Scout Owners: How Much Cartridge?

Just curious how much you would invest in a cartridge for this table. At what price point does the table become a limiting factor in terms of what you can get out of a cartridge. I'm currently using a Dynavector 20XM but am thinking of an upgrade. Should I be considering a new table (perhaps further up the VPI line) or can the Scout (mine has the 300rpm motor upgrade) handle a much better cartridge and still get the most out of it? Thanks.
Scout is a very good turntable, specialy on a symposium platform. Upgrading to the Ultra is even better. What is the tonearm you use ? And the phonopreamp ?
Scout is sited on a Symposium Svelt shelf that rests in a Target wall mount bracket. Arm is the stock JMW-9 and the preamp is an ARC SP-16. I am looking into a separate phono preamp as part of this cartridge upgrade--perhaps an Art Audio Vinyl One, Whest 2.0 or an ARC PH5. Thanks for your assistance.
Hi, I am using a Dynavector XX2MKII on my Scout. I noticed an improvement immediately, but it didn't shine until I put the Signature Arm on it. I have stabilized motor speed with a PS Audio P300 Power Plant, and upgraded my phono stage. This table sounds superb now. If later on you should decide a better table is in order, you won't have to buy a better cartridge to hear the difference, you'll already have it. Works for me.


Total gain with ARC SP 16 is 54 dB, should be OK with MM or High output cartridge, I suggest Sumiko Blackbird with that amp. If you are ready to ad an additional phonopreamp, the choice is much wider. I suggest the Graham Slee Revelation+ Elevator (SS) because you can adjust cartridge loading and has many equalisation curves if in the future you ad a mono cart. It is a wonderful phonopreamp with wide band, also price effective. For the cartridge , the Lyra line is very accurate and dynamic, the Helicon is for me very very good for the price.
my stock vpi scout, w/ jmw-9, has a sumiko blackbird with ps audio gcph phono stage. wonderful match w/ scout. only other "upgrade" i've made of late that made quite a nice improvement is gingko audio cloud. sound is no longer "blurred," especially at higher volume; difference noticeable only after removing the clouds. my tt sits right smack in the middle of full range speakers and subwoofer is also in very close proximity. -eric
I am in the same boat with a Scoutmaster with non-signature arm. The arm is the limiting factor here, this is a low mass, if not ultra low mass arm, most of the higher end cartridges have lower compliance than the Dyna 20x, this arm should not track well with those cartridges. You can add weights and/or Cartridge Man isolator. Still, my choice will be to go with the 10.5i arm prior to upgrading cartridges.
Dodgealum...da better da cartridge, da better da sound. The VPI tables at any level are way overachievers. Don't be afraid to use the very best cartridge you can give it. Personally, I never had much luck with the Cartridge Man Isolator. Use the cartridge as the design team for it designed it. Regarding arms.. the 9 inch VPI is almost the same as the Sig, except that the Sig is wired with Valhalla. The 10.5 is wired with Valhalla as well. I updated the Sig for the 10.5. The sound difference, tracking ability, etc. was very minimumly better. The sound in both arms (after MUCH experimentation) is better with no anti-skate, and with yes some damping. The ability to dial in repeatable VTA is the big difference. If you don't play with VTA after initial setup, the upgrade may not be worth the expense.
Another tweak I have found to make significant improvement is the Mapleshade Nanomount System. It really helps with clarity, and is only $95. You don't get much to look at for your 95 bucks, but it's what it does that matters. Highly recommended.

Unless you've owned dozens of turntables and tonearms it's disingenuous for an amateur to deem VPI overachievers.

I owned a Scout and have taken a couple Scoutmasters in on trade. The build quality is average and the performance vis a vis their competition is also average, nothing more or less. My position on the tonearms is quite clear and I won't belabor that point again. Overachiever is hardly a term an experienced hobbyist/retailer would use.

Unless of course you owned or sold them.

Dealer disclaimer.
Has anyone tried Lyra cartridges on a standard VPI scout? The dorian is a rather light, but would it work on a VPI scout.
I had a Dorian on my Scout before I got the Dyna XX2MKII.
It sounded good to me, but I got bit by the upgrade bug, then got the Dyna here on the 'Gon. I think the Dynavector carts are a little better match for the VPI tables, Harry W. thinks so, and that's one of the reasons I went to the Dyna's, to see if he was right. I love the XX2MKII, but that's a lot of cartridge for the standard Scout. Better with the Signature arm. Maybe Mr. Feil can enlighten us as to what table in the Scout's price range is better-built, and sounds better. That would be quite useful to us newbies.

Nottingham, among a dozen others, would be a great choice.

Dynavectors match very well with VPI arms as you indicate Dan. The Scout I owned was equipped with a 20X(H) and it performed reasonably well but from a value standpoint below average IMO.

The Scoutmasters I took in on trade came with Benz and Clearaudio cartridges respectively. The Clearaudio was ok but the Benz Glider/JMW-9 combo was much too austere for my taste. I'm not a big Benz fan to begin with so that was no surprise. Much like VPI, I think there are much better values at every price point.

your cartridge /arm/and table should sound just fine. you can always spend more.....its easy. getting more for that money is where things get tricky.
Thanks, Bill for the info, I wish I was in a position to hear more front ends than I am able to, living 100 miles away from an analog dealer makes it difficult. I've had to live and learn.

Jaybo, I'm with you, my front end sounds quite good to my ears, and is soon to get better, as I have sent my Simaudio LP 5.3 in for some custom mods that will really make it shine. When that is done, my system will have reached an equalibrium in all formats, I feel, and that's not bad, considering how shallow are the pockets funding this endeavor.

Regards to all, enjoy,


I think Stringreen has it correct above...most of the VPI turntables offer a lot of bang for the buck and are definitely "overachievers"...

As to your question (I currently have a Scout with a Dynavectror 20xl myself)I'd say that what you have is already a decent rig but I'm not sure that I would invest a great deal into a new cartridge for the Scout. Instead, I'd opt to trade-up in the VPI line to a Aries 3 or a SuperScoutmaster. Sell (or trade-in) the Scout and keep your current cartridge. Once you wear-out your 20, move up to an even better Dynavector cartridge.

An advantage with the Aries 3 is the fact that you can add a different arm (like the killer Dynavector DV 507 MKII)and move way up the scale to a really top line tt...