You're assembling an excellent system, and your "short list" for turntable/tonearm combos include fine choices. I have no personal experience with the Transrotor, but you wouldn't be making a bad choice with any of them.
That said, I would personally choose the VPI Super Scoutmaster. While not inexpensive at $5500 or so, I think it represents exceptional value (cost vs. performance). It also offers at least one unique feature: the peripheral clamping ring which is perhaps the best clamping system available (with the possible exception of vacuum clamping, which is much more complex). Even Harry Pearson of TAS thinks highly of it, choosing it (and the VPI HR-X) for "Golden Ear" awards. The only "quibble" that some people might have is about the tonearm, but I think that Harry Weisfeld has done a great job of designing an integrated system of TT and tonearm that works very well together.
I too suggest the VPI Super Scoutmaster!
I have one, having traded up from a Scout and it realy does kick ass
The VPI Super Scoutmaster + JMW is going to be the easier of the tables to get up and spinning. I never traded-up my VPI Scout, as it still kick's ass in a second system. The The VPI Super Scoutmaster is spun in my main rig, and it does kick it up a notch by opening a whole 55 gallon drum of major ass whooping!
If you're looking for a turntable that gets you closer to the music with minimal colorations then I suggest you audition the Teres and Galibier tables.
Both are sold direct, so offer stunning value for money - excellent materials, engineered for a lifetime's listening and fantastic quality. Sonically both compare favorably with tables that retail for double their price.
Galibier and Teres are similar in that they are both run by guys who are passionate about pushing the boundaries of analog reproduction.
While staying with VPI, you might consider going with a fully loaded Aries 3 i.e. upgrade to motor flywheel combo ($900); outer ring clamp ($600) and center weight ($150). This gives you the sandwich chassis and the flywheel as in the HRX and a 10.5 arm to boot.
I would go with a Mambo and Moerch DP-6. You will not see the bass and clarity the table is capable of with an SME. I think you'll get a lot more solidity, focus and clarity with the Mambo compared to the VPI. Clearaudio is also on the slow and opauqe side.
VPI, lot's of positive reviews! Mambo, not many. But look at the design and build quality
I agree with Aoliviero, I wouldn't have an SME arm - they tend to be bass heavy but very bloated and flabby. They sound acceptable on classical music but poor on all other genres. You can upgrade the wiring and cable so why not just go for a Tri-planar or OL Illustrious in the first place?
One of the best vinyl dealers in London says that he will only sell SME arms with SME tables - otherwise they give a really slewed frequency response fitted on anything else.
Dear firstname.lastname@example.org : First on the TT: The AS Mambo beats easily the other TTs that you named, as a fact and with the right stuff the Mambo is very hard to beat not only in its price range but at 3-4 times its price, no doubt about.
Now, if you are trying to invest that kind of money on your analog rig before you decide which tonearm I would like that you think on a better phono cartridge, not that the Black is not a good cartridge: it is, but if you change it for ( example ) a Dynavector XV-1. Koetsu RSP, Van denHul Condor/Colibri, your quality sound reproduction will be marvelous against the Black. Remember that the cartridge is the item that take out what it is on the LP.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I don't know what ancillary equipment the SME critics out there have but I have had a Graham 2.0, JMW 12.5 and listened to the Wheaton on some really expensive tables. I will happily keep my SME V, thank you. The VPI arms are absolutely primitive in design compared to any of the others mentioned.
Dear Pgulrich : I agree with you about the SME tonearm: very good performer and great build quality.
Regards and enjoy the music.
"[SME]...tend to be bass heavy but very bloated and flabby."
You may have heard that in a system involving the SME. I assure you the SME was not the culprit, unless it was defective.
I would think about J.C. Verdier "La Nouveau Platine"/Schroder Model 2 combination. I don't believe there are many TT/Tonearms two times more expencive which superpass this combo.
Thank you very much for your replies! Looking at the comments I had decided the AS mambo but now in my country, Spain, has problems with distribution. What the seller told me is that AS turntables were made by Thorens and relationship between 2 companies have now broken. Now this shop has 5 prepaid orders and turntables have not arrived yet. I love AS mambo but I don´t want to be the sixth...
Now the shop works with Acoustic Solid. I had thought about the ONE TO ONE model or then go on with the vpi SSM. What do you think?
Oh, by the way have you tried the LEHMANN AUDIO BLACK CUBE DECADE phono preamp??
Thanks in advance!!!
In my conversation with the 2 companies serving as US distributors of Acoustic Solid and Acoustic Signature 'tables, I got a different story. I'm told that A-Solid has manufactured their tables in-house for about 10 years. A-Sig started a few years back when the director of sales for A-Solid set up his own shop to manufacture tables (in-house) from the A-Solid designs and sell them as A-Sig. Some changes were made (dry bearing), but the tables are very similar and both are reportedly very good performers. FWIW, I recently ordered an A-Solid "Solid Black" table w/arm & cartridge for a second system. It appears to represent good value, but I'll know more once I receive it.
I think the bottom line is: Both companies offer very good tables because the common underlying design is very good and execution by both companies is well regarded,
Dear email@example.com: My advise is that contact directly to Acoustic Signature: firstname.lastname@example.org
and ask about, Gunther is a nice person.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Look for a used Systemdek IIX then get a good arm and tweak the table a bit (Dynamat on the motor, motor housing, under the plinth, under the arm board and strips on the suspension pieces - but just strips so too much weight is not added) get a good mat and your off and running. I did all of this and cannot here any motor noise with a stethescope or the volume cranked (belt on and off). You'll save a bit of money and have a great suspension table (The Systemdek is one of the only suspension tables that allows for tuning the suspension from the top). (Also make sure the ball bearing in the bearing is not stuck - WD-40 if it is and use some good gear oil). Use the money saved for a cartridge and music
i've have a vpi scout--changed cartridges 3 times, lyra helikon from a dynavector--then magic...a shelter 501mkII..phono stage...audio research ph5...i have very good interconnects..bottom line--it sounded fair no matter what i did till i put the top tubes in all my pre-amps and the whole sound opened up ten fold--just a thought from experience and allot of money spent and lost...the tubes :
mullard's 12au7's 1957 in my cary audio slp308 and four siemans cca from the 60's in my phono stage