HW40 vs. Avenger

HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby fischerd » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:45 pm

Harry,

I was wondering if you could comment on the sound quality differences of the HW40 vs the Avenger (belt and rim drive). I saw you reference the differences in a recent post about the HW40 vs. Classic DD vs. Avenger, but didn't go into any detail. Being in the same price category, not sure which direction to go. I know the Avenger can accomodate a second arm for mono (not sure if I'll ever do that but would like to in the long run), and the aesthetic differences are obvious. Are they more similar than different in terms of sound? Haven't never heard a high end Direct Drive table, so not sure if it is apples to oranges comparison with the Avenger series.
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby Harry » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:38 pm

We have a setup at the VPI house where the Avenger and DD are on the same table stand using the same cartridge, two A-95's.
They sound more similar than different but the DD has more drive and just perfect pitch stability on long classical notes. I am a direct drive devotee now but I use an Avenger in my house also because the multiple arms is a must when you are playing with multiple cartridges.

This is seriously tough but if you are okay with one arm, a dust cover, perfect speed stability, and great drive, the DD is the one. If you are going to play, the Avenger is the one.

HW
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby miner » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:13 pm

Well said Harry.
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby fischerd » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:39 pm

Harry,

Was wondering about the sound quality evolution from the Classic Direct Drive to the Mag Drive to the HW40. Would you still put the Classic Direct as the best sound (warm, smooth, best speed stability and drive, etc) that the more recent models are trying to get to, or do you think the Mag Drive and newest HW40 has surpassed the Classic Direct with newer technology and advancements? Just curious where all things are with the changes VPI has undergone in recent years. Much appreciation and hope you are enjoying retirement and still playing and tinkering with all the gear. Sounds like you're having a blast.
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby Harry » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:37 am

Probably the number one question I am asked today and for me it has become an easy answer.

1- I listen all day at the VPI listening house to the 40th DD on multiple speaker systems and it is amazingly good. I know from the digital readouts off of the platter the wow and flutter averages around 004% and absolute speed is so accurate it barely registers. It has complete isolation as you can see in the bottle banging videos so it is very, very quiet. The table does not have a direct drive motor with a platter on it, the platter is the motor, so there are no compounding errors. All in all the best sound I have ever heard.

2- The original Classic Direct is what I use in my house and love it, there is almost no difference between the two tables and if there are it leans towards the new 40th DD as the motor controllers are 6 years newer, the Fat Boy is a better arm, and the isolation is better. Plus it is half the price!!!! If they were the same price I would toss a coin as the Classic Direct is so good we may be gilding a Lilly so I will not be changing plus I love my rosewood base and I am using a Fat Boy on it. If you can locate a Classic Direct used or on sale get it, it is still an A+ table and 6 years later nothing is more accurate.

3- My time with the Avenger Reference ( A-R) has shown me that once you reach such a low level of speed error and low noise, it really becomes a matter of taste. The speed error and absolute speed of the A-R is so good and the background is so quiet that the ability to mount three arms, or two arms, is very compelling and for me a belt drive A-R with a stereo and mono cartridge is all I would need if I didn't have a Classic Direct. I would rather have the belts than the rim drive as my fiddle level drops as I get older and the belts sound better with classical and jazz and that is 90% of my listening. The A-R has a glorious full sound, very smooth, very quiet, very musical sound.

I hope this helps. HW
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby Dorian » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:45 am

Where are these "bottle banging" videos please Harry!? Sounds intriguing.
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby Brf » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:59 am

Dorian wrote:Where are these "bottle banging" videos please Harry!? Sounds intriguing.

https://www.facebook.com/vpiindustries/videos/335742833641928/
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby BillK » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:28 am

I would have preferred to see Mat tap on the plinth to see what that sounded like.

That’s always been the most impressive thing about vacuum tables like the TechDAS Air Force III; you can tap on the record itself as it plays and not hear a thing other than what the stylus is registering in the groove.
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Re: HW40 vs. Avenger

Postby Harry » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:41 pm

The use of vacuum is something we have experimented with for years and rejected every time it was brought up again. I was sent by Bert Whyte in 1984 up to Capitol records to see his old friend George Piros cutting a reissue of "Dock of the Bay". George did a long explanation on how vacuum systems work and how to incorporate them in cutting systems. the last thing he wanted was for me to incorporate them into a record replay system unless you were using one sided discs with the bottom flat vinyl.

If you are lucky enough to get Classic Records test pressings with single sided vinyl, and you had enough to make it worthwhile, you might consider vacuum, but not for sound, it doesn't sound better, it just flattens the record. The ring we use flattens the record and still keeps the air and life in the recording which vacuum has a tendency to remove. Remember, your record is sitting on a vibrating column of air and since your cartridge can resolve motion at the wave lengths of light I don't think a vibrating column of air is the best idea.

BTW, the bottle test is the real world test as your speakers vibrate the floor which transmits to the stand which transmits to the table. If we stop it there it doesn't upset the arm cartridge relationship that is so important.

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