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Scheu Premier II with dual arm (9", 12" plinth) and a 12" Scheu Classic tonearm inc record clamp and optional 80mm platter is costing me 2500 inc shipping from Germany.
Hard to beat; Teres that requires finishing is a bit more money for the least expensive one by the time you put a similar arm on it, pay the shipping, and tax. A Teres that requires no finishing is a hell of a lot more money; prettier, though, and probably a bit better than the Scheu. In this playing field they are all pretty damned good.
Kjl: The Acoustic Signature Final Tool with the Moerch Dp-6 tonearm is a stunning combination and beats the Teres and VPI Aries for less money.
BTW, I own The Discovery, great cartridge and it is a very good mate to the DP-6. This will be a " killer " analog system.
About the Superscoutmaster you have to talk with the VPI people.
Regards and enjoy the music.
It sounds like VPI really wants to keep all your money. Their turnkey approach is okay if you're satisfied with the whole package, but it sounds like a table designed to accommodate a variety of arms would suit you better.
VPI's argument that the ScoutMaster was voiced only for a JMW seems self-serving and fairly weak IMO. Arm/table synergy exists, but it is orders of magnitude less important than arm/cartridge synergy. You need to find a cartridge and arm that - taken together - meet your needs and musical priorities. Then find a table to support that combo at the level it deserves.
This is one reason (among many) that so many people like Teres around here. Like a few other tables, it was intentionally designed to be used with nearly any tonearm. It provides this flexibility without compromising the arm/table interface. It's a solid, long-term base that will happily support whatever arm/cartridge adventures you choose to explore.
The Scheu tables mentioned by C12366 are also pretty effective in this regard, as are the higher priced Teres project offshoots from Galibier and Redpoint.
I've not heard a ScoutMaster, or any VPI, but multiple people who have compared a Teres to even an Aries or TNT have voted for the Teres. Search here or on VA and you'll find comparisons.
It's very difficult for tables sold through traditional distributor/dealer channels to compete with manufacturer-direct products like Teres/Redpoint/Galibier. Eliminating extra hands from the transaction means more of your money goes directly into the product itself. More performance for your money.
If you compare a Teres 245 ($2500-2900) or 255 ($2800-3300) to a ScoutMaster it's hard to see any area where a ScoutMaster could honestly claim to be superior. Finding areas where the 245/255 clearly better the ScoutMaster is easy: the bearing, motor, motor controller, belt, plinth, platter and armboard all spring instantly to mind. Toss in the optional battery power supply for another, it costs peanuts compared to VPI's SDS.
The JMW's are fine arms by all accounts, but it should be possible to match or better them for the remaining $2000-2500, especially since you can get a package deal on quite a few different arms from Teres. The Moerch DP-6 and Schroeder Model 2 both come to mind in this price range. Gregadd's suggestion of the Tri-Planar was a good one, but it might blow your budget.
A Scheu without the dual arm plinth and without the 80mm platter would be closer to 2100 landed with a 12" arm. heck of a deal.....
Give them a call and chat with them. I know of at least one customer who got a money back guarantee for 30 days if he was not happy with his Scheu table. It was not returned.
We agree on several things, like Koetsu and Graham 2.2 for instance.
I don't agree that an Acoustic Signature Final Tool will outplay a Teres, but I don't disagree either. I've never heard an Acoustic Signature Final Tool.
I'll repeat the question Teres asked, which Teres models have you actually compared the ASFT to?