VPI Scout ...with Shelter 301 or Grado Sonata??

I can get the setups for about the same price....I have a Berning TF-10 tubed pre..but I am not sure which cart would be a more natural match,,,cant find the pre's specs anywhere..
301? Do you mean the 501 mkII? If I could buy that for the same price as the Grado, I wouldn't hesitate. They are veery different carts. The Grado is a low output MM and the Shelter is a medium output MC. I don't know what phono stage the Berning has but you can contact David or check at www.davidberning.com
Remember, there is now a 301. It runs about $550, I think. Have not heard any reviews, but I'm sure it's better than the Grado, IMHO.
my input is 47 Kohms
If you do go Grado, to match the preamp, use one of the lower outputs if you can adjust your gain. The Statement Series is around .4mv and there is a VPI run out there at 1.5mv( I own a VPI Sonata). they are suppose to sound better b/c of the smaller coils(less wire). Haven't heard Shelter so I can't compare. Or you could get a step-up to play those lower ohm MC's.
Just pick either one and be happy. Unless you move to Shelter 501MKII then you will be very very happy!
Oh, btw,,,I chose the Dynavector DV-20X...works great!
I'm not sure either of your choices is the ideal compliance match for a JMW-9. (I know if you ask VPI about a Shelter they'll tell you it's a great match. If you ask them tomorrow about a Grado they'll tell you the same thing. Apparently they think they're created the world's first universal tonearm. Caveat emptor.)

I'd suggest something with higher compliance than a Shelter but lower than a Grado. Jsujo's Dynavector suggestion is one possibility. A ZYX RS30 is another. If you're hankering after that Grado warmth, a Benz might suit your tastes without risking Grado's two known faults, exceptional susceptability to humming from EMI and early suspension breakdown leading to the ever popular "Grado dance", a/k/a "Grado wobble".
Doug mentions what is more important in your choice than matching to your preamp - matching to your arm. The Dynavector mentioned may be the best way to go, see if you can audition one.

As far as the Grados go, the hum source (if experienced at all) can generally be rooted out and addressed. Personally, I don't think the Grado "dance" has so much to do with suspension breakdown, at least in the sense that it would be seen as an inherent weakness in build quality. These Grados should be mounted on a lightweight arm and they will sound very nice, indeed. Mount one on a heavier arm and you might be ticketed for a dance card and THAT is what also could lead to the breakdown that Doug mentions. Otherwise, there are folks with Grados on lightweight arms that experience very long life cartridge life.
There are LOTS of folks who will also tell you that the Denon 103 series is a bad match for the JMW tonearm. Not neccessarily the case. I am using a Denon 103 on my Scoutmaster/Walker Motor Controller/JMW set-up and it is making bee-yoo-tee-ful music. I bought the Denon as a temp while I waffle between sticking with my Dynavector 17D2 or a move up. I think the Shelter/Denon/JMW naysayers are concerned about the cartridge compliance/unipivot arm mass factor. I can't speak for the Shelters, but I know a well set up Denon 103 on the JMW 9 arm works very well. As such, I'd be inclined to think the same of the Shelters. Never been a big fan of the Grado. Not only the "weeble wooble", but the infamous Grado hum. No doubt though about the Dynavectors. I have used 10X4, 20X, 17D2 on JMW arms on Scouts and Scoutmasters and they have worked very nicely.
The nice thing about the Denon 103 series (103@200.00 and 103R@250.00), is they are a great cart for not a lot of money. Easily bought, and if the match is not for you, easily sold again.
Jsujo, I don't believe that Doug was indicating that the Denon or Shelter could not be used with the JMW arm at all(though he can very well speak for himself!). Not so much that either cartridge won't sound good in that arm, only that to get the very BEST from said cartridges, a different arm may be preferable. There are certainly exceptions. I had a Shelter 501 which I tried on a NUMBER of unipivot arms. Some unis are engineered with stabilizers of various sorts and will tolerate cartidges of different compliance ratings. For instance, while my Shelter sounded great in a Nottingham Spacearm, it did not do so well in a Hadcock 228 arm (a great arm by the way). Still sounded decent, but not like it did in the Spacearm - and it sounded better yet in a heavier Origin Live arm (bearing design). Again, if you have the luxury to audition, you'll find a good match. If not, there are quite a number of JMW users who may share their optimal cartridge preferences.

Hope you are enjoying the Dynavector!