Better than Aries Scout?: the New VPI Scoutmaster

Just noticed some listings for a new VPI product: the Scoutmaster, which apparently falls between the Scout and Aries in their turntable line. Anyone have a chance to listen to this one? Opinions? Based on my own audition, along with all the positive opinion here, I was pretty set on the Scout, but this looks interesting as well. My Rega P2/Blue Point is getting very tired, and it's time for a meaningful upgrade... How do I spend my $2K budget? Rest of system is Linn LK1/LK2--Spendor SP1/2E. Nottingham-folk especially welcome to chime in. All insights most welcome and appreciated.

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Hi Jim, I'd suggest the following:

ARM - keep the arm from your P2
It's an RB250, right? There's simply no better arm in this price range, and it's free! It's way better than the table and cartridge you're using at the moment. The RB250 will mount easily on many other tables and, if there's money left over, there are worthwhile performance upgrades available from Origin Live, Expressimo and others. This is an easy recommendation.

TURNTABLE - Teres 135 ($1575) or preferably the 150 ($1775)
I don't know if you're familiar with Teres but you won't find a better line of TT's between $1500 and $5000. No one's heard a Scoutmaster yet AFAIK, but comparing specs makes the similarly priced Teres models look awfully good. Just one example: many Scout and Aries owners have realized meaningful performance improvements by replacing their VPI motors with the Teres motor, which is better in every way. You owe it to yourself to give them a look.

That leaves $225-425 for a cartridge. The best choices will depend somewhat on your phono stage. Others here know cartridges in this price range better than I do. I'm sure they can help.
Hi Doug,

Thanks very much for the thoughtful suggestions about my turntable upgrade path. I'm not an experienced DIY technician, so I've not thought seriously before of the Teres route. But I like the idea of using the RB-250 (modified) on the new table. The sanding/finishing part of the Teres kit should not be a problem, but it looks like the tonearm mount calls for drilling, complicated (and necessarily precise) positioning, etc. How much of an engineer does one need to be in order to get a kit-Teres up and running?

If your mind sets for the Scout, get it and later upgrade to the Scoutmaster. You simply can't go wrong with the Scout/JMW-9 tonearm combo and a good cartridge like Benz Glider, Sonata,etc..
I just got the new Aries 2 Black Knight and it's very very good. I upgraded from a Rega P-25 and there is NO comparison bewteen the two. You could get one for the 2k budget too! If I can further help feell free to email me!
gotta be the worst name for a hi end component ever.
With a name like Scoutmaster, it has to be good.
if their next entry level table is a 'cub scout', i'm switching brands.
I heard they are coming out with a entry level table called the 'Girl Scout' with Brownie-9 tonearm.
I heard 69 as the tone arm.............for the Girl Scout!
the plynth is handcarved from balsawood

The only difference between a "kit" Teres and a "complete" one is sanding/polishing. Otherwise they're identical.

Assembling a Teres is simple. No machining, no drilling, no engineering. I can't think of a high end TT that's easier.

Chris Brady will drill the armboard hole for you. Tell him you want a 25mm hole for a Rega arm + VTA adjuster. If you just say "Rega" he'll drill it 24mm and you'll have no room for a VTA sleeve.

The only critical assembly stage is installing the bearing. No tools are required but you must follow the instructions carefully. (You can download these from the website if you want to preview them.)

Setting the angle of the armboard is important but very easy. Just measure, hold and tighten up one bolt. Aligning your cartridge will be much more difficult, but that's true on any TT. That's a seperate discussion of course.

Hope this is more helpful than confusing. Welcome to high end vinyl madness.