What's wrong with the VPI?
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Overkill; the VPI arm is as least as good an arm as the Scout is a table. If you want better performance go to a Scoutmaster. These are both good products; I sell VPI and have a Graham 2.2 myself. Is the Graham the better arm? Probably; but look at the price differential between the cost of a Scout with arm and a Graham by itself. If I was set on the Graham I would get an older generation Aries table. Have I ever had my Graham on a VPI? No: 1 it is an SME mount and 2 WHY would I?
Yes, but I have performed a few updates to the basic Scout I started with.
I have the Signature tonearm, Super Platter, Periphery Ring, TT Weights Center Weight, SDS, Single Motor Flywheel Rimdrive, TT Weights SoundPoint brass feet and a custom made plinth in the Scout dimensions. The plinth was the decisive element that allowed the components show what they are capable of resulting in a TT that sounds much better than it should.
I made an Aries dimension plinth with an armboard to receive 9 10 tonearms and was planning on purchasing a Phantom to replace the Signature. Family priorities changed these plans so I created an armboard for the Signature and will use this until its sold. This plinth sounds better than the Scout plinth.
If I still had a basic Scout, I would suggest looking at the Signature tonearm and replacing the feet.
I think that a nine inch Graham tonearm may require a closer mounting position to the platter than does the JMW-9 which may be a problem especially if you are using a periphery ring. I replaced my Scout arm with an Origin Live Conqueror Mk3 and was pleased with the results. Origin Live arms and Rega arms can be mounted in the same position as the Scout tonearm. Considering the extent to which you have already gone to modify this table you should consider using whatever arm you damn well please. It is only a matter of figuring out how to mount it effectively. Check the photo of my Scout in its current configuration.
I think that a nine inch Phantom must be mounted a little closer to the platter than a JMW-9 arm which might be a problem when using a periphery ring. A 10 inch Phantom may give you better clearance. I mounted an Origin Live Coqueror Mk3 on my Scout and was very pleased with the results. Origin Live and Rega arms can be mounted in the same mounting hole as the JMW-9 but may require adapters to elevate them high enough for your platter. Considering the many improvements you have made in modifying this table you should mount any tonearm you like its just a matter of finding out how to do it effectively.
lol. Just curious. I have never seen a graham arm and never auditioned one. I do see a lot of happy people who own them.
I take it that it is like putting high performance tires on a Toyota Camary. I get it. The Scout seems to be a decent table. I would just like more flexibilty with cartridge choices. The JMW does sound pretty good with the Benz Glider. Not with the H2 on my table at least. Too much smearing.
If your username relates to your area code, feel free to drop by for a listen and to see what I have done.
I suspected this was the case. The Phantom 9" is mm's closer and the 10" is mm's farther than the VPI 9" mounting location so a Scout plinth needs to modified. This was why I built a plinth with an armboard. Actually the VPI 9" Signature arm sounds better than expected so I will use this for now.