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Besides overlap, there also are differences. The most obvious is the extra 1.5 inches in length for which theory predicts less tangential tracking error; and a higher moving mass from 7.7 to 9.9 grams. The wand itself is conical no longer but straight and aluminum meets steel for purportedly resonance control (likewise for the special foam fill inside the arm tube). The VTA adaptor ring looks different but the operational principle remains the same. Those with tall setups or thick mats to max out VTA adjustments may acquire spacer rings from German distributor Herr Rischmüller to raise the arm base. Azimuth is adjusted by turning the ring with the side weights. When insufficient as with my Ortofon Rondo cart, additional turns on the counterweight will correctly set the angle.

On antiskating, Harry Weisfeld seems less committed and nearly in the fraction who can’t be bothered but thankfully the Classic leaves the final decision to the end user with two solutions – the tone arm wiring can be used for torsion tensioning and, more conventionally, there’s a small string. The tone arm mounts to a 53cm wide, 40cm deep and 7cm tall base whose TNT Mini Feet raise it to ca 11.5cm measured at its upper edge. As per Rischmüller, the footers are set & forget. While they won’t completely absorb the kind of heavy footfall parquet and suspended floors can cause, the decoupling principle is said to also make for good results even with "less than high-end supports".

Back to the plinth. It is built up of MDF and steel sheets, the latter on top and inside. This material mix addresses resonances. The front-left motor pod is incidentally decoupled with a rubber layer while also pincher clamped between two aluminium plates which themselves couple to the base of the plinth to sink a part of the motor’s energy to ground says VPI. The motor is a high-torque affair also used in the bigger VPI Aries but electronic speed regulation is minimal with one capacitor and resistor. AC frequency determines speed and speed changes from 33.3 to 45RMP rely on manually changing the round belt.

The VPI Classic’s platter puts 9kg on the scale and is mostly aluminum though the bottom benefits from a steel plate. That contributes some mass but more importantly alters the resonant behavior of pure aluminium to combat the infamous bell effect of full-metal platters and not require additional damping from a mat. VPI in fact recommends placing the vinyl atop the naked aluminum. Still, the shipment includes a thin mat made from Puron in case you disagree with the recommendation. A label depression is accounted for and in typical VPI fashion, there’s a small insert disc that slips over the spindle before the record follows and finally the screw clamp. The latter doesn’t merely improve the contact patch but helps to flatten out wavy records. As a practical tip, arrest the vinyl with finger pressure on its edge while screwing down the clamp. Else you’ll drag the record very ugly across the platter.

Should said clamping force seem insufficient, there’s always the so-called ring clamp. That’s a metal ring to mass-load the outer edge of the vinyl. That isn’t included in the basic package but available from VPI’s extensive accessory/upgrades catalogue for a solid  €760. The price for the optional acrylic cover is €370. A final word on the bearing. In company tradition, the Classic adopts an inverted bearing whose spindle sticks out of the plinth and whose race hides inside the platter. The race is crafted from the composite thermoplastic Peek, being more pressure resistant than Teflon. This bearing is lubricated with grease whose damping properties exceed oil according to Mr. Weisfeld. Rischmüller advised that both platter and motor bearing require break-in and recommends running the Classic over a night or two before getting critical. I ran up five days just to be sure.