Celebrating 40 Years of Unparalleled American-Made Analog Performance: Limited to 400 Units, the Cutting-Edge VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable Sounds as Gorgeous as It Looks
VPI founder and chief designer Harry Weisfeld's lifetime devotion to analog research and development has produced immeasurable advances in both traditional and modern engineering realms. Nowhere is that more apparent than the gorgeous HW-40 direct-drive turntable. Based on the first turntables VPI produced, yet much classier, its exterior features hardwood side panels for a classic touch. Inside, a brand-new direct-drive motor provides unflappable speed stability. Wow and flutter are a thing of the past. HW-40's high-torque motor starts and stops on a dime. The gimbaled Fatboy tonearm uses eighth-generation VPI 3D-printing technology and includes specially sourced Japanese ABEC-9 bearings. The chassis, front, and rear are built from a solid, machined, three-quarter-inch aluminum slab combined with constrained-layer damping for an inert plinth. Every screw is mounted in blind-tapped holes to deliver an unblemished industrial aesthetic. No stone has been left unturned.
Please read about the technical specifications, advanced engineering, and premium components below. Or rest assured that HW-40 represents the pinnacle of direct-drive analog operation and plays vinyl LPs with baby-soft smoothness, beguiling accuracy, strapping power, laser focus, and stalwart articulation that reaches all the way down into the nether bass regions. Its noise floor is so low, you may not even believe it's spinning records. Unwanted vibrations and resonance are absorbed like a sponge. Harry and everyone at the VPI team, congratulations. Here's to the next 40 years. We are more than proud to offer our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on a turntable devised for analog's new golden age.
"[NOTHING] fazed it... To say the VPI 40th Anniversary turntable is impressive is an understatement. Sonically, if it were twice the price, it would still be beating the competition."
—Hi-Fi+, 2019 Turntable of the Year Award
"This deck is simply magnificent, and a delight in so many ways. It's easy to set up, painless to use, a joy to listen to and with a physical presence to savor. If perceived value is going to save the high-end, then VPI has nailed both the sound and the presentation."
—Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News, Outstanding Product review
"I've heard several direct drive turntables but the HW-40 Anniversary surpasses them all. It's simply glorious. It's the best direct drive design that I've ever encountered. It's also quite possibly the best turntable I've ever heard."
—Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man, Golden Groovy Award
Benefits of the HW-40 Direct-Drive Motor
HW-40 includes a newly designed, extra powerful, yet extra-quiet direct-drive motor. The motor coils are constructed of a solid copper, square, cross-section wire embedded in a composite material for increased dampening. The high-precision, high-efficiency motor, with a huge amount of torque (the 'table gets up to speed in under one second) also provides excellent cooling and near-optimal interaction of the electromagnetic conductors within the magnetic circuit. Plus, the unique iron-less coil assembly avoids the use of magnetic materials in its construction. When the latter feature is combined with overlapping V-shaped coil construction, the motor eliminates the cogging that accompanies traditional direct-drive motors, resulting in unprecedented rotational smoothness and a virtually unmeasurable wow-and-flutter figure.
Incredible Efficiency and Superb Torque
HW-40's direct-drive system achieves 93% efficiency and a torque of 2.68 Nm/sec. You can accelerate the 25-pound platter assembly to full speed and decelerate to a stop in one second. Mechanically, the HW-40 motor assembly is milled from a solid billet of 6061 aluminum and precision-fitted to the rotor, stator, and platter bearing to create an integrated drive system that minimizes vibration and noise. The motor assembly uses a five-point mounting to secure it to the top panel of the housing.
Highly Advanced Engineering and Motor Components
HW-40 motor stator coils are constructed of solid copper, square cross section wire embedded in a high-temperature composite material for increased vibration damping. The stator's tubular construction also resists the flexing under load that affects substrate-base coil designs. This construction also provides excellent cooling and near-optimal interaction of the electromagnetic conductors within the magnetic circuit. The unique iron-less coil assembly avoids the use of magnetic materials in its construction. The stator coils also feature a overlapping V-shaped coil construction. Such aspects smooth the rotational transition from pole to pole, eliminating the cogging that accompanies simpler direct-drive motor designs. Additionally, the rotor magnets are shaped to smooth the back EMF (electromotive force) from the stator as the they transition from pole to pole. This feature eases the demands on the motor drive circuitry and power supplies. Combined, the thin-gap motor components produce an unprecedented rotational smoothness and virtually unmeasurable wow-and-flutter.
A Motor Design Befitting a Flagship Turntable
Because VPI retained the original BLDC motor components of its 2012 Classic Drive model, it focused on the mechanical design of the new motor. Working with engineers at long-term machine shops and learning from found Harry Weisfeld's experiences with the 2012 design, the first step was to design the massive can-style housing to support the stator assembly and machine it from a solid billet of T6061 aluminum. Its design is optimized to create a solid platform to support the stator and act as a vibration sink, effectively absorbing motor vibrations into the 1/2"-thick MDF-damped aluminum plinth through a solid five-point mounting. The rotor/magnet assembly is pressed into the aluminum platter support hub. It, too, is milled from a solid billet. The hub housing provides mass damping, absorbing, and dissipating drive vibrations into its mass. The platter is engineered to securely mate to the hub, improving damping while still allowing easy removal for shipping. The rotor hub is precision-machined to hold the 100mm rotary encoder system that provides "2500 timing counts per revolution of position" feedback to the servo amplifier. At 33RPM, this provides 1423 counts/sec of extrapolated resolution contributing to the 'tables' extremely low wow-and-flutter as well as exceptional speed accuracy.
Servo Drive Electronics and Motor-Control Software
The motor-drive electronics are being sourced from one of the leading companies in the industry. Historically, VPI 'tables have shown increasing improvement in the foundation and purity of music as the torque has increased. Such evolution has involved utilizing massive platters, multiple belts, flywheels, dual flywheels, and dual motors through rim drive models. The focus for the evolution of the HW-40 motor was to increase the running torque and improve speed stability without affecting the silent noise floor. A design challenge stemmed from using a motor that is more powerful and efficient running at 2-3K RPMs and running it at 33RPM. Adding the mass and inertia of a 27-pound platter, it became a challenging feat to manage the drive signal to obtain our torque and speed stability goals while maintaining low drive noise. Working closely with motor-control engineers while monitoring/listening to the motor noise using an unmodulated disc, VPI was able to fine tune the motor drive for high torque and silent operation.
VPI addresses two specific properties concerning isolation on HW-40. First, it provides a high level of isolation to structural borne and airborne vibration. Second, it cleanly integrates the isolation into the look of the 'table. After evaluating dozens of prototypes and an endless supply of damping materials, the 'table isolation was finalized. HW-40 is the first VPI table to benefit from these efforts. Via a combination of reinforced composite absorption pads coupled with low-durometer horizontal isolators and their mounting assemblies, HW-40's suspension interacts with the mass of the 'table to provide excellent broadband isolation in both the vertical and horizontal axes. The Elastomeric composite pads provide high-energy absorption with less than 10% compression set. No plasticizers interact with cabinet surfaces. he combination and execution of the design elements guarantee consistent long-term performance of the isolation system. Sonically, the results are heard as an improved sense of focus and articulation in the bass that extends well into the lower midrange.
The VPI Story
1978. The Dow Jones hit 805 points. Interest rates were 11.75%. A gallon of gasoline cost 78 cents. The average home sold for $55,000. Space Invaders dominated video arcades. Television viewers embraced "The Love Boat," and Saturday Night Fever had the country hitting discos. But bigger news loomed for audiophiles. 1978 was also the year Harry and Sheila Weisfeld founded VPI. Dedicated to enhancing vinyl playback, the Weisfelds championed their company through good — and some challenging — times. Yet, bolstered by a resolute belief in the benefits of an all-analog signal chain and American build quality, VPI thrived. More recently, Harry brought his young son, Mathew, into the fold. The father-and-son team have since combined their skill sets to develop the finest-sounding turntables in the company's lauded history. That brings us to HW-40. Nodding to the past while embracing today's most high-tech technologies, HW-40 stands as a design for the ages. A milestone in and of itself. We hope you get the opportunity to experience Harry and Mat's masterwork. And if you do get one, you, too, can consider yourself part of the VPI family.
- Limited To Only 400 Units Worldwide
- Internally Damped Chassis (Front, Rear, and Top) Made from Solid Machined 3/4" 6061 Aluminum
- Solid Black Walnut Side Panels
- Brand-New Direct-Drive Motor with Start, 33 1/3 RPM, and 45RPM Control Buttons
- New Version of 12" Gimbal 3D-Printed Fatboy Tonearm with Fine Adjustment, Robust Knob, and Triangular-to-Circular Taper for Resonance Reduction
- New Gimbal Bearing Uses ABEC-9 Stainless-Steel Bearings Sourced from Japan for Ultra-Low Friction
- Tonearm Has Adjustable Counterweight on Threaded Shaft for Perfectly Accurate VTF Setting
- Removable, Machined-Aluminum Armboard
- All-Internal Power Supply and Control Circuitry, Nothing Additional Required
- All Machined Screws Attach into Blind-Tapped Holes for Clean Appearance
- Removable Hinged Dust Cover Included
- Nordost Reference Wire Used Throughout
- Made in the U.S.A.
Platter Type & Size: 12" Aluminum Platter, 25 lbs.
Tonearm Included: JMW-12 Fatboy Gimbal
Motor Type: Direct Drive
Motor Torque: 2.68 Nm/sec
Star/Stop Time: 1 Second
Speed Monitoring: 2,500 pulses/revolution
Footprint: 21 3/4" x 16 3/4"
Dimensions: 22" x 17" x 10"