Let me start by saying my beloved AR ES-1 is currently the oldest piece of gear in my system; I bought it in 1985. It can hardly be mistaken for the original at this point. The only original pieces left are the plinth and power switch. It has given me great music in the years since I finished modding it, but it’s time has come. I want to have one last gasp at finding a “last” TT solution, and the AR has some limitations. I can’t swap carts (I have a number of mono recordings and my phono stage and preamp do not do mono), I don’t want to try and find an arm that will let me do that and hope it sounds good on this table, the motor hums with the VPI PLC I use for speed control (and my days of swapping caps are over - been there), and for as great as it sounds I know I won’t be able to keep this as my “final” turntable. With the resurgence in vinyl there are a number of tables in a price range I can consider, that sound fantastic every time I’ve heard them. VPIs are some of those.
I have the chance to get either a new VPI Prime or a used (but in EX condition) Classic 3 for about the same price. This Classic 3 (like the Prime) has the 3D arm, and also has the SDS (the Prime does not). It seems like a no brainer choice, but is there any reason why I should second guess and think the Prime might be a better choice?
I’m going to VPI on Friday to listen to both - or maybe not (I just found out I may not get a chance to hear the Prime), but I won’t be able to hear either one with my preferred carts (LOMC Benz Woods). I think they use Ortofons over there.