VPI periphery record ring for VPI Scoutmaster

How much of an improvement does the VPI steel periphery record ring make? Do you think it's worth the $500 US retail price? Or would it be advisable to first look for the SDS, then afterwards purchase the ring? I'll be using it on a Scoutmaster turntable.
Buy the SDS first and then the ring. Both are outstanding upgrades and worth having. As to cost, well, in my opinion, none of the audiophile crap warrants the prices charged but, if you want to play you have to pay.
It does make a difference, particularly with records that are not perfectly flat -- but whether it's worth $500 is a judgement call. While I love VPI's products, I personally think the clamping ring is grossly overpriced, despite being made of stainless steel. If your LP's are in good condition (i.e., not warped), then the regular center clamp will suffice.
I have a Merrill Heirloom with the periphery ring. (I believe Merrill first offered them.) I have only owned the table a month, but I notice an improvement in warped AND unwarped records.

As a previous writer notes, is that worth 500 dollars...I don't know.

I have found that the periphery ring weight and the heavy center weight are important to the voicing of my TNT Mk. 6 turntable. In upgrading my turntable, I first upgraded my Mk. 4 lead/acrylic/cork platter to the Mk. 6 acrylic platter and inverted bearing, and I used this platter/bearing with my Mk. 5 record clamp for a little over a month. I found that the resulting sound was a bit analytical and on the cool side of the spectrum. The addition of the center weight and periphery ring weight restored some warmth to the sound of the turntable in my system. I gather that the weight and the clamp are designed to do more than just flatten the warps in an LP and that they serve a role in vibration damping that, at least in my system, is important and beneficial to the sound.
Unfortunately, the question you need to be asking is whether it is worth $600, which is the current retail. What something is worth depends on the end user's perception. It is machined to an exacting circumference, which it must in order to sit precisely over the acrylic platter. I'm sure this is an expensive, labor intensive process. I'm extremely pleased with mine and once making the commitment, I chose to just sit back and enjoy. I wouldn't want to return it, so I guess that means, in my estimation, its worth it.
In a simliar vein, how much of an improvement does the flywheel and upgraded motor make in the Scoutmaster? Thats an expensive upgrade. How about the new armwand? I already have the SDS and outer ring. Thanks
My Super Scoutmaster came with both the SDS and the Periphery ring. Is is worth it??? I think so....big difference in sonics from my VPI Scout. Let's put it this way if you use the outside ring for let say 3 years and would like to try something new--You can always unload it for at least 65% of what you paid for. That would be a lost of $210.00 base on a $600.00 retail. $210.00 divided into 36 months is around $5.83 a month. Heck, I spend a lot more than that for coffee. So, I would suggest to go ahead and get one and enjoy the music.
It's a pain in the butt to take off and put on, but I'd buy it again for my Aries, particularly because I have several records that have seen better days. VPI will tell you that one of the bennies is a bit of consistency in frequency/smoothness in decay from eliminating speed changes due to records not being perfectly flat. I'd look for it used or on discount though, 500 list was high and 600 is silly. IMHO.
I noticed a very big improvement with the ring and weight. In fact, more than the SDS. Someday, I'll take the SDS out to see if I still think that. (It was added to a Scout, while the ring and weight were added to the Scoutmaster) It's a great upgrade IMHO.
Mlkiz, I've had the new JMW9 Signature arm now for nearly two months. It's a fairly significant sonic upgrade from the standard JMW 9. It's added adjustment features are the cherry on top.
I'm also considering getting the outer clamp. I read a review and the reviewer said the opposite of Narrod. He said to get the clamp first, and then get the SDS, if you want. His logic was that the additional mass (something like 7 lbs. if I remember correctly) goes a long way toward stabilizing the speed. The next question, now that you have much more stable speed, is whether you are spinning at a stable 33 1/3. You may be able to get there, with belt adjustments and some form of power regulation that you may already have (Monster, PS Audio, etc.). If not, then the SDS becomes more important.
It looks,in the only picture I've seen, to be possibly attached to the junction box. Seems more likely to be a different tonearm base altogether and attached there.
Also wondering about the damping. Is there a trough in the base for the fluid? Pardon my questions if they seem retarded. and sorry to hijack the thread. You're one of the very few that have that tonearm. When you got it, was it an upgrade of just the arm? or did you step up from Scout to Scoutmaster?
How is the anti skate mechanism attached? It looks,in the only picture I've seen, to be possibly attached to the junction box. Seems more likely to be a different tonearm base altogether and attached there.
Also wondering about the damping. Is there a trough in the base for the fluid? Pardon my questions if they seem retarded. and sorry to hijack the thread. You're one of the very few that have that tonearm. When you got it, was it an upgrade of just the arm? or did you step up from Scout to Scoutmaster?
Jamnperry, there is a trough around the arm bearing for the damping fluid. The full signature upgrade replaces the tonearm, bearing and support assembly as well as the junction box. The wiring is now by Nordost and the anti-skating mechanism is a mechanical one and no longer accomplished via a twist of the tonearm cable.

As far as the outer ring clamp, center weight combination and new motor flywheel, dialing the speed at a stable 33 rpm is a breeze via the KAB SpeedStrobe and the SDS. I have no idea how one can achieve speed stability without the SDS and KAB Speedstrobe because of the additional flywheel and platter mass.

I went from the Scoutmaster to the SuperScoutmaster Plus (ie nordost signature arm) with a new Shelter 901 cart. Still breaking it all in.

Every dealer I have spoken to has said that the SDS is the biggest bang for the buck upgrade for this TT. I just ordered mine today.
ALL good points made above,Im a very happy owner of a Scoutmaster with sds,ring and centre weight,I bought as a package.Lornoah,for sure these options will take your table to an another level of performance...At this stage if money is tight ,I would look into the Valhalla wire upgrade...thats a $200 stupid good deal...The SDS for sure, and or the new 9.You guys with the new 9,how long did you wait for it? What do you think of it? Thanks and good listening to all.
I just bought a Scoutmaster with Sig Arm upgrade, weight, ring, and VPI IC's. No SDS or HRX motor as of yet. Obviously the SDS is next, but I'm wondering how big of a change the HRX motor really is once you have all the other stuff? $1500 is a bit salty for the motor imho. You really don't have a choice but to buy a new one (no resales).

Also, any recommendations for a cartridge with this rig? Mostly jazz, acoustic. System is Wadia 861SE GNSC, Joule OPS2, LA150, VZN-100's, Merlin VSM-MX, Sound Application Reference LineStage filter, Cardas GR cables.

sumiko celebration. i have the same analog rig, 'cept a dynavector p75 phono. and i have the sds. celebration is a terrific cart that for some reason many don't use/know about. really great for the type of music you listed.
Hi Tms0425, I have the scoutmaster with sig arm but no ring clamp or SDS as yet. I also use a Joule Electra amp (VZN-80) and Merlin VSM-M speakers. I use the Denon 103R cartridge and I love its sound. I have heard the Shelter Cartridges sound good with this combo also.
Thanks all. I've considered the various Shelters, Sumiko Blackbird, but wasn't too aware of the Celebration. Is it a similar cart to the Blackbird (only better)? I'm not to familiar with current generation of Denons though I had a 103D long ago. I know I need something with a somewhat warm (not analytical) tonal balance for the Merlin setup.
the celebration is probably a couple steps up from the blackbird, which is a very good cart. here's a review from a couple of years ago:

After several conversations with Mehran at Sorasound, I ended up with a ZYX Airy3-X-SB. We'll see how it works out once the Scoutmaster gets here, but I'm really looking forward to being back in the analog biz.
This mod transforms the Scout to a world class playback machine.

I simply love it and by the way I no longer use the standard record clamp - thats redundant!

Jud Barber
I just bought a Merrill Scillia MS2, and was finding the ring/clamp ritual a bit of a bore. But then I did an A/B test on a favorite, rather pristine record with and without the ring. A significant improvement, in ways I would have not expected. More refined highs, and even quieter background noise. I too question the pricing of many of the items in this hobby, but dammit, there is no disputing the sonic improvement, at least of this ring on my system. For me, the question comes down to this: Can I live with the embarassment of the fuss and expense that I have gone to for my hobby? In this case, the answer is yes.