5 tables one choice, opinions please

VPI Scout with JM9 arm
Rega P5
Music Hall MMF9
NOTTINGHAM HORIZON with upgrade arm

Wich do you feel is best of these similar priced tables for strictly Classical Music, whatever option it will be paired with a MM cart in the $500 or so ball park, thanks
For classical my choice would be the VPI or Nottingham. Nottingham will give you darker backgrounds but also a warmer sound overall, while still keeping the detail being quick. The Scout is more forward sounding, more emphasis on the highs, about the same detail as the Nottingham. Never quite liked my Rega on classical although it is good table.

With either table I would go for a MC cart for classical as for example the Benz Ace. The Denon DL103R would be a good cart for classical, and does work with the Scout in my own experience (although not the best match, calculation wise). The Benz can be had as high output version and will go into a MM input on the phonostage.

For your info: I owned Michell Tecno, Rega P3, VPI Scout and heard the Nottingham extensively.

Good luck!

Dear Chadnliz : Acoustic Signature Final Tool.


Regards and enjoy the music.
Nottingham - just more "musical" and alive than the VPI.
Thanks for you time to post, the Acoustic is too expensive and my dad wont buy used, plus the blue may turn him off, my first choice was the Nottingham untill I found out it has a very low torque motor and my dad is old school and likes to clean his records on the platter wich most likely wont work without him spinning the platter, I have heard several negatives about VPI being bright. also he has a Creek MM stage and I think too many changes may scare him off so I was thinking of a Grado cartridge such as the Sonata, please keep ideas comming I really appreciate it!
For classical I think timing should be extremely important.So which of these tables has the best speed control?
Good point Steani, add that to my list of questions.
Nottingham untill I found out it has a very low torque motor and my dad is old school and likes to clean his records on the platter which most likely won't work without him spinning the platter.

No, the Nottingham won't work - if you apply too much pressure to the platter, it will stop. Actually the turntable is designed that way - you stop it by simply stopping the platter from rotating.

I have heard several negatives about VPI being bright
Having heard three of the above table, the VPI is the "brightest" table. It still has a nice balance top to bottom, even compared to the Rega which slightly emphasizes the mids and the fairly warm sounding Nottingham. Mating it wit the right cartridge would be essential.

Including the SDS in the VPI does stabilize the speed and makes sure the speed is accuratly 33.3rpm. I would not run any table anymore without the possibility of finetuning the speed.

One thing to keep in mind: The VPI is a unipivot which might ot be ideal for your dad as hands tend to get shaky with age.

Good luck,

One more suggestion; Why not get an older style Thorens 125, 126, 150 or 160? I am sure your dad might appreciate the semi-automatic Thorens tables.

In fact, I just picked up a Thorens TD166MKII for a great price and will let it run against the Scout soon.

I'll suggest one more option:

The Acoustic Solid Wood (60mm platter) w/ microprocessor speed control, stock OEM RB300 and Ortofon Vigor HOMC cart @ $2K. IMHO this thing represents really unusual value and is worth checking out.

BTW I spent the best part of the past year looking for app. $2K analog set-ups. I looked at most of the units you listed. Head to head comparison is very difficult when shopping - too many variables. FWIW, I didn't get a meaningful chance to hear the Nottingham, but preferred the VPI to the Rega, Music Hall, and Project in a series of "listen-offs".

I also listened to the A-Signature line Raul recommends. Very nice stuff, but more in the nearly $4K range w/arm and cart. In this range, I liked the A-Sig products better than the similar designs from Acoustic Solid. But in comparing the MDF plinthed, less costly units, the A-Sigs didn't fare as well vs the A-Solid equivalents (IMHO). Specifically, there is no A-Sig version of the more massive A-Solid Wood.

As I was adding analog to my den and living room systems, I bought two units; the A-Solid Wood and the discontinued Transrotor Sirius, w/modded OEM RB250 and Clearaudio Aurum Beta S. Both are fine tables, but the A-Solid sounds just a bit better (with either cartridge -in my system) and looks like a million bucks. I ponied up an extra $200 for the automotive black finish which was certainly worth it in my living room, but maybe not yours.

Good Luck,

How does Acoustic Signature compares to Nottingham ?
What are attributes of Acoustic Signature sound ?
As I noted in my post, I only heard the Nottingham very briefly w/ an unfamiliar cart in a very different system. I couldn't meaningfully compare it to any of the other 'tables I heard.

As to the more controlled comparisons with VPI, Rega, Project, Music Hall, A-Signature, Clearaudio/Marantz, Transrotor and a couple of others:

IMHO The A-Solid Wood had the most extended bass of the 'tables I heard, although there is definitely a slight but audible "wooliness" from the midbass down. (In a direct comparison to the Oracle/ Graham 2.2/Graham Nightingale through the multiple inputs on the Aesthetix Rhea in my main system, the A-Sig with a Clearaudio Aurum Beta S in place of the supplied Ortofon re produced slightly but audibly more extended and pitch stable organ pedal tones than the Oracle/Graham set-up). Although extended bass tones were notably pitch stable, there were also artifacts that imparted a bit of wooliness around the fundamental that was absent from the Oracle set-up. Eventually, I will probably try one of the many RB300 mods just to see if this helps.

Overall pitch definition was also audibly superior on the A-Sig to any of the other tables I really listened to(other than the Oracle Graham from mid-bass up). I'd note however, that the Transrotor was very, very good in this regard and I've seen complaints about the brand in this regard- so go figure.

I'd only add that the "more controlled" comparisons I did while shopping were hardly perfect. There were many variables involved which I attempted to control for by subbing CD versions of the same musical source material into each system as a "reference point" - hardly perfect, but useful in comparing two analog sources throug a single system in one store to 2different analog sources through a single system in anoher store.

OTOH, the Oracle/Graham vs A-Solid vs Transrotor comparison I did in my system was rigidly controlled.

Hope this is helpful.

I had the VPI Scout which I liked but I got the upgrade bug and sold it.

I purchased the Nott able and am very, very pleased with it.

I had some trepidation originally regarding the idiosyncratic nature of the table:

--No arm lift lever on the headshell (supposedly sets up resonance in the tonearm)with the supplied arm.

--You have to start the table by rotating the platter.

--You have to stop it buy manually stopping the platter.

BUT, the results are truly astounding. Build quality is excellent.

I can very highly recommend Larry at Hollywood Sound. He walked me thru the set-up on the phone and was very patient. Nott is highly under-rated in the US because they do not advertise in Stereophile or TAS.

Good luck.
The Nottingham Space Deck, not the Horizon, is a more appropriate comparison to the Scout. In that scenario the Nottingham is clearly a better table/arm combo.
Bill (Audiofeil), The Spacedeck ($3000) is almost twice the price of the Scout ($1600). The Horizon is much closer in price to the Scout. Of course, the Spacedeck is a far better table than any of the VPIs, I heard to date (including the VPI Junior TNT etc.). As for the Horizon-Scout comparison, I am not sure which one would take the lead.

If considering table above $2K, I would also take into account the new Galibier Serac that is due out this Fall. For $2.5K including RB250, it sounds like one of the best prospects for good sound.

You're absolutely correct. My bad. Apologies to everybody whom I misled. I have lost track of VPI pricing and was not aware of current Scout/JMW9 pricing.
5 minutes in the penalty box for stupidity.
Dear Chadnliz: I understand that you don't buy used but this is a great opportunity:


Regards and enjoy the music.
thanks again Raul, but with no arm and it being used it wont fly with my dad, it does look very nice though and again your help is appreciated.
I've had experience with all the tables you listed and would choose the Pro-ject 9.1 hands down. The VPI Scout would be my second choice.
01-05-08: Bobgates said:
"I've had experience with all the tables you listed and would choose the Pro-ject 9.1 hands down. The VPI Scout would be my second choice."

I agree your comparison Bob, but this thread is two-years old. Anyone going with the high end of Pro-ject these days should probably go with the RM10 for just a little more. You gain an even better 10" arm, thicker platter, magnetic repulsion bearing, and the isolation platform (a really important part of the total system) is part of the package. Frankly I wonder how they're selling the 9.1s these days.

I recently bought a Pro-ject RM10/Sumiko Blackbird package for under $2900. If not the top choice in this price range, I think that most would agree that it's in the top three.

I'm quite happy with the Rega P5 with Rega Exact 2 MM cartridge. I find it neutral, detailed, smooth - everything I like EXCEPT euphonious "bloom". I liken it to my old Shure V15IV from the 70's. It will track and play anything.