I moved to an Oracle Audio Paris and I am quite happy. No vibration, speed dead on (at least with Turbo PSU), and an integrated dustcover. I'm less enamored of the re-badged Pro-ject tonearm, but mostly because it is fiddly to set up; The results are very good. Cartridge is the same Ortofon Rondo Bronze I used on the Scout.
I have to say a significant upgrade to the Scout.
At up to $7k (I am assuming new price), you are spoiled for choice - there are some fantastic tables out there that could well outperform the scout. You can get a fully tricked out VPI Classic Mk 3 with tonearm, which is a really solid table. You could also swing an SME 10, which might be the last table you ever need. There is even a dealer demo Scheu Analog Laufwerk One with arm on the 'gon now in your price range, which is a really good buy, and also could be an end of the road table for you. Or if you consider used and want to go crazy, someone is selling a Technics Sp-10 Mk-3 right now for $7.5k - if you get that table, you have hit audio nirvana - it will compete with absolutely anything out there.
I don't have much experience with the Clearaudio Ovation, so hesitate to comment on it. I would only note that the Master Reference seemed well worth the extra $$ to me.
Best of luck in your search.
I have read some threads and some say that a Linn lp12 is better than an SME? Really? There is one on eBay for 600.00.
Linn has never manufactured any turntable, regardless of how much modification, that is in the same league as a current VPI or Clearaudio table in the $3,000 or above range. Nothing at all. Not even close. Way too much coloration.
Not only does VPI make a great turntable, but it also has great customer support and very high trade value. ..seems like a no brainer.
The SME looks interesting
Has anyone heard VPI's new Avenger?
I have a hopped up VPI TNT Jr (have about 8 grand in it) and would get rid of it for a clear audio ovation. I am quite intersted in the magnetic bearing.
Stringreen, I was at VPI's audio open house at Harry's home yesterday as host to a few audio societies. They have 4 listening rooms set up with different systems. I heard the Avenger both with and without the magnetic drive system. Both sounded excellent. The magnetic seemed to have more of a natural ease and flow.
If I had your budget, I would look at the Jean Nantais Reference Lenco Mk3 or Garrard 501.
Thanks Hiendmuse....was wondering if its worth replacing my Superscout Rim Drive, Classic platter, 3D arm with the mag drive. I understand it will be about 6000 dollars... The rim drive has better "flow" than the belt tables..even the Classic...just wondering.
I listened to the VPI prime the other day. Not sure what was wrong but we had Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions on and their was all kinds of woofer rumble. Woofer pumping uncontrollably, sounded like Star Wars in surround was on in an adjacent room. Not sure if it was a cartridge combatibilty issue, think it was a Lyra. Maybe they had the sub up too loud. They had the system on a HRS stand. Beautiful system, but something was wrong. The Prime an Lyra tracked well, but I did not like the sub pumping like that. I thought my modest scout sounded pretty good in comparison no woofer pumping here at home. That turned me off for considering the Prime. Any thoughts on what could cause this?
Hiendmuse, what else did you hear at Harry's? I'll be going up to see him this Friday.
I listened to the VPI prime the other day. Not sure what was wrong but we had Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions on and their was all kinds of woofer rumble. Woofer pumping uncontrollably, sounded like Star Wars in surround was on in an adjacent room.
Any thoughts on what could cause this?
that album was recorded in a Toronto Church with one microphone. There is a huge amount of ambient info captured.
Much of this info is below 20 hz. if not using a rumble filter, this will excite the woofer.
This is one reason if everything else is ok.
Are you using a rumble filter on your system ?
if you go to a speaker repair shop where they recone drivers and do repairs.
Ask the guy to hook up a woofer to a signal generator. The woofer will start shaking violently below 20 hz.
Stringreen, I have been toying with the idea of replacing my SSM with rim drive, Classic platter, and 3D tonearm too. The Avenger is a drop dead gorgeous table. The only advantages to the Avenger I see are that a 12 inch tone arm can be used, and you can install up to 3 tonearms. The downsides to me were that I would have to give up the double motor rim drive, which I really like, the Classic platter with the special oil-pumping bearing Harry had custom made for me, which has improved performance, and that the tonearms do not have plinth area below to better protect the arm and cartridge from possible damage by a careless movement with my hand or arm. I've also done a few more tweaks to my table over the years which has further improved its performance.
I spoke to someone at the meeting I know who very recently traded in his SSM with rim drive and HW TNT platter for an Avenger with magnetic drive. He says he really likes it, but I personally didn't hear anything other than a slightly smoother sound and slightly better bass drive.
I really didn't notice an appreciable difference or improvement with the Avenger versus what I now have. Both are Class A tables. The only advantage I see with the Avenger is that if you want an additional arm or two, maybe one with a dedicated mono cartridge, that it's more convenient than having to swap tone arms.
I found listening to the Avenger, while excellent and beautiful to look at, made me appreciate the performance and sound of my upgraded and tweaked SSM even more. I think the somewhat understated styling of the SSM makes it very attractive in a more utilitarian way. I'm still toying with the idea of going to an Avenger, but have less of an urge than before hearing it. If I were to get it, it would be with the magnetic drive, as the version without it I really didn't hear much of any improvement.
Hope this helps.
Tony, I heard the Prime table as well. Excellent table, tremendous performance and features (VTA tower, Classic platter, 3D tone arm), great sound, amazing value for the money.
It actually did not sound bad except for the Cowboy Junkies. The speed stability was pretty decent without SDS.
Hiendmuse, thanks for that. I'd love to get your impression of how a Prime set up that way sounded next to a Classic 3 (if you could make that comparison).
Tony I have not heard the Classic 3 so I can't make the comparison.
Thanks for the insight. I talked to Harry about the performance upgrade to the Superscout with the mag drive...he said it was a huge difference. Personally I couldn't see how it could make such a difference since the mag drive would eliminate vertical instabilities/resonances..and my table sits on the concrete slab of the house on very heavy points...I suspect an improvement, but not to the tune of 6000 dollars. (just a personal comment).
I am not using a rumble filter. Just seemed like a lot of rumble for a 100k+ system
I replaced my Rega P9/Lyra Delos (a very respectable table) with a VPI Aries 3x3/Ortofon Cadenza Black and I was just overwhelmed by the increase in audio nirvana. My first VPI experience and it is very positive.
I agree Stringreen. I would expect an improvement with the magnetic drive on my SSM, but wonder about a huge difference. I read on a post on the VPI site from HW himself that the mag drive will cost closer to around $2,000, not the $6,000 cost which had been erroneously reported earlier. For that amount I may try it when it comes out for the SSM, but I wouldn't go for $6,000.
Thanks Hiendmuse....I agree...a 2000 dollar experiment would be reasonable for me too.