VPI Scout ... move to Scoutmaster or even further

Now that I'm convinced playing vinyl is the most rewarding listening, I'm thinking of more performance from my set-up. I bought a Scout with a 20x H Dynevector cart. mated to a Anthem Pre1P and have enjoyed that for awhile now. I'm thinking of possibly moving to a Scoutmaster but have been recommended to just step-up to a better table altogether, a Nottingham Spacedec, keeping my other gear intact. The thinking is at this stage the table is the critical link and although the Scout a great table at its price, the upgraded ones are essentially more of the same. Moving to a even higher end table gives a better overall design for essentially the same cost. This seems to make sense but am wondering what you all think. Initially I was a bit hesitant at all buying such a good table to start as once the thrill wears off, it might sit and collect dust. After a year and a half, now I know that isn't the case. Those records spin continuously where before the shinny discs never really did.
I have The Scout + 20XH, as you do.

I think that, at this point, the limiting factor is the cartridge, not the table. For example, I had a Benz M0.9 that lacked the dynamics of the Dynavector, but added significant detail. Too bad I broke it.

I will be looking for a Dynavector Karat or Sumiko Blackbird later in the year, as well as a few others to try out.

Now if you were going to upgrade both the table, and cartridge, I can see that. My point is that there is still headroom left with the Scout to offer significant improvement without the expense of an entire new set-up.

Go the the VPI website and read HiFi+ magazine reviews on the Scout vs. Scoutmaster. The summary is dead on.

I own a scout table and I have made several upgrades that I can recommend.

1. Change to a better tonearm cable-suggest you try the VPI discovery cable.
2. Upgrade to the VPI SDS power supply
3. Upgrade to the HRX 300 RPM motor
4. Change the phono preamplifier to ARC PH5 (fantastic upgrade, fantastic phono preamplifier)
5. Power cables to the motor make a slight difference that is audible

Hope this helps
I did the same thing you are currently thinking about almost two years ago. I sold my Scout and bought a Nott spacedeck. I kept the Dynevector cartridge (same as yours) and put it on the Nott. There was no comparison. The Nott is far superior. More musical, warm, only good things and with the same cart. Do not think twice, get the Nott.
Hmmm..., I'll differ in this recommendation. The upgrade from the Scout to the Scoutmaster (with 300rpm motor) is a very material and very worthwhile upgrade, imo. I haven't directly compared a Scoutmaster and a Nottingham Spacedeck in the same system, but I've listened to both in different systems belonging to members of our local audio group and I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a Scoutmaster based on my sonic preferences. But, choices will be driven by sonic priorities here, because the Nottingham is a very good table.

Sailfishben, if you want some additional insight into the what an upgrade from Scout to Scoutmaster might bring, also look at the posts from fellow Audiogon'er Slipknot1. The improvement in his system after making this upgrade was dramatic, and I suspect he and Etbaby would agree point for point about the merits of making this upgrade.

As Etbaby suggests, if you want to take it even further, add a motor controller to the mix. If you do so, the Walker Audio motor controller is even better sonically than the VPI SDS, but you'll have to decide if the added cost is worth it to you. Slipknot1 will tell you it was for him.
I've been thinking of getting into vinyl for a while and have been pondering the same combinations. What about the phonostage? Wouldn't that possibly bring the biggest upgrade for the least amount of money in this setup?
You need a new phono-pre. I would start there. Get your feet wet with some kind of tube phono pre.

Scoutmaster is a fine set up. But, its a shame not many talk of the Aries 2 with JMW10. As good as the SM is.. the Aries2 offers a better arm in the 10, more substantial mass in the plinth with the same 300 rpm motor, HRX based Platter/ bearing.More dynamics IMO. You can get into one for a few hundred more, but I think its worth the cost. I agree with a tube phono pre. but, the SDS may be over rated IMO.
All excellent observations but rember that pre dollar yopur cartridge and phono stage are going to have a bigger impact on sound.Do what you can as finances permit but also think that comparing your current (excellent) Cart might be taken to a dealer that has other offerings in carts.i And with phono stage the budget concious the Glamm Slee seems to get the nod from all the mags and online revuwers as does the Accoustech for cheap money.Unfortunately it's best to spend what you can (and more into the debt zone ) for everything but don't overlook other componensts than table/arm.Shelter is is an awesome line of carts and Fremmer just wrote recently that beyond having and excellent "house" sound among there whole line the $850 model is simillar to a a model that used to cost over $2K.Plus Harry Weisfeld owner of VPI is ga ga over the Gingko acrylic/rubber ball isolation system for about $300 which he said can make a sound a difference that is like spending $2K more on your catridge.Rigid stand or wall mount is a great idea (kill where you can-a used Sound Anchor of heavy lead is worth the $500-kill all the vibes you can with stands and cones etc.)).I have a $5K extended Aries/12.5 and have though about selling it to get "lesser" 9" arm on the Scoutmaster with and SDS and the Gingko.Some folks I have talked to think I am nuts but I am not sure.The Scout arm is excellent in it's own right and with extra money I can get $1K SDS plus the Gingko.And my extra arm tube will be way cheaper.All I'll give up is VTA "On the fly" which I rarely use.Someone mentioned the VPI cable cable-good idea if you cant find one in it's price ball park you like more (with cables it depends on rest of sytem and what it needs).I am a tube guy.I am using an EAR 834 tube integrated.I think you made a good dollar choice with the Anthem.But when I have spoken to others as great as the ARC may be and as good a value as the EAR 834 phono stage is I have been told it rolls the frequency extremes off and most pros have advised me to stick with SS for a phono stage (perhaps even with yourt Anthem which you might change one day).On other hand the EAR might be just the ticket.But if I have my druthers it's to keep the phono SS for bass slam and clearer highs and feed it to a tube pre-amp (upgrade from your Anthem if you can though it is good performer for the money)or if you really dig tubes (and they are the way to go) get a glass power ampa value company like Quicksilver or Rogue down the line when you can afford it.May excellnt tube pre's by the way have solid state sections for the phono section such as the Kora Eclipse I have waiting in the wings for when I can afford a a good SS amp to mate it with (got a great deal at $1200 that I couldn't pass up so it sits till I can get the ching to get a commensurate SS amp for my German semi horns-Odeon Tossca's).I know this is way beyond your question but but in sum get a tube phono pre is you are going to go solid state with the rest yof your gear but if you look down the line go SS if tubes can be introduced further down chain when finances and "itch" eventually hit you.If the fromer the EAR cab handle many excekkent upgrades.But remberr all of the the Scout mods will pay off but you greatest dollar valube will be from your selection of the phono stage and cartridge.Check out the Shelters just for shits and giggles you might be surprised.And dollar for dollar you will get more from the Cart and phono at for the money than the table/arm and ther mods though they defintely will be imporvements.Lastly call Bes at Music Direct.He'll put you in good stead even if he contradicts all my pontifications.
P.S not matter how exepensive it is I am a worshirper of the LAST rercord Preservative.The head tech at VPI told me he heard LP's that were treated when new and they sounded like they had only been played ha;lf a dozen times though in fact they had hudreds of spins.I like there power cleaner and make my own home brew fro a general cleaner with my VPI 16.5 vacuum clener but swear by the Last Preservative.Very eepensive but since I buy 50's and 60's jazz original presses that go for undreds of dollars I would'nt play my Lp's without it.Defintely extends life of your collection.There Power Cleaner is excellent to for sticky gunky,smoke or orhtwiose contamintated LP's.I hear Disc Docxtor is the best veryday cleaner (Touramat iis a good one for scractched LP's) but I just can see spending one what I can whichp up myself for cheap.If you don't have a vacuum machine get an Alsop Orbitrac whcich unlike the Discwasher pad justs slops stuff around without gettting LP's clean.Replacement pads cost but whatddya gonna do?Email me if you want the recipie for the homebrew cleaning soolution.I know all of this went way beyonf your query but I spent 6 years in the industry selling and gave the issues some thought.Glad you are one of the 90,000 VPI owners as am I.
A somewhat mixed bag of e-pions, all of which appreciated. To upgrade the Scout would cost at least a grand to scoutmaster status without any motor control (why don't motors just do what they are supposed to??) and then perhaps the Ginko thing adding another 300 or so. All told about 1,400. OR sell the Scout netting perhaps 1,200, take another 1,800 (400 more then upgrading)buy the Spacedec and perhaps have a much more worthy table including an arguably better tonearm then the JMW 9. The JMW9 design is terrific but is a bit 'loose'. Fundamentally isn't the Aires table about the same as a scout but perhaps heavier etc? That cost would be well over the Spacedec. A lot to consider in light of the dollars getting so close.

BTW... wouldn't that Ginko achieve the same great results used under any non-suspended table? I admittedly do not have the best base now under my table although one is on the way.

I'm of the mindset to just keep the same cartridge for now. I'm not sure any real money is there in selling a 'used' cartridge... they're so delicate I'd be afraid to buy one used. I've no doubt there are better ones but just how much better for the amount more I'd have to spend. I'd probably save that upgrade for on down the road.

The Anthem phono stage is tubed but if you look inside, there isn't much there in terms of gizmos and wiring. I'm no engineer but the inner workings of it compared to the insides of others (ARC, Sonic Frontiers etc.) is pretty simple. I know there are mods that can be done to this unit and the cost is relatively slight compared to buying a 1,500 to 3,000 phono stage which seems to be the right playground for an improvement phono stage wise. Do mods make sense for that, given there probably are a lot better parts that could have made up the unit.

I don't see myself out of solid state for a pre as I've just one system which has to double for the theatre too. Although I have added another Anthem amp with a tubed input stage for my mains which was a totally worthwile buy.

Still, it seems like everything sound wise has to start at the source. The better the sounds start, doesn't it make each and every other component in the line's job easier to extract the most? If so, the table has to be crucial I'd think.

I agree with Tim, IMHO the weakest link in the components listed is your current phono section. I personally am considering A Supratek, also the new Whest ps.20 looks like a great value based on Mikey Fermers review. As far as turntables go the Teres 245 Table, Origin Live Silver-TWL Modified Tonearm and the Shelter 501 Mk II low output mc cartridge are exceptional values and all giant killers.

Good luck Ben I thought because of your statement
"I was a bit hesitant at all buying such a good table to start as once the thrill wears off, it might sit and collect dust. After a year and a half, now I know that isn't the case. Those records spin continuously where before the shinny discs never really did."
you were ready to get a rig that you could purchase and never look back.

If it wll help, I've just received a new Scoutmaster (stock arm and motor) and I am pairing it with a Supratek Chenin. I've only had this 2 days so the TT is not yet broken in but so far, a wonderful combination. I'm using a borrowed Denon 103 which seems to be a reasonable value for the money. Now I'm quite new to vinyl but I can immediately tell the Supratek is a great phono stage. It seems very sensitive but lets the music flood through! I plan to get a Gingko Cloud 11 and maybe a better cartridge soon so things can only get better!


I just got my scoutmaster JMW9 with a dynavector 10x5.
my phono is an EAR 834P. this is my first set up and i cant compare it really to other TT's.

So far im enjoying it - have not used my naim cd 3.5 + flatcap power supply since i got it.

the first upgrade for me would be the gingko cloud 11 platform.