Swapping Tonearms on a VPI Aries- anyone?

Hi, I have a quick question about my recently acquired Aries. This applies to the original Aries, AND and Aries 3 owners. Read on for the full story.

Right now, I have a SME Series V with a Benz MC Gold, which sounds great. The only problem is, I have a lot of mono LPs that sound MUCH better with my mono cartridge (which has a 1 mil. tip).

With my trusty SME 3009 pre-improved, it was easy to swap headshells. Not so with the series V, as you know.

So, the original Aries has three screws holding the tonearm board down. My questions is, does anyone swap arms regularly on the their Aries? My worry is that constantly swapping will eventually wear out the three holes. If they were threaded, then it would be cool. However the original Aries has three long wood screws.

Now, the next part of the question. FedEx damaged my chassis, so they're buying me a brand new Aries 3 chassis, which, I've been told, has a slightly different armboard. Maybe the Aries 3 has threaded holes for easy armboard swaps?

In a perfect world, I'd use the Series V for stereo, then be able to pop the 3009 pre-improved on in a matter of minutes for mono LPs. (acutally, in a perfect world, I'd have 2 Series V's :-)



I would consider the possibility of having an outboard mounting arrangement for a second arm. That would seem to be a better solution than constantly changing arms. I would get in touch with Harry or others at VPI and see if anyone else has ever done this. Possibly Raul would have some ideas, he is the king of the multi arm table.
Hi Stanwal, thanks for the reply.

That would indeed be the best solution- I've been thinking about having a two arm table for years. I wonder if VPI would modify the Aries 3 chassis before they send it to me. Hmmmmmm.........

Who is Raul, by the way? Is that his forum name?

Thanks again!

Rauliruegas, one of his tables has 3 arms and the other 4 arms. I always thought he should name the latter one "forewarned", because as we all know, "forewarned is forearmed". Just kidding Raul.
I would contact VPI, and ask them to drill the plinth (chassis) for a second arm. I see no reason why it could not be done. They are willing to do that sort of thing. They built a custom flywheel for me at a very reasonable price. I would, however, encourage you to consider doing this to the original plinth. I don't know the nature of the damage to it, but if it is minor, and you can live with the cosmetic defect, it would not affect the resale value of the table in the future, as you would still have an intact plinth.
Stanwal- I like the saying :-)

Frogman- good point. The original chassis basically has a few dents on one side, and a bit of a crushed corner on the other. Nothing that effects the sound or function, but damage that FedEx is responsible for (they left the box lying in water somewhere along the line, which compromised the packaging).

I'll ask VPI what they think about it. I would think that a factory two-arm Aries 3 would actually be more valuable in the long run...

I think I'll also ask them if maybe they could make threaded holes for the tonearm bolts. That would be the path of least resistance. I wouldn't mind swapping arms if I didn't have to worry about eventually stripping the mounting threads.

Thanks guys!
Bassphil, you don't need to drill and mount a second arm. Just buy an additional arm tube (really the arm w/o the mounting base) for your JMW. No muss, no fuss. Undo the wire at the junction box and just lift off the tube - do the same in reverse for the 2nd tube. I routinely change from my stereo cartrisge to mono in about 5 seconds or less.

Are you using a JMW 10" (original) arm? I picked up a good cond. used arm tube on eBay for (I think) $195 about a year ago. Parts for the newer .5 and SS arms will undoubtedly cost more...
I like the VPI arms for that very reason, though I've never heard one before. I have an SME series V currently.

Actually, I had another idea. I could just buy some feet for the Aries 3 when they ship it to me and set it up next to the original Aires that has the cosmetic damage. I'm parting out my old HW-19 MK4, but I guess I could keep the aries platter that's on it. That way, I could have a stereo Aries with the series V tonearm, and a mono Aries with the 3009 pre-improved. Then, all I would have to do is move the SAMA from table to table :-)

Still, I'd rather just switch arms if VPI can find a way to make that easy for me...
Wait a minute? I am thinking of buying an Aries, you telling me they screw the armboard on the plinth using wood screws only? There is no threading involved? Can you confirm this?
I have an Aries 3 with a SME IV.Vi arm. The armboard is secured with three allen machine screws into the TT base, not any kind of wood screws. It looks like it's possible to mount a second arm but might be easier to get an extra armboard to swap out.

Good luck,
Sorry I can't help you, Phil, but I'd love to know what cart you're using for mono. I'm heading in that direction a bit myself. Thanks.