VPI Prime 21+ Belt-driven Turntable Review

April 18, 2021 § Leave a comment


Gerry Rafferty’s ‘On A Night Like This’ from North And South [London Records LONLP55] had me grinning from ear to ear. Rafferty’s voice was strong and focused, but best of all was the backing percussion. This bounds around behind the main instruments like an excited puppy. Bongos on the right? Check. Kick-drum slightly left of centre? Absolutely. The Prime 21+ captured these elements with ease and highlighted them, albeit with subtlety, making it a delight to follow their appearance as the track unfolded. The bass line also had a pleasing presence, underpinning the song in a fluid and easy manner.

Finally, I swapped the Shyla cartridge for my regular Clearaudio MC Essence [HFN Aug ’17]. The Clearaudio pick-up’s excellent bass tightened up the lower registers very slightly, even though it didn’t disguise the deck’s signature upper-bass warmth. It also revealed a little more treble sparkle than the Shyla, at the expense of the latter’s rich midband quality and its more general sense of cohesion. Clearly, VPI has voiced its cartridge well – the Prime 21/tonearm/Shyla trio making for a compelling one-stop vinyl-playing solution for the enthusiast on the upgrade trail.

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