Transrotor Fat Bob S vs. VPI Aries 3

I'm in the process of upgrading my analog front end. I've pretty well narrowed my short list to Transrotor Fat Bob S with an Origin Live Encounter arm and VPI Aries 3 with a JMW 10.5i arm, SDS, and periphery ring. Any opinions on how these rigs stack up? Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to audition either one.

I listen to many different kinds of music, from small ensemble chamber music to speed metal.

Thanks in advance.
freddy vs jason
They are 2 very different sounding rigs. I extensively auditioned the Fat Bob S and owned an Aries 2 for 3 years before getting a great deal on a Kuzma Stabi Reference TT. The Fat Bob is on the neutral side and the VPI is on the warm side. The Aries 3, as told to me by my local dealer (who also sold VPI), provides more detail and gets your toes tapping more than the Aries 2, but it is still warmer sounding than the Fat Bob. I don't know have personal experience with the Aries 3, but the Aries 2 has a "melt-me-in-the chair" relaxing sound (in a very good way). The Fat Bob presents much better transparency, with solid, tuneful bass. The Aries is no slouch in the bass; I would consider the two to be equal in that department. The Fat Bob really impressed me with its ability to portray full, perfectly placed images, with air and blackness. I am still very much interested in the Fat Bob, but will probably wait until next spring to do another audition, this time with the Fat Bob Reference. Hope this helps.
depends on kind opf speed metal.No it really will be pretty big difference am loyal to VPI but cannot remember if FATBOB is multi arm.You have those upgrades like clamp and different cartridge for different music is cheaper (usually) if don't need second arm just to a buy a tube.Me I am pretty tight so going to sell big Aries and get Scoutmaster with 9" arm and $1K heavy platter.I'll give up VTA on fly which is nice if say you play lot's of 200 gm re-issues but going with Scoutmaster or Aries with 9" arm can still get up there (scoutmaster w/23 lp heavy is $3700 plus $400 per extra tube,SDS,clamp that's about $6K).I just balk at cost of 10.6 tubes though hey are better.I can't get by without one stereo and one mono at least.Not everybody cares that much.And of course listen to both side by side if you can.would if I could afford it a TW Raven or even Scheur Eurolab with one SME IV,and maybe Origin 250 for lesser carts all 2 or 3 hooked into Rhea stage.Bu not in current budget.I guess since your taste in music are varies and decks don't sound same think about flexibility and total outlay is abbreviated way of last paragraph.
Read Positive Feddbacks nice revew of Fatbob.Being 70 lbs malkes big difference.And it can hold second arm.I am sure it sounds great if diffeent.if your willing to cough up for that de k than foget my economizing jive.Just rember to get 3/10.7 Aries with $1K Havy platter or newer $2K Composite heavy.Lot's of Aries commens out here so post review of Fatbob if you get it.Both are fine decks.I think do I want second arm and what kind inputs I had on phono is ansdwer is yes i.e. if it's single input you couldn't use it with Fatbob and two arms.
I own a Fat Bob S and have owned VPIs. IMO, the Fat Bob is better in every way, especially when it comes to ease of setup, tracking ability and quiet playback, with a black background. Imaging and musicalty are far greater also. No contest. I am using mine with an SME arm, Benz Ruby 3 cartridge and Einstein phono stage, playing through Parsifal Ovations. I do not have time to be more specific, but this system is startling good. I have demoed for friends who usually show no interest and they end up taking a seat and sitting there in awe. Good luck.
Thanks to all. I'm heavily inclining toward the Fat Bob (no pun intended). Now I just hope my rack will hold the thing.