Pro's/Con's Of audiophile TT

Presently have a stock Kenwood KD990 Direct Dr. Thinking of upgrade to VPI Scout. Will I experience that much of a change in sound to justify this upgrade? I know it's weak, but, I am very fond of the auto lift at end of play. I am new to this level and am also worried about the day - day use. Here again, novice that i am, what happens at end of play? do I need to be right there to lift the tone-arm before it skids into the label? Do you get extra wear'n'tear on the stylus? Please help me!

You dont need to be right there, when it ends simply walk over and lift it off, sometimes a call or visitor will lead me to forget for a few minutes or so and its no big deal. Other than that feature its not likely there will be anyhing else better about the Kenwood over the VPI. With VPI (and since your new) does your room have good floor or stable rack so the VPI wont be affected by footsteps and such?....its not a suspended table.
The Scout is a fantasdtic value and happens to be one of those table where the sky is the limit if you want to upgrade it later, I say go for it!!!
Thorens used to make a portable, stick-on auto arm lift device for 10-20 dollars or so.

I put on on my manual table back in the 80's and it continues to operate without error to this day (look at the pic of the Linn Axis table in my system and you can see it mounted between platter and tonearm mount on my table near the rear of the arm).

Not sure if such a device is still available these days, but if so, properly adjusted and located, it is a reliable add on for a manual table to automatically lift the arm at the end of play.
I've had a couple of VPI Scouts but am now using and really enjoying a new Technics SL-1200 Mk II.
With all due respect, have you considered refurbishing your Kenwood or tweaking (the arm, especially)? It used to be a good product in its day. Are you certain the Scout will be an improvement?
(As to an arm lift, look for the device Mapman describes or similar.)
Please consider moving up to a used, mint condition Denon 47F with a Denon 103 cartridge. Pick up a must. The convenience of autolift, repeat and button arm control will give you the sonics of a VPI, at much lower cost. I have this unit, and also a VPI Aries/Clearaudio rig and believe me, the Denon can match and beat my VPI. VPI top of the line, with super platter, p-ring etc. will better the Denon, but your talking a $10K difference. Get the Denon, try it and see if it does not meet your needs. Denon's are easy to resell with little loss of value.
I agree with Gregm. The Kenwood KD990 should be a good TT at its base. I personally have no experience with the 990. The 880 and the 1100 are nice tables which I have played around with. The 990, I believe (but someone else can probably say with more certainty), came after the 1100, with most of the same technology but with a lesser plinth material. The older Kenwoods had less torque than the Technics, but they cost a lot less and had a similar or higher inertia moment, and very low wow/flutter numbers, and the lower torque made for quite low rumble. FWIW, a lot of people here in Japan take the 1100 out of its plinth and use the 'spider frame' only (looks kind of like a Micro RX3000 that way) with additional footers or isolation under the existing footers. Most people who have tried never go back. I do not remember having seen a 990 opened up, but my understanding is that the 990 has the same spider frame inside. From what I have read, the arm was an 'upgrade' with solid core silver wire (as opposed to a copper litz on the 1100), and a slightly different method of attaching it to the plinth, but the cost 'savings' came in plinth material. My personal bet is that the 990 could be tricked out quite substantially if one really wanted.

BTW... there is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating the end of record auto lift. It is a great thing to have. I have it on a few of the TTs I currently use, and I very much appreciate it.
Chadnliz, suspended 'tables are generally more sensitive to footfalls, not less.
Unsuspended tables are bad on unstable floors.........thats my point, pay attention.
DrPat --

I agree with the previous comment that nothing harmful will occur from a couple of minutes or so of delay in lifting the tonearm at the end of play. The main consequence will be some slightly unpleasant thumps coming from the speakers.

What cartridge do you have in the present turntable? If you upgraded the turntable, you would most likely want to get a new cartridge as well, and the sonic differences between the present cartridge and the new one could very well overshadow the differences between the two turntable/tonearm combinations.

Also, be aware that after many years the rubber-like suspension materials in many cartridges tend to stiffen up, which could result in increased record wear as well as reduced sound quality.

-- Al
suspended 'tables are generally more sensitive to footfalls, not less.

I don't understand that statement. With my older SOTA Sapphire (which has a suspended platter and tonearm board), I can literally pound the unsuspended part of the turntable with my fist, with moderate force, and hear no effect whatsoever on the sound that is being played. Surely footfalls would be even less likely to have an effect.

-- Al
That was the only exception I thought of, that is why the "generally" was put in.
As almost everybody mentioned the autolift will be the only advantage in Kenwood vs. VPI or similar TTs.
Dear Drpat: +++++ " Thinking of upgrade to VPI Scout. " +++++

IMHO maybe that is not an upgrade, your Kenwood was not the top of the Kenwood line but is a very decent unit and IMHO too the Denon is not either.

Btw, I respect the other opinions about ( Denon/VPI ) mine is only an additional one.

If I was you I would like to try some improvements on the 990: tonearm re-wiring , better headshell wires, better mat/clamp, other isolation footers, etc.. I think that these changes can improve the quality performance.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks for all the responses. I am not sure if I am looking to upgrade for the sake of upgrading or because I will truly improve my sound. As I stated, I wonder if I will regret not having the auto lift feature. These audiophile decks are pricey! Perhaps I should invest in some of the ideas presented by those who know better. Thanks again......Pat