Scoutmaster to Aries 3
I traded my version I Scoutmaster for a new Aries 3 with the 3D arm.
Soon I'll be swapping the cartridge from a Sound Smith Zephyr to a Lyra Kleos.
But before I do, I've noted some of the differences between these table/arm combos keeping to the Zephyr cart.
The Scoutmaster had been upgraded with the aluminum platter. The new Aries comes with the aluminum platter and HRX feet.
Both tables benefit from the VPI’s Synchronous Drive System, periphery ring, and HR-X center weight.
Two big differences are obvious after some casual listening: bass is more solid, more well defined and the treble is sweeter, less etched.
I would not have guessed that a table/arm change within the same manufacturer's line would result in this kind of difference. The difference is significant. I've always attributed these kinds of differences to cartridge swaps.
I am very familiar with the Speaker Corner release of Jose Feliciano's Faliciano! I love this recording in a nostalgic way but I've always been disappointed that the producer stepped on the performance with all those string arrangements. The Aries 3 softens my disappointment by making the strings sound lush, rich, and less distracting. I'm not so put off by the production now. There is also a solidness to the kick drum that was not there with the Scoutmaster.
Are these differences great enough to justify the cost of the upgrade? If you are an "Audio Queer" the answer is obvious.