VPI Debuts New $15,000 HW-40 Direct Drive Turntable

October 21st, 2018, Matawan, N.J.—VPI Industries today debuted a brand new $15,000 HW-40 Direct Drive Turntable at an event held at its Matawan, N.J. "VPI House" headquarters to help celebrate the company's 40th anniversary.

The HW-40 Anniversary Table is a refined version of the original far costlier DD turntable. The new one uses the same costly motor as the original but benefits from 2018 motion control circuitry/software and vibration isolation technology as described in the video by VPI's Mike Bettinger.

VPI was able to control costs by buying 400 motors. This will be a limited to 400 unit anniversary model. It comes complete with the new "Fatboy" arm, which, as you'll see in the video is all new and includes "hidden" wiring instead of VPI's usual wire loop/LEMO plug termination. It's a much cleaner look.

Here are some bullet point features:

• Top of chassis, front, and back made from solid machined .7500 thick 6061 aluminum painted textured black and damped internally with an MDF dampening plate. It is very heavy!
• Every part mounted with machined screws into blind tapped holes for a clean and sleek look/design.
• Removable machined aluminum arm-board.
• Beautiful limited-edition gloss wood sides.
• Start, 33, 45 buttons.
• All power supply and controls circuitry internal, no added-on boxes or power supplies.
• Creating not only a solid improvement in musical performance but a visually stunning record playing system reminiscent of the original VPI designs.
• Removable platter for easier shipping.
• Removable hinged Dust Cover.
• Newest version of 12" gimbal 3D printed Fat-Boy arm with triangular to circular resonance canceling design. The robust gimbal bearing used ABEC 9 bearings made in Japan for ultra-low friction.
• Tonearm has an adjustable counterweight on a threaded shaft or fast perfectly accurate VTF setting.
• New Fat-Boy VTA design with a finer adjustment more robust machined aluminum and steel knob.

HW-40 Direct Drive Motor

The HW-40 motor coils are constructed of a solid copper square cross-section wire embedded in a composite structure. This facilitates a high precision high efficiency motor, with high torque, excellent cooling, and near optimal interaction of the electromagnetic conductors within the magnetic rotor circuit. Providing an easy to drive, powerful, quiet next generation direct drive motor.

The unique ironless coil assembly avoids the use of magnetic materials its construction, combining this with overlapping V-shaped coil construction, eliminates the cogging that accompanies traditional Direct Drive motors, resulting in an unprecedented rotational smoothness.

The HW- 40 direct Drive system achieves 93% efficiency and a torque of 2.68 Nm/sec. Accelerating the 25lb platter assembly to full speed and decelerating to a stop in 1 second.

Mechanically the HW-40 motor assembly is milled from a solid billet of 6061 aluminum, and precision mated to the rotor, stator and platter bearing to create an integrated drive system minimizing vibration and noise. The motor assembly uses a 5-point mounting to secure it to the top panel.

Motor Control Feedback and Firmware

Motor speed feedback utilizes a ring encoder providing 2500 pulses/revolution, monitored by cutting edge motion control software and motor drive circuitry. The motor control programing utilizes the same hardware/software used in many state-of-the-art/precision manufacturing tools and inspection systems.

yuckysamson's picture

What an fantastic value proposition they have here.

Given current prices, $15k is relatively affordable and if it outperforms the original classic direct (which if I'm not mistaken, Mikey, was the second player ever to achieve an "A+" ranking in SRCs next to your beloved Caliburn?) then they really have a serious contender on their hands.

The response by MW on the comparison between the other various more expensive models is classy and fair, different strokes for different folks. But it sounds like this table may very well be their best table (for some) and delivered at the most reasonable price they could put it out for.

I must admit most companies would never behave this way.

A great win/win situation hat's off to VPI.

John1001's picture

How is it expected to compare sonically with a similarly priced Avenger rig?

isaacrivera's picture

During the dealer training the day before this video was shot. The sound is the most 3-dimentional, micro detailed and dynamic I have ever heard on any table at any cost including the Avenger Reference and the Titan. Those are more versatile designs that will probably eventually benefit from DD upgrade options. So, if upgradability and tweakablity that closely approximates in sound quality are important, Avenger is better. If a final table that performs beyond your dreams and only needs to be messed with every 2 years to change the cartridge, then this is arguably the best super performant value out there, period.

JoeESP9's picture

If I had the cash I'd have already ordered one.

Anton D's picture

20K with that cool needle.

Winefix's picture

Love to have a Pioneer plx100 or Technics 1200gr tested blind by a reviewer next to this TT with same volume, cartridge, etc.. Would be great to see if they could pick them apart at 20x the price !!!
Now that would be an interesting exercise.
$15k is a ton of coin.

isaacrivera's picture

is closer to $20K...

Fsonicsmith's picture

When you invest top dollar on s Technics SP10 or an Artisan Fidelity Gerrard 301 or the like, you get something that will never-in your lifetime-become outdated. When you spend top dollar on a VPI, chances are pretty darn good it will be eclipsed by some new, better version within an outside window of three years. VPI has no track record with gimbaled arms. The Fatboy gimbaled arm can not compete with $5-7K top arms that are the result of twenty years or more of refinement-arms like Graham's and SME's and many more. I would be a buyer of this deck if it had a drop-in chassis for one's particular choice of plinth and arm. But as a complete deck, it does not make sense to me. VPI's track record is clear-first they made a fortune bringing the 3D arm from this turntable's forebear to the masses in the form of the Prime and now they are playing the same trick with the motor/drivetrain from that same table. The Prime was at least well-balanced all the way around. This deck mates a promising drivetrain with a questionable arm-an arm that will no doubt evolve for the better.

isaacrivera's picture

A company that has been around for 40 years, will be around to maintain it. Truth is there are people running their 20yo VPI TTs and quite happy with how the company has helped them maintain their machines running smoothly. If those tables you are talking about have enjoyed such long lifetimes, has been, in great part, because 3 party manufacturers have pitched in to pick up where their original makers dropped the ball.

Fsonicsmith's picture

which has zero to do with longevity of the company and instead has to do with automotive industry-like model changes to generate demand for upgrades and new sales. I would bet my beloved Thorens TD124 with Reed 3P arm that in three years, that Fatboy arm will be substantially changed. My other point is forgetting about such inevitable changes, VPI has never been a cutting edge designer of tonearms. They have never even been a top tonearm producer. The 3D arm was an over-hyped technological novelty item that has worn-off. While I happen to like and admire Mike Fremer, I feel that I know him much like a family member complete with attributes and quirks. He lavished far too much praise on the 3D arm that came with the Classic Direct and here we are. Gimbal arms are far easier to set up and they produce much stronger and more timbre-accurate bass. VPI is way down on the learning curve when it comes to designing and spec'ing (for third party manufacture) gimbal arms.
Now-in contradictory fashion-after knocking Mike Fremer, I am going to cite to him and his review of the 20K Technics deck featured on the cover of the present issue of Stereophile. He loves the drivetrain but summarizes that the Technics arm is not at the qualitative level of the drive. I believe that this accurately corroborates my point. Top notch analogue playback-like much of audio-involves the truism that everything matters. You can't reach the peaks of vinyl playback with a mediocre drive system, a mediocre arm, a mediocre cartridge, or mediocre tonearm wire. It all matters. If I have to sacrifice one, it would be the cartridge. Give me a state of the art motor/platter/chassis/plinth, a state of the art tonearm, and great internal wiring, and I can get killer unassailable sound from a rather pedestrian cartridge (aligned optimally, naturally).

isaacrivera's picture

VPI Still makes the original HMW tonearm pretty much as it was 25 years ago. And those original ones are still supported. And even the Fatboy are variations on a theme. Now, you are not suggesting that products can't be improved or that products made 30 years ago have the final word on sound? Because those Garrards are getting all kinds of mods that make them better.

Now on the 3D tonearm being a gimmick... it is an opinion based on either: 1) Not having heard it compared to the old one. 2) Being tone deaf. I hope it is the first. I have been able to hear both side by side and have to point out you are mistaken--unless you value sound reproduction qualities most reviewers do not share. Stereophile has it listed as a Class A tonearm and Michael Fremer specifically mentions it with the previous Classic Direct table as the combo approximating the Caliburn Continuum in performance. So clearly your opinion is not very popular.


Fsonicsmith's picture

Stereophile's ratings are nothing more than a function of the author who reviewed the piece to begin with. Citing to the Stereophile rating is so lame! And on top of that, you know nothing about me or my ownership history. That history happens to include being an owner of a VPI Classic from the very first month it came out (I had the squared and not beveled plinth corners) and an early Prime (my Prime had the long main spindle bolt under the plinth and the integrated 3D armlift, which was broken in transport). I also for several years had a VPI 9T arm paired with a restored Thorens TD124 which was no easy feat. And the arm that sounded best of the three? It was the 9T! There is absolutely nothing magical about the plastic/epoxy mix of 3D printing for tonearms. Look at it this way-in this day and age every Tom, Dick, and Harry with some basic knowledge of programming has some 3D printing operation going on in their garage. Don't believe me? I recently bought a cradle for my iPhone so that it mates up with Apple Car Play in my Mk7 VW from just such a small-time operation. My point being that not a single high-profile turntable producer has turned to 3D printing of tonearms. It is a gimmick. Nothing more, nothing less. Arguing that 3D printed arms are inherently superior is laughable on it's face. I am dumb. Dumb for even taking the time to respond to you.

isaacrivera's picture

You have not heard this table. I also know you read the top analog reviewer of Stereophile. And I also know you are changing your argument around when flaws in your logic are pointed out. You prefer other brands. Got it. You have no idea if they sound better than this table as you have not been able to compare side by side. Your arguments on shelf life are silly and demonstrably wrong.

Fsonicsmith's picture

for a relatively straighforward and diplomatic response rather than resorting to more name-calling. Let me do the same. Of course I have not heard this new deck. I bet it sound awfully good. I like and admire both Harry and Mat. I am biased. In my personal evolution of turntable ownership, I have arrived at mating modified vintage turntables with modern era medium mass tonearms. Unipivot arms are crude and simple. All of the myriad problems associated with multiple plane nearly friction-less range of motion can be easily solved with a simple unipivot, but at a price. Designing a gimbal arm that does everything that can possibly be asked of it takes years and years of experimentation and refinement. So let's (please) leave it at that and let time tell which one of us is more in line with reality.

Lazer's picture

Is very informative to me. I consider my obsession with this hobby a little late and I enjoy learning from different points of view. I just wish these differences of opinion didn’t devolve into “I’m dumb for taking the time to respond to you.” I enjoyed your post prior to that last comment. This isn’t WW3. Why cant we keep things civil?

Garybegd's picture

I know its been 2 years since this assault on the 3D arm was first written, but it looks like Continuum has also seen the value in 3D printing an arm. They use it on their new Viper tonearm, which costs over $14,000. So your assertion that " not a single high-profile turntable producer has turned to 3D printing of tonearms" is no longer accurate. Ken Kessler at Hi-Fi News gives it his highest praise, calling into question your statement " It is a gimmick. Nothing more, nothing less."


phoenixengr's picture

if the company produces the components used in the mfr of the table. All of the metal work for VPI is done by MDI, a machine shop in New Jersey. It appears that VPI only assembles the various parts into a table; not a bad business plan (it keeps down fixed overhead), but what happens when that supplier goes away or the relationship sours as it did with WM mfring (who used to build VPI's tables)?

The 40th Anv DD is a different animal. The motor is made by Thingap and they are the sole source for it. It appears they are using an off-the shelf industrial controller, most likely the MC73110 (or one of its derivatives) from PMD in MA. This is also a proprietary device and prone to rapid obsolescence in an industry that changes much faster than the audio industry. The software would also belong to PMD and subject to the same issues. The motor controller is most likely the $495 development board PMD sells to demonstrate their chips; what happens when they discontinue the dev kit?

While you chastise FSonicsmith for not knowing what the new table sounds like, you are equally in the dark about how it is built and how it functions (not surprising given that VPI discloses very little technical info, which I suspect is to prevent embarrassment). Until you know such details, I'd be careful about sounding the marketing trumpets as DDenthusiast as alluded to.

As to why it doesn't have pitch control, that would require some basic programming capability, and as far as I can tell, no one at VPI possesses even rudimentary ability in that department.

DDenthusiast's picture

I echo all of your sentiments, Bill and appreciate you for articulating it so well.

isaacrivera's picture

I know they get parts from different suppliers. They offer full disclosure about these things in their dealer briefings. In fact, all manufacturers buy such parts. So as far as I can tell, the playing field is even here. However, I am pretty sure it is inaccurate to say these are OTF parts. Most are actually manufactured to VPI specs. Again, don't take my word for it. Since you brought up the metal work, a case in point is the VPI Platter. It is in fact, like you state, manufactured for VPI by a 3rd party metal worker. You will not find the same platter anywhere else. It is made for VPI to their design and specs. Furthermore, manufacturers of this part have changed in the last decade and VPI customers did not even notice because VPI buys in quantity and could find a different maker that could deliver the same specs. There are no secrets here. VPI is quite candid about these things and you can read Mat's stories on such accounts all over the industry forums. That is how we all know, for instance, that the 3D tonearms are printed by a military contractor facility in Pennsylvania. But again, if this meant, like you imply, that such things do not have long useful lives and can't be supported, then you keep missing the fact that VPI is turning 40 and that products released 25, 30 years ago are being used by thousands and still supported today--many produced uninterruptedly during 3 decades even though some parts were designed in-house and built by a supplier.

And regarding the pitch control, VPI has several field tested engineers in-house. Mat himself was a computer science high-school teacher, who has introduced 3-d modeling to the design process of VPI so I am sure there is "basic programming capability" at VPI. I would know, I am a software engineer and I have had many conversations with the team on such subjects. Mr. Bettinger, electronic engineer at VPI definitely gets down to the bit level with hardware and software and is responsible on this product with the fine tuning of the motor controlling software.

In fact, more and more, engineering, specially in software, is delegating parts to existing and well-maintained third party solutions to those problems. Why wouldn't you when those dedicated teams are much better at it that you could be in your current scale? Again, your implication of quality does not stand.

Finally, please, point out the marketing pitch? I have been answering questions that people had because I am in a position to do so. When I stated that it is the most detailed and 3d sound I have ever heard, I did so, because it is. Is that better or worse than X or Y? You can make up your own mind when you get a chance to listen to it. I doubt anybody out there shells out $15K without listening first.

phoenixengr's picture

Regarding the machine shops, no qualms there (in fact I made the same point regarding Wm mfg and MDI, didn't I?). You completely missed my point about the single sources for motor and controller. What happens if that link in the supply chain breaks? You could go to another motor and/or controller, but now you're talking about a complete redesign.

Does VPI still support the PLC? No, they tell everyone that parts are no longer available, even though all of the circuit components are standard TTL products that are still made. What about the SDS? From what I can tell, they replace defective units with (IMHO) the inferior ADS without giving the user a choice of repair or replacement.

Really, Mat knows how to use a computer so that makes him a programmer? Ridiculous. Tuning the motor operation using PMD's GUI for their eval board amounts to clicking on combo boxes and radio buttons and filling in blanks for PI coefficients. Is that the type of "programming" that you do?

No where did I say that the 40th AV DD was not a quality build or that it does not perform well. I'm quite familiar with the PMD chips and they are remarkable devices; my point was they are proprietary ASICs and you cannot easily replace them if they go unobtainium.

As long as we are on the subject, the PMD controllers (and all others like them) are designed primarily for industrial control applications. As I pointed out, they do some remarkable things in the DSP core and in the resources provided, but IMO, this is not the best way to control this motor. I looked at the PMD chip in 2014 and came to the realization that for a turntable motor application (high stability, fine speed resolution and low noise), there is a much better method of control without using a rotary encoder for feedback.

The encoder they are using is 2560 PPR; according to Michael Bettinger, the speed count for 33.3 is 1423. That implies a sampling rate of once per second. It also means the frequency resolution is ~0.023 Hz at 33.3. This is remarkably similar to the way the Eagle PSU and RR tach functioned, except that the Eagle's frequency resolution is 41x finer (0.00055Hz) and the sampling resolution for the RR tach is 21x higher (30K/sec instead of 1423/sec). For the most part, they are doing almost exactly what I was doing, but not as well. I'm glad to see they no longer believe this control algorithm smears the music and that they have adopted it as their own (imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery).

I'm also glad they gave up the red herring of "digital noise" polluting an analog playback system. All the industrial motor controllers use PWM (Class D, ie large squarewaves) as well as DSP and microprocessors with lots of clock noise and RFI, which as they found out, is easy to ameliorate when done correctly.

As far as marketing, since you profit monetarily from selling VPI products, it is not only bad taste to promote them here, it's also unethical. Did that really need to be explained to you?

isaacrivera's picture

1) No, VPI does not support EVERY product in their catalog history. Did I say that? Neither does Technics, Shure, or Garrard--now SME, nor any company that has a long history. And many of these products stay alive because their popularity makes possible 3rd party industries. Does Phoenix Engineering continue to support the Falcon or Eagle PSU?

2) Again, I am a software engineer with 20 years of experience in a good dozen programming languages including Java, C, Obj-C, Python, Swift, PHP, Javascript, ActionScript, Ruby and a few others. You stated, and dare I say, it came across a statement intended as derision, pitch control inclusion "would require some basic programming capability, and as far as I can tell, no one at VPI possesses even rudimentary ability in that department." Mentioning Mat's computer chops--and again he taught web programming in high school, was simply intended at showing your exaggeration was clearly wrong. I guess you did not read the rest of the paragraph. Let me summarize: You are wrong, there are programming skills at VPI. Even if there weren't, they could hire them or subcontract if they cared to acquire the skill.

3) I am pretty sure Mr. Bettinger mentioned in his presentation on Saturday the speed sampling is in the order of multiple times per revolution--I want to quote 24 times... I did not discuss further. I would check your assumptions.

4) In your history of commenting here, you posted favorably about your products, ethics did not seem so black and white then did it? I have been answering questions, not promoting. I have not implied they are better than others, just shared my first hand experience. You on the other hand, do not seem all that concerned about pointing out your products are better! No conflict there! Again, point out where I bridged ethics...

5) I post everything with my real name attached. It is a small world and people know me.I have stated I am a dealer several times on this blog, not every time. But I do not think you blew my cover, or any big secret for that matter.

6) And finally, I think relative quality of products vs. others can only be known by comparison. Which is I challenge posts that make superiority comparisons when both systems have not been tried. Not just on this post and not only VPI products. All the part numbers and specs in the world won't tell you if it sounds better or worse than anything else until you can listen to it. That is all I have been saying. An engineer should know that.

phoenixengr's picture

1. You implied that VPI did. I was merely pointing out that they have obsoleted products when the circuit is simple and parts are still available. It's not a long stretch to believe it could happen with a complex design using proprietary single source parts.

And yes, I do support the products I have sold. I've done a number of repairs under warranty (no charge), even though the products have been discontinued for almost 2 years (1 year warranty) and some of the units were more than 4 years old. Next.

2. So you don't really know if anyone at VPI has the ability to program this chip or an embedded controller application that would be needed to make it frequency agile. I don't know for certain if anyone at VPI could rise to the occasion or not; I merely stated that I saw no evidence of that capability. When someone asked Mat about the software on their forum, he had to defer to Mike. I've had more than a few discussions with Mike and while he appears to be a competent analog designer, I never saw anything that would lead me to believe he does digital design or embedded programming. According to Mat, Harry is a ex-sheet metal guy.

3. That would conflict with what he said at 21:45 in the video. Maybe he could join the conversation and enlighten us both.

4. I was a one man shop; who else was capable of responding? I did limit my responses to direct questions, while you on the other hand, you are making arguments you shouldn't be making and IMO, are promoting the VPI product. Obviously, I'm not the only one that thinks this.

I no longer sell a competing product, so how does it monetarily benefit me to point out my observations regarding their claims or to make comparisons? As someone who is intimately familiar with the technology, who better to ask the questions?

5. Nobody "blew your cover". We're merely pointing out we don't think your comments are appropriate. If someone would have said that in regards to my comments when I was selling product, I would've responded accordingly.

6. And as an engineer you should know that when specious claims are made about quantifiable parameters it is appropriate to question them to find the truth and measurements are indeed relevant. Hiding behind "who cares as long as it sounds good" is a cop-out, as is "it's secret sauce so we can't tell you".

MikeBettinger's picture

I normally don't respond, but Bill sits on the outside looking in and postulates on all things as long as its negative towards VPI. Just saying. The PLC is an ancient design that was good in its day, the SDS as well. Mat is not an engineer. I am an analog engineer because I love analog design and its possibilities, but can, obviously, function in the digital world when it suits my goals. In this case the music. The direct drive reissue was presented as a challenge by Mat and Harry and I took it on. I'm thrilled with what I have brought to the table and whether or not it is a step forward will be judged by those who listen and those who listen to the actual table. I'm confident it will fare well. Good night.

phoenixengr's picture

The PLC is an older design, but it was never a good one. If you think an automotive inverter with ringing squarewaves is suitable for turntable use, maybe I overestimated your capabilities. The point was, VPI no longer provides service for those units, even though it easily could (apparently the same with the SDS).

I'm sorry that you feel I have an axe to grind. I have yet to see anyone prove me wrong on my assertions, yet I remain willing to listen if you can. You (and others at VPI) have made statements about products in the past that border on absurd: Harry's insistence that the vacuum motors in your RCMs can lift Hg 100+ inches, a 5" 12lb flywheel has 63x the inertia of a 12" 20lb platter, the ADS can respond in real time to changes in torque caused by groove modulation...and many others.

The first 2 examples are just plain ludicrous and disproving them is barely an academic exercise. The last claim defies accepted physics and Ohms law, but you have yet to substantiate why you think it is true. Maybe if you could explain how you come up with these assertions (rather than say "it doesn't matter, just listen to the music") it wouldn't seem like I've an axe to grind.

You misinterpret my intent towards the new DD table. I have no doubts that it will be well reviewed and its performance will be what is expected from a $15K table. VPI wouldn't be in business very long if it didn't. However, you make some rather interesting claims in the video that more than raise an eyebrow.

The spec sheet on the ThinGap motor is readily available as are data sheets on all of the industrial controllers; it's a rather simple matter to verify or refute the claims VPI makes. Wouldn't it be easier to just stick with reality and avoid the messy business of having to explain yourselves? For someone who doesn't put much faith in numbers or measurements, you sure find a way to snare yourself when you do venture there.

MikeBettinger's picture

Bill, I do feel you have an axe to grind.
First I was generous in my mention of the PLC. The SDS is a technically great design, which VPI fully supports, in most cases for the cost of shipping. The ADS sounds better.
You mis-quote me in that the I don't say or imply the ADS can correct in real time to stylus drag, I say it's a class AB amp that can source or sink current from the motor as required by the demands of the stylus in the groove. It does.

Where you and I differ is, when I try to describe what I hear and what I believe is happening, I try to put it conceptually in plain English. To me It's not worth speaking if my words mean nothing to the person trying to understand. Conceptually I stand behind my descriptions because I tuned the software parameters to the motor and then, working with the range of functionality the software provides, proceeded in dialing in the smoothest, quietest performance of the motor. To monitor this process I used an un-modulated disc to monitor the results while adjusting the velocity and filtering parameters for essentially dead quiet operation while freewheeling or under load. The process and the results were interesting to me. Reflecting real world conditions. The results of my efforts are for others to judge.

That's as technical as I care to get in discussion with you, other than to point out that technically I did create a Direct Drive Motor; from the motor up and fully implement it into a beautiful table to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This implies at least a passing understanding of the many issues you are highlighting.

The selling price you mention reflects what it costs to produce the table and a reasonable profit. Not where to expect its performance to be. I have experience with and access to many top tables, even though I'm biased, this table will hold its own in this company. I, like all serious audiophiles, use my ears to judge and guide the results of my efforts, even if I appear to take the wrong path to get there. Regards, Mike

phoenixengr's picture

"You mis-quote me in that the I don't say or imply the ADS can correct in real time to stylus drag, I say it's a class AB amp that can source or sink current from the motor as required by the demands of the stylus in the groove. It does."

In my estimation you did precisely imply that in your earlier statements on the VPI forum; if I mistook your earlier explanation, I apologize. What you say above about the ADSs ability to supply current as the motor requires is correct and conforms to Ohms law, but so does every other power supply, so why would this ability account for the perceived improvement over the SDS (or any other power supply)? Thanks for clarifying, it was the reason I thought you were making specious implications.

"It's not worth speaking if my words mean nothing to the person trying to understand."

I get that, and it makes sense to speak in non-technical terms to someone who is non-technical. What doesn't make sense to me, is for someone to make a technical statement, and when the statement is challenged or at least questioned by someone technical, to not respond in an appropriate technical way. If you are going to use numbers and measurements in your marketing materials, you should be prepared to defend them, technically, if challenged. An example might help: In the video and on VPI's website, you state the torque of the ThinGap motor is 2.68Nm. According to TG's data sheet, the motor has an absolute maximum of 2.68Nm, but only for 1 second. The motor is actually rated at .74Nm (at 11A), but you state at start up, the motor draws 7A; according to their spec sheet, that would suggest a torque of ~0.475Nm and roughly 15W of power. To produce 2.68Nm, even for a second would require 39A at more than 12VRMS and a power supply of roughly 500W. Would you care to clarify that specification?

Re: the $15k price tag; not sure why you would take exception to that. I thought I was being complimentary. For the record, I'm sure the table will sound wonderful. I agree that the control mechanism you used for the motor is indeed an elegant solution, how could I not as it is very similar to the way my PSUs functioned for belt drive tables (a method, that up until now, was mostly disparaged by HW, but not originally in 2013). That being said, technology continues its relentless progression and I believe there are ways of controlling these types of motors that are not only simpler, but provide even better performance.

MikeBettinger's picture

Hi again Phoenix Bill, You are quite a bit off base on the motor control technology in the new HW40 Direct Drive table. It is not PMD based and the software is not either. I will agree that VPI discloses very little about its technology but it is not about embarrassment. I think that those who review and assess its sonic abilities after hearing it (what a concept) will have the final say.

phoenixengr's picture

Hello again Michael and thanks for responding.

Am I off base? I don't think so, especially about the sample rate and resolution, the numbers you provided would clearly indicate otherwise. Even if you're not using PMD, all of the controllers use essentially the same techniques for velocity feedback with an encoder.

How about if you prove it instead of just dismissing it or hiding behind the old "listen to it instead of explaining your claims" tome? Please show me where I'm wrong. You can certainly do that without revealing any company secrets.

SeagoatLeo's picture

I bought a VPI TNT VI w/extra heavy platter and SDS controller. Together with my modified SME IV arm, that's about $12K. The only question is the quality of the arm versus the current SME IV or V. I prefer gimballed arms to unipivots based on my experiences with both. If it beats my deck and arm, I could be one of those lucky 400.

Martin's picture

1. Does it have a pitch control? Ie., can you change the speed. Useful if you want to play Beggars Banquet or Kind of Blue at the right speed. Or Blood on the Tracks....

isaacrivera's picture

It does not have pitch control. It comes with 0.003% stable preset speeds for 33.33 and 45.0 RPMs, but no way of correcting for such LPs as you mention.

Martin's picture

To compete with the likes of SME and others.
Like the Technics. The Technics is still - form me - leading in the direct drive space.

isaacrivera's picture

Without having heard the competition you claim it is better than? The new Technics DD is more expensive and has an inferior tonearm. Listening to both should settle the score, regardless of what either of us thinks.

Martin's picture

I would use a different tonearm on the technics. A better one. Just as I would not use the VPI tonearm on this one. A better one.

isaacrivera's picture

You do not know which table sounds better as you have not heard the VPI. Have you at least heard the Technics? Personal preference is fine, but does not make either better than the other. Neither does it tell you which of the two tables sounds better out of the box.

DDenthusiast's picture

It should be noted that Isaac here is from Living Acoustics, A VPI dealer who will be selling this table... I think its a bit odd and inappropriate that a dealer would be shilling this emphatically for a product in this space.

isaacrivera's picture

Which puts me in the unique position to actually having first had experience of this and every other VPI product. This is how come I could answer your questions. Going back over your thread, all I can read is me answering your questions and challenging your uniformed comparison, because you have not actually heard this product. I am very enthusiastic about VPI products, which is why I am a dealer. I have on comments here and there on this blog mentioned as much when it seemed necessary, but I do not feel this particular thread has much to do with my dealer interests.

DDenthusiast's picture

My last comment was my first. I read the article and then decided to read the discussion. My first impression was that you must have some vested interested in VPI products.

isaacrivera's picture

Where my opinion or reporting is conflicted?

SeagoatLeo's picture

This is a new style DD turntable with a low speed A/C motor per Mat. Maybe the DD design requires it to maintain only set speeds. Maybe it was a cost issue. I know I need the SDS for my TNT VI because I play not only off-speed LPs (luckily few) but I use it for my dedicated VPI 19-4 for 78 rpm records whereby the acoustical era used a myriad of non-standard speeds. So, I surmise that this new DD table was meant to be simple to operate and cost effective (profitable).

sonofjim's picture

I actually applaud VPI for taking on another direct drive design bent on state of the art status. As the owner of two Technics SP10 mkllls in custom plinths I recognize the strengths of a well implemented DD design. It is more difficult to design well though. They could have just done another belt drive-MDF design with a unipivot arm much more easily. I’m sure it’s a beautiful great sounding table. An option for multiple tonearms would be nice/essential IMO.

Having said all that, if I were in the market I think that amount of money would be better spent on rebuilding and setting up a vintage DD in an after market plinth or the new Technics DD offerings. I think it’s a much safer bet to go with a company with decades of experience building quartz locked DD tables. The new Technics models look to be very well built and are based on a time proven architecture.

Mat Weisfeld's picture

I would like to thank Michael Fremer for taking the time to come out to our launch event to see (and hear) our 40th Anniversary turntable. Our main goal is to always push ourselves and improve upon our manufacturing capability and engineering. We work with 4 different local machine shops all who are family owned and have been with the VPI team for years.

I'm very excited we were able to take what we learned in the development in the Classic Direct and with the help of our Electrical Engineer Mike Bettinger push it to the next level. Other companies will come and go and there will always be products of greater or lesser worth. What is important is we are here, we will continue to be here, and we won't go anywhere if and when things get tough.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and feedback and all are welcome to come over to the VPI Listening House to here the HW-40 Anniversary Edition and listen to some music with us.

phoenixengr's picture

and a well tempered post. You certainly have mastered the art of virtue signalling. Kudos.

In the video, you made an interesting comment: "Who are we to tell you what to listen to...". That is an excellent position to take and my advice to you would be to employ it more often. I certainly don't need you to tell me what matters to me or what is important. What matters to me is that mfrs be honest in the claims they make about their products. Those claims should not only be true, but not misleading. I know that hyped up specs will probably sell more boxes, but that is not what matters to me.

In my experience, VPI has made specious claims about their products in the past and in my book, has demonstrated a more than ample supply of moral flexibility regarding specifications. If it seems that I have an axe to grind, it is because you keep sticking your neck out. If you want me to stop questioning suspect claims, the easiest way to accomplish that is to stop making specious claims.

BTW, congratulations on VPI's 40th (quite an accomplishment) and on the new table. I'm sure you will sell lots of them.

Fsonicsmith's picture

says that "you don't sell the steak, you sell the sizzle". It is my opinion that no other current manufacturer of turntables sells more sizzle-rather than steak-than VPI. They flaunt the illusion of technological advancement when there is none. The SDS and ADS, different motors and motor drives, and the 3D arm that I've been harping on. I previously stated that I am sure this deck sounds good but lots of decks sound good. The illusion here-I suspect-is that it reaches very close to reference quality at a fraction of the price of reference decks. I have no intent on saying another word in this thread because I am self-conscious that I am coming across as having an axe to grind too. I don't. I no longer own a VPI, I never will again, and I have no reason to feel bitter about my experience as a VPI owner. If I had any reason to believe that VPI was a struggling business, I would not have been as vocal as I have been. But as they say, the bigger they are, the bigger the target they become.

Fsonicsmith's picture

the history of conflict between himself and VPI speaks volumes. When PE was in business, HW did his best to attack Bill and his product. Now that PE is out of business, VPI adopts much of his own engineering philosophy. What does that tell us? I think the answer is obvious. Who can blame Bill for pointing out the absurdity?
To my point about the ultimate quality of the Fatboy gimbal arm and it's longevity as a product design, time will tell. To me, the tonearm shape is a rather crude rip-off of the SME V. Hopefully Mike Fremer will give a frank, tempered ( i.e. without the interference of spurious enthusiasm) assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the arm as mated to the rest of this deck. I look forward to the day when a well respected audio engineer investigates the properties of 3D printed plastic arms compared to other arm construction materials. I predict we will learn that there is no inherent advantage over other materials and that as with all things audio, it is not arm material, but overall design of the complete arm and its interaction with the rest of the turntable that matters. I owned two VPI 3D arms and heard a difference over the alloyed metal JMW 10.5 that came with my previous VPI Classic but it was not a game changer and was more of a difference than an improvement. I again state (more than ask); if it is not a gimmick than why has no other major manufacturer gone to 3D printing?

tzh21y's picture

I am not even going to talk SP10. I would like to find out how a 1200GAE, G or GR would compare. I bet pretty darn close. there is an over 10 grand difference.

robyatt's picture

I had the SP10R/OMA table at the NY show, I heard the VPI 40th at VPI house last weekend same Miyajima Madake Destiny mounted on both tables. I BOUGHT THE VPI!!!! It's stunning!