RMAF12: Linkin Park beats the living snot out of a VPI Traveler

Okay, so the title is a little off, but whatever. My apologies.

For those of you requiring something more formal, no, there no VPI products were harmed by a headline band during, before or after the making of this write up.

Which is a good thing, because VPI’s Mat Weisfeld might have had to get all medieval on their ass. You seen that video?

Hmm. Okay, not that one.

Yep, that’s the one. That’s Mat. Bad ass.

So, yes, those (entirely theoretical) Linkin Park guys were lucky. Just sayin’.

If you haven’t noticed, VPI’s turntables were everywhere at the show this weekend. Both Joseph Audio and Silver Circle had a Classic 3. Both Robin Wyatt (link forthcoming) and Analysis Audio had a Classic 4. Both Soundsmith and Focal/Cambridge Audio were showing with a HRX. Esoteric/Cabasse had a Scoutmaster II on the rack. Gingko Audio (link forthcoming had a Traveler as did Gershman (at various points during the show — link forthcoming). And that’s just the rooms I can think of off the top of my head and a quick scan of the 1,000+ photos I took in the day-and-a-half I spent at RMAF. If this isn’t striking you as borderline absurd, you’re not paying attention — I can’t think of any other brand making a major audio component that was found in more than 4 rooms. VPI was in at least 10. Dude. VPI is the standard, bitches. Yowza.

So, let’s talk about the room that Mat was hosting.

A liquid-silver Traveler sat on top of a dresser draped in a sheet, wired into a little $1,800 A-55TP Cayin integrated. The Aurum Cantus V3M, a remarkable sounding monitor, made all the pretty noises. This is a very well turned-out loudspeaker, sporting one of their famous ribbon tweeter stand mounts.

Gingko Cloud 9T platform for the VPI Traveler

The VPI Traveler, in the basic black (pronounced “bla-a-a-a-h-h-h-k”), retails for $1,299. Want a splashy color? Add $100. The “standard package” includes a custom tonearm that features “an ultra low friction Sapphire Gimbaled bearing assembly with friction levels almost as low as our unipivot arms” and just about everyone who sells VPI offers some kind of “upgrade package” that brings along a matching cartridge. Shown here was, I think, a Grado Gold, which would add about $200 to the base price. Oh, and just as an FYI, Gingko now offers a vibration-control platform, the Cloud 9T, for $349 and a dust cover for $279 — both of which were on display elsewhere (in the Gingko room — link forthcoming).

Apparently, the crew over at VPI have some new things up their sleeves. Mat get’s coy whenever I ask about “new stuff”, so I do it whenever I can. This time, I ended up with nothing to write about other than the giant shit-eating grin on his face (a ha!), but what that tells me is that VPI is still reinventing itself. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Quality products, built locally (to me — they’re only a couple of hours up the NJ Turnpike from me), at real-world prices — by a family more dedicated to the fun than the fuss in this industry? I love these guys. Go, Team VPI!

One of these days, Mat tells me he’s gonna show up here in his VPI Mustang with my VPI shirt — and my Traveler. If that ever happens, I’m hittin’ the road. Expect all manner of obnoxiousness to immediately ensue. Stay tuned.

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