VPI Industries Inc. is a high-end audio manufacturer that was started by Sheila and Harry Weisfeld, the founders and co-owners thirty five years ago. Both Jonathan, their oldest son and VPI Industries began at the same time in 1978 with their first product, a record weight in two different sizes. Then, VPI introduced a turntable isolation base in December of 1978.
Their first major product, which is still in production in an improved form, was their HW-16 record cleaning machine introduced in 1981. Harry Weisfeld, then a dedicated audiophile, wanted his records to be as clean as possible (including the dirty ones whose sonic potential lay beneath a layer of contaminants). However, the only available record cleaning machine at that time was the Keith Monks Record Cleaner. How could a newly married husband justify this expense to his wife! (“Too bad some of those conversations were not recorded for posterity”, says one reviewer”; no doubt they would have had a familiar ring to many audiophiles and their designated others). Without much choice, Harry decided to make a record cleaning machine for his own use. This became the original HW-16, which sold for less than 1/5 the price of the Keith Monks Cleaning Machine. The 16 was noisy, but so was their corn popper.
Soon after the cleaning machine, the infamous DB-5 or “magic bricks” were introduced. These were wood-encased ferrous metal blocks designed to absorb stray electromagnetic radiation from electronic components.
This was followed by VPI manufacturing bases for both the Denon and JVC direct drive motors.
And then the HW-19 turntable followed by the MK2 and then MK3 and then the MK4. These tables have become an industry standard for High End performance at an affordable price.
With the introduction of the TNT Turntable came the reality of Harry’s promise to produce a state-of-the-art turntable at something less than a state-of-the-staggering price.
In 1985, the PLC, or “power line conditioner” was introduced. “A new product” and “a new child”; Mathew, our youngest son was born.
Then, in 1995, Harry and Sheila Weisfelds’, oldest son, Jonathan, then seventeen years old and a Junior in High School, was killed in a horrific car accident with two other boys. The tonearm that Harry and Jonathan had been working on became a reality (as a living memorial to the Weisfelds’ son). Jonathan had worked at his parents’ factory and was helping his dad design a new tonearm. This tonearm became the “JMW Memorial Tonearm”. A percentage of every tonearm that is sold is put into the “Jonathan Weisfeld Memorial Fund” with the funds being used to further Arts and Music.
The introduction of the Aries, later the Scout and then the Scoutmaster, and then finally the Super Scoutmaster brought their company into new areas of business and manufacturing while at the same time increased their sales. Most VPI turntables regardless of vintage are upgradeable. VPI manufactures a variety of turntables which range in price and available options, as well as the JMW tonearm series, the SDS and three record cleaning machines.
The 30th anniversary product was the “Classic” Turntable. It is the culmination of thirty years of work and the beginning of a new generation of turntables. Simple, mechanically correct, low in cost, and excellent at extracting the excitement locked in those vinyl grooves.
Sheila and Harry’s sonic philosophy is to reproduce the dynamics of live music in one’s home, and that the illusion of reality cannot be duplicated without convincing resolution of low-level detail, along with a natural sense of acoustic space. VPI use live concerts, reel-to-reel tapes, and a Yamaha Disclavier grand piano as sonic references. Mathew is the trombone and piano player in our family, Jonathan was the guitarist, playing both the acoustic and electric guitar. And Harry played the accordion in his youth.
All VPI products are built in the United States in Cliffwood, New Jersey using American made parts and labor. They are an old school American manufacturer sourcing American made components whenever possible, even if they are more expensive than foreign components. The tonearm lifters are the only part of the JMW tonearms that aren’t made by any American manufacturer and are thus purchased abroad.