American Made Audio
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Updated 6/30/2016 with details from VPI press release
VPI Industries knows how to keep its friends happy, or at least its Facebook friends. The company has taken to sharing an inside look at new products online via the social networking site. If Elon Musk can announce major Tesla initiatives on Twitter, why can’t Mat Weisfeld make Facebook his platform? Looks like he already has.
Titan is a whopper. The name seems fitting given the scale of the table – could it be one of the founding gods of creation, as the ancient Greeks might say? The largest satellite of the planet Saturn? Or given its relationship to the VPI Avenger table, another figure from the Marvel universe? Founder Harry Weisfeld has passed along daily operations and “retired” to his workshop, where he’s apparently more productive than ever.
Looking like a stacked Avenger, the Titan is clearly a substantial table, with a 4.85″ thick platter. Rim drive is shown, but Harry Weisfeld has also mentioned magnetic drive. No details on shipment dates or price yet. While the pictures speak for themselves, Harry provided some additional technical details in the VPI forums.
“Yes, magnets are used for driving the slave platter for ultra smooth rotation and also used to lift the weight off the main bearing but only 90% of it. It will still be firmly planted to the PEEK thrust disc but instead of carrying roughly 50 pounds of mass (drive and slave platter plus the shaft) it will be carrying roughly 5 pounds of mass, more than enough to keep the bass as solid as can be.”
“It is two Avenger chassis which actually weigh a reasonable amount compared to the platter, it is a 40 pound solid 6061 aluminum platter, roughly 4.5 inches tall, driven by 8 magnets, and damped like all our platters, and with a rotational inertia so high that one spin lets it rotate over 10 minutes,” said Harry Weisfeld in the VPI Forum. “The whole thing floats on two ring magnets lifting 90% of the weight off of the main thrust plate.”
The dual motor rim drive will be form-fitting against the chassis and will be driven by a special ADS designed for the amount of power needed. The feet have the air suspension of the Direct Drive Avenger.
After the 2016 Munich audio show, VPI saw an opportunity in the overseas market, and a sketch of the table was made on the plane ride home, based on the Avenger Reference Magnetic Drive. Mat brought the initial sketch to Harry and from there he refined and moved the needle on the project.
The Titan may be Harry Weisfeld’s “retirement” project, but the new kids on the block are from Harry’s kid, Mat. The Prime is Mat’s baby and his first complete product after taking the reigns from his father. Based on reported sales, stellar reviews and personal listening, it’s a winner. Now it looks like more siblings are one the way. After Oswaldo Martinez published photos on the Facebook group Phonogram, and Michael Fremer shared pictures of a VPI factory tour on Analog Planet, VPI’s Mat Weisfeld has confirmed that the company will launch new turntables at the upcoming Capital Audiofest.
“We are re-booting the brand and going all out on the Prime Series,” said Weisfeld. “We are keeping the Scout name but giving it Prime features, will leave the Prime unchanged, and then offer the Prime signature as the new contender.”
The VPI Prime Signature
To the left of the Prime is the new VPI Scout, which retains the name of the popular table, but is a clean sheet design (assuming the sheet was laid on top of a photo of the Prime). The new Scout appears to be a leaner, lighter Prime.
This being American Made Audio, we are pleased to see that one of the few parts sourced offshore, the tonearm lift, is now being sourced onshore with a new version that will launch within the next several months.
The VPI entry level has undergone several name and design changes over the past few years, from the Traveler to the Nomad. Capital Audiofest will mark the introduction of the Player by VPI, similar in concept to the Nomad, with a light-tone hard maple plinth and other changes throughout. Highlighting the lean manufacturing processes of their local factory, VPI will be making Players on site at the show.
Originally teased with only a photo of a metal box, what might have been a new SDS will be two entry-level components based on the phono preamp and headphone amp built into the VPI Player. While most companies will offshore their entry-level line, VPI will be assembling the units in their namesake city.