WASHINGTON D.C. (PTA) — The most exciting way to kick-off the Capital Audiofest 2019 weekend, and subsequently conclude the VPI 40th Anniversary Celebration Year, is with the launch of something really BIG from VPI Industries. Along for the wild ride: KEF, Krell, and NORDOST.
Van·quish (/ˈvaNGkwiSH/) verb: to defeat thoroughly.
That simple definition pretty much sums up the daily activities happening at VPI Industries these days. With VPI’s continued success at the entry-level with the Cliffwood ($1000 USD) and also in the arena of Direct-Drive turntables with the HW-40 40th Anniversary Direct Drive Turntable ($15,000 USD) that was launched at CAF just last year — it was only natural to predict VPI Industries would be tackling the “Ultra-High-End” market like a crazed NFL linebacker turned loose on a Pop Warner youth team.
The new state-of-the-art Vanquish Magnetic Direct Drive Turntable is an uber-refined version of the Bespoke (Limited) model — created by VPI founder Harry Weisfeld — known as The Vanquish.
The all-new Vanquish utilizes technological advancements and features developed for the HW-40 Direct-Driver model’s motor, but taken to an ultra-high-end level of cost-no-object design. Motion control circuitry/software, material study, and vibration isolation technology are based off refinements by VPI Engineer Mike Bettinger.
What makes the new Vanquish unique for VPI, is that it is not exactly a Direct-Drive turntable in the traditional sense. The Vanquish is a “Magnetic Direct-Driver Turntable” which means that the drive motor is coupled to the platter and flywheel assembly through the force of high-power magnets. Essentially giving you all of the benefits of direct-drive and belt-drive in one super-esoteric design.
Using VPI’s Reference Tri-Pod design, the new Vanquish will accept up to three tonearms of varying length, type, and manufacture. Out-of-the-crate the new Vanquish comes complete with VPI’s latest hi-res 3-D printed Fatboy tonearm. The Vanquish (like the HW-40) uses “hidden wiring” in contrast to the usual LEMO plug termination with wire loop. The Vanquish Fatboy Tonearm uses Nordost wire and internally connects directly into the built-in phono-stage creating less connections between the cartridge, phono-stage, and ultimately the signal path. The new Vanquish Fatboy tonearm is VPI’s first 14” 3-D printed tonearm that achieves a new measure of rigidity and resonance cancelling. For the robust gimbal, the bearing uses ABEC 9 bearings made in Japan for ultra-low friction. The tonearm is mounted to an all-new Vanquish layered-armboard (aluminum, acrylic, aluminum). The new armboard has been designed with further resonance control and isolation in mind.
The Vanquish comes complete with the new Vanquish Phono Stage which is the next evolution of VPI’s Voyager Phono-stage, another design from Mike Bettinger. The prototype model only has two inputs, however the final amount of inputs on the production model is still to be determined. The build and finish takes VPI’s existing phono-stage technology to a higher level and uses the same isolation base found on our HW-40. Power supply and motor controls have been relocated to an outside enclosure for additional shielding and noise reduction.
The VPI Vanquish Stand has machined openings in the back to easily run and hide any cables to and from the Vanquish and associated components. In addition, the rack provides enough space to conveniently add a line stage.
Other features of the Vanquish are many, with every part mounted with machined screws into blind tapped holes for a clean and sleek look/design. Like the removable machined aluminum arm-board. The limited-edition ruby anodized components. The tonearm has an adjustable counterweight on a threaded shaft for quick and accurate VTF setting.
Price for the new Vanquish is yet to be finalized, but it is estimated to be in the range of $100K-to-$120K for the complete system. Ironically, this is still considered “affordable” in the world of ultra-high-end turntables. The Vanquish has been created by VPI Industries as a “no-holds-barred” statement-piece, designed to challenge the upper limits of high-end audio.
Also on display were components from KEF, Krell, and NORDOST.
The KEF Muons actually never sounded better in my experience. Most notably it was the smooth top end and fully rich mid-bass that had me riding along. Deeper bass impact was “slam-ful” and tight. Admittedly my listening session was briefer than most, but as the weekend progresses I’m sure I’ll have more impressions to deliver. For now, it’s the best sounding room I’ve encountered at the show. We shall see how that status holds up going forward.