I'm a new poster here, but have been "lurking" for a while as I was researching my latest turn table purchase. I realize that I'm in the "audiophile" minority regarding my preference for direct-drive, however, I have long been a fan of direct-drive turntables, preferring them because of their accuracy, durability, simplicity and "punchy" dynamics. I have been "tableless" for over 2 decades now, my last table being the venerable Technics 1200 MK2 that I parted with as I became increasingly committed to CD's and digital files. As the saying goes, "If only I knew then what I know now..."
So, about two months ago, after deciding my vinyl collection needed a new table to play on, I began my search. I was thinking about taking the plunge on Technics' latest 1200G-series tables, but I couldn't get comfortable playing in the $3K-$5K range dealers were asking for. So, I decided on Pioneer's PLX-1000 as it had recently received a "Recommended" rating from Stereophile, which is quite an achievement for any piece of audio gear. The reviews on the PLX-1000 were mostly favorable and it was set-up at my local Guitar Center, ready for an audition. I was all set...until I found the following video on YouTube during my research:
Thanks, Lymbo90, for all the great VL12 videos!
The Denon VL12 Prime...it sounded fuller without being muddy, had more speed, more punch. It was like it turned everything up a notch or three above the Pioneer. It had more features as well, though, to be fair, many of these are really meant for the Club/Broadcasting DJ professionals. But, what really sealed the deal, was the fact that here was a new, from the ground-up design by Denon themselves...not another Hanpin clone like so many other direct-drives out there.
So I ordered a VL12 from Amazon last Thursday and it arrived today. The turntable was delivered TRIPLE BOXED...a shipping box from Amazon containing the double-boxed VL-12. Here's the Denon outer box:
...and here's the inner box:
Inside, you're greeted with this pretty cool message sheet:
Lift the sheet up, and you see the goods, all securely packaged:
Don't throw away the packing foam; the accessories are packed there!
Attention to detail is everywhere. Nice message from Denon to the DJ's of the world:
You get a pretty beefy power cable, a gold-plated RCA and grounding cable, 45 RPM adaptor, Denon DJ-branded headshell, tonearm counterweight and scale, additional counterweight, LED-target lamps in chrome and black and a Denon DJ-branded felt record mat. All that's missing is a cartridge...
Platter details, including full rubber coating on the back-side & finger-friendly notches instead of the industry standard dots...
On the left side, you get Low/High Torque selector, RGB-lighting color knob and RGB-lighting intensity selector:
On the right side, gold-plated RCA jacks, ground and power:
Tonearm mounted with Shure M97xE cartridge:
Much better tonearm assembly than Hanpin clones...
All set-up and ready to play...
What it looks like when the room lights are off:
Other things I used for this installation: cork & rubber isolator pads to isolate the butcher block platform from the rack surface, Vibrapod isolators to isolate the turntable from the platform...
Top Chop 1.5" maple butcher-block as my turntable platform:
Initial impressions: the sound is really, really good...something I truly wasn't expecting! I thought it would take a while to get it sounding "good", but right off the bat, I'm a toe-tapping, finger-snapping, happy listening somebody right now! And isn't that what it's all about?
As I've been listening for the past 5 hours, I can't help but think that Denon has a real winner here in the VL12 Prime, no matter who the target user may be. Could the VL12 be viewed as Denon's successor to their legendary DP-6xL series turntables? Definitely maybe. At the very least, the VL12 strikes me as a great option for that vinyl-listener looking for a new, modern direct-drive table that is above the usual suspects in the crowded $800-$1200 range. Bravo, Denon!!!
Thanks for reading...