How much better is the Scoutmaster vs. Scout?

Is it a subtle improvement, or a big one. I'd probably opt for the ring clamp to go along with the Scoutmaster.
My dad just bought the Scoutmaster, it was much better then the Scout no doubt due to extra layer of Plinth, I dont know how much the Ring would help, it is awful pricy and IMO adds a certain risk.....if you slip or drop that ring MAJOR damage is almost certain. The tables stock arm is pretty good, paired with a Benz cart and Musical Surroundings Phono stage is pretty pleasing
I have owned both the Scout and the Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster outshines the Scout in bass slam and detail retrieval. I currently own the Scoutmaster with ring clamp and HRX center weight. If you can afford the clamp and weight, they really make a difference. Not only for warped records but it really quiets the background, minimalizes surface noise. I am an extremely happy ScoutMaster owner.
I jumped from the Scout with the periphery ring straight to the Super ScoutMaster, and the difference is rather huge, particularly through the very revealing ZYX cartridges and phono stage. If you like vinyl now, you're going to want to upgrade over and over again, so it's always good to think a few steps ahead when making decisions. Like a game of chess, only much more expensive.....
by the time you pay for a vpi scoutmaster, you have lots of table/arm combos which will probably better it. that said, if you don't have a huge vinyl collection, don't spend the money, and get a scout/rega/marantz/etc or go used. the vinyl reissues are getting worse by the day.
Worth it but if you agree with chadlinz think of the many TNT MK.V synathtic/aluminum platters wich are heavier then the stuff that comes on all the VPi's (including HR-X) and alomost everybody I've spoken to say's they prefer to new one.but so many Aries,TNT,etc owners want tghe ring clam (which helps but can do major damage if you slip with it) and you can pick them up for $300 or so with the bearing and spindle (new bearing and old not huge diff).Then you can send a Scout to VPI and have them drill out and mount the TNT V platter on it.I think it will be cheaper and be better than scoutmaster with ring.,I am going to give up my extended Aries /12.5 to try a multi arm deck bu think I am going to use as seconday arm the 9" VPI so I can share it's are with a Scout that I am going to put a TNT V platter on to use in office/bedrroom system.I am going to have pretty decent rig and do all my transcribing off that system so it's got to be good.Mike head tech at VPI told me the smaller Scout motor will carry the 20 + lbs platter with no problem and said it will sound awesome.So think I am going to save bucks istead of doing Scoutmaster route and might get better sound in deal.Who knows maybe one day they might make new ring for older platters or an after amrket one will come out at reasonable price (I think thier is one that fits older VPI's fopr $750).Just a thought and option to consider.
>>02-28-07: Jaybo
by the time you pay for a vpi scoutmaster, you have lots of table/arm combos which will probably better it.<<

Agree, but substitute "definitely" for "probably".
Much better PRAT and deeper bass. Blacker backgrounds. However if you're on a budget, I recommend allocating the difference between the Scout and Scoutmaster on the best cartridge, phono stage and isolation platform you can afford.Down the road you can keep the latter three items and swap in a better deck. BTW- When I owned a Scoutmaster, I used a Lyra Helikon cart and Ear 834p phono preamp. Interconnects were cardas golden ref. Awesome combo.
I went from the scout to the aries 3 but its the periphery ring thats the huge difference I wanted the better arm on the aries because of cartrige selection and yeh you gotta be careful with the ring but its worth it. No other turntable has the ring for this kind of price.
scoutmaster, and get the ring. without it you'll be forever complaining about warped records. plain and simple truth.
Thanks for all the replies. My Scout is only a couple weeks old so I was able to upgrade for just the difference in cost. I got the ring clamp as well. Can't wait!!
Congratulations! You're gonna love it.