Should I buy a VPI SCOUTMASTER. I OWN 25 RECORDS.


Should I pursue analog? Invest maybe 3 or 4 grand in a table and start buying records? Some stuff sounds really good on Vinyl but it's an expensive endeavor and NEW records aren't cheap. Plus thos pops and noise and a lot of setup required. Love the vintage aspect of it. Some records sound truly amazing on a really good table and cartridge. Take the plunge? Or buy a better DAC and dont look back!!! Lol. 
jeffvegas
Is that old guy on Decauter Blvd still selling overpriced used records?The place on Sahara and Paradise has cool stuff now and then.
Back to your query..Table setup is a one time thing. Pops and noise? Buy better records, and clean them.
A used VPI can be found for cheap(relatively speaking)  Same goes for the phonostage.

It's a table/cart/phonostage thing. Don't cheap out, if you dare.
Stick with digital or streaming and pretend it sounds better than  records.
Only if you want to invest a lot of time and money.  If you're happy with what you're listening to now, you can make it better for a lot less money than what getting into vinyl would cost. 
I also would add that I listen to digital through a 20 year old Linn Ikemi CD player. So 4 grand into a turntable or 4 grand into a DAC? Also wonder how that fire  that burned down a record plant in California will affect record production.  Ahhhhhh, but a record spinning on a big VPI table with a thick platter looks and sounds soooooo sexy!!! 
4G’s for whatever table, isn’t going to make the sound you’re after.Plan on spending at least half of that amount on a decent phonostage.
Nice table and so-so phonostage is a downer.

You can get by with a $ 500-1K MC cart=entry point to hear what the fuss is all about.

Just my opinion. With effort used gear, maybe a complete package for less.


If the ticks and pops bug you, stay with digital. The better your table and phono amp, the less you notice. Buy older used originals instead of new records. Cheaper and sound better. 
I was recommended a MC cartridge from Japan with a Japanese name starts with an S. Its 750 bucks. So using the phono stage in my Parasound P7 wont work? Lol. It's got a switch for MC. 
Jeff, that is a personal decision you have to make for yourself. Too much money and effort involved so you really have to love it. I certainly would not get a VPI unless you can get it without a tonearm. Get a tonearm  with a good gimbal bearing. Uni pivot arms have too many degrees of freedom and can not hold a cartridge steady. If you look at the systems reviewers use they avoid uni pivot arm with perhaps the exception of the Graham. The very best arms have proper bearings.
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Your P7 has an excellent phonostage capable of handling a low-output mc cartridge. No need to change it!
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You don't need to spend $thousands to have excellent and enjoyable LP playback!
And there are a million used all-analog LPs available for reasonable prices!
Unfortunately that's the only arm that comes with the SCOUTMASTER.  JMW MEMORIAL TONEARM.  Unipivot offers less friction. Follows the grooves better. Superior sound. Bearings add friction and you lose detail. 
We really need a device that adds clicks and pops to digital media so it sounds more like vinyl. I have lots of new vinyl (and old stuff) that sounds astonishingly good...lucky me, so of course you don't need used records particularly. Note I'm not a vinyl fanatic as I like plenty of digital also, but hey...you can only play vinyl on a turntable and since it can sound great, why not have a decent one? My Akito arm has bearings and still works somehow...detail for days.
Only Linn product I ever liked is my 20 year old Linn Ikemi cd player. LP12 is all hype. VPI's blow them away. 
If you have 25 records why do you need VPI SCOUTMASTER belt drive ? As i can see even second hand VPI is about $2k, right ? Look for new Technics first and compare the prices, it is direct drive.

Never buy an MC cartridge if you never tried a good MM before, read this article first. Start with MM or MI cartridges, because when you will destroy some MC you won’t be able to replace the stylus yourself. Stick to under $700 price tag for a cartridge, buy Moving Magnet or Moving Iron. Check Garrott or SoundSmith if you need new production. Audio-Technica cartridges are always good! 
 Some vintage are excellent too.
Grado still makes the best MI cartridges!
You don't have to spend that kind of money to get going.  All the fuss about turntables is, in my opinion, tweaky and over blown.  It's a pretty basic function.  My suggestion would be you a Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable and one of the Hana cartridges.  That will run you around $1500, depending on which cartridge model you pick.  Sounds like you may not need a phono pre-amp, but if you do, search around for the best one you can afford.  My opinion is that the cartridge and the pre-amp make the most difference.  My experience is that with a good cartridge, the pops and clicks are not so bad as you think.

 In any case, definitely go for it!  We stream and do digital music production all the time, here at my house, and have solid gear.  but nothing sounds as good as vinyl.  
Hanna MC cartridge owner should explain what would you do when your stylus is worn after 600-1000hrs of use if it's Shibata or if you will broke your stylus/cantilever accidentally? 
beware of ideologues. MC vs. MM, digital vs analog, direct drive vs. belt drive - all depends on the implementation, not the format per se. 

choose the one that gives you mental energy and focus.  

for god's sake forget about the pops and clicks. A decent phono stage will eliminate 98% of them. 

VPI tables AND tonearms are a very good value. Unipivots can be set up well.  

good sound will always be expensive. 

I advise starting ’good enough’, and seeing if you get into Vinyl, then upgrade part by part (not bit by bit).

1. TT.

this TT is plenty good to start with, I used it for many years. later, when hooked you will know more and upgrade. $230.

https://smile.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-AT-LP120XUSB-Direct-Drive-Hi-Fidelity-Anti-Skate/dp/B07N3S4X3P/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=Z3NL7E6OU6CL&keywords=audio+technica+turntable&qid=1582119610&sprefix=audio%2Caps%2C147&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyWFJJTEswWURFS0w2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDUwNTIyUFMyVjRMQVoyUzhYJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4OTk5MjYxOTVVSlc0OUo4NkJWJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

It has an internal phono preamp, so you can use any line level input in your system. Later, when hooked, you will buy a separate phono eq.

so, $230.00 you are playing Vinyl with ’good enough’ to test the waters. You will get hooked (or not) even at this level of equipment.

................

2. CARTRIDGE UPGRADE (high output MM moving magnet

Change the cartridge, (provided cartridge tracks too heavily). I believe this is a darn good start, $100.00

https://smile.amazon.com/Ortofon-Red-Moving-Magnet-Cartridge/dp/B000WMCEKK/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=shure+cartridge&qid=1582119856&sr=8-3

3. CARTRIDGE ALIGNMENT

FUNDAMENTAL to ANY TT Success: you will need to learn all the steps to mount and properly align a cartridge. (if not right, a $50k TT won’t sound good). IMO, most people have never heard a properly aligned cartridge. After you are hooked, this is imperative, or, pay someone to do it for you.
...............................
4. LP NOISE

tics, pops, mud on the stylus

like I finally did, learn how to properly clean used records (and clean stylus).

To avoid noise, I was only playing new or my excellently clean used LPs, then, due to a thread here, I decided to acquire a method to enjoy my 2,000 used LP’s that were annoyingly noisy. Now I’m loving how quiet my dirty old lp’s sound.

lots of comments about used LP’s in this thread

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/frustrated-with-vinly?page=3


my method (lots of words for clarity, actually easy and not much time needed).

CLEAN, QUIET LP’s (inexpensive manual method)

I’m loving how quiet my dirty old lp’s sound.

Your problem helped me out, I now have a very successful inexpensive manual cleaning method. I am getting essentially no noise out of old dirty static filled lps. I just cleaned a few NEW lp’s, to check, no noise, so goodbye mold compounds, ..

If you get noise after this, something else is wrong!
......................

Listen to some music while doing this of course.
Wear thin plastic gloves to protect your hands and block finger oil

1. plastic sheet to protect the table below. smooth white, so you can see any/every speck. kitchen garbage bag, or, thin plastic table cloths from the party store, something.
2. lay lp flat
3. cover lp paper label with plastic lid diameter of label, i.e. chinese soup take-out lid.
4. spray cleaning fluid on lp (my home-made mix below)
5. CRITICAL: scrub fairly aggressively: circular, back and forth a few times, with soft multi bristle brush (pre-wet with cleaning fluid for 1st lp) try an lp you don’t care about, you will find you can be more aggressive than you think. this is what really cleans deep into the grooves.
6. flip, clean other side: place carefully so paper label goes down onto dry area of plastic
7. rinse in distilled water in the record cleaning kit. CRITICAL: Distilled Water ONLY!!! spin 2x each direction, it has fine brushes for final cleaning while rinsing.
8. use the two included cloths to handle/pre-dry the lp, and put in the included drying rack.

note: dry the center area of the plastic sheet where the paper label goes frequently with a separate cloth. dump distilled water after each batch of ten. rinse everything and dry between batches.
................................

Equipment

1. record cleaning kit with drying rack for 10 lps, $58.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GSSQ1MN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2. distilled water, $1.00 per gallon (check online for stock before going to the store)

https://grocery.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Distilled-Water-1-Gallon/10315382?wmlspartner=wlpa&se...

3. alcohol, 91%, $3.00

https://www.target.com/p/isopropyl-alcohol-91-32oz-up-up-8482/-/A-13970972?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&...


4. wetting agent. $4.00 I use Finish, Jet Dry (dishwasher stuff)

https://www.amazon.com/Finish-Jet-Dry-8-45oz-Dishwasher-Drying/dp/B0014E82II/ref=asc_df_B0014E82II/?...

5. soft multi-bristle brush, I found one in a drawer, but here’s a 3 pack, $9.00

https://smile.amazon.com/Scalp-Scrubbie-Sterile-Cradle-Sponge/dp/B005EJ7YH4/ref=sr_1_154_sspa?ascsub...=

..............................

my mix, nothing scientific, a small 6 oz spray bottle (8oz, 10, doesn’t matter)

1. a few drops of wetting agent
2. 1 cap of condensed cleaning fluid that came with the kit
3. fill with alcohol.

you may think it’s a pretty strong alcohol mix, but you will be rinsing right away, and, you will find, even that strong, finger oil spots will be very reduced but not fully disappear.

I’m loving how quiet my dirty old lp’s sound.

...................................

CLEAN STYLUS! Leave a small mirror on TT under your headshell, so you can see if the stylus is clean. Clean the stylus during if needed, and always after every listening session.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DI8I2JM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

my friend uses gel stuff, loves it

https://coloredvinylrecords.com/blog/best-gel-type-stylus-cleaners/

............................

Still use Anti-Static brush before each play, DRY, just a light touch needed to get any paper sleeve dust, airborne dust.

...................................

5. TUBE PREAMP, TUBE AMP.

After being thoroughly hooked, you will probably want to try Tubes. My one-liner summation, after a lot of years, is that Analog gets the Fundamentals, AND the Overtones right.




beware of ideologues. MC vs. MM, digital vs analog, direct drive vs. belt drive - all depends on the implementation, not the format per se.

Regarding cartridges you will always pay more for MC, no matter what.

This is very important for a newbie!

It is obvious that MC has very short life span and stylus is not user replaceable. Even if your MC cartridge has reasonable retail price this is not the end, you will need an expensive MC phono stage, Headamp or SUT to use with this type of cartridges. You can simple double the budget for this reason. It can be a mess even with cables, because Low Output signal from MC cartridge is much more sensitive to the cable shielding etc. 

And more important:
If a newbie can't handle tonearm (which is a common problem for people who never use turntables before) you can destroy your MC cartridge in the first week. Even experienced users can make a mistakes.  

With MM/MI cartridge you can just buy additional stylus for reasonable price to install it by yourself in 10 seconds and your broken cartridge is back to work just like new. 

With MC cartridge you will have to ship it back to the factory via your distributor, you will pay again nearly 60% of the retail price to get new cartridge from them (only if manufacturer offering such support program), or you will ship it to someone like SoundSmith for re-tip or refurbishing. It will cost you a lot and you will have to wait about 3-5 month (depends on retipper). 

This is why MC is not for a newbie. And actually it's not better than decent MM or MI. 

This is not a philosophy or bla bla bla. This is real problem.
It's about usability and service. 
 



Unfortunately that's the only arm that comes with the SCOUTMASTER. JMW MEMORIAL TONEARM. Unipivot offers less friction. Follows the grooves better. Superior sound. Bearings add friction and you lose detail.

Someone knows how to read marketing brochures.


Only Linn product I ever liked is my 20 year old Linn Ikemi cd player. LP12 is all hype. VPI's blow them away.
If you're so experienced, why do you come here for advice? The reality is that a current LP12 of will slaughter some VPIs (even a Thorens 160 can), while some VPIs will surpass the Linn. But you wouldn't know this because you simply subscribe to marketing hype.
Regarding cartridges you will always pay more for MC, no matter what.

This is very important for a newbie!

It is obvious that MC has very short life span and stylus is not user replaceable. Even if your MC cartridge has reasonable retail price this is not the end, you will need an expensive MC phono stage, Headamp or SUT to use with this type of cartridges. You can simple double the budget for this reason. It can be a mess even with cables, because Low Output signal from MC cartridge is much more sensitive to the cable shielding etc.

And more important:
If a newbie can't handle tonearm (which is a common problem for people who never use turntables before) you can destroy your MC cartridge in the first week. Even experienced users can make a mistakes.  

With MM/MI cartridge you can just buy additional stylus for reasonable price to install it by yourself in 10 seconds and your broken cartridge is back to work just like new.

With MC cartridge you will have to ship it back to the factory via your distributor, you will pay again nearly 60% of the retail price to get new cartridge from them (only if manufacturer offering such support program), or you will ship it to someone like SoundSmith for re-tip or refurbishing. It will cost you a lot and you will have to wait about 3-5 month (depends on retipper).

This is why MC is not for a newbie. And actually it's not better than decent MM or MI.

This is not a philosophy or bla bla bla. This is real problem.
It's about usability and service.
 
With exception of Soundsmith carts, the typical replacement stylus for an MM/MI cart is 80% the cost of the cartridge. And no, MM carts do not last longer than MCs. Stylus life is mostly dictated by user habits and diamond profile. A Shibata diamond will last about 500 hours before it begins to cause record wear. For an elliptical, it's about 250 hours. Other than AT and SS carts, very few MMs come with an advanced stylus profile. I've owned a $900 Soundsmith MI, its performance was a joke compared to a $750 Hana SL. Yes, the SL costs more in the long run but for those with a deserving system, the difference is worthwhile. 
Spidey senses say this thread is a fake. OP's intentions are elsewhere.
Not sure how appropriate the word Scoutmaster is these days. 😬
@geoffkait , you just couldn't help the bankruptcy reference could you?
With exception of Soundsmith carts, the typical replacement stylus for an MM/MI cart is 80% the cost of the cartridge.


Some of his MI cartridges does not have user replaceable styli. It is factory replaceable, but still at the lowest cost compared to MC cartridges from other manufacturers. Not sure were did you get 80% from, watch factory tour and listen to him. Service for his own cartridges is the cheapest from him.


And no, MM carts do not last longer than MCs. Stylus life is mostly dictated by user habits and diamond profile.

If you refurbish MC it will be no longer the same cartridge you’ve been using before.

You can buy as many styli for one MM cartridge as you can get to swap them in 10 seconds by yourself and this is the same cartridge you can use forever this way. And you don’t have to destroy original design by sending them to re-tipper who will glue different cantilever or different diamond.

A Shibata diamond will last about 500 hours before it begins to cause record wear. For an elliptical, it’s about 250 hours. Other than AT and SS carts, very few MMs come with an advanced stylus profile.


All my MM cartridges comes with the best possible profiles:

-MicroRidge for Grace LEVEL II and F14
-Stereohedron for all Stanton/Pickering top models
-Vital III for ADC TRX II (IM)
-Twin Tip for Grado XTZ Signature (MI)
-Micro Tracer for Garrott P77
-FineLine for Ortofon M20Fl Super.
-Shibata for Victor carts
-MicroLine for AT as you said

... i could continue with many more MM/MI

Don’t forget JISO SAS (Super Analog Stylus) designed for MM cartridges and made even for vintage models, JICO SAS available with Boron, Ruby and Sapphire cantilevers for various MM classics.


I’ve owned a $900 Soundsmith MI, its performance was a joke compared to a $750 Hana SL. Yes, the SL costs more in the long run but for those with a deserving system, the difference is worthwhile.

Maybe it was a "joke" in your system with your tonearm or it's just a personal preferences which is OK. In my opinion Excel Sound is a joke, watch factory tour and think about some $23 000 cartridges they are making now. Classic vintage MC are so much better than Hana even in the same price under $800 (better cantilevers, better diamonds, much more advanced design).

Some of my favorite LOMC cartridges are Miyajima Kansui, Miyabi Standard, Fidelity-Research FR-7fz, Ikeda 9c III ... and i would not recommend any of them to the newbie with 25 records in collection and with zero experience with some of the best MM or MI, because if something will happen with those MC it will be very expensive or almost impossible to return them back to original specs.

Some killer MM are within $700 range and styli are about $300





Wow. Don't listen to these guys OP. Take it from me. At 25 records you should be getting the Onkk Cue. At 30 you are looking at the Caliburn Continuum Magnum. That's why whenever I get to 24 I sell a few, in order to keep the table I have now. The upgrades were killing me before I learned this trick. 
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Jeff, unipivots particularly VPI's are garbage. You can read any number of threads about guys having to replace pivots. This type of design is just a cheap easy way to make an arm. You don't have to worry about tolerances or expensive precision bearings. Problem is they are floppy and unstable. Lyra as an example recommends against using their cartridges in uni pivot arms with good reason. You can see this on their web site. A cartridge can only be allowed to move two ways. Up and down, side to side. Any other motion (torsion) represents distortion, record and stylus wear. VPI eventually realized it's folly and came out with a gimbal arm which looks nice. So, toss the junk arm and throw a Jelco on there. Great buy in a pivoted arm. 
mc, are you drinking again?
Is the Scoutmaster with JMW memorual arm and a Hana SL a bad table or not? Preferences aside. Will this table blow away my Project debut carbon? 
@geoffkait , you just couldn't help the bankruptcy reference could you?
Pretty sure GK was not just referring to bankruptcy....😉😉
Somebody doesn’t get American pop culture. I don’t like mentioning any names but it rhymes with schmaltz.
I think that all this stuff just makes things more complicated.  If you want to try analog, get some simple, turnkey table like a Music Hall 7.1 or whatever the final iteration is and play some records.  It comes with a decent arm and MM cartridge and it's good enough to let you know whether you want to continue with something better in the future.  I did it with a Music Hall 5.1.  I thought it sounded really good and I later upgraded the table after I decided to pursue analog.  If you don't like it, you can sell it for a few hundred loss and move on.  
@Uberwaltz, I'm pretty sure he was. Enjoy the music
The table, arm and Hana cartridge is 2100 bucks. Figure a used phono stage for 900 and I'm in ar 3 grand. Not afraid to lose money if I get frustrated with it. My losses in stereo gear is in the thousands. If I am about to drop this amount, what other table/setup do you recommend?
mc, are you drinking again? 

No, too early. Like to try and give it a day or so from when they let me out. Fortunately for me, Seattle, pot shop on every corner. Makes the music so much better you can't imagine. And what they say about short term mem, mmm, uh, where was I? Anyway the newer stuff has no effect on cog, cogniti, oh you know. Not at all. 

Seriously though I don't get why you guys are making it so hard on the OP. You get some records, something to play em on, drop the needle, relax. Sink into sweet music. If the record seems noisy you're not drinking enough. Sound quality problems not smoking enough. Not enough records? Buy more. Want better records? Buy Better Records https://www.better-records.com/search_adv.aspx?option=s_name&min_price=1&max_price=&manu... KISS!
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@Uberwaltz, I'm pretty sure he was. Enjoy the music
👍👍
jeffvegas asks:
Is the Scoutmaster with JMW memorual arm and a Hana SL a bad table or not? Preferences aside.

Preferences aside there are no bad tables.
Will this table blow away my Project debut carbon?

No. For that I recommend the Vornado Alchemy
https://www.vornado.com/shop/circulators-fans/vfan-alchemy

Wow thanks for the recommendation millercarbon
Jeff, I took the plunge (replunged actually) into vinyl about 20 years ago. I still have my Music Hall mmf-5 and Lehmann Black Cube phono preamp, and the music - jazz and rock mostly -  is almost always glorious. And it’s a lot of fun sifting through the bins at the record store. I recently discovered Idris Muhammed at one of my local record shops.  Wowza! My point is,  don’t need to spend a heap of money to enjoy great vinyl sound.  Good luck and happy listening. 
Wow thanks for the recommendation millercarbon

My pleasure. I Strategically avoided including it in my system photos https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 because mine is the less photogenic Vornado Medium Air Circulator. Look real close, you will not be able to see it behind the left front speaker. If buying again I would definitely go for the Alchemy. So learn from my example and remember, fans or turntables, form follows function but looks don't hurt none neither. 

A Vornado will blow just the right gentle breeze while remaining near silent for hot summer night listening. Not sure if either one will blow away your table, that's subject as always to taste and preference. But I have no doubt that they will blow away your arm - clean across the platter!

Jrod68, I actually really enjoy going to record stores. I like that records are big. I can see the artwork on the album's, I am PHYSICALLY buying something. I just have a little Project debut carbon with a cheap grado cart but on some albums it sounds really good. That's what has brought me to this decision.  Maybe just upgrading my platter and a better cartridge on the Project will do the trick instead of spending 3 grand.  Worried though about the future of record production with that record plant that was destroyed by fire in Cali. 
It depends on what kind of music you listen to.  If all of it was recorded in the digital era, 1990 on or so, then vinyl is a waste of time.  There is no way that inserting an amplifier, cutting lathe, record pressing plant, cartridge, and a phono stage between the DAC and your preamp can increase fidelity.  If you like a lot of older music then clean vinyl is going to be higher fidelity than digital transfers from crusty old tapes.  I started collecting music when vinyl and tape were the only options and I did not repurchase that music on CD.  If I was starting out today with only 25 records and I was not a lover of music before 1990, I would sell the 25 records and forget the whole thing.  I have a nice vinyl rig and I listen to it about 20 hours a year.
rwortman that is what I am thinking. Ditch the whole thing. I have 300 bucks in a Project Debut Carbon table and about and maybe 600 bucks in Vinyl bought. I am headed in the direction of buying a good DAC and start streaming.