Check out the new EAT C-sharp- a lot of deck for 4K!
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I had a RP8 for 3 years. I sold it, because I also had a restored vintage Thorens in the same cabinet, and I could play them off against each other using the same or other cartridges, and I preferred the much less expensive Thorens. Of course this is very subjective, and many would have different opinions.
I compared my old Rega P3 to the Amadeus MKII at my dealer's and I thought the Amadeus sounded much better (it should considering prices). Same cart, system, etc.
But there was also a Rega RP10 and I listened to that in the same system. Different cart on the RP10 but much more expensive than my cart, and I still thought the Amadeus sounded better.
I'd look at Amadeus and VPI Prime in that price range for sure. The Prime looks like a very nice table, and it's more user friendly than the Amadeus. Costs a little more, though.
fabsound- this is as good as it gets for the price. With the money saved,its worth investing in a $1K+LOMC to go along with it.
There is a Prime or 2 listed also, which is a step up.
I would offer $2k, or meet in the middle including shipping.
Consider an upper level phonostage if you haven’t already, to go with a higher performance table.
I disagree that the Prime or Classic is better than the RP8. Actually i would say the rp8 is the better of the 2. VPI tables do sound nice as I have one but they need to improve their arms. They need a better antiskate system. If they had the good anti-skate, all their tables would be phenomenal performers. IMO, the rega arm is just in another league and a steal on the rp8. I am seriously considering the RP 8 as my last table. Its that good. Either the rp 8 or a VPI aries with a 12 inch arm or a different arm other than VPI. High mass designs are great but you really have to isolate them very well to hear all their virtues. I have never heard a modern design at the price point of the RP8 that performs better. its spooky good.
tzh, I am wondering why you judge a turntable based on the tonearm that comes with it. Is it imperative to purchase the VPI tonearm as a package deal with each of the two VPI turntables that you mention? Until now, I did not think so, but I certainly could be wrong. Also, I truly don't understand why the choice of cartridge type (MC vs MM) makes the lack of anti-skate more or less tolerable. Both types of cartridge will create a skating force when used with any pivoted tonearm, VPI or other.
What about speed accuracy and stability, vis a vis the RP8? I have been led to believe that Rega turntables run a bit "fast". Does the RP8 include a motor controller, unlike the less expensive Rega turntables?
What I am saying, and by the way, I own a VPI, they need to improve their antiskate mechanism for their arms. They do not allow for other arms to be used is true. The rega has been said to run a bit fast. I heard one the other day and brought records with me and I can say I did not notice it. It did track much better than the VPI Prime which I heard as well. I was very impressed with what I heard from the Rega. First time I ever heard one. The older VPI designs have an armboard. The current production tables do not with the exception of the avenger. The arm on the REGA seems to extract more form the grooves. Its a darn good arm for the money. I am not sure anything can touch it at that price point. Moving Magnet cartridges comply better with VPI arms probably due to compliance, the low arm mass, and lack of antiskate. YMMV, but this has been my experience. I also will say for the money, the scout is a great value and even though it will not track most moving coils as well as other arms, it still sounds pretty darn good. I know it could be setup but it is just something I have noticed over time with many VPI tables. They do have a very involving sound but a better antiskate would make a good table and arm a great table and arm.
I am going to attend the Capitol Audio Fest this weekend. Out of curiosity I will take a look at the VPI turntables; the company usually has a big display at the CAF. Yes, the only reason why VPI tonearms (in general?) would work better with MM cartridges vs MCs would be due to their effective mass (if it's in general too low for most low compliance MCs) and maybe their tendency (not) to dissipate energy that MC cartridges are said to put into the tonearm via the headshell. (But the printed tonearms ought to do that quite well due to the homogeneity of their construction.) The good thing about tonearms with low effective mass is that one can always add mass. (I don't know why I seem to be defending VPI; I have never owned one of their products, and I am a diehard DD and idler-drive aficionado.)
As far as I know, VPI tonearms tend not to have ANY anti-skate provision save for the effect of the lead-out wires from the arm wand. I guess they recently gave in to demand and added an anti-skate device to their option list. (I could be wrong about the latter, and I am too lazy to Google it.)
I have nothing against VPI, like I said I own one. You are correct about the lead out wires. They do sound great. For the most part they track decent. I just think a well thought out anti-skate would work wonders with their arms and tables. When I hear mistracking on their tables, its always the right channel. You can tell the stylus is riding the inner groove more than it does on lets say the RP 8. The RP 8, while it does not have the air of the VPI, it presentation of music is so alive and it tracks amazingly well for 3000.00. I had an old living stereo with me and it sounded absolutely brand new on the Rega. I could not believe it. Tough to beat at that price range. Listen to one at the Audio Fest. I was shocked as I have never heard a Rega until this month. They kind of make me think of a Linn without the fuss I guess. They just have a few things. I wish they were not so plug and play but you can use other cartridges I guess and shims are available for VTA adjustments.
LEWM -- All of the VPI tables with unipivot arms come with an antiskate device standard. This has been the case for many years now.
Most people do not use it however, as contrary to what tzh21y has found, the arms tend to track quite well on their own.
Also...this thread is now basically two years old, so I'm guessing that the OP has made a decision by this point!! lol