For over 30 years, New Jersey’s VPI Industries has been making some of the world’s finest belt-drive turntables. With its new Classic Direct-Drive Turntable, the company takes a different design approach. Introduced in the late 1960s, direct-drive turntables use a motor placed directly beneath the record platter and attached to it. (The motor of a belt-drive table, by contrast, is offset from the platter and spins it using a connected belt or band.) Direct-drive tables typically offer superior stability and retrieval of musical details, but they can also suffer from vibration due to the motor’s direct contact with the platter.
VPI solves this by using a 0.5-inch-thick machined-aluminum plate and 2 inches of medium-density fiberboard to form the plinth separating the motor from the platter, which weighs 18 pounds and is made of solid-billet aluminum. Other features—including an extremely rigid thermoplastic polymer bearing surface, a proprietary drive system that uses the platter as the rotor, and an external power supply—further reduce vibration.
With the Classic Direct-Drive turntable, VPI has also debuted its Classic 3-D tonearm, which is produced from an epoxy-based material using a 3-D printer. The Classic Direct-Drive turntable is priced at $30,000 and includes the 12-inch 3-D tonearm. Its combination of weighty construction, dynamic range, and incredible detail retrieval puts the Classic Direct-Drive on par with the world’s top turntables. (www.vpiiindustries.com)