VPI Avenger turntable on the way to me for review with Grado Labs Epoch cartridge. It's here.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Thanks for keeping us company yesterday, Mark. It was crazy but fun. And the tacos are always great..
     
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  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes, I've got it down now, thanks to David's teaching. It's amazing (and truly frustrating) how the sound changes with just a slight move of VTA. It's enough to drive one bats***!
     
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  3. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Hey, I'm experimenting with replacing the VPI weight with a Stillpoints LP1. Imagine that just changing the weight that sits on the center of the record can change the sound so significantly.
     
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  4. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Thanks for this info! Can I ask how Azimuth adjustment is worked into this process? Thanks.
     
  5. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Azimuth is less important to us, sonically, than VTA. It effects mostly channel separation (therefore stereo imaging) and measurable distortion. These are not so critically audible as VTA, but also require very fine adjustment to arrive at an optimum angle for best performance. I usually visually set the cartridge's cantilever perpendicular to the record surface with a mirror. This way, at least the diamond tip is tracking the groove at a perpendicular angle, if not the internal coils and magnets.

    Then at a later date, I may get around to setting azimuth more accurately. I recommend test equipment, not a listening-only method, for azimuth adjustment. A test record with either the Fozgometer or an oscilloscope are the equipment that I have used to visually maximize channel separation.
     
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  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    I like the Stillpoints weight, just not sure what improvement there would be on the VPI weight.
     
  7. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    They sound VERY different on my table. The Stillpoints greatly focuses the images in the soundstage. It makes the entire midrange terribly precise. You can "see" the exact space around voices and instruments - where they stop and end. It's actually quite astonishing as to how precise the images are compared to the VPI weight and no weight at all. On the other hand, there seems to be less bloom and, in comparison, a blanket over the top end. The top end is quite damped, although it's also smoothing it out. In any case, there is quite a sound difference between the two. In the very short time I have had it for evaluation, sometimes I have appreciated the focus, at others, I prefer the top end air and ease of the VPI. Again, I'm not sure if it's illuminating flaws in my turntable setup or it's just not the right fit for my system.
     
  8. black sheriff

    black sheriff Forum Resident

    :laugh: I still have a set of Phil Wood hub on my 24" BMX Cruiser. Polished aluminum though. We used to remove the color with Easy Off oven cleaner.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  9. GeorgeDJungle

    GeorgeDJungle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Aberdeen NJ
    VPI is located about a mile from where I live. That gave me, basically a poor nobody, a plant tour when i emailed them. Really a great bunch of guys and fascinating to see.
     
  10. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    I looked at that pic and thought,"my achin back."
     
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  11. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man

    Location:
    Northern CA
    What do most people do?
     
  12. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Enjoy the Avenger. I have an Avenger with a direct drive motor (sometimes called a Vanquish) and it never fails to amaze me when playing good recordings. I use three different VTA settings (normal, 180 gram and 200 gram thicknesses), and also use a ring and center clamp. My TT has the big air cushioned VPI feet, and I have had no isolation issues.
     
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  13. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    No idea what most people do? I would sit on a stool of some sort if the process took me more than a few minutes.
     
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  14. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    It depends.

    Some turntables/tonearms allow for easy cartridge installation/setup. For example a Technics SL-xxxx II has a removable headshell and a dial to raise/lower the tonearm. Easy.

    A Rega tonearm is one piece (no detachable headshell) and requires shims be placed under the tonearm base to adjust height. A royal pain.
     
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    The adjustments only take a few seconds, that's the beauty of a VPI tonearm that has variable VTA adjustment. Bend over the table, do a little move, sit back down to listen. A snap.
     
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  16. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    DC area
    Probably. And probably full of naysayers quoting Fremer that it doesn’t make any difference to adjust VTA...
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Of course.
     
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  18. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    There has been the set and forget camp that likes the simplicity of Rega tables (and I do love their ability to convey lively rhythm), and then there are those who feel that VTA adjustment is really important. I'm in the latter camp, as I can hear quite distinct differences.
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    I can hear it quite plainly (after being taught what to concentrate on) but on non-adjustable tables, I try various mat thicknesses, some paper thin. Another David Shreve idea.
     
  20. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    When did Fremer say it doesn’t make any difference to adjust VTA?
    That doesn’t make any sense.
     
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  21. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Steve or Warren,

    Great thread! I have the same VTA adjustment on my VPI Prime. Can you give any additional details on how you record the settings from the VTA knob? Its calibrated, of course, but the knob spins fully around and essentially the settings start to become more difficult to keep track of after the knob has made a revolution or two. Can you offer any advice? Also, typically how much do you adjust yours for the usual range of records (i.e two compete turns, three complete turns...)?
     
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  22. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Yes, I have this advice for you. Once you have identified the best sounding position for VTA, using an "average VTA record" according to David Shreve, then all other records will require a VTA setting within one turn of the knob. As long as you stay within that one turn, you will never get confused.

    The "average VTA record" label we all use is Flying Fish. If you want to "set and forget" then this is the record label to use, set it there, and it will be average for all other records.

    I have two turntables with Rega arms, and I set the shim thickness using this record label, then leave VTA there for all other records.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  23. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Great! I am going to try this. Thanks, Warren!
     
  24. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape!

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Steve, this is a fascinating thread as I am considering a new VPI table soon.

    Care to update us on some initial sound impressions of the Avenger and the Epoch cartridge?
     
  25. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    The particular record that we recommend you find on Ebay is Flying Fish HDS 701 (It has no title--just the performers' names). The track is Side 1/Track 2, "Sauerkraut and Solar Energy". You must set the VTA so that the low bass is most defined AND the plucks of the bass strings are most clear (but not hard and agressive), at the same time. When VTA is too High, the plucks are too bright and the bass is too boomy. When VTA is too low, the plucks are soft and the bass is not powerful enough.

    I 100% guarentee that you will hear the difference, and that after hearing it, you will NEVER believe again that VTA doesn't matter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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