The Signature sits on its own four feet, which are a step up on the standard issue feet on the Prime. In fact, eagle eyed VPI followers might spot that these are the same feet found on the Classic Signature; solid, conical, adjustable feet with metal rings at their base. Their tower covers atop the chassis are also chrome plated to match (these are flat black in the Prime). These feet are required because of the additional weight of the Prime Signature chassis.
The additional thickness of the Prime Signature platter and the taller Signature feet mean the motor housing needs to be taller and its aluminium and steel housing is therefore heavier and also better at controlling vibration, resonance, and feedback relative to what is basically the same AC motor in the Prime. Finally, while the platter remains the same as the Prime, the Signature features the heavier stainless steel record weight (which is an option for the Prime… more on this later). The result of all this additional size and mass means the Prime now ships in two boxes instead of one (the second for the platter).
Perhaps slightly less immediately obvious are the changes to the tonearm between the Prime and Prime Signature. This new model uses the 3DR version, in place of the 3D model on the Prime. Aside from the new ‘metallic black’ gloss finish (which looks great in the flesh), the 3DS is internally wired with Nordost Reference wire, through to the terminal block. Finally, alongside the motor housing, the Delrin posts and armboard have all received a higher grade of stainless steel. Having done my time in a precision small turned parts factory, I’m guessing by looking at the two armbases side-by-side this has meant a move from Type 304 to Type 316 or even Type 440. What that means to non-steelheads is a move from standard stainless steel (which is slightly dull, but has good tensile strength but less good hardness) to the kind of steel used in watch cases, surgical implements, or cutlery, which combines a brighter look with very good tensile strength and very good to excellent hardness. OK, so I just hugged my inner nerd, here, but it was important in padding out the story!