Why mess with awesome? Awesome seems pretty great to me!
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Thanks Stringreen. As I understand it, the 3D arm is not easily substituted for the JMW9 on a Scoutmaster. Various other knowledgeable people have warned me off the 3D, although I have read your favorable comments regarding it. I'm not sure I want to change the platter either, which brings me back to the cartridge.
I have not heard your particular cart, but I'm certain it s consistent with the other upper end SS carts-very lifelike and convincing.
At least that's what I heard in a SS room with Mr. Ledermann playing my records at a show.
If the rest of my system were up to snuff, along with having a few bucks to throw around, the Strain Gauge is just short of having a stringed quartet in the living room.
Wouldnt even bother unless I were ready to REALLY move up the food chain $$$
Thanks for your suggestions guys. I don't know much about the Walker speed controller. I have read some good things about it though. The sound of the cartridge is indeed very lifelike and convincing. It is very musical. I have not thought much about the strain gauge, because one would have to buy the accompanying preamp. However, I have been seriously thinking about the Hyperion.
That is an awful lot of cartridge for that table, but hey, if you have the dough and the desire, why not? I wouldn't recommend putting a $7500 cartridge on a VPI Scout, but then I have been known to do other "crazy" things, like putting a $7500 power cord on a $3000 phono preamp.
This is a crazy hobby, I know of someone who uses $24K speaker cables on his $2K speakers. It's your money, spend it anyway you want!
Have fun, and enjoy the music!!
Thanks John. My turntable is a scoutmaster, with significant modifications primarily in terms of vibration isolation. I have aftermarket footers as well as an aftermarket platform for the turntable itself and a separate smaller one for the motor. I have damping weights on the motor and the plinth. In addition I have very good phono cables on it as well as an upgraded VPI record clamp. Finally I have the S DS speed controller. so, it's a little more than a standard scoutmaster. My purpose in making this inquiry was to get a sense for whether that indeed would be too much cartridge for my table. I appreciate your advice.
You have a very good cartridge. Possible upgrades include:
1) Change the JMW 9 arm for a JMW 10 3D. VPI will sell you a mounting board that attaches to your old JMW 9 plinth holes and is drilled for the 3D arm. Easy replacement/upgrade
2) Add a motor controller like the VPI SDS, Phoenix Eagle, or the Walker. I have owned both the Walker and the SDS and their performance is almost identical
3) If you have an older acrylic platter, you can replace it with the VPI Classic platter - very nice improvement in sound
Anyone of the above upgrades will sound like you have a new cartridge and will give you a higher level of performance. If you choose to do nothing, don't sweat it because you have a VERY nice front end set up.
If the point is to put together the most expensive system, then I would understand the use of $24000 cables. But if the point is to put together the best sounding system, then why is even any ''price'' mentioned?
Price doesn't equal or equate quality. Synergy is what should be the main consideration here. Not 'price'!
thanks a lot. I do have the SDS--sorry I didnt list that up front, just in my system list. I do think it was a worthwhile upgrade.
I had though initially that I would go for the 3D arm when it came out. However, numerous people have steered me away from it (not simple to switch since they don't have a 9 inch one, tricky to set up, build quality issues, etc). I have also considered the platter, but I am concerned that I won't like the sound of a metal platter compared to my acrylic one.
i appreciate your comment. Over the years, I have been conservative as far as changing my system. It was static for 12 years before I started to refresh it about 2 years ago. I do not change or swap gear often. I see no reason to spend 25k. I am simply seeking to improve what I have without changing everything, and the cartridge seemed a logical item to consider.
Your JMW 9 is a 9 inch arm and VPI does not make a direct swap out 9 inch 3D arm, therefore, you can purchase a 10" 3D arm and VPI will provide you with a mounting plate that attached to your SS plinth to make sure that your new longer 3D tonearm is properly aligned with the correct spindle to pivot distance.
Arsh...whoever told you bad things about the 3D arm just doesn't know what they're talking about. All that I told you...3D arm, classic platter, etc. will take your turntable to the very height of performance. If you add the rim drive, it will nearly be the equal of the direct drive. VPI has this upgrade path that makes the ownership of your table so valuable.
Thanks Stringreen. I guess I am wary of having to modify my table to fit that arm. I wish there were a 9" one that I could just drop in place. Are there photos or videos of what the substitution would look like? If I felt comfortable that it would be pretty easy for me to do, and would not be more difficult to set up the cartridge than my JMW9, I might do it. In your opinion, would that make more difference than a Hyperion, for instance?
To expand on my earlier comments. I think you have a very nice analog setup that should perform very well. Any significant upgrade will cost you significant dollars. I actually think your cartridge is probably your strongest element followed by the phono preamp, tonearm and lastly the table.
My recommendation is to stay with what you have. That said, Music Direct offers a VPI Classic Signature SE for $5,000. Alternatively you could also purchase a record cleaning machine.
Thanks for your further comments onhwy61. Your points are well taken. I forgot to note my record cleaning machine: Clearaudio Smart Matrix Professional. I am indeed quite satisfied with what I have. I would almost certainly have just bought another table, but since this one was my dad's before he died, I would like to keep using it. Hence my desire to "max out" its performance. Perhaps that is folly. I take it from your comments that in your opinion changing the cartridge or Tonearm will not yield a significant improvement? Thanks again.
Ha! Thanks bobvinyl. As luck would have it, my wife is a psychologist, and she already tells me I'm crazy on a regular basis. I have come to accept my diagnosis. :) in all seriousness, though, I know I don't have a problem with the set up. Just wondering how much better it can be, as so many of us with this affliction do.
Thanks bobvinyl. I appreciate your opinion. I had pretty much decided to stand pat for the time being, after reading the various responses and soliciting some expert opinions as well. I do think that when there is a significantly better Tonearm made that will fit my turntable, that may be a sensible way to go. I remain open to everyone's opinions, as that's educational in itself.
Arsh, I don't have a Herron but I have been rolling tubes for many years and have rebuilt and updated a number of amps. As you gave not mentioned my aforementioned tweaks, I am recommending you give it a shot. Buy the best tubes NOS as you can and talk to Herron about a V-CAP or Jupiter Copper foils if you have a temp regulated room as the latter don't like heat. I believe these upgrades will be well worth it.
Stringreen, thanks. However, when I called VPI, they were not helpful. I think some technician relayed answers to my questions via a receptionist. Apparently he could not be bothered to speak with me himself. From those answers, I gathered that some modification of the turntable would be required. Did your Scoutmaster originally have a JMW9 arm, or a longer arm before you installed the 3D? I am anticipating the release of the Schroder Alto (demonstrated at some recent hi-fi shows), which Peter Lederman tells me is a surface mount and should fit on my turntable; it should mate well with his cartridges. That may be worth considering for my situation. Not sure why VPI has not made a 9 inch 3D arm.