VPI Prime 21+ Belt-driven Turntable Printing Hi-Fi

Printing Hi-Fi

While digital audio has progressed at a pace thanks to improved silicon and the increased sophistication and elegance of proprietary software, the advancement of hi-fi hardware continues to rely as much on new materials and manufacturing. For tonearms, the biggest leap in design was heralded by the introduction of SME's one-piece diecast magnesium Series V tonearm [HFN Jun '86] and Rega's more affordable RB300 in 1983 [Audio Milestones, HFN Nov '12]. But while it took two years to develop the diecasting for Rega's silicon alloy tube and bearing housing, back in 2013 VPI's Mat Weisfeld was able to swiftly prototype and produce a variant on the 'jointless' tonearm using a 3D printer. The latter technology has evolved to build solid models of modestly complex shapes and is perfect for rapid prototyping before committing to full-scale production. Because 3D printing extrudes the material outwardly – here using a high-temperature laser to build layers of a non-crystalline epoxy resin – VPI's headshell, tonearm tube and counterweight extension can be created as a single arm wand. Ironically, the process is still quite time-consuming so expect to see VPI quietly dropping the '3D' appellation as its polymer tonearm tubes are produced more efficiently, and in greater volume, in the future by injection moulding. PM

VPI Industries Inc.
New Jersey, USA
Supplied by: Renaissance Audio, Scotland
0131 555 3922