VPI Scout "tweaks"

My analog rig consists of a Scout with JMW-9, Dynavector 10X5, SDS, Sutherland Ph3d, VPI turntable IC, and Gingko Cloud 9. I have the geometry set via MintLP. The rest of my system is comprised of Vandersteen 2Ce sigs, Rogue Magnum 66, Anthem MCA-20 and Audioquest Diamondback IC's and Bedrock speaker cables.
It sounds really good so my question is...are there any upgrades/tweaks that will make a definitive improvement, short of buying a new table? I have about $1k to spend. Thanks in advance.
Why not upgrade the 10x5 to a Karat with that $1000? I think you'd get more bang for the buck that way.

If my money I spend it on the Trans Fi Termintor arm This arm is crazy value for money and will eaisly outperform any of the VPI arms; you be suprised just how much difference this would make
Apparently VPI is switching to an aluminum platter for the Scout. What difference this will make I have no idea.
Add a used Shelter 501 II ($450-$525) and swap out the VPI IC's for something not so lifeless sounding. I like Harmonic Tech IC's. You could upgrade to the JMW 9 Sig arm too.
Apparently VPI is switching to an aluminum platter for the Scout. What difference this will make I have no idea

I Have a feeling this is going to be an improvement over the clear acrylic platter?
It is my understanding the switch is due to not being able to procure the high quality acrylic they need.
I talked to Harry today and he said that current suppliers could only guarantee a 1/8 inch tolerance on a 2" sheet of acrylic, which might mean a 1/4" variation. I am using Van den Hul the First Ultimate metal screened ICs, they are a big step up from stock. Also try a power cord upgrade. I am using the Siltech that Spirit Sound was selling for $90 for 2 Ms.
I had a BIG improvement when I upgraded the VPI IC's to Cardas Phono IC (I think golden reference - not sure. They're $600 so easy to identify if you are looking them up. Really BIG improvement over the VPI's. If anyone wants the VPI's, I'd be glad to give a VERY fair price. They're maybe two years old.
Remove the foam collars from the top of your cone footers. Screw cones tight to the bottom of the plinth. Don't unscrew the cones to level the tt-use a combination of nickels/dimes/quarters to achieve level (coin combos may be epoxied together). Cost-free. Well, yeah, there's the coins...

Agree with 'Ptmconsulting'-if you like the DV sound, your best bang for buck will be moving up the line to whatever you can afford-even the DV20L is a big jump over the 10X5. It would be the acme of foolishness to buy 600 dollar ICs with an entry-level cart.
Thanks everyone. I truly appreciate the feedback.
One that is cheap but that makes a considerable difference I just discovered tonight. Put Star Sound coupling disks under the feet. I had my Scoutmaster on the TNT stand resting on top of which was a 3" maple platform supported by Star Sound cones. I thought that this would make anything else unnecessary but the disks really tightened up the bass and made the top end better. They are brass and cost $8.69 each. They also have replacement feet for the tables but not sure which ones they fit. Going to check on this.
One major improvement is making sure the Cloud 9 is mass loaded for the numbered of balls you are using. For example on my scout I use 4 balls and 10lb dive weights on the plinth. It was like a componenet upgrade.
Got the brass feet from Star Sound last night. To my ear they were a big improvement. Instead of aluminum feet coupled to the table by a large rubber washer you have a machined brass foot coupled to the table directly. What I heard was increased transparency with better bass and transient response. No magic involved, brass is almost universally considered to be a better material than aluminum and costs much more. I ask Harry about it before I bought some and he thought it might well be an improvement. The ones that fit are the 1/4th-20 thread ones.
Got the brass feet from Star Sound last night. To my ear they were a big improvement.


I am curious which Audio Points you purchased and what the thread height was? I am thinking of doing this to my table. Might order the 2.0AP-1A.5 Audio Points with the APCD2 Coupling Discs to replace the standard feet and some steel coupling discs I current use.
Stanwal, how did you decide to use the 1/4th-20 thread spikes? On Star Sound's sight, they recommend the 10-32 thread for VPI tables. I'd like to try this with my Scoutmaster but want to make sure I get the right ones.

Also, are using the leveling washers?
Harry told me which to use. I think the others are for the older tables. The 1/4th -20 work, I have been using them. I ordered the washers in case but horrors! didn't level my table when I put the new feet on. I know, I should have but it sounded great. My new table is here so I have to take the new feet off the Scoutmaster and put them on the Aries. The 1.5 is the correct height. Just a little lower than the VPI but works fine. Use one washer and it will be the same. The 2" height would probably work too if they have the right thread size. The coupling discs work too. I have been very happy with Star Sound products, their rep lives in town and he brought some over; thats when I decided to become a dealer. In case any of you think I am promoting them to make money, I haven't actually sold any yet. I don't maintain that they are the absolute best thing on the market, there are many products I haven't heard. But they do work as described and have made my system sound considerably better. Stan
Can you tell me what the part number is? I'm still a bit confused by their website.

It is 1.5AP-1A.5. with 1/4-20 thread. The coupling discs have only one size. Stan
And are you using 3 or 4 of the points?
4, they replace the original VPI feet. You unscrew them and screw these in in their place. Very straightforward. Takes about five minutes if you are younger, 10 if you are my age.
Thanks for your responses.
I replaced the stock feet on my Scoutmaster Signature with Mapleshade brass feet. They really improved the bass and detail. I tried the VPI TNT feet as an upgrade first but sold them. They were a bit more open but not nearly as good as the Mapleshades.
Do the Mapleshade feed thread into the table? Or does the table just kind of sit on the feet?

I assume you're using the threaded feet? What size did you get, and are you using the Heavyfeet or Megafoot?
They bolt into the table in place of the stock feet. I believe the thread size is 1/4 x 20. Since I did this a while ago, you can double check that thread size by taking a stock foot to your local hardware store and checking it with a bolt and nut with that thread size. They should mesh perfectly. The Mapleshade web page is www.mapleshaderecords.com. I have the threaded Heavyfoot v.3. Warning, the points are very sharp and will nick your rack. They do make a version with a radiused end, but they don't sound as good since they don't lock into the stand. Cost is $40 a piece plus shipping. Pure brass is expensive! My turntable is on one of their Samson v.2 racks. BIG improvement over my old Sanus rack, at least to my ears. Very expensive though. I use their maple platforms under all my equipment. Their speaker stands really make my Snell D floorstanders come alive. Again, not cheap, but the difference in the sound of my system amazes me. My listening room is in the basement with a concrete floor under thick carpet. So, I need all the help I can get. The company president (an engineer) has helped me improve my room sound both by email and over the phone, no charge.
HEAVYFEET FOLLOW UP. I forgot to mention that the motor pulley and the platter will not quite match up with the Mapleshade feet installed. I got a set of Mapleshade's Isoblocks and carefully separated them, leaving one layer of cork and one of rubber. I unscrewed the stock motor rubber feet and placed the motor on top of the Isoblocks, one on each corner. The front screw heads on top of the motor won't clear the platter anymore, so you need to back the motor out a bit. The belt found the proper platter groove after I ran it for a while. Belt tension seems OK and I have run this for about two years with no belt failure. I used a small machinist's ruler/square marked in 64ths to get the motor lined up properly. This is a fussy procedure and will take some patience. This is for the Scoutmaster motor. The stock Scout uses a different motor
so your height requirements may vary.
With the improvement you've made via the new feet, (by the way, I'm considering doing the same), if you install the $95 Mapleshade NanoMount tweak that uses miniature directional cones between cartridge/headshell, and tonearm/pinth flange, you will fully realize the advantage the new feet have given you. This product drains vibration away from the cartridge, into the arm, and then to the plinth. I proved this to myself when first I installed the NanoMounts, and was surprised at how little effect they had. Then I remembered I had sorbothane dampers under the VPI feet, and after I removed them, the difference was startling. Can't recommend it strongly enough.

Another thing to try is to remove the rubber feet from the turntable motor and replace them with the smallest Audio Points [Star Sound]. I have just done this with my Aries and the difference was considerable. I took the rubber feet off the Scout motor and replaced it with some sorbothane discs which helped but did not make the same difference. Going to change it next.
Joe Grado in 1982 began shipping his 19.95 cartridge with a triangular metal mounting piece that enhanced coupling between his products and headshells/tonearms. The metal piece had three little nubs.Buy a Grado and gets some nubs for nothing. Tom
I previously removed the motor feet and replaced them with partial Isoblocks from Mapleshade. The difference was considerable with this product too. Thanks for your input.
I placed a dime under the Aries 3 feet as it was digging into the wooden rack. This added a strange resonance to the sound of the turntable. I was able to get rid of it by applying blue tac to the dimes under and over to cover it.
If you use quarters instead of dimes you'll get a 5% increase in performance. It's the law of diminishing returns. ;-)
So a penny would be the least performance?
A penny is the cheap DIY solution. Now a cryo'ed penny ...

So a penny would be the least performance

Yes, but the most bang for the buck!
You laugh but a manufactures kit I still have came with 4 pennies to put under the spikes. After 20 years I forget who it was from. Possibly B&W. Seriously, something like Star Sounds discs under feet makes a considerable difference.
Maybe copper is better than silver for analog and hence the pennies sound better. I know people love silver for digital!

I love bang for buck.