Perhaps the best course of action would be to contact A.J. Conti @ Basis, and see if he would offer you some sort of trade-in value, so you can upgrade to the latest model Vector.
A.J. is a pretty nice guy, and he might do it.
My two cents worth.
What is it you dislike about your Vector I? I thought it was a pretty good arm when I heard it, and a very good arm for the money.
- No easy VTA adjustment, but Chris's VTA adaptor would solve that for just a few hundred dollars.
- No fine VTF adjustment, but slipping a few O-rings on/off the end stub solves that for free. That's how I tune VTF on my TriPlanar VII and it works flawlessly.
The strongest competitor I can think of for under $4K (new) is a Schroeder Model Two, which is a stupendous arm for around $2500. Of course there's a long lead time. The Model Two might give you a lower noise floor, but I'd wager the Vector is more dynamic and punchy. It might be a lateral move with a different flavor more than an upgrade.
A TriPlanar VII or Schroeder Ref would probably better it, as they should for the money, but you do have a great value arm.
I also own a Vector rev I tonearm; an excellent tonearm with superior tracking, etc. The current version of the Vector is an upgrade sonically relative to our rev 1's. I don't know all of the differences between the 2 arms, though I know the current arm uses the new Basis interconnect cable (yep, Basis is now in the cable business) which in itself would make a large & beneficial sonic difference. If there is a way to demo the current rev, it might float your boat & be an easy upgrade if you decided to acquire it.
I have a Vector I arm; I am pleased with its performance. My primary beef with the design is with the inability to adjust VTA easily. I have resorted to making a series of spacers (PVC pipe) to fit between the base of the arm and the armboard, each spacer being about .3 millimeters different in height. I have been told that I am better off selling my current arm and buying a new one than to retrofit the old arm, particularly because the most signficant upgrade is actually the tonearm wiring.
I have heard, though not in my system, Schroeder arms (reference), and that is a very nice arm too. I got to see the US distributor set the arm up; that is a task I would not want to do myself (threading the monofilament "bearing" and setting the gap between the magnets is a bit tricky). Also, the friend getting the Schroeder waited for more than a year to get his arm. It is my understanding that arthritis, or some such ailment, makes it difficult for Mr. Shroeder to turn out many arms and so a backlog has developed.
By the way, I have heard the Basis interconnect and speaker cables. In the system I heard the speaker cables in, they really sounded good -- very dynamic and gutsy. I was surprised how much louder the speakers sounded when the Basis cable replaced either XLO limited or NBS (Omega II, I believe).
Try the Dynavector 505 MKII arm. It is extraordinary and certainly matches well with your cart.
As a dealer I have tried many arms. I cannot speak of the Vector from personal experience, but I have had the Graham, Tri-Planar, Moerch, Schroeder and quite a few others. The build qality of the Dynavector and design is truly outstanding.
I'm also a fan of the Vector tonearms, although I'm not using one now. From what I've heard about the Vector 3, I would have to agree with Tubes108. I think the cabling alone would be worth the upgrade over the model 1.
Since you have a Teres I think Doug's suggestion to get the VTA adjuster from Chris is a great idea. This is the only short-coming of the Vector IMO. The VTA adjuster that A.J. supplies is very well engineered but is also more than twice as much as the Teres VTA adjuster. The VTF adjustment on the Vector is essentially the same on our Tri-Planars so the o-ring method should work very well.
Also, if you haven't experimented with the dampening oil you may find that you can tweak out a little more performance to suit your taste.
Any chance you can expand on tweaking with damping fluid. I have a basis 2200 with vector III arm. Are you referring to the fluid in the PODS? Thanks.
Walkelin, You beat me too it! I was going to ask the exact same question!
(I too have the Vector III, with the latest cable and the Micrometer VTA adjuster on my 2001 turntable. Great tonearm, IMHO!)
Okay Dan, inquiring minds want to know!!
Walkelin, I'm speaking of the oil in the bath of the Vector. The Basis manual just says something like "fill to the bottom of the small bearing" and that's it. Much like Graham's description of the dampening fluid level in the 2.2.
If you remove fluid you will increase dynamics and transparency. Too much and the bass will go flabby. It is definitely a tunable parameter and I did not find it near as finicky as the 2.2.
There really isn't anything I dislike about the Vector. It really is a great arm and tracks like a champ. I was just wondering if it is possible to do as well with another arm. The only reason I was looking at other arms was because I still have the table the arm came with and it may be easier to sell the table with the arm. Dan, you know the table.
I think I may just stick with the Vector.
Thanks everyone for the responses.
Yes, Nutella, I remember that table. Very good setup for the money. There is without a doubt a very special synergy with the Vector and Basis tables. If it were me, I'd sell the table with the Vector since both are the older models. You should be able to get most, if not all, of your money back. You might do better selling the two separately, but that's really hard to know.
Anyway, I completely agree with Doug if you are looking for a better arm. Both the Tri-Planar and Schroeder would be in the top tier. Then again, I've not spent time with a Model 3 and there are some very good reports about the Graham Phantom.
There is not much detail I can share about the Vector dampening fluid level. I think it's best to start with just enough in the bath so that the bottom of the housing just begins to contact the oil. Then listen and add a bit at a time until you think the bass is tight and the dynamics are still there. You'll probably end up a millimeter or so below that small horizontal bearing.
Nutella can probably share how bad the Vector sounds with no dampening at all since I neglected to send him the oil the first time. :) Definitely don't want to hear it that way as I recall.
Dan, you are right, the Vector without the damping fluid sounds very anemic. The detail is there but there is no body or bottom end.
I have played with the fluid levels and have found what I feel suits my system best. A great tool is to go to your local vet and get a syringe to suck up exess fluid. There is no needle in this syringe since it is only designed to administer meds to pets orally. You can easilly play with fluid levels with this.
Hey, a Vector 3 just came up. Maybe I will check it out.
HaHa! I tried the syringe thing but my hands got tired from pulling against the viscosity of the silicon oil. I found a way to sort of scoop up little wads at a time.
If you get a Model 3 please post your impressions on the differences.