UPGRADE FROM VPI SCOUTMASTER


Is the vpi prime a significant upgrade from the Scoutmaster.
digital3
In its basics it may not be.

The base of the Scoutmaster is much heavier than the Prime.  It has the 300 rpm motor, same as the Prime.  It comes with an acrylic platter.  Some, but not all, prefer the acrylic platter to the aluminum one on the Prime.  Though the aluminum platter is the same size, it is heavier.

The Prime has a better arm.  It's a 3D arm with easier VTA adjustment.

Try the VPI Forum.  You'll probably get a lot more comments.
I had VPI's many years ago and while I found them good tables they IMHO were just that good tables. I'd look at any of the Kuzma tables they will not disappoint. Not as well know here in the States but once heard there's no going back.
Turntables as a category are very small production run items. As such they absolutely have to command really good profit margins to be worth making at all. This explains why if you look back across the whole field you find the best most highly regarded makers only make a very few models. Kuzma would be one. Linn. Basis. 

The problem is that people coming into it, they rely on what they see right now, which is VPI and Rega ads and reviews (but, I repeat myself) plastered everywhere. Takes a very long time to realize they are the Bose of turntables. Apply a little logic. It takes a lot of advertising to get the word out at that level. Money spent on ads cannot be spent developing product. This makes it a lot harder to even find the really good stuff. Explains perfectly why people like rsf507 who went to the trouble speak so highly.

The best advertising is the customers. Assuming of course you listen to them.
This explains why if you look back across the whole field you find the best most highly regarded makers only make a very few models. Kuzma would be one.

I like Kuzma products but the last time I looked they had 5 tables, 11 tonearms, 6 cartridges and a bunch of accessories in their 2019 line up.  Rega has 8 tables, 4 tonearms and 9 cartridges in their line up.
Hey Millercarbon, you sucked yourself into that one. However I would much rather own a Kuzma than any of those others. He is a brilliant engineer. The Kuzma 4pt 9 is the best tonearm for the money you can buy (big period)
The George Merrill REAL at around $8500 sounded very good, and was in use by a number of exhibitors, at AXPONA. Not sure how many versions there are!

I am another former VPI owner who thinks they are good, not great. I am sure that the new DD with "Fatboy" gimbled arm at 30K is a great deck. But at the price points of everything below that deck, there are better alternatives. I have said it before and I will say it again-the VPI unipivot arms are a pain to set up and even when set up properly they are not great. VPI has never gotten vibration control down to a science; their footers look fancy but are pos, their base/plinths are haphazardly designed for looks and not based on science, and to top it all off, they have a penchant for cobbling together a new design every six months based on the "let's take the platter from bin number 5 and combine it with the plinth from bin number 4 and the tonearm from bin number 2 and call it this cute name". They ought to be called VPEye. They are designed in my humble opinion for people who don't know better and shop with their eyes, much like successful speaker manufacturers. At the end of the day, managing motor noise and having a well thought-out, precision, easily adjustable great-sounding tonearm are paramount. Once you have had the pleasure of using a really top-grade tonearm, well, there is no going back. With VPEye, the tonearm adjustments are awkward to access at best, the tiny set screws are easily stripped, the antiskate is a joke, and there is something very peculiar about the unipivot design in which the sound just never gets to the great level. It is virtually impossible to extract the true potential of the better MC cartridges on the market with a VPEye unipivot arm. 
Since I am on a rant/roll, try replacing the motor pulley sometime. What a joke. Your expensive "precision lathed motor pulley" will likely take so much force to get onto the motor shaft that your motor will be damaged. And then it won't even spin without some wobble. That was my experience when I tried to replace my motor pulley on my Prime in order to use two belts rather than one. I had all kinds of other similar issues with any attempt to replace parts. Teutonic precision is missing. VPEye uses a host of vendors to machine the various parts their McDonald's McNuggets are conglomerated with that often just don't comply with spec. 
I have a good local friend who’s a smart, cautious guy. He’s owned a Scoutmaster for some years now. He’s very thoroughly explored the Scoutmaster-to-Prime option, and conclusively settled on sticking with the Scoutmaster. From what I understand of his findings - the S.M. is a solid table, and there’s no reason to execute a potentially lateral move to the Prime. I think if his findings were at all in favor of the Prime, he’s have done it. But he did upgrade to the 3D arm, and likes it. Seems to be a good arm for MC carts - but I told him to consider the Gimbal fatboy if he wants to run Koetsu in the future (they need good rigid bearings).

When it’s time for the REAL upgrade a few years from now, he’ll certainly be exploring other brands too (e.g. Brinkmann).
Easy. Get a Technics SL-1200G and replace the platter pad with an Oracle platter pad.

The Technics is more speed stable than the VPI (being one of the most speed stable turntables made at any price), and employs six different damping mechanisms, including a damped platter, quite unlike the older SL1200s. If you don't like the arm, which is pretty competent, you can replace that with a Triplanar and have state of the art. Not bad price-wise, which is why Technics has most of the high end turntable industry shaking in their boots. We used to sell a very nice turntable (Atma-Sphere 208, which looks like the old Empire 208 but with a highly damped platter and plinth) but IMO the Technics is a better machine.
I have a Superscoutmaster/3D 2nd pivot/Classic Platter/replaced the feet with Bearpaws (very large brass cones).....haven't heard better.  Was just listening to Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed, and enjoying the lyrics.
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I am sure that the new DD with "Fatboy" gimbled arm at 30K is a great deck.


Small correction. Pretty sure the HW40 (if that's what you're referring to) with the Fatboy gimbal can be had for $15K, less with a trade in. Still not cheap by any means, but it takes a few of the competitive tables out of the equation.

Hey all, just to pop in real fast... totally agree about how a uni-pivot can be that is why we put a lot of time into the development of our Gimbal Fatboy. 

@tonyptony  has it correct, the HW-40 is 15K.  We learned a lot, have improved on our manufacturing and assembly process and were ale to drastically reduce the price of the deck.  The main saver was in the volume of parts.  Regardless, if we save money than I believe in passing that on to the end user the best we can.

Also @fsonicsmith  I agree with you about our former vibration control engineering... I think my dad did the work back in the day but then re-used the same concepts without re-analyzing the approach for different materials/models.  Not the case anymore, the feet that are on the HW-40 have been researched, measured, and tested by my in house engineer Mike Bettinger.  We have a video up called "the bottle test" where we beat the heck out of the platform while the turntable is playing.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=335742833641928

At the moment, the HW-40 Direct Drive is the must current and efficient in regards to technology.  We also have a full white paper on it to learn more:

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/5e0564_6dd7041af16e4823b3279a521f15aba6.pdf

We aren't perfect, but we will always try to step up our game :) 
I can tell you that while at AXPONA I was in the Credo Audio / EMM / VPI room where the HW-40 was being used. While in there HW, at an opportune moment, started pounding on the rack the HW-40 was sitting on while it was playing. Not a ripple in the music. I'll be the first to admit I wish my Avenger was that good at isolating from external structure borne vibrations.