You've got a nice system and you'll hear the benefits of an upgraded turntable/analog chain. However, the Scout is a high value product ( I had one for several years) and it sits in a sweet spot on the price/performance curve. IMO, going up the performance ladder from where you are now is going to be a case of the proverbial diminishing returns for exponentially greater dollars spent. That said, it's more complex than "how much do I need to spend." More than any other aspect of audio, analog done well is a synergistic amalgam of components that takes some experimentation and guidance to get right.
As to specific advice, I know people have a natural tendency to self-validate and recommend what they own and I'm going to guardedly do the the same. I was able to purchase a used German Acoustic Signature table for a very decent price, far lower than the price of new ones. There have been a number of Acoustic Signatures for sale on this site over the last year going for around 50% of new cost. There have been some reports of A.S. having quality control issues with their electronic motor control units in the past, not sure if this is a widespread problem or not. Mine has been rock solid reliable FWIW. VPI is a better known brand and service is more readily available and that plays into the brands better value retention I imagine. So, how much do you have to spend to improve over where you are now. Depends. Are you join to buy used or new? Buy a well known brand like VPI or a lesser known brand? There's not a simple answer.
Near the end of my post I meant to say "are you going to buy used or new"? I really wish the owners of this site would restore the ability to edit your posts!
not sure. will probably buy used
I would look into a better cartridge, prepreamp, ....also, I never had good luck at all with Cardas interconnects.....they were all grainy and dead sounding.
VPI tables are designed to be upgradeable all the way up the chain. Your Scout could be the basis for a really fine VPI table. Upgrades include power supply, platter, feet, bearing, and plinth. Most of the parts come up for sale on Agon and the other used gear listing sites at really good prices compared to new. I suggest that you look into getting a VPI SDS first, as the sound improvement from clean power can be dramatic. I also frequently see various VPI platter & bearing kits on the used market. Also, the stainless clamp ring & record weight are good upgrades. If you don't get the bang for the buck you are looking for, you can usually recover your money by re-selling them.
I bought an original TNT when they first stormed on the audio scene, but after 7 or 8 years, I caught the update bug too and traded up for a different mfg. table. I wish that I had had the foresight to see the upgrade path that HW was setting up to make almost all his turntables from interchangeable parts. Eventually I got a SSM Ref that I may someday upgrade again with the direct drive option, and maybe a 3D arm tube when they come up in the used market, but I will put my used parts on the market then too.
Buy what you want and let me take that VPI POS shit off your hand for a grand. I will dispose of it properly
Since you have a well thought out system to begin with, I would highly recommend a motor controller for your VPI. I implemented a Walker motor controller on my Scout and the positive attributes are undeniable, well worth the asking price.
Call Harry and ask about upgrades. There are several of interest.
I'd buy a used Basis and dump the amateur turntable.
I always wondered about the motor.
My experience as a long-time VPI Scout Signature owner strongly suggests that the most effective upgrade would not be a new TT, but rather a VPI SDS motor controller (highly worthwhile!). Assuming your speakers and amp(s) are top-of-the-line, other possibilities, depending, are a better cart and/or phono stage, and balanced AC (Equi=Tech) for your entire system. Only then, when all of those items are addressed (to the tune of maybe $6000++), might a more expensive and perhaps better TT make some noticeable audio difference and, hopefully, an improvement.
OTOH, if one just wants to show off how much money one can spend...
It may be very worth a try with a motor speed controller. Basis tables have always been well reviewed but I never heard one.
I would say if it is an original Scout with acrylic platter, save the money and upgrade to the Scout 1.1 platter. The upgrade cost is $400 for the bearing and platter and will give you great results. I don't want to down play the Classic but realistically the best bang for the buck is the upgrade path of the Scout. Another option is going for the big platter upgrade and getting the Classic platter and bearing for $800.
Side note, Judyazblues, I'm guessing someone involved with my company really pissed you off at some point you seem to be everywhere, that's okay though because a Basis is a fine table as well and AJ is a great guy! :)
A simple variac would probably help. It's a $50 or so purchase that allows the table to get started at standard wall voltage, then the voltage is manually dialed back to around 60 volts to smooth motor torque. Works nicely with my Aries.
Could you post the rest of your system? Cart, phono pre, amp, cables, speakers, isolation devices, etc?
As Macbuddah and Stringreen suggested, the Scout has an upgradeable path and maybe you could find better synergy by experimenting with different ancillary equipments. Who knows, maybe a better cart or phono pre would do.
The Scout is good enough to hold on with many TTs costing much more. I owned one for a few years and it paired extremely well with the DV P-75 (in enhancer mode) and DV 17D3.
Just play around the Scout to see what happens.
Skip the validation vpi, I don't need yours.
I think the scost is an extremely good value. Is the motor that comes with the classic different than the one on the scout? Does the heavier platter enhance speed control?
Why do you want to upgrade...what is it that you don't like about your system as it stands now
When I first got back to analog, I bought a Pro-Ject table, and was disappointed by it's build quality.
Next came a VPI Scout, which I subequently upgraded to a Signature, with a 300 RPM motor, which was a good sounding table, with a Dynavector XX2MKII cart.
I eventually tired of the Scout, and sold it, to try the vintage route. I then bought a Garrard 401, built a plinth, and mounted a Dynavector 501 arm on it.
This is what I will be staying with for the long haul. The precision of the Dynavector arm is a welcome relief from the wobbly nature of the VPI unipivot, overall, the sound quality is a very large improvement.
My opinion is that most of the upgrades offered by VPI are overpriced.
The mention of a Basis table is a good suggestion, also I have friends that use Transrotor tables, a Fat Bob w/ Triplaner arm, and a Fat Bob Reference with SME 309, both of which are outstanding, (and, very beautiful!) if you can get a good buy on one of these, I highly recommended them.
Regards, and best of luck,
you gonna sell your scout?
Dan....if your VPI arm wobbled you set it or the table itself up wrong. I've had 4 VPI arms....only one wobbled, but because the Superplatter was not built perfectly round...not the fault of the arm. Otherwise, the arm is as solid as any arm when tracking the record.
My opinion is that most of the upgrades offered by VPI are overpriced.
Now, ain't THAT the truth!
Upgrade the feet. The difference in the bottom end is not subtle.
The reason I was looking at upgrading is I recently purchased a Benz ref s. It sounds amazing. I always thought for years that there was something wrong with my table only to find out it was the cartridge was faulty. This cartridge sounds phenomenal on the scout. I thought as good as this cartridge sounds on the scout it must sound amazing on a higher end table. I WS told by a friend that Benz cartridges sound especially good on VPI tables and basis graham combos. Just was wondering how much better it can possibly get and how much do I have to spend to see a real significant difference.
Stanley, I assure you my JMW Signature was set up as well as humanly possible, at least by this human. Don't get me wrong, it was a very good sounding set up.
However, the fact that the Garrard 401, and Dynavector 501 (using either Soundsmith retipped XX2MKII or ESCCO modified Zu Denon 103R) is far superior to the best the Scout ever sounded. I understand the brand loyaly to VPI, I felt the same when I was an owner.
In audio, there are many, many ways to skin the proverbial cat, in fact, I find the possibilities mind-boggling, and as with a persons religous preference, I don't care what your preferences are. The longer I'm in audio, the more I find there are many more surprises, and lessons to be learned, waiting for me if I live long enough.
For example, I never thought I'd be happy with a 9 Wpc SET amp, yet I am. Just enjoy the experience, that's the important thing.
Have you considered the Well Tempered Labs Amadeus TT? Talked to other audiophiles and dealers who all concurred that this table is superior to the VPI Classic. I'm going to give this table a try. Maybe worth a audition for you..
Great comments above.
I second Stan's (Stringreen) comment about a cartridge upgrade. I used to own the Delos ... it's a "Tony The Tiger" great cartridge. But I moved up to the Kleos, its bigger brother. IMO, the Kleos is even better.
I also think Mat Weisfeld (VPI) is putting some good options out there for you too. I own an early version basic Classic plinth. I've made a number of incremental upgrades that have noticeably improved its performance, such as a DIY install of the Classic 3 base and wand, a VPI periphery ring and steel record clamp. My next tweak is to install a VPI 300 rpm motor as a DIY project. After that, Bear Paws.
Nobody local sells well tempered. I would hate to guess about something like this. Might be worth looking into. Love the sound I am getting right now from the scout and ref s. Great combination.
FWIW, Stereophile just did a review on this 'table. ( Well Tempered Labs Amadeus Mk. II.) The review seemed positive. I purchased this Mk. II version used in mint condition. I will keep you posted if you are interested. I'm in the process of set up and looking for some interconnects that will work with this TT. I currently own a Rega RP-6 and I am fairly confident the Well Tempered table will be a upgrade.
I am trading my scoutmaster on a Rega rp8 which I should have in a few days. I was going to do all the upgrades for vpi including the 3b arm but I couldn't justify the price. Rega 8 is reasonably priced at 3k with the apheta cartridge. I will let you know how it sounds compared to the scoutmaster
Snook2. I believe the Rega RP-8 with Apheta cartridge is 4k new. The table by itself is 3k. This is a very good choice also.
I received the rp8/apheta. I have been listening for a few days and its a nice surprise how good the resolution is compared to the scoutmaster/jmw arm/dynavector. Separation of instruments and vocal enunciation is what popped out the most. I like the looks of the table which is the antithesis of most of the tables I have owned. Real light and minimal footprint.
I would go with a different manufacturer.
I went from a loaded Scoutmaster to Aries 3 with the 3D arm. I stayed with VPI because I already had all the extras: outer ring, center weight, TNT feet, SDS controller.
I'm not impressed with the upgrade.
Now I'm doing what I should have; I'm getting rid of the whole VPI rig & start fresh.
I heard a great vinyl setup at the Capital Audio Fest based on the TW Raven GT. But I'm also partial to the Clearaudio Innovation Compact because it is 3 speed and accepts two arms.
So you like the regards better than the VPI?
It's a matter of taste and NEVER about which one is better.
Some people (including me) prefer the Rega over the VPI because of the richness and musicality of the Rega compared to the "revealing" nature of the VPI deck.
Please note that "revealing" does not mean harsh or over the edge. It just sound more analytical to my ears, nothing more, nothing less.
I owned the original Scout when it first came out and it sounded superb with my DV 10xGold L/DV P-75 combo. Cannot comment on new model but I'm extremely satisfied with Rega now.
Luckily I have a great friend who owns a local dealer. I visit often allowing me to listen to great tables for long periods of time.
Based on multiple listening sessions, I would only upgrade to a Townshend Rock 7. Again, a matter of preference.
It all boils down to taste and synergy?
I have now had the rega rp8 for over 6 months and it is still the best sounding table I have purchased. More dynamics and resolution over the three VPI's I have owned. One problem with the Rega is the magnesium brace. It has oxidized to a black film. This is common to magnesium but definitely looks bad. I live close to saltwater so I am not sure if this is a common problem.
For those looking for a positive change the rp8 is a good choice with the apheta cartridge
McBuddah.....I'll let you in on a secret that Harry told me. The Superscout rim drive/Classic Platter is a very minor click less than the VPI Direct Drive. It is nearly indistinguishable between the 2.
there's a chap called berhard fuss (do a search or pm me) he makes a very good power supply for asynchronous AC motors - they are two phase, have pitch adjustment and are cheaper than the SDS. two phase power supplies are a 'major' AC motor upgrade. Where are you based. Before you change the front end, consider a tonearm cable upgrade - I got a Nordost Tyr and was utterly astonished from the cable I originally had (TCI)
My first turntable was a Rega P25 with Lyra Dorian cart. I sold the Rega bought an VPI Scout (original model). That was a major upgrade. The bass, dynamics, detail level, all improved greatly. However last few years I heard some really great turntables. So I knew there were better turntables out there. I already knew there were more expensive turntables. But know I also knew some were not only more expensive, but also better. So the seed was planted. But if I were to upgrade my turntable I would first need a better phono amp. However in the mean time I had worn out my Lyra Dorian and replaced it with a Dynavector Te Katora Rua.
After trying out a few phono pre amps I bought the RCM Sensor Prelude. Sonically it was tie between the RCM and the Reference DXP SE. There we not the same sounding. Both had weak and strong points. But in the end I bought the RCM since the dealer gave me a better deal.
So with VPI/Dynavector/RCM combination I spinned the vinyl for about a year, year and a half. The RCM was a great upgrade but I knew that it could be better. But how to achieve that without breaking bank. Answer, look for a great second hand deal.
Recently I saw a SAC Girati Grande in a shop, it was at the back of the shop, without a tone arm. After speaking with the shop owner he was willing to get the SAC up and running but the tone arm was a bit of a discussion. Since the SAC came with a SME armboard and the shop didnt have any SME tone arms. I asked the shop to mount a Kuzma Stogi ref 313 VTA arm since he had a 2nd hand. I think Kuzma makes great arms. Someone I know advised me a Dynavector 507mkII arm. However I was not hear of it. I wanted the Kuzma.
A date was set for me to listen to the SAC/Kuzma combo. When I arrived at the shop I saw to my dismay thath the 507 was mounted. Nothing then and there that I could do about it. So I listened and I could not deny that the combination was great. It was better than I hoped for. This was about 3 weeks ago. Soon the SAC will be delivered. It needed some final tuning, new belts etc.
So I would advise you, visit your local dealers, see what they have, listen then decide. I would not by VPI upgrades. The SDS while it is great is overkill for a Scout and adding non VPI upgrades may or may not work well.
well, its been close to 4 years and I still have the humble scout. I will say that I believe it is one of the best values in audio out there. Listened to many tables and my final thoughts are if I am going to upgrade and have it make a measurable difference, I believe it has to be an aries or better in VPI lineup. Thats not to say that the prime or classic are not good. If you are just buying the first table, by all means they are great if you want to start with a great table but in my opinion for what its worth, I would rather buy more records and save for an aries, SME, basis, well, you get the idea. I think you have to spend at least 5 grand to make it worth it. I am not saying that because I have a scout but I have not heard anything that presents music in such a way for the money. YMMV but the Aries is the table I heard that really takes you to the next level in the VPI lineup. for me at least.
your updated and current post is timely and meaningful. I have a 5 year old VPI Classic.
My battle with AN(audio nervosa) to replace it started about 3 years ago. What has helped to combat it is finding a cart within my means$ and optimizing all parameters to support the cart to perform its best.
With that in mind, I do find the VPI Prime used, a possible worthy upgrade. The 3D arm and separate motor I believe, would address the subtle sonic weakness in my table. If you stay with VPI, I've seen many great used deals on Prime,Aries and HRX with the 3D arm.
In the meantime, I've saved thousands of dollars and have acquired many quality albums. When the urge kicks in, I just put an album on and crack open a beer.