The Better Table?

Assuming equal arms, cartridges, and setup, which is the better table overall; an Aries 3 or a Super Scoutmaster?
I prefer the aesthetics of the Aries but I'm not sure you will hear a huge difference in sound between the two.
Call VPI. They are intimately familiar with both of them, have heard them with a variety of cartridges, and are the best people to know the differences. I always found them very reliable in their assessments. I have a Superscout with rim drive and love it.
Can't go wrong with either but I would skip the rim drive for now, it needs work as reports are surfacing on vibrations being pick up by the chartridges. Could be a problem specific to MC's but wait until it shakes out. I have the Aries.
Buconero117, I have not personally heard about vibration feedback problems with the rim drive mechanism. I have been using the rim drive on my VPI TNT-6 in my SET system for about four months now. The tonearm and cartridge are the SME IV and a low output MC (Benz L2), and I have not experienced any vibration problems. I would be interested in any further information you might have about the problem some are apparently experiencing.
Yes..there were problems at the very beginning of the rim drive's release. It seems that the motor assembly must have soft feet, and the table assembly must be solidly seated. If the old solid metal feet are used on the motor assembly there is a speed fluctuation, and an arm instability. VPI now includes soft rubber feet. These problems are now gone. The rim drive is a very big improvement to the already excellent belt drive.
Stringreen, my HRX motor assembly has rubber feet. They are not especially soft, but they are definitely not metal. I gather that VPI might have made some modifications to the motor assembly feet over time. Another factor influencing the performance of my turntable is the fact that it sits on a Silent Running Audio VR isolation base. The base does an excellent job of absorbing vibration energy, and this could be a reason I have never experienced any noise or feedback problems with the rim drive mechanism.

Stringreen, do you know whether VPI is advising that feet such as the plastic ones on my motor assembly be replaced with new footers? I suppose I could just send an inquiry to Mike at VPI, but I thought I might go ahead and get your perspective here.
Cincy_bob.. yes...get rid of those feet and get the soft rubber ones.. I think they improved the sound of my VPI. Call Harry..he sent mine for free, and will probably do the same for you. a new formulation for the ring around the drive wheel. Regarding your Silent Running base. Make sure the motor assembly is decoupled from the table proper. The table should be solidly anchored to the floor, but there should be a bit of "give" (the reason for those new rubber feet) to the motor assembly. If you have that..fine...if not..., get the table off of the Silent Running base and try it without using the above suggestions. You can always put it back if you like the sound better that way. I tried a number of platforms, and the way I have mine set up is the way I just recommended. Happy listening...
Stringreen, thanks for your input. I sent an e-mail to VPI to inquire about the new footers. I noticed in your virtual system thread that you mentioned you have implemented a "side thrust compensator" in your turntable. Can you elaborate on this a bit? Is this just a fancy way of describing the horizontal compliance inherent in the new soft rubber footers, or have you done something further to improve the interface between the flywheel rim and the platter?

One other thing that occurs to me is that my turntable is the latest model TNT with the Gingko-style air bearning footers. These turntable footers allow for horizontal compliance (i.e., some "give" in the horizontal plane) that might well accomplish something similar to the higher compliance footers Harry has introduced for the motor housing.
Side thrust compensation is the same as anti-skate. I should tell you, that after much listening, I have concluded that anti-skate (side thrust compensation) should not be used. First of all, it's impossible to set correctly, since it is constantly changing. All anti-skate devises intrude on the sound. When Harry at VPI said don't use it, and then sold an anti-skate device for his arms, I figured that it was a good thing. I can tell you truthfully, that the sound is better without it...that's true of a number of arms that I have tried. Perhaps you should try using no anti-skate (if you have a VPI arm, detach the nylon thread from the device. This will give you an approximation of its elimination. If you feel that you have to have anti-skate, by all means apply it, however, if you feel that you can hear no difference, remove the device completely from the arm (a real pain to do, but worth it) and listen again. When I did that, I heard an improvement. Anti-skate really dampens the label side of the cartridge forming an imbalance. ..also, all anti-skate devices resonate to some degree. Speaking of resonating, the Rega tracking force adjustment should be set to its maximum, and the vtf should be adjusted by moving the weight back and forth until the proper VTF is applied. That spring resonates. Using the Shure scale, understand that it reads slightly wrong. A more accurate way to measure the weight using this scale is to set the front 2 feet (the right side) so that it is off of the edge of the turntable, then proceed as directed. Regarding Gingko. They are very nice people and provide great service. I use their dust cover which transforms my VPI table to a museum piece. When I have company, the first thing they gravitate to with awe is the VPI turntable under the Gingko dust cover. You might try their just didn't work for me. The Gingko balls are not filled with air. They are of a material that is squishy and feels like a tennis ball, but they are solid material. I believe the TNT footers from VPI are of a much more complicated and different design.
I have the rim drive on a SSM as well and have just implemented a Critical Mass Master platform with it. This, I think, is similar to your SRA. I have currently stopped using my replacement feet in favor of the rubber feet which came on my particular motor housing unit coupled with adhesive felt pads from Home Depot. This is working quite well for me currently and I suspect if you're not noticing a problem you don't need to change much. Get that softer drive belt when it's available.
Stringreen, thanks for your detailed reply. I had originally misinterpreted your comments in your virtual system thread about the VPI antiskate mechanism as I thought you were referring to the flywheel rim and platter interface.

The tonearms I am running in my audio systems are not VPI arms. I replaced my VPI JMW-10 tonearm several years ago when I upgraded my TNT's tonearm to the SME IV. I am also running the Dynavector DV507 MkII in a second turntable. I use the antiskate mechanism in both tonearms. The antiskating force prevents my cartridges from lunging toward the label when the stylus is dropped into the lead-in groove at the beginning of the LP side, and I hear no deleterious effects on sound quality. In addition, my friend recently used his oscilloscope to callibrate the antiskate adjustment on my Dynavector arm. With too little antiskate force, there is visible distortion in the sine wave that is eliminated as the anti-skate force is dialed up to an appropriate setting. I recognize that skating force varies constantly and there is no way to perfectly compensate for these constantly varying forces. However, it has always struck me that the "right" answer is not zero. In fact, VPI always used to recommend that the tonearm lead-out wire that connects to the junction box be twisted so as to apply some antiskating force.

As for the VPI anti-skate mechanism, I don't have any experience with it. I certainly agree with your approach, however. If the music sounds better without the mechanism in place, then, by all means remove it.

With respect to dynamic spring-loaded VTF mechanisms, I agree with you. That's why I bought the SME IV years ago as opposed to the V.

Regarding the Gingko vibration control platforms, I spoke with the principal at Gingko (Vinh Vu) about them a number of years ago shortly after VPI introduced their sealed air bearing footers for the TNT series turntables. Vinh is a neighbor of Harry's, and they have collaborated on a number of products in recent years. Vinh indicated that the design of his Cloud vibration control platforms was the genesis of the design for the new TNT footers.

My TNT footers literally use Reactor paddleballs as the sealed air bearings in the footers. The footers are not a complicated design; a single paddleball simply sits in a cup on top of each footer, and the stainless steel tower at the corner of the TNT plinth acts as a sleeve that nests over the top of the footer and hides the paddleball from sight. In the end, the plinth is simply resting on a paddleball that is held in place by the cup at the top of the footer.

The Reactor padleballs feel as if they are solid, but they are actually filled with pressurized air. During 2005, when I originally bought the footers as an upgrade to the spring footers in my older model TNT, I understood that Gingko was using these same paddleballs in their vibration-control bases. I suspect the Gingko balls are still just paddleballs that have been badged with the Gingko name, but I'm not certain.

Stickman, sorry for hijacking your thread. Back to your regularly scheduled program...