What direction is VPI headed?

First let me state that I own a VPI Prime w/perifial ring, SDS, and a couple extra arm wands so I have invested some $ overall, this being my third VPI table, with that said I am a happy VPI customer but here recently have taken a few notes on their constantly coming up with the next iteration of what ever is moving well and I do believe the Prime is one of those. When they came out with the Prime Signature it was hard not to sell and replace with it but I didn't now the Prime Signature Rosewood is gorgeous but at $6,800.00, now when you get to that cost level I started looking used and have seen the prices dropping ridiculously low on a couple of HRX setups with all the extras for  a lot less than that and they still aren't moving. I know there are those that speak of VPIs marketing from time to time but what is going on.
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mat is doing a great job at trying to manage the product line and make his dealers and customers happy.  his explanation and openness was refreshing and much more than some of these comments deserve.  you all should be ashamed of yourselves.    

Long-time VPI owner -- record cleaning machine in 1996; VPI Scout owner since 2004 and yes, it's been upgraded a few times with tonearm, motor, platter, feet, etc.

I applaud VPI's effort to bring rationality to its line.  My major concern is that VPI retains some strategy for managing innovation while at the same time making it easier for vinyl enthusiasts to understand their line.  Matt's explanation above is great for the moment, but represents a risk to future growth if it becomes etched in stone.

Historically, one of the great things about VPI has been their willingness and ability to explore new ideas and/or revisit historical ones in a new light.  A lot of this was driven by Harry's enthusiasm for the form and the continuous spirit of experimentation. At the same time, this hobbyist orientation makes it difficult to explain, especially since the ideas are often contradictory.  For example, how do you reconcile the ideas about a plinth-mounted motor (inspired by Empire turntables from the early 1960's, I hear) in the Classic with a SAMA (stand alone motor pod) in the Scout/Prime?  Maybe you cannot, so the solution is to axe the Classic line.  Sigh.

I'm sorry to see the Classic line go, because I think it did some things very right compared to my Scout.  But I understand the need to rationalize a line and stop producing an endless variety of different approaches to doing the same thing at the same/similar price point.   But does this mean that the basic platforms cannot change, and forevermore all the innovations will be rearrangements of the existing formats?  This, I think, would be a big mistake. 

Hopefully, once the line gets straightened out, efficiency is established, and rationality will be delivered.  At that point, I hope the doors will remain open for new ideas (not just new lines of electronics) that will continue to burnish VPI's past successes.  I wish them every chance of future growth & success, and hope they will remain a USA-focused contributor to evolution in the great reproduction of music.  

A table without a removable armboard? What if, like myself, one doesn’t care for unipivot arms? There are a lot of older VPI tables out there that DO have a separate arm board, and they’re pretty cheap to buy. VPI can do whatever they want, no one has to follow.

The HW-19, and the TNT after it, became, because of their stability and relatively (for the time) high mass, became THE table for straight-tracking arms, which demand a very stable platform (unaffected by the mass of the arm moving across the LP, which greatly impacts the table's center-of-gravity) to operate optimally. For users of such arms (the Eminent Technology is still a great arm, and the more recent TransFi Terminator a fantastic arm at a bargain price), there are plenty of those tables around. And, they were built to last!

@bdp24 you don't like unipivot? VPI has the solution. For a mere $150 you can convert the unipivot tonearm, that you were sold as being the bomb, to a dual pivot. If you don't mind tinkering.

I've been listening to vinyl since the early 1950's. I dare say I'm at about the same age as Harry.

I "upgraded" my Denon DP-60L, bought in 1984, to a Classic 1. For those not familiar with the 60 it is a direct drive automatic turntable. You cue the 9" gimbled arm and press a button. The platter spins and the tonearm drops. At the end of the record, the arm raises and the platter stops. I currently have a Grace F9/SoundSmith Ruby OCL Stylus on it. FYI: The TruLift sold as a VPI accessory is necessary for the Prime Sig at $250.

I went from a Classic 1 to a Classic 2.5 to a Prime Signature. Each comes with it's own set of tweaks. You must be a tweaker if you buy VPI, unless you can afford to pay someone else to tweak for you.

I will say VPI does do a tolerable job at customer service, but don't call on Friday afternoon, you'll get the bum's rush. Then you end up fiddling and tweaking until they get back on Monday to solve your problem. I'm not overly impressed with their service, like some are.

You can get some answers from the forum, but don't challenge any old-timers. They have a clique that bully's the forum and will gang up on you.

There is a SoundSmith Voice on the Prime Signature. I can listen to the two tables side by side. A discerning listener can tell the difference, but there is not that much! I've had the Grace on the VPI with equally good results, although I don't think the Denon can do the Voice justice.

What's my point? Well, I spent $6K on the table. Then I had to buy a dust cover, $350. Then I absolutely had to have the Dual Pivot, $150. Need to raise the tonearm, TruLift $250. Outer retainer ring for warped records, $1000. I can't get my platter to spin at less than 33.4 rpm. Vpi says it's fine, but I want to change the pitch. No problem, ADS $1000. And you must tweak every step of the way.

The Denon goes for less than $1000 used. You can put any tonearm on it that you want. And, it's got a Rosewood plinth at no extra cost!

If I had it to do over again I'd think it through more carefully and avoid the hype. I bought the hype and drank the Kool-Aid. @Tuntablemat made a great speech, spoken like the true head of a company. And they're coming out with more latest and greatest as we speak. So I don't believe what he says, he wants to make money.

There's going to be some VPI heads (AyrBag and Barf and others) that want to beat me up over this. I have a right to my opinion, as does everybody else here, whether we agree or not.

I, for one, am not one of VPI's overjoyed customers. Don't get me wrong, it sounds great when you have it tweaked right. It's unique design is oversold with hype. I am sure that there are other, less sexy turntables in the same price category of every VPI table that will perform as good or better.

Want to listen to music? No problem, hold on, it's just a tweak away.