The better comparison would be between the P5 and the Scout. $1,800 for a Scout and $1,795 for a P5 with the optional power supply. That should make for good conversation.
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Tough call. I have the P5 and had 2 Scouts. One was stock the other with all up grades including the SDS. Then I tried the P5, optional power supply, dynavector 20XH.
Still have the P5 if that tells you anything. The Scout is a very good table, same as the P5. Just that I prfer the sound of the Rega over the VPI.
My though now would be to try the P9, just can't part with the P5 right now.
Either way, I don't see you going wrong.
I went from a rega P25, to a scoutmaster, and I really like the change. I don't like how you can't adjust VTA on Rega arms. The VPI also has much more mass, it's a much more solid table. Also comes with a special 1 point alignment tool that makes alignment pretty easy.
The sound? They both sound good as far as I'm concerned. The Rega may be a hair faster and airier, with the scout being more dynamic with a blacker background.
Frankly, I would just pick the one you think looks cooler.
Too bad that you can't hear them both, so I will give you some broad observations. The Rega has great pace and a sense of the music moving forward, what the Brits call PRaT. The leading edges of notes are handled very well with a sense of attack and purpose. Most turntables sound a bit slow and lazy in comparison. Mid bass had great slam and bite, with the low bass being somewhat down in level.
The VPI tables have a greater sense of body to the tone. The chest cavity of male singers and the foundational sounds in the lower midrange are more prominent. The lower to central midrange is a focus, where with the Rega the focus tilts a bit to the upper midrange. There is a pleasing warmth and naturalness to the tone. Decay of notes is more defined and that leads to a greater sense of hall ambiance. Backgrounds seem a bit darker. Bass goes deeper with less sense of ultimate slam but more rewarding weight.
It is quite easy to set the VTA on Rega tables, either by getting the shim set from Rega or one of the after market continuous VTA adjusters.
I don't think it matters much which I prefer.
Goatwuss...I too have a VPI and consider it a mistake to use the VPI single point alignment guage. It get you close, but no cigar. I really encourage everyone to get the MINT protractor. The difference between a very careful setup with anything that I know, and a MINT setup is dramatic. I was once a doubter but am not now since I heard the difference.
Hi Stringreen - I have no doubt that you are correct, but I think this applies to any turntable out there. The VPI tool is nice to have and will be a good starting place, and due to ease of use, will likely result in better setup than using a basic 3rd party protractor... but yeah, I'm sure there are more precise tools out there. I'm considering the Mint as well.
I'm, frankly, surprised at the responses here...
If it's a choice between the Scout and ANY Rega for ROCK - what the original poster indicated was his genre of choice - there's no contest in my mind, get the Rega.
Rega's are stellar with rock, it's what they do best.
Now, I'll throw something else that will no doubt be controversial, but the hands down, no contest, best rock and jazz table I've ever owned is the KAB Technics SL-1200.
For the price of the P3-24, you can get a KAB SL-1200MK2 with Cardas tonearm wire and fluid damper and still have enough cash to add a really nice cartridge. That's what I run - with a Dynavector 20XL into a PS Audio GCPH and I wouldn't trade it for the world - especially with my rock and jazz collection!
A Technics! really?!
And you think the rega delivers a better sound even though its a "cheaper" build?
I think that I am currently leaning toward the VPI(seems like the better value)... However, I realize that I don't get the concept of the rega or scout being better at one type of music than the other...
Well, not just a Technics - a KAB mod'd Technics. Although the stock SL-1200 is shockingly good stock. With KABs tonearm rewire and the KAB fluid damper there's no question I'd choose it over either the Scout or Rega.
As far as one table working better for one genre versus another. No matter what you spend, analog is a game of compromises. The type of music is going to determine, in my opinion, what compromises are going to work best. Classical music is going to demand a very quiet background. Rock is going to demand PRAT and drive. Piano jazz, rock solid speed stability, etc. You get the point I'm sure.
The Rega has great PRAT and the Scout very black background and they both have pretty good speed stability for a belt drive in this price range. The reason I love the KAB SL-1200 is that I mostly listen to rock and jazz. The KAB has unbeatable speed stability - world class at this price point - and it has fantastic PRAT too. It's not quite as quiet as the Scout in my opinion but damn close.
Let me put it this way. I've owned Rega, VPI, JA Michell, Roksan, etc and I still have the KAB in my main system. I'm sure that there will be many who disagree but I'd give Kevin at KAB USA a call before I spent a dime.
Just my 2 cents!
I find that Americans equate material value with sound quality, and on those grounds, the VPI certainly is heavier and more..........well butch. But one must understand that the theory behind the Rega is that the less mass there is, the less mass there is to be excited by airborne and floorborne vibrations, not to mentions those generated internally by the main bearing and motor, and that those vibrations that do excite the structure will be evacuated as quickly as possible. High Q, as it were. In fact, as you move up the Rega line, the actual plinth gets lower and lower in mass. You pay for less, which is really counter intuitive for a culture raised on Cadillacs and 3000 square foot houses. But, no matter, this is a viable design goal that has much to offer in musical terms. I must admit, that I find the Technics a marvelous alternative to the Rega and VPI, that offers yet another set of strenghts and compromises.
But I'm still not saying which I prefer.
As insulting and naive as I find Viridian's comments, he is correct about Rega's engineering. They do take the "less is more" approach. However, there are varying effective routes to dealing with vibration - as is evidenced by the quite heavy Technics.
But, hey what do I know - I'm too busy filling up my 10,000 square foot McMansion and building a garage big enough to hold my fleet of Hummers.... yeah, right!
Man, I could go for a cheeseburger - haven't had one in a couple of hours.
Im a P3 owner. And if i would have paid the full price new i would be disapointed, but fortunately i got one used at a very good price. I say that because the P3 is very cheap in many way. BUT, what make the P3 so attractive is it's simplicity and ease to play music. The P3 is like an HOT ROD once customized you can get a very high performance TT for a real bargain.
I dont know for the VPI Scout but this one look very nice and the quality seem there. Price to price i would get the VPI without any esitation.
Or get a used P3 and mod it to get a killer TT for the same price.
I had the regular P3 w/RB300 arm, Grado gold and upgraded to a VPI TNT Jr. (w/Benz Micro Glider). The Rega was $500 and the Grado was $200. The VPI rig (got a great deal) was $2,500 (w/cartridge, with trade in of the rega/grado) and the difference wasn't even close. I know it was much more money, but the VPI was just a different league. Plus, the VPI's are easilly upgradable (later on, I added the super platter, flywheel motor, Cardas cables and SDS speed controler) and I feel that I'm set for a while, and would need to spend considerably more to better what I currently have. Sound is awesome.
I went from P3 to VPI scoutmaster and had a good WOW! what´s good is that there will be quite many upgrades available so you do not necessarily need to change the TT to improve (buy with as many extras as possible if you´ll go this route, it will probably be cheaper than buying one after the other). i´m pretty confident that i won´t change anytime soon into anything else, very good value for money indeed (going up in a way that makes huge difference would need a ton of investment here, which i prefer to spend for music or to the overall system (speakers, amps etc)). i had the same dilemma, but after some research here and elsewhere and waiting for a good offer i went for the scoutmaster (if you want to have the same WOW, have a P3 first;).
I just bought a B-Stock Scout at MusicDirect paired with a Dynavector 10X5. They installed it for free. Total cost $1794. Everything arrived in perfect condition and I cannot find any cosmetic blemishes whatsoever on the so called "B stock". I guess VPI is into perfection.
I also have B&W speakers (801's) and the combo sounds phenomenal. I can't believe this is an entry level table. It's like the deal of the century. Wow.
Kimber Kable Silver Streaks used throughout. Classè amps.
Rega sounds fast, but it doesnt sound naturally fast. Its speed feels boosted. Vpi, I dont know, but they are not known for rock.
Technics 1200, yes that is one table that is really well engineered at this price point and just sounds natural, like Vinyls should. Isnt analogue's most important virtue "naturalness" ?