thanks folks for the advice...
Swampwalker, you might be right about the Lukaschek. It's the only phono stage I have that has enough gain for the Shelter, and it certainly produces a detailed and clean presentation. But maybe I should experiment. My old Audible Illusions has an OK phono stage, so maybe a head amp or step-up transformer would be worth trying?
Also, based on your comment I did some searching on this forum and found a LOT of positive talk about the turntables you mentioned, and some others. Guess I should have checked there first.
Tiger, I still have the original arm on the Scoutmaster, so I suppose I could look there. Got the power thingie -- SDS?-- too, and the rim clamp (which is a pain to use). I do wonder about the 9" arm though. It's my first experience with a unipivot arm.
Are there other arms that are known to work well on this deck? I had an SME on my Thorens which I liked fairly well. But that technology was 20 years ago, so I'm sure there's better stuff now, right?
In the interest of full disclosure: One of the reasons for my current dissatisfaction is due to my recent upgrade of digital source. I got a ModWright Transporter and it's raised the bar on sound quality for my whole system. It sounds spectacular -- and better than my analog gear, which I just can't believe. I suppose it's possible that it's just that good. But LP's have always been so much better than digital, I'm thinking there must be something wrong with my analog chain. Usually I listen to about 80% LP/20% CD, but lately I'm listening to a lot more digital because it sounds so GOOD!
Sidssp: I don't think my system is a problem. The rest of my system is a mix of tube/solid state. My speakers are Magnepan 1.6qr that are heavily tweaked: Mye stands, & actively bi-amped with a pair of 120wpc KT-88 tube amps on the treble, and 600wpc solid state on the bass panels. I use a home-built transformer-based active/passive preamp, or sometimes a Modulus 3a tube preamp. I don't think the system's the problem. I'm totally happy with the sound it produces via well-recorded digital music thru the MW Transporter.
Crem1: I've got a Ginkgo platform, the one with the handball balls under it, although I haven't done any real listening test with/without to know whether it makes much difference. But I like your other reco. I know Peter Lederer of SoundSmith, as he's worked on my '70s Tandberg tuners and my old 1963 McIntosh preamp from my bedroom system. I'll have to see if I can audition the cart you mention. I think he also does retips of Denon's and stuff like that. Good idea to go talk to him! Thanks!