VPI Celebrates 40 Years of Analog Magic

Mat Weisfeld, son of company founders Harry and Sheila Weisfeld, grew up at VP. While he didn’t originally plan on following this path, it became the love he didn’t release he had (next to his wife Jane). Mat has taken the strong foundation and VPI tradition created by his parents and has continued to grow and improve the company with new technology, lean manufacturing and more.

 

ListenUp: What can you tell us about your 40th anniversary special edition HW-40 turntable?

WEISFELD: With our 40th anniversary, we wanted to basically pay tribute to where VPI started, where we’ve gone and all that fun stuff. And essentially my dad’s first turntable, a lot of people think it was the HW-19, but it was actually the HW-9. The HW-9 was an isolation base made for the old Denon direct-drive motors. And Harry started making it. He was one of those crazy guys that comes over and says, “Hey, I’m making something in my basement that I think you’ll really like,” except in this case it actually worked! I don’t know the exact story, but essentially the rep from Denon met my dad and was like, “This is amazing. We want to use it.” Denon showedit at CES, using this guy from Brooklyn’s isolation base HW-9, and it worked out beautifully.

The first VPI table was a direct-drive motor, isolation base and gimbal tonearm with hinged dust cover. That’s why for the HW-40, we wanted to do the same concept, but this time with our own direct-drive motor, our own gimbal tonearm, dust cover, isolation base, all that stuff. Just to show the technology and how far we’ve come as a company.

 

ListenUp: What are the benefits of a direct-drive turntable?

WEISFELD: Because the direct-drive is dead accurate on the speed, you get that natural reproduction of the recording. In our case, it’s dead quiet because of how we engineered it. It’s as musical as can be, it’s dead quiet, it sounds natural, and when you hear it, you’re just like, “Wow, it’s like I’m listening to a master tape over here.”

 

ListenUp: Where do you see the turntable business going in the future?

WEISFELD: It’s funny how people talk about “the vinyl resurgence.” We’ve been seeing that for years. “Wow, vinyl’s back.” But I’ve seen that headline for quite a while. When I was in high school, 16 or 17 years ago, I remember an article came out in The New York Times"Vinyl resurgence, it’s back baby!” So it seems like it’s always been coming back, but to us it’s never left.

VPI started 40 years ago. It was my mom, my dad, our worker, this guy Leo, and my grandma. That was VPI. Now here we are years later and we have between 10 and 15 people depending upon the time of the year. And then, as far as manufacturing, we have over 100 people working on VPI products in general, as far as the woodworker, the machine shop, the sheet metal shop, the 3D printers, all of that. So just from the growth in that sense, we see vinyl continuing to go strong.