VPI Scout Set up


I think I want the VPI Scout. How easy/hard is it to set up and maintain? Suggested cartridge to match? I want good sound, dependability without a lot of hassles. New to the audio scene. Want to spend $3,500 or less on TT, cartridge and cables. Was considering the Prime but that looks intimidating to me to set up properly. Pairing with a MAC 6700 integrated amp and Audio Monitor Gold 300 speakers. Open to any and all suggestions. 
janunn
I would suggest the Soundsmith Zepher MI cart. This combo was very good when I had my Scout 1.1 and the Zepher is made for the Unipivot arm. I no longer have the Scout but I still have the cart.
Hard to make a judgement not knowing how much you know about this stuff.   I would rank it pretty easy if you've set up a cartridge/tonearm before.
Nothing against VPI, but if you’re not familiar with TT setup, I think you should go for a fixed-bearing arm as opposed to a unipivot. The VPI fans will undoubtedly disagree, but if you want something easy, get a Rega with a Rega cartridge. It’s very solid stuff and easily set up. Maybe an RP6 with an exact cartridge for about 2K. Do you need a phono stage?  Once you get used to the whole analog thing, you can always sell it and branch out into something more adventurous.  
Nothing against VPI, but if you’re not familiar with TT setup, I think you should go for a fixed-bearing arm as opposed to a unipivot....
If someone is unfamiliar with TT setup, this is where using a qualified and respected Dealer makes sense.  You will have an opportunity to compare/audition different tables plus most Dealers will set up your table as part of their after sale service.
The DV20 low out version and a DV P-75 phonopre, is an extremely good combo for the money. I have the exact same setup on one of my Scouts.

If you take your time and follow the instruction, you'll have no problem with setup.
Ortofon cartridges match well with VPI tone arms.  I had various Regas (P5, P7 & P9) prior to my VPI Aries 3x3.  At first, the 3D tone arm was intimidating but once I read and understood cartridges set-up geometry, it all made perfect sense and I gained a bit of satisfaction once I delved into setting the arm up.  But, I had the right tools, also (Dr Feikert gauge, Fozgomter, digital scale).  I agree with starting out with a Rega TT/Rega cartridge set up to see/hear if vinyl is to your liking.  Regas are an easy resell, too.  May I suggest that if you go the Rega route to go ahead and purchase the TT-PSU power supply (comes standard on some models).
@brf.  Absolutely agree.  Both my Linn and Basis were purchased and set up in my home by dealers and IMO, it's the best way to go.  But the OP's post implied he would be doing it himself, hence my recommendation.  
I have the Scout and the Dynavector 10X5 high output MC cartridge along with Vincent PHO-700 phono section. I had a dealer mount and set up the cartridge but with the right commonly available tools it should not be hard to do yourself. It comes with most of what you need.
Thanks for the input. Jumped up and bought the Prime with Zephyr Cart and dealer setup. I'm in the game to stay! 
Read the TT articles.
http://vandersteen.com/media/files/APJ%20Files/APJ9_PROOF.pdf
I had my dealer set up my Aries 3x3 and unfortunately it was not set up to the optimum specs.  Become familiar with your Prime tone arm and make the effort to  set it up on your own, or at least double-check your dealers work.  May I suggest a SoundSmith Counter Intuitive to take some of the sting out of VTF and azimuth adjustments.
Properly setting up a turntable isn't particularly hard, it's just very time consuming to be as careful as you need to be.  Many adjustments rely on other adjustments, so when the arm height is adjusted, the vtf, et al needs to be reset etc .   Dealers don't want to take the time to do it right.  Most do it ok, but there's always a tweak to get it better.
I have a VPI TNT jr. with a JMW 12.6 arm in my main system and a VPI Scout - first with the 9" and now with a 10" JMW memorial tonearm in my second system. Snap to set-up.  No issues at all with the unipivot arms.  I ran it with a koetsu rosewood signature and an accuphase AC-2 cartridge with no issues. Like the rega, no active suspension so get a vibraplane, ginkgo, sound organizations, etc. I have had Regas and Linns and think the Scout is just awesome.
If you're not too familiar with turntable set ups, I'd suggest avoiding unipivot arms.  And is you do get a scout (I have a special edition scout and have had a VPI classic as well) definitely get the soundsmith counter intuitive.   Once you try to adjust the scout, would understand why....   also, soundsmith carts do match well with the scout....
Just a small piece of friendly advice - I have seen several audiophiles stop using analog because they cannot help constantly obsessing over whether the setup is just right.  This obsession completely overwealms them and interferes with their enjoyment of playing a record.  So I just say this - get your table, have it set up and enjoy.  You were very smart to buy from a dealer who is setting it up for you.  Don't worry about every little thing and obsess that the antiskate isn't right or the VTA is not spot on.  
If something does sound amiss, call your dealer to walk you through it and don't get crazy.  Try to enjoy.  
If you depend on a dealer you are lost.. To start with many know less than you and do sloppy work.
Buy a Mobile Fidelity Geo-Disc for 50 bucks , it works and takes about 5 minutes.
I mounted 5 cartridges in 5 head shells for my new Pioneer PLX-1000 (a killerTT) last month with a Geo-Disk and checked them with an Friechert
gauge, all good to go in less time you’d need to drive to dealer .
Audio does attract people with OCD , if you have it everything drives you nuts .
Where are you located janunn? Long-time VPI dealer Brian Berdan (son of legendary turntable set-up master Brooks Berdan, unfortunately R.I.P.) is an expert, trained by his Dad. He’s located in Pasadena, California at his shop Audio Elements, but can set-up a table and send it to you, you needing only to put the arm into it’s already mounted arm "sleeve" on the table. At least give him a call to inquire about tables---he’s a very nice guy. He set-up and installed Henry Rollins' table, as well as the big Wilson speakers he sold him!
Make sure the table is level.  This is very important.