These days most people consume their music in digital form downloaded from iTunes or ripped from CDs, but vinyl was the medium of choice in times gone by. Even though it has fallen out of favor over the last two decades there is still a devout following for vinyl with its devotees claiming that it still sounds better than any other format.
VPI Industries will launch their new direct drive turntable at the New York Audio Show and it’s the first to feature a synthetic 3D printed tonearm. Most tonearms used on the world’s most expensive turntables use metals like steel, magnesium and titanium to give the optimum sound characteristics that the manufacturer requires from it.
VPI claim that their epoxy-plastic tonearm sounds even better than one made with metal, and still gives the stiffness and low weight that’s required from a high-end model. The tonearm is printed in one piece, taking a full 24 hours, and its shape further improves its rigidity.
Due to their high price turntables of this quality are only available to a select few audiophiles and the VPI is no exception. With a price of $20,000 for the turntable and the 3D printed tonearm, reviewers are already claiming that it’s raised the bar in vinyl audio-quality. The new Classic Direct turntable fitted with the 3D printed tonearm along with a $220 Grado Gold phono cartridge compared favourably with a more expensive VPI Classic 3 turntable using one of its standard metal tonearms paired with an $8,000 Clearaudio cartridge.