boy with an SDS too. Another VERY compelling option. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think about it. The ultimate for me would be changing out my 600HZ motor for 300HZ one, change feet for this type(assuming the additional weight of the classic platform would still work with the feet) and the 3d arm wand change out. Those items separately would be probably 4-5K though. May as well buy this thing. LOL. All and all a VERY compelling system choice that STILL will resolve at world class levels in all but mansion sized rooms. It still will definitely hold its own against its not much larger siblings and is now IMO going to create the new 'very sweet spot' of value in the VPI lineup. Do NOT be surprised if you start seeing people trading in even some of the older original classic 1/aries III rigs with standard arms against this one. In that regard I would expect the standard arm price to fall too as the 3d....wait for it.....comes standard on the Classic 3 when the inventory of already very good signature arms is eventually sold and the economy of scale continue to improve on the 3d arm. Outstanding! Great for people like me who have always wanted (and finally got) a Classic or older scout with in reach on the used market. They are still IMO crazy good for the $$. To do better you would have to spend 15 large on an AMG, SME, Basis, or 10K on VPI's own properly adorned Classic 3 with ring clamp and ALL of the 3d fixings.....FUN STUFF!

Mat Weisfeld's picture

Thanks for Mike for the write up on my first solo design! We are excited to start getting these babies out there! Dan I'm glad you're liking this new sweet spot we are shooting for :)

Fsonicsmith's picture

Could you please provide some more information about the plinth trade-offs I alluded to in my post above. I don't expect you to rank your own tables in terms of one attribute vs. another, but just some general information would be most appreciated such as; how is this plinth constructed and how much does it weigh (minus the platter) in comparison to the Classic 1? What prompted you to place the Prime in the Scout line rather than simply letting it be on it's own or put alternatively-how is the Prime similar to any other Scout?

DrewK's picture

Matt Weisfield is a super nice guy, by the way. It's a pleasure to own a product made by his company (I have a Scout).

This is the first table to evolve out of Matt's new leadership of the company.

In a nutchell, he said that he likes the separate motor designs because they isolate motor noise better than is possible in the Classic series (with the motor in the plinth). He said that even with the massive plinth of the Classic series, you can't fully remove the motor noise. The separate motor allows are total isolation.

He summed the difference between the Classic line and their other tables as the Classics being great all-in-one, convenient to set up, and aestically-pleasing solutions. The other tables such as this new Prime provide sonic rewards for their more industrial looks and additional effort in setting them up. It sounds ike he really loves this new table, and is excited to offer it at this price point.

The Prime includes the large Scoutmaster platter, the 300 rpm motor, and of course, the 10" 3D printed armwand. I think the feet are also a new design.

It will be my next table!

DrewK's picture

I think I made a misstatement on the platter - it apparently is a Classic platter on the Prime.

Fsonicsmith's picture

but I would still rather hear it from Matt. Perhaps you can remind me; is the "large Scoutmaster platter" of the same weight/mass as the standard Classic platter? What are the benefits of the 300 rpm motor, if any, over the 600? The Classic was my first foray into a modern table. When I bought it, I saw all this negative backlash by existing VPI owners who were upset that the release of the Classic devalued their Scouts, etc. At the time, I thought the negativity was silly. I still think it is silly to criticize VPI for seeking innovation and improvement, but I DO understand the criticism of the ever changing product line-ups. There is one thing for certain when you buy a VPI; six months later you will wish you had waited.

KB2's picture

Any idea if the Periphery Ring Clamp and the classic 3's record weight will work on the Prime's platter?

DrewK's picture

I received an email yesterday from an online retailer (won't mention names, but they are "VPI Certified") that is running a trade in promotion towards a new VPI Prime. I called just for kicks, and even though I had this upgrade loosely planned for 2016, the offer on my VPI Scout was so generous that I had to do it now. They're even going to swap my cartridge for me as part of the deal.

watchnerd's picture

First of all, kudos to Matt for making such a gorgeous looking table at the price point.

It's seriously bad-ass looking and I'm sure it will sell well on looks alone.

Compared to the Scoutmaster 2, it has the following trade offs:

Outboard Motor:

Both have it, although the one on the Prime looks cooler. Is one better than the other in some non-obvious way?


As far as I can tell, the Scoutmaster 2 and the Prime both use the same Classic platter.


The Scoutmaster 2 would seem to have the beefier, heavier plinth.


The Prime gets the 10" 3D arm, while the Scoutmaster 2 gets the JMW 9 arm.


Would the best of both worlds be the Scoutmaster 2 + 3D arm?

Danzspkrman's picture

I took all month to decide to pull the trigger on this one. Even though I still love the Classic 1. We took the plunge in a BIG way with a Soundsmith Aida to boot. Even though my table is hard to beat at any price, It is going to be worth the wait. We hope to take delivery by February.

DrewK's picture

I'm really impressed with this new table so far. I have an Ortofon Cadenza black on the 3D arm, and I'm running Phoenix Engineering's new Eagle PSU with the Roadrunner tach. It's an all-around huge improvement from my old Scout.

Mike, I'm looping you do a review soon! Looking forward to your opinions.

Danzspkrman's picture

Took delivery on a VPI Prime with Eagle power supply. With the Soundsmith AIDA this thing is awesome. Well worth the wait. With the same precision and craftmanship as the finest watches or sports cars this thing is beautiful to look at too. It is no wonder Mikey loved the sound of the Soundsmith so much too. It is so smooth and detialed without ANY etching(how did they do that???). To beat it IMHO you would need a Lyra Etna, and a AMG, or something else at triple the coin. It would not suprise me if this thing did not win 'product of the yeat' for 2015. In spite of the snow and logistics issues for the people at VPI early in the year, they still maintained stellar quality control. This would be an outstanding achievement by ANY standard. These challanges would have destroyed lesser companies. For what it is worth to me, I think that this table should be on your short list even if you have 10k to spend just on the table only, and YES, if you have 4k for a cartridge it will work just fine on this table too. It would still be a bargian at $4500. A Ortofon 2M is a damn fine choice too for the table for a much less lavish, but still VERY nice set up and still keeping a budget. I obviously did not. Truely a table one could choose and grow into without reservation.