Poor Customer Service

Poor Customer Service

Postby LP-Junkie » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:07 pm

I recently purchased a new tonearm for my older HW-19 MK IV (Graham Phantom III) which has had the bearing and platter upgrades over the years. This required a new armboard to be drilled for the arm, which VPI said there was no problem doing. (I live within 30 minutes of VPI, so I was able to visit them personally and explain everything in detail to them, including a template for the arm's mounting dimensions.) When I received the armboard within a week I was excited to get it home and use it; who wouldn't be? Anyway, I should have looked at it more closely before leaving VPI. The 4 holes that the arm mounts to were NOT properly spaced apart --- even with one's eyes, a close examination showed them to be off enough to prevent mounting. (They need to be in the 12-3-6-9 o'clock positions around the arm's larger pass-through hole, 90 degrees apart. They were off.) I brought the armboard back and explained what was wrong. It has been over 10 days and I have yet to hear back as to why this error has not been taken care of. This is a problem that any competent machine shop can fix in under 30 minutes --- drill 4 new mounting holes and tap them. Done. I'm not even asking for a totally new board, just put the holes 45 degrees off from the other ones. From speaking to them on the phone, it doesn't appear to be on anyone's "To-Do" list. I'm still waiting.
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby Dorian » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:37 pm

Ask to speak to Mat, he will sort it out.
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby Johnny » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:52 pm

I know it is frustrating, but they are a small company and they will make it right. Good thing that you didn't send your arm board to Graham as you would be waiting for a year to get it back.
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby Brf » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm

Sorry to hear of your frustration.

Mounting a Graham tonearm is best done with both the table and tonearm present, otherwise you will run into issues as you described above.

The Graham S2P distance is defined by the middle of the 1.5" circular mounting hole which is drilled into the plinth. Once the mounting hole is drilled, you follow the mounting instructions as noted below:

"Swing the armrest platform (with the armrest locked) over so it just barely touches the turntable platter. Then position the armwand directly over the the turntable spindle. Now, gently rotate the mounting base ( either Custom or SME) such that the rear counterweight almost (but not quite) touches the VTA adjustment bracket. Mark the four mounting holes of the arm base and after carefully removing the tonearm from the turntable, drill four tapped holes to accept either 4-40" or 6-32" screws, depending on your preference. The 4-40" size will give a little more adjustment with the Custom mount".

As you can see from the above noted instructions, without the arm and table present, the 4 hole mounting is at best a guess.

PS - I own a Graham, nice tonearm.
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby LP-Junkie » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:35 pm

Thank you for the reply.

They did get the 1.5" mounting hole right, drilling the 4 taped holes 90 degrees apart is where the problem arose. It was not so much their location as it was their spacing. I would think that making 4 holes 90 degrees apart around a given bolt-circle would be pretty straightforward for a machine shop capable of VPI's product production. I could scribe that easily with a straight edge and protractor once given the center of the major hole. (To double check spacing all you need are a pair of dividers to see that they are all equi-distant to each other.)
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby Brf » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:10 pm

LP-Junkie wrote:Thank you for the reply.

They did get the 1.5" mounting hole right, drilling the 4 taped holes 90 degrees apart is where the problem arose. It was not so much their location as it was their spacing. I would think that making 4 holes 90 degrees apart around a given bolt-circle would be pretty straightforward for a machine shop capable of VPI's product production. I could scribe that easily with a straight edge and protractor once given the center of the major hole. (To double check spacing all you need are a pair of dividers to see that they are all equi-distant to each other.)


Too bad you don't have the mounting board in your possession as the hard part has already been done (properly spaced 1.5" plinth hole). All you needed to do was drop in your tonearm and follow the above noted instructions and scribe the mounting hole locations and drill them yourself. With the HW19 mounting board, you don't need to tap a thread as you can use a through hole and use a screw and nut.
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby spinblackcircle » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:16 pm

It's possible that Harry still does the armboard work for the HW-19s and he's not in the shop every day now that he's partially retired. He helped me out with something and the turnaround was quicker than my expectations. That being said, I think maybe our patience is very short these days and expect things to be done immediately. 10 years ago, it would have taken a month to turn around a similar request.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil so I'd just call and pester them. And remember, they are going out of their way to support a legacy product. There's only a handful of audio companies that do that, and drilling arm boards doesn't keep the lights on.
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Re: Poor Customer Service

Postby LP-Junkie » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:10 pm

Hi there spin,

I fully agree with everything you said, which is why I went there in person first and explained in detail what I had and what I was looking for. I understood that it was an out of production line of turntables, so I suggested that they could take my existing armboard and rotate it 180 degrees and drill on the opposite end. (I could make a cover or plaque of some sort to cover the old hole.) But they said they would do it with a totally new board since I was already a customer for several other VPI products, including their 16.5 cleaner. They made it clear to me that it was no problem --- they even let me look in back where they were doing upgrades on another HW-19 turntable. So I felt very comfortable in letting them do it.
Anyway, since I started this thread VPI has called and said they would correct the problem. My fingers are henceforth crossed. ;-)
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