Turntable parts upgrade

I recently got back into vinyl after a 30+ year hiatus and now I am hooked. I had forgotten how great vinyl sounds. Last summer I picked up a demo VPI Prime scout from a local dealer with the upgraded WH40 feet and a Ortofon Quintet Blue cart. The unit was their in store demo and had approx 20 to 30 hours on it. I love it and I am enjoying vinyl, so much that I hardly want to listen to digital anymore. I am slowly expanding my vinyl collection. Seeing how much I love this and what I am investing in my vinyl collection it makes me ask the questions: If I were to upgrade something on my TT what would make the most impact? I understand the Prime Scout base is a solid base to start with, so would next step be to upgrade to a better cartridge? Or upgrade to one of their better 3D arms? Or don't bother upgrading arms because I can mover up to a Prime for a little more which has the better arm and larger platter? Cartridges I was think about were Hana ML or Quintet Black. 

For reference the rest of my system is: PrimaLuna EVO 400 integrated, Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII, Sutherland Insight with the LPS. Digital is Chord Qutest, Innuos Zenith mkIII. All cables by Purist Audio Venustas and Corvus. 

I know thats a lot of questions but just trying to get an idea what makes the impact with analog upgrade in the chain. My last TT was probably a basic $150 Technics when I was a teenager in the 80's, so this is my first high end TT.



Check out the archives on the Audio Technica ART9, definitely a cart to include in your decision. Easily a "best" cart in the $1K  price point that exceeds it's cost.

VPI Classic user here- I'd hold out on  a table upgrade until your ready to go up the food chain considerably $$. I would maybe consider the Phoenix Roaddrunner setup now sold by SOTA for speed regulation.  Look for a 3D arm used for 1/2 the retail if you're arm curious after the cart upgrade. 

Your Prime Scout has enough VPI essentials to appreciate what a decent setup will do. Other than cart, upgrades are in the diminishing returns zone-IMO.

If I were going to consider a VPI as the "final" I would get an Avenger or HW 40DD. Likely, I'll replace my Classic with something outside the VPI lineup.

PL HP is powering my setup. Enjoy your setup.

Absolutely not !!

Only thinking about options for different sound , I'm one of the fortunate ones to have a brick n mortar store's at hand.. 

Trying cartridge with phonostage on a nice turntable of taste before buying helps alot.. ( being friend with the owner helps) 

In the end zyx 4d ultimate won the cartridge race before hana umami ,phonostage at home is a small series hand-built röcklinger auria that had a better staging than herron vtph , better low end than ear 324 and so on ..

All n all it does not have to be more expensive to sound better to you in your system , or different..

My go to store is https://www.akkelisaudio.com/ 

And most of my hifi comes from that store 😁

Should mention my former phonostage was moon 5.3 with external power supply. 

I was very satisfied with that and hana mh . Then upgraditis set in ..after a year..

Do you feel my Sutherland Insight LPS is a weak link?

There's always a "next level' of phono stage to put any cart you choose in it's best light. Tube can bring a different presentation that the better SS units try to emulate.

Congratulations. I remember when I upgraded from a “common table… the reissued AR) to a VPI Aries… it was one of those jaw dropping moments I have never forgot. A completely different world.

If the system was mine I would upgrade the cartridge… get a good one… think ~$2K or more… I don’t know your tastes or am I familiar enough with the current round up of cartridges… I have a Koetsu Rosewood Signature… a beautiful natural sounding cartridge. You need one for your tastes and system. Then the phono stage for sure. I am a big Audio Research proponent… 30 years ago after purchasing my first a PH2… that was it. I own there flagship now after many upgrades. Phono stages are way more important than you think… a really high end tube phono stage improves naturalness of the sound, detail an quieter the background even more. If you don’t get it right at the cartridge and first level amplification… it doesn’t improve more.

I would consider getting a better phono stage. What you have is nice, but there are some really nice units if you watch for them on the used market. 

Get ADS or Phoenix eagle PSU then cartridge ,with VPI metal arm try Dynavector 20X2L great match.
stay for a while with your set up then better upgrade whole table rather the only arm or feet etc. is never ending upgrade for VPI.



@johnss @iseland So I ordered a Manley Chinook. I also worked a deal with my dealer I bought the table from and traded the Quintet Blue for a Hana ML. The ML is just getting broken in but already it is an amazing difference. Looking forward to what the Chinook will bring. I ordered the Upscale Audio special edition version. 

I'm really happy for you,  the Hana punch above it's price tag!

Manley,  what can I say.. the steelhead is one of the best in the world,  I imagine they did a fine job with the chinook !

@jmphotography , sounds good. nice phono stage. A super simple upgrade is to replace those .47uf wima caps with .47uf nichicon XY series of caps. Parts will cost you about 1.29 each. They are located right next to the opamps at the rear of the unit. 

@jmphotography Welcome to the world of thoroughly enjoying LP Replays.

Prior to spending more substantial outlays of money, I think there are few avenues of investigation that can be looked into, that might prove to be beneficial to your situation.

Initially looking at methods to support the TT and Isolate it from the Set Up environment can provide quite noticeable improvements to the SQ, if done correctly Detail Retrieval and the Bass Line should become cleaned up.

A Couple of tiers of Sub Plinths can be used on the mounting shelf, with a few different footer types in between or if the interest arises to experience a Wall Shelf, this design can be used and then have a Sub Plinth/Plinths placed on it to see if further improvements is available.

Sub Plinths and Footers need not cost the earth, and can be created very economically, a friend swears by a sand box as his ideal Sub Plinth with a DIY Copy of a Footer I use.

If the Sub Plinth Method is investigated and a method is discovered that is proven to be an improvement and satisfying, a further investigation into Platter Mat Materials and Spindle Puck Weights can really show an improvement, this type of investigation can take up some funds if Loan Mats are not available, but there is a discovery to be made that is worthwhile of the endeavour, a good starting point may be to see if there is a trend on your TT model for a certain type of Mat Material.

I have maintained my interest in the above for too many years and have collected a quantity of Sub Plinth Materials and Platter Mats, which I am still keen to bring something new to the set up.

Every now an again these are loaned out to a local HiFi Group and the use in other systems are assessed, the responses of system owners usually to great surprise and most systems I listen to have a Mat in use of a Material that I have introduced and most TT's are sitting on a Sub Plinth and a version of footer I have introduced.

Recently I took my most recent acquired material which is Panzerholz to a friends, and after a period of time placed it upon the CDP Mouting Shelve and under their Valve CDP.

The change in the performance was noticeable immediately and that was without footers being used.  I then added AT 616 Footer under the CDP and the whole presentation took on a added attraction.

The P'holz and AT 616 Footer is to undertaken again with an increased number of attendees and a few different footer options. 

Getting this side of the TT correct will allow for the TT to offer its best and any other trials with devices will be best served with this as a starting point.