Another VPI or something else for under $2k

I have a max out VPI SSM Ref (rim drive & super platter), it sounds superb in my main system.

I will be moving and want to setup a small analog system. Just bought a PCX modded PS Audio GCPH which I will use as pre/phono. I will be buying my analog used to maximize my return. Want to keep TT/arm budget under $2k, lower is better. I have some spare cartridges (Transfiguration Tempest, Rao something, and a Shure), haven't decided which one to use.

The usual suspects are:

VPI Superscout
Clearaudio Performance CMB (very rare in used market)
Nottingham Space 294 (most likely over $2k)

I want to try something other than VPI if I can, but VPI is most abundant and very proven. Another VPI?
if it were me and i were building a second system, i would look into a different flavor. you've got your chocolate (vpi), now see about a vanilla....or maybe butter pecan. yeah, butter pecan!
the Clearaudio in that group.
I chose the Acoustic Signature Samba over the Scout two years ago and have been very satisfied.

You should be able to find an original one for less than 1k and a Final Tool for less than 2k. The newer MkIIs are considerably more expensive.


Dedicated Audio has the Clearaudio Performance turntable bundle (with Satisfy tonearm and a Benz Silver cartridge) for $1995 (normally $3200). This is a brand new rig. Just fyi in case you were not aware of the deal. Here it is:
I replaced my Scoutmaster with the Acoustic signature Manfred last year.It comes with the RB-250 as the stock tonearm.I had intended to upgrade the arm,but have not found it sounds great with both the Ortofon Bronze and Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood!
Everyone should own a Linn at some point in their audio journey.
Thanks for the feedback.

Frogman, a friend has a Linn and let me borrowed it for a few weeks, it was fun to hear a different flavor but ultimately I like my VPI.

Cmalak, thanks for the link, I am very tempted. I once had a Champion L2 with SME IV.Vi, it was a bit flat sounding which seems to be the characteristic of acrylic. I know newer Clearaudio has moved away from acrylic so maybe it's time to consider them again.

I have heard lots of good things about Acoustic Signature, I will also research more into it.
For a couple hundred more you could have the Classic. it is superb.
I don't know the price but the new TW Acoustic Raven 0.5 smells good TT
If it is from TW Acustic, I am sure it will be more than $2k new...
the TW Acustic Raven 0.5 is in the $4K
The Well-Tempered Amadeus has generated a lot of interest amongst Well-Tempered owners and other vinyl enthusiasts. As a result, this appears to be a good time to acquire a used Well-Tempered Reference set-up for something reasonably close to your price limit.
I agree that butter pecan is the way to go. Strain out the pecans before damping your tonearm with it. Add a little to the main bearing to get a sweeter sound.

Seriously though, you've got a VPI so try something else. I've often thought of getting a second TT (I also have the SSM Rim-Drive) and if I had...

a lot of money I'd try - Teres
a little money I'd try - Rega

I'd really like to try the Grand Prix Monaco, but that would require a lot of money stacked on top of even more money. (The SSM Rim-Drive was a multi-year budget stretcher for poor me.)

I recently got an Acoustic Signature after a few years of owning a Scout. I found an original Final Tool and just ordered the new motor, pulley, and belt for it from Germany. Total came in right at $2k. I'm very impressed with the Final Tool, but the basic sound of this table is different than the VPI "house sound." I'd say VPI's sound very organically integrated and are designed to let you focus on the music first and think about audiophile concerns secondarily. The FInal Tool is a bit more analytical sounding, noticeably more revealing, and requires more effort in partnering with preamps and cartridges to fine tune the sound to your preference. Different approaches, both rewarding.
I got a butter pecan! picked up a Nottingham Hyperspace with Anna arm, thought I would only be able to get a 294 at that price point. Will see how this one pan out, I have always want to try a Nottingham after owning Oracle Delphi V, Clearaudio Champion L2, and Sota Star Sapphire before.

Now which cartridge to mount on this 12" arm?
A class "C" Rega can be tweaked to deliver class "B" sound.
Since the Anna is unipivot arm, many of the good choices for the JMW tonearms (med. to high compliance) will also be good matches. The Anna arm has a higher effective mass, though, so a lighter cartridge than those you use on your VPI may be better. A Grado Sonata would be an excellent choice, I would think, as would a Lyra Dorian or an Audio Technica AT-0C9.