VPI Scout

I picked up a Scout saturday.(my wife gave me the thumbs up) It has a Benz Micro Glider high output cart. Did I do good? The uni-pivot arm is really scary, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.
Am I set for a few years with the TT cart combo? Right now I am using the Creek MM phono stage, (which I feel is under rated) but I am planning on adding a phono stage to my BAT VK31SE. Any other advise from VPI owners?
I am excited about this purchase, but I can't talk to any of my freinds about it. They think I am already crazy for getting into this expensive hobby. They just don't understand my(our)obsession. At least my wife is accepting, her nickname is "the saint".
I'm not a VPI owner, but I can recommend purchasing a record cleaning machine. The rcm will clean your records better than hand cleaning. You should clean them prior to playing them, at least the first time you play them, and yes, including the new ones.
(I have a Nitty Gritty 1.0, which works acceptably. If you can afford a better VPI one, go for it. However, the NG will work, albeit with more effort on your part, as it is only a vacuum device).

My two cents worth. Welcome to the club!
Hi Jdodmead,

You have done very well indeed! I replaced a very old but reliable Thorens several months ago with the new VPI Scout and I have never heard my LP's sound better. Now to be sure the new tonearm and cartridge also play a role in the over all sound (along with my VPI record cleaning machine) but overall I love the analog sound that this unit is producing.

I am not familiar with your cartridge, as I am using a Grado Sonata and Clearaudio Aumun Beta, but I have heard good things about the Benz, so you will be fine.

The tonearm does take a little getting used to but after a bit it is just super. Easy to use and interchange if you have multiple arms. A great way to change cartridges!

Again congratulations and good listening.


I'm using a Scout with a Glider L2 and it's amazing. I've had for almost 3 months and it's really opened up over the last few weeks. Be patient, because while it does sound great out of the box, it only is going to get better, which is part of the fun. Just keep playing records and you'll see. Make sure it's on a sturdy platform(cutting boards work great) and perfectly balanced(very important for the unipivot arm). Put a mousepad under the motor to absorb vibration. While you probably want to wait until it's a bit more broken in, familiarize yourself with how to set vta(loosen set screws at base of arm...then dial in "on the fly" while record is playing, then tighten screws), azimuth(with counterbalance at back of arm) and vtf(with same counterbalance...make sure to tighten counterbalance to arm once finished with settings), and anti-skate(by twisting tonearm wire at connector to box...only enough so that when you set the arm to 0 weight(it floats freely)and you gently push arm toward spindle, it floats back to outer edge within 2-3 seconds).

i also agree with the recommendation of getting a record vacum machine. clean records = better sound, plain and simple. also clean your stylus.

lots of info about the scout here and on the vinyl part of audio asylum.

you did good, now have fun!
Yes, you will want to at least get the Vpi 16.5 for cleaning your records. Just a great machine,and fun to use. Every time I clean records, my wife thinks i am vacuuming my listening room floor :-)
Also I would recommend trying the Graham Slee Era Gold mK V phono stage. I think this is the best buy of my system. $700 -$750 price range.
Good luck and enjoy the TT
Congrats! I hear wonderful things about the Scout, and I'm sure you'll love it. Don't worry...my friends understood my obsession as soon as they heard it for themselves ;) Now a couple of them have been bit by the bug, too. I just sold my old AR Turntable/Linn Basik to one of them!
re the vpi 16.5...very good, but expensive, big and loud. don't overlook the basic nitty gritty for between 200-300. they'll get the job done every bit as good, not as loudly, and with less space.
I would stick with the Vpi if it is in your budget.
The VPI Scout is a great turntable. I agree with the above posts, get a record cleaning machine, you will be amazed on how it eliminates much or all of the noise, even on new LPs. I went with the VPI 16.5 and never looked back. I had the BAT VK30 preamp (I know not quite the 31SE) with the BAT phono card, while overall not a bad phono stage, instead of paying the $500+ for the card pick yourself up a used BAT P5 phono stage, should be able to find one for a around $1000 used, its way better. I have since sold the VK30 and currently using my 5P with the BAT 5i. Best of Luck
I too am looking @ getting a VPI Scout. I purchased a KAB EV-1 record cleaning machine from http://www.kabusa.com. It is basically a Nitty Gritty without a vacuum. You hook up your own. Congratulations on your purchase. Have another question though. Should I go with the Dynavector 10X5 or Grado Platinum.
Go with the Dynavector it is more neutral sounding and is a better tracker.
I have a Scout with the Dynavector 20hX and just replaced my Creek phono stage with a Graham Slee Era Gold Mark V. I'm not sure the Creek is underrated; after all it's only a couple hundred bucks but you'll be stunned at how much detail you're missing when you replace it with something better.
The VPI 16.5 is nice but if you don't mind using a little elbow grease get the Disk Doctor's cleaning brushes and solution along with the Nitty Gritty Record DoctorII and spend the other $200 on some new vinyl. Just my opinion.
Wc65mustang: Where can I chek out the phono stage you are using? Can you use it for Mm and MC carts?
Check out Walter at Underwood Hi Fi. Since the very favorable review in 1/04 Stereophile you may have to wait a bit to get one. At the price, I believe it is certainly one of the best values available. Furthermore, many folks say it is the best phono stage under 2K. I wouldn't make that claim as I haven't heard enough of the competition. It is, however, a sweet sounding piece. Rumor has the price increasing soon.
It is designed for high ouput mc's or mm's of 2-10mV however there is a matching head amp called the Elevator which enables it to accept all mc cartridges. Good luck and good listening.
I just purchased a Scout with a Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge. I'm hoping it's as great as everyone says it is (going from Rega P3). Now my next decision is what phono pre? I was thinking about a Tom Evans Microgroove Plus vs a used Aesthetix Rhea. Looking forward to joining the VPI Scout club soon!

- Doc
Doc: As long as you're in a spending mode :>) be sure to check out the SDS for your Scout; makes a significant improvement in an already sweet turntable IMO.
couldn't put it better myself. got mine on friday and the difference in the performance(plus peace of mind knowing that im running dead on 33.33 speed) has not been subtle. it's not cheap, but i'd like to know of any better way to upgrade this table.
The Walker Precision Motor Controller. Costs as much as the Scout, but well worth it. I may upgrade tables, but I'm willing to bet the Walker is in for the duration.
About the SDS, I was thinking the same thing. Will be on the lookout for one.

Doc: Very tough to find a used SDS; most of them last only a few hours on Agon. Good luck and good listening.
I love my Scout, JMW-9 and Dynavector 20X-Low. I can attest 100% to the posts about picking up a RCM. I clean mine with the groovemaster first and then Record Preservative followed by a spin on a 16.5. I rarely hear any surface noise....except ironically on my expensive brand new 200g Miles Davis Kind of Blue LP. :)
Anybody using the Gingko Cloud 10 isolation platform with their Scout? Just wondering. Gingko quotes HW's favorable comments in their ads.
FYI, there is also a very nice looking dust cover that matches the isolation platform.
Also check out the Machiuna Dynamica for isolation components.
Chazzbo: Thanks for your comments. I've seen the Machina Dynamica Promethean but haven't heard much about it. At full retail it's about $150 more than the Gingko Cloud 10. However, there is substantial discounting on the Gingko if you search a little; I haven't checked actual selling price of the Promethean.
Does the VPI Scout have the means for adjusting the rotational speed of the record via placing the drive belt on different parts of the pulley, for 33 AND 45?

If this is the case, how much speed variation is available, and in what increments (approximately)
Yes - 33.33 and 45 only. Any further increments will require an SDS or similar motor controller
How many adjustments can you make with each speed, and do you know the approximate amount of change with each adjustment?
The Scout allows one to switch between 33.33 and 45 rpm by moving the belt. There is no means to adjust the speed +/- 33.33 or 45. The AC motor and the precision ground pully will give you each speed with a high degree of precision. If you want to be able to adjust the speed +/- (to change the pitch of instruments on the recording, for example), you will need to add a motor controller that varies the AC frequency being provided to the motor. One solution would be VPI's own SDS motor controller - it is almost infinitely variable and gives the added ability to change the speed to 78 rpm.
My mistake. I was under the impression that the Scout (or Scoutmaster) allowed a small incremental change in pitch, slightly +/- 33.33 and 45rpm.
I stand corrected. After reading your reply I looked at the instruction manual for the Scout. While the speed accuracy is within 1%, the manual says:

"There are multiple grooves on a very slightly tapered shaft so you can adjust the speed as your belt ages or temperature changes. The higher the groove, the slower the speed."

My apologies. Beyond this statement from the manual, though, I can't give you the detail you're asking for. Perhaps someone else knows and will reply.
That's ok Rushton. I appreciate the details you provided.

However, I'm curious as to how many grooves + and/or - there are for EACH speed, and how much of a speed change occurs when these grooves are utilized.
Slipknot1 may be able to provide those details. He has a Scout. Let's see if he returns to this thread...
Here goes: there are 7 grooves on the platter. At 33 rpm the belt seems to seek it's own level on the platter grooves. Each of the two pulleys have four grooves each. With my Walker Motor Controller engaged, the belt rides on the lowest groove on the 33 pulley. Without the motor controller engaged it rides there as well. I have not noticed any changes in speed in moving the belt up or down the pulley shaft that are discernable without the use of a strobe and mat such as that from KAB. I am confident that the Walker is providing me with a stable 60 cycle sine wave at 33.33 rpm. So, in my limited experience with the Scout there MAY be tiny adjustments possible via relocating the belt on the pulley shaft, but the belt on my table seems to want to ride on the same place on the platter regardless of where it is on the pulley. I have not conducted measurements with a stobe to verify whether or not these changes result in speed differences. Without the motor controller, my ears really can't tell a difference. I will say however, with the motor controller in the chain, the audible differences in the music is a profound change for the better. I think the same can be said for the SDS as well. A worthwhile investment in my estimation if you are concerned with being able to make small changes in the speed your platter is running at. The SDS is very accomodating in this regard.
Although I dont have a lot of expereance here goes.Ive had my scout,arum beta s,acoustech ph1p, for almost a year,its sounded better as my set up skills have improved,in my set up a paving stone with mouse pad under moter and cones worked better than a maple butcher block which worked well under my preamp,the block under Scout seemed to soften things up to much,the paving stone worked better for me,I wonder if one of the isolation devices on the market might work even better yet,,also has enyone tryed the Scoutmaster upgrade? Ive learned a lot from Audiogon members .thanks
has anyone tryed platter mats of any kind on the scout?