I currently have a VPI Scoutmaster which I purchased for $2500.00. I am seeking to upgrade to either a Super Scoutmaster Signature which retails for $5500.00 and comes with the upgraded JMW-9 tonearm with Nordost wiring, SDS\speed controller, outer ring clamp and center weigth. I can send my current table back to VPI with $3000.00 to
acheive this upgrade. Now for my second option. Sell my Scoutmaster for $1500-$1700.00 and put the money toward an Aries 3 which comes with an upgraded JMW 10i tonearm which is 10 1/2 inches compared to the 9 inch on the Scoutmaster.
I always felt that the Scoutmaster was limited because it could only handle a 9 inch arm. Now I take the sale proceeds of my Scoutmaster and send VPI $4700.00 and I have an Aries 3, without the SDS, outer clamp and Center
Weight. I could then purchase the SDS, outer clamp and center weight later. My question is has anybody heard both
tables. Is the Aries 3 a better table than the Scoutmaster. It retails for $2200.00 more, but I don't want to make a decision by pricing alone. But I am swayed by the ability to use the 10 1/2 inch arm. Any help would be appreciated.
Kjl -

What aspects of your current turntable's sonic performance do you find lacking?

In what sense do you feel that upgrading your turntable to further up the VPI line will address these current problems that you are having?

Why do you care whether your arm is 9" long or 10.5" long?
Having had the Scoutmaster, and having upgraded from the stock JMW 9 to the JMW 9 Signature, and if I were in your position, I would consider a 3rd option: keep the SM, upgrade to the 9 Signature arm (700.00 if you trade in the stock arm), then invest in a Walker Precision Motor Controller. My reasons for saying this:
1. You say you feel limited by the 9" arm. The added mass of the signature 9 arm and the much better wiring make it far more compatible with a wider range of cartridges than the stock arm. The essential design of all VPI arms is on the unipivot. The longer the arm tube from the pivot, the chance for loss of rigidity. If you look at the audio press reviews of the JMW arms - some feel the 9 series is the best of the bunch.
2. The Aries 3 is a radical redesign of the Aries series. I'm not sure I would want to jump into a new table design it's first year out (kind of like buying a car in it;s first year on the market), but, that's just me.
3. I had a chance to compare side by side, the Walker Motor Controller and the SDS on my Scoutmaster, and the Walker was the better all the way around.

For the same 2200.00, you would have the Scoutmaster with the JMW 9 Signature tonearm and the Walker Motor Controller.
With this combination and a really good cart (Shelter 501,901 or 90X), you will be in vinyl heaven for a good long time.

I lived very happily with this exact setup until circumstances gave me the opportunity to upgrade to the Walker Proscenium Gold Signature table (but I did keep the motor controller that I used with my Scoutmaster)
I have not heard the Aries. The Superscout Master is the best TT I've ever own. I'm very happy with it's performace. The only thing I did was upgrade my center clamp--Not much difference in sonics, but I think my brass clamp with my custom cover looks way cooler.

That's a VERY nice looking rig.....

you did a really nice job on that cover.
i should be getting my aries 3 very soon, the hold up was a improvement to the motor, looks like next week, i know its going to be a big upgrade to my mmf 7, will give my impressions on the aries then,
I would ask VPI about their rationale for all of the overlapping models.

It's my humble opinion that the consumer deserves to fully understand a manufacurer's design philosophy.

Thom @ Galibier