sme 10, no contest. However, I suggest a new one. Why compromise if you are into getting the best sound. SME IV is will disappoint. Also, you need to get the super platter for the Aries 3. Again, anything else would be a compromise that you will hear. I have a Aries 3, super platter, 12.7 arm. Great sound. Wished I had gone the sme 10 route. Will dump my current rig for a 10 once I get BO's check.
I am curious why do you think the SME IV will disappoint. I have heard it on a Delphi MK V and was impressed. Or are you saying it would disappoint on an Aries? Are you not concerned about the 25 lb super platter weight on the bearing?
Having heard SME arms on Oracle V's, and having heard an Aries 3 (but with a VPI arm of course), my feeling is that an SME arm on an Aries might not be the best match. They both seem to be on the "black background" side of things, which might be too much of a good thing in combination - you might find the combo to lack PRAT.
As Oracle's have a wide open sound, the SME arm is generally considered to be an excellent match to the Oracle (to that point, Oracle even supplies an SME-made Oracle/SME 345 arm). The combination certainly makes nice music to my ears.
I used my IV on both an old TNT and a Basis Ovation, worked well on both. I sold both when I resumed a VPI dealership. Currently awaiting an Aries Extended with 12.7 arm and Super Platter. From listening to the Scout and Scoutmaster I would say that they are not as "dark" and "warm" as the older VPIs or the Basis either: if the Aries is similar I would think that it would work well with the SME. Of course, I liked my old tables with it. I had considered, and may still, buying an Aries table for the SME, Buconero says he has an Aries 3 with 12.7 arm, according to my sales lit. the Aries 3 doesn't come with a 12" arm. In fact the only table available with it currently is the HRX. When I ask Harry why he didn't bring back the Aries Extended he told me that they still had some, that they were Aries 2 tables rather than Aries 3. I obviously didn't care as I ordered one and I am not saying you don't have one; just saying what I was told. Probably totally irrelevant anyway.
So from what I can read Stanwal is that I would not be yearning for an SME 10 if I went for an Aries. Am I correct in assuming this? I know the SME might be the best thing built out there, but come one guys the price hike this table has gone through is quite high. It started out being priced the same as an Orbe and I doubt the SME 10 is worth 4,500 more than the Orbe. For that matter after hearing in the same dealership a Gyro up against the SME 10 yes I did prefer the depth the SME 10 offered but the Gyro had a much wider soundstage. I would only expect the Orbe SE to match the SME 10, hence why i would consider a used SME 10. Once again comments are welcome, don't be shy let's keep this going. Helps me make a decision. cheers NIck L
I own the model 10, my previous TT was a gyrodec. One of the reasons I went for the SME was the lack of adjustments needed, all you need to do is level it!! A high quality round level is essential for setting up any table.
The orbe sounded good, the same as the gyro but more of everything including body, but with a suspended design you are forever re-setting. And for my ears they never have the control of fixed designs.
Having seen a few used sme's I would buy one without hesitation. But the power supply was updated, and it does make a big difference, so go for a latter model (sorry unsure of exact dates). The other point of note is that I found mine to be sensitive to the shelf material, so budget for a reasonable shelf. I have had mine for nearly a year now and I am still in awe!! The gyros sounstage was wider, but I have never missed it, the speed, accuracy, delicacy, not to mention the astounding bass has left me satisfied l.p after l.p!!
I have to add I did have some problems with my arm, and sme sorted it, about the best customer service I have encountered!!
Personally, I think you would be happy with either. At this level set up is possibly more significant than differences between tables. But everyone hears different things and only you can make the decision. If I lived in England I would definitely get the SME because the price differential would be in the other direction. I have been corresponding with someone over there who is changing his Scoutmaster Reference for a 20/2 because the pound has gone down in value and he can get a very good deal. You pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say. My own choice was largely based on wanting the 12.7 arm, which is irrelevant to you.
Dear Nick: There are many TT options out there in almost the same price range you are speaking to. IMHO I think that with that tonearm ( and I don't know which cartridge you own. ) you could " explore " two other TT alternatives: Galibier and Acoustic Signature.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I agree with everything SME10 says which is why this table is on my short list. Consider the small footprint, bullet proof construction and quite possibly in my opinion the most ingenious construction of any turntable I have seen for the price. Yes, it requires a nice shelf like all non suspended designs, but the plug and play is unsurpassed. The only downside here in North America (Canada) is the very high price which is why used is the way to go. Stanwal is correct as well, I think at this level the differences would be small and not large, I would probably be very happy with VPI and their customer service is quite good and they always get back to you when you ask a question which is more than I can say for a lot of manufacturers out there. Rauliruegas suggests Galibier and Acoustic Signature both great tables but the idea of having the motor away from the plinth makes them a bigger footprint of a table and I don't like the idea of a turntable forcing me to re-arrange my living space or turntable racks...besides they are quite heavy.
Hey what about the Xerxes .20? Any thoughts? I personally think it can't hold a candle to the SME10 or VPI but still...
I bought a new SME 10 back when they were $6,950. I upgraded to a SME V arm and put it all on a Mapleshade platform (see virtual system). Recently upgraded the cartridge. Speed stability and build quality are superb. Once set-up properly, it stays that way. Very small footprint and easy to operate. I would not hesitate to buy one used. It would be a great value for the money ($3500-4000).
I've heard two Scoutmasters in different systems (Magico with Nagra, and B&W with tubes), but never the Aries 3. Difficult to say what the TT's contributed to the overall system sounds, but images were more stable and focused and rythm/pace was better, more involving to my ears with my SME front-end.
Just one more opinion, but if you already have the SME arm, I would add that the synergy of the IV arm with the SME table would seem to be a good combo.
Hey Peterayer, I agree with you that is where I am leaning towards; getting one used between 3500-4000 I love the idea that you unpack it, add oil and a little bit more every year (just a drop) and enjoy the music. Brilliant!!! Imagine how I lived with a Linn for so many years!
I think you may want to email these guys; great service and the cheapest I have found!!
http://www.hi-fi-specialist.co.uk/, (they ship all over the world).
With the current economic situation, there are bargains to be had! I saw a sme 10 go for $2000, a few weeks back.
Peterayer has a good point inregards to having an sme arm on an sme TT.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
Oh guys one more question regarding the acrylic platter that VPI uses, I suppose over time it discolors and looks horrific? I know I am talking about looks but have seen some Origin Lives with the old acrylic platter and they looked horrific. Is VPI sticking with this platter? There have been lots of criticism over the use of this platter. cheers Nick