This is the VAS NOVA/HW phono cartridge which was created as a project by Steve Leung (of VAS) and Harry Weisfeld (of VPI). They are essentially a special edition of the NOVA that is considered to work especially well with the VPI tonearms. I bought this directly from Mr. Weisfeld last Spring, and installed it on a VPI Classic 3 with 10" JMW 3D-Printed uni-pivot Tonearm. I liked the cartridge quite well, but that turntable was installed in a system where it was not the first choice most nights, and so I would conservatively estimate that this cartridge has been played for well under 200 hours.
Speculation on the VPI Forum web site has been that this $1200 cartridge sounds better than many $2000 cartridges, so it is sort of a "best buy," at least for folks running VPI equipment. In my opinion, it was exceptionally good in the mid-range and on vocals. But this is just my opinion. You can read more about it on the VPI Forum in Harry's Corner where there is a thread devoted to it.
Mine arrived with a data sheet that included the following information and called the cartridge "HW's Version of the VAS Nova."
Tracking Force - 1.65 grams
Weight - 9.4 grams
Internal Impedance - 6 Ohms
Recommended Load - 100 to 500 Ohms, 500 is ideal.
VTA - Set cartridge parallel to record or slightly higher in the rear.
Stylus - Elliptical
Cantilever - Hollow Aluminum
Body - Ebony
I do not know what the compliance is, but in the JMW 3D-Printed uni-pivot Tonearm, I did not notice tracking issues or woofer pumping due to record warps or other low frequency inputs.
I do not know the output. There is some discussion of this in the thread on the Forum. Mine came from the very first batch that Steve and Harry ginned up. I have run it at 100 to 500 Ohms using Conrad Johnson and Audio Research phono preamps with gain ranging from 55 dB to 59.5 dB, and the output has been fine with either CJ or AR control preamps and amps. I think anything from 54 to 66 dB would be fine, depending on the efficiency of your speakers and the power of your amps. I've been running it with my control preamp volume set to about 10 O'Clock.
Why am I selling it? Because I am trying really hard to cut back to 3 total turntables here, one for 78 rpm with a Sure 78S cartridge, one with a Lyra Kleos, and one with a Lyra Etna. As nice as the VAS NOVA/HW is, its not in my long term plan to keep it.
Note from the pictures that it is packed in the original wooden box with the original stylus guard. It is not shown in the pictures, but I will also include the data sheet (owner's manual) cited above.
This is a cool bit of VPI VAS joint history, and probably the best cartridge that you can buy anywhere near its price point.
Insured shipping with tracking to CONUS is free. If you are not in the 48 Contiguous United States, please ask me to get you a discounted shipping quote BEFORE you buy the cartridge.
PayPal is my preferred payment option (no upcharge).