VPI Scoutmaster or Nottingham Space Deck...?

Hey guys, I need some advice from some seasoned vinyl junkies out there!

I'm getting back into vinyl, and have it narrowed down to these two fine tables.

Is there much of a difference, sonically, between them?
Plus's / minus's of ea.?

Thanks to any & all.
Both great tables and value for the money. Do a search on the forum threads as there is much info and they both present sonics differently... you will most likely find at least two dozen members swearing each of these are the best bang for the buck in the price category...
Heard both, liked the Spacedeck a lot better - it even had a far less expensive cartridge. To my ears more life, and more natural tonal balance.
The Ace-Space tonearm is superior to the JMW-9.
I heard a Spacedeck and Hyperspace this week and was disappointed with both. I thought they were quite gray sounding and didn't do a great job of extracting information - instruments tended to blend together and imaging was quite smeary.

That being said, I preferred it with the Ace-Space arm to the fully-modded Origin Live - more refined.

I would recommend you to definitely audition before buying (because opinions on NA tend to be quite polarised) and also listen to the Michell Gyrodec which sounds quite different to the NA tables.

However, for the same money as the Space Deck you could have a Teres model 150 which will be much less colored and will help you hear more information from your vinyl.
I had a spacedeck/spacearm and liked the sound, but be warned that the instructions for set up are the worst I've ever seen & to me the design of the arm was cheesy and made tweaking a real pain in the butt.
A spacedeck with a quality arm from a different manufacturer (Rega?) I think is a good option.
Haven't played with the scoutmaster, but assuming that the jmw 9 is similar to my jmw 10, it is an easy system to live with. Also you get a real manual & good customer support.
Part of analog is finding the sound you want and the other part is finding stuff that is not a pain in the arse to live with when it comes time for set up and tuning. IMHO.
I agree that the "instructions" provide with the NA tables are minimalist, at best. However, they are easy to set up and, once set up, require little, if any, tweaking. I find their build quality to be better than VPI’s and most other tables, for that matter.

I wholly disagree with Red's characterization of the Spacedeck. Far from gray, it is a lively table that extracts a lot of detail and is anything but smeary due to its very good speed stability. I am not sure where the "polarizing" views enter the picture, because nearly every review, or comment on these boards, that I’ve read have been complementary, many effusively so. The Spacearm is a very good arm with the Spacedeck, and probably the best, unless you spend A LOT more money. I had an OL Illustrious on one and it took going that far up the OL chain to best the Spacearm. The newer Ace arm is improved further and, while the original carbon-fiber arm had stabilizer arms to accommodate some stiffer compliance cartridges, the Ace is even better in this regard. As to comparisons to the Teres 150 and 160, I have participated in fairly extensive auditions with these tables included (using two of the same arms/several of the same carts/and the same components) and the Spacedeck proved the unanimous choice over the two Teres decks – the two being less robust and looser in the bottom, less extended on top, slightly inferior in the midrange, and overall less “lively”. Finding a Spacedeck on the used market renders the price comparison moot and elevates the Spacedeck to an even better value. Going up to the 200-series Teres tables, in comparison to the Spacedeck, is a different story, lest any Teres lovers jump on me for “dissing” a Teres. I happen to like some of their other model very much.

I have a close listening friend who owns the Scoutmaster. As others have said, it and the Spacedeck have a different sound. I prefer the NA sound, because I fell it is far more neutral. However, if upgrading without replacement and more accessible technical support is important, the VPI might meet your needs.
Jeff Jones writes "A spacedeck with a quality arm from a different manufacturer (Rega?"
Rega? Any Rega arm is a huge step down from the Ace Space arm.
A serious analog discussion cannot include Rega tonearms.
If setup instructions, informative literature and customer support are of any importance to you, stay clear of the Nottingham. Their U.S. distributor is in my opinion the worst!!
It is true that ASL (said distributor) sucks. It is odd, too, because dealing directly with NA and/or Tom Fletcher is one of the most pleasing experiences one might ever have in audio.
4yanx - For what it is worth. Maybe someone could talk Tom Fletcher into putting out a little bit more documentation? Seems like it would be easy & would help sales & help folks enjoy the product.

Judy426 - "A serious analog discussion cannot include Rega tonearms." I don't own a Rega but a lot of folks sing their praises. Maybe it is a tonearm for lighthearted discussions :).
4yanx - I obviously touched a raw nerve! I had heard NA at shows and not been impressed but having read effusive reviews here and elsewhere went along to a dem with high expectations.

I'd say that the Spacedeck is better than a Linn - delivering prat and better bass resolution, however it didn't match up to the expectations. It may be a good deal new or used but it didn't float my boat.

Whilst you were quick to disagree with my comment on the 'table I noted that we are in agreement about the Ace Space arm being a step up from a modded Rega.

The polarization I have come across is that flat-earthers rate the NA tables and others who prefer tubes (e.g. Hifi World magazine) consistently rate the Michell tables above the Nottingham.
More documentation or more glitzy, Jeff? While the documentation sheet is actually a photocopy of a drawing of the table and parts, it does, at least in my experience, cover what you need to know to set up and run the table. Nothing more, nothing less. What else would you like to see added? (not trying to be a smart-ass, just wondering) Granted, it isn't a glossy layout and doesn't go on and on congratulating you for buying the best table known to man as many do, but it does what it is intended to do (at least it did for me). I have Tom Fletcher's number here somewhere, though, if you want to make suggestions to him.
I replied with a neutral and "politically correct" response earlier as you will have many people on both sides of both tables you had listed.

In my personal experience I have heard both and at the price point felt the Spacedeck with Ace Space arm was quite a bit better than the Scoutmaster. So much so, I now own a Spacedeck.

I have heard others argue that you can throw money at the VPI on upgrades and exceed the performance of the Spacedeck and Ace Space arm. That may be the case, however I felt at the $3,000 range the table should do certain things well enough without further upgrades. I chose to spend the rest on a decent phono amp and cartridge. (Whest PS.20 & ZYX Airy 3S-SB) ...

However, the best advice I could give is stated above - go listen for yourself, if you can find a dealer that carries both. I was lucky enough to hear both the Scoutmaster, the Spacedeck, and the Michell Gyro SE in the same system. Granted, one hade a different cartridge, two were the same and setup may have been more dialed in on one table moreso than the other, however after multiple times listening in various areas, the Nott Spacedeck with the Ace Space arm was preferred over the others I listened to...

Good luck on your search.
4yanx - No fussing intended. I thought better documentation might be a helpful suggestion for anyone who conversed with Mr. Fletcher. Sometimes vendors appreciate constructive feedback.
If you found the documentation to be thorough (Sp?) and appropriatly informative, great!
Happy listening.
I own the Hyperspace. It was my first & so far only turntable. The instructions weren't perfect for sure. But I was able to setup the turntable in a few minutes. Unpacking the table was the most difficult of the work. I have called Nottingham in UK w. questions. They were very nice to speak with. Phone rates are low enough to call if you need to. The only thing is the time difference which I am sure can be worked out. As for comparisons, I never did compare it & do agree that it does have a sound. But it will last a life time & the sound is very "black". No noise. I am considering upgrading & upgraded my entire system so far but the Hyperspace is still with me. I just doubt I can do much better without spending a lot more money. I wouldn't worry about setup at all. It was really almost too easy. If you want to tinker then get a different turntable. 4yanx descriptions of setup are spot on IMO. Don't get the heavy kit version of the Space Deck though. Either a Hyperspace or space deck. The Ace Space arm is the best matching arm in the price range for a Nottingham table. They are voiced that way.
Don't get the heavy kit version of the Space Deck though. Either a Hyperspace or space deck.

I fully concur and, if this is what Red heard, I may see his point a little better.

Dgad, what I'd like to hear is the ACE arm on the original Spacedeck. Have you done so? If so, I'd very much appreciate your impressions.
The Ace-Space tonearm is superior to the JMW-9

It's hard to accept a general response like that with some type of supporting facts, could you please be more specific. thanks.
The Ace Space tonearm is quieter and tracks better than the JMW-9 which is flawed by design. The lack of anti-skating adjustment, despite Harry's protestations, prevents the arm from tracking properly. For grins and giggles, try a JMW-9 on the last track (the anti-skating torture track) on the Hi Fi test record and you'll see what I mean. Most high quality reference systems do NOT use VPI arms; comparably priced Schroeders, Grahams, and Tri Planars are the way to go IMO.

I haven't. I am considering the replacement to the Anna arm maybe in the future. I am also considering an isolation base. But I am alson thinking of either upgrading in a year or so to an SME 20 or Brinkman or Yorke.

One more interesting point, if you read the details of the new Nottingham 40K turntable is is basically a little bit more massive w. finer design & also includes a suspension (which I assume contributes to its greatest improvement), a wave mechanic (which I have) and some Sorbothane of sorts between the platters (which is being used in some other platter designs). I am thinking where a very thin sheet of sorbothane between the graphite platter & aluminum platter would yield similar results along with an isolation base (Minus K - technology & design seem perfect).

Yet I still think cartridge playing yields the biggest changes.
Hey Judy, while i respect your opinion as i do anyone, as audio is definately subjective, i have to disagree with your opinion on the anti skating, all tonearm manufacturers can do at best with anti skating is estimate the amount of force needed to offset the natural pull that the circular grooves create, it is NOT a measureable value, or i should say, it is measureable, but not a constant value, the force changes continuously, and i do believe Harry W's findings are true,that alot of anti skating mechanisms, add unnecessary vibration and noise. and to address your statement regarding the vpi tonearms used on other "high end" tables, that doesn't surprise me at all, the vpi arms are specifically designed and optimized for use on vpi tables, most other tonearm manufacturers don't design and build tables, so they're specialty is designing tonearms only. i don't know of too many tt manufacturers, that design tonearms that are considered among the best "add on" or "after market" arms. but hey, with that said, to each his own, i guess if everyone heard the same thing, they're would only be one choice when it came to equipment available.
That's a very nice response and I thank you. But the torture track I alluded to on the Hi Fi Record is not subjective audio as you suggest.
Try that JMW-9 or 10 or 10.5 or 12.5 in that last track and get back to me after it jumps out. Harry might build nice tables but the tonearms leave a ton to be desired.
Well, i understand the basis for your argument, is that it won't withstand a "torture test", which in reality, really proves nothing to me, the concept of anti skating, is to keep the tip of the stylus perfect riding in between the two side of an almost microscopic groove, so if too much or too little force is applied, can be very damaging, physically and sonically, i guess that is my point with the guesstimations of most anti skating devices, also, in line with my comment about the vpi arms, there is alot to say for the synergy between a table and an arm, which i feel is great achieved with the vpi setups, so a vpi arm on any particular table, may "leave alot to be desired" as you say, but to me, all the vpi tables i've heard, are pretty hard to beat sonically, imo. and i have heard a few different tables in action.
FWIW. Whether or not a person wants to use the 'torture test' tracks is something to chew on. I've done it on three tables and cartridges and I'm not sure it tells anything that is related to sonic performance under reasonable or typical operating conditions.
After an expensive (for me anyway) cartridge went south on me prematurely, it sorta gave me that 'you dummy' feeling knowing that I had submitted it to visible long travel oscillation that is much worse than anything it will see during playback. The failure was probably just a coincidence, but I now am as delicate with cartridges as I can be.
Happy Listening!
I'm pretty happy with the Hyperspace/12" Anna arm and Benz ruby setup. I had the ability of a dealer come to the house a couple of times to set it up which left me at ease. He also had comments on lack of info. It doesn't need as much tweaking as other tables. It is better than the Linn Sondek as far as bass and dynamics and constant tweaking and bettered the VPI aries the same way. Michael Fremer usually gives Nottingham a good bashing every now and again but I usually have no idea what he's talking about. I intend to put a better cartridge than the Benz Ruby 2. Any ideas
What kind of music do you listen to? If you are happy w. the Ruby 2, the LP is supposed to be much improved. I had it & didn't like it. But I had a problem w. mine.

I used a Koetsu Urushi on mine. I loved it until my cleaning women broke it. Now I have a VDH Condor but I don't have my phono preamp for another month so I don't know how it sounds. I just like the idea of a stylus replacement costing only $500 or so compared to some others which cost $2000 plus
I have not had the opportunity to hear the Scoutmaster at home, however, I think I can give you some informed input on the Spacedeck. The Spacedeck is the sweet spot in the Nottingham lineup IMO. Better than the models below it with diminishing returns for the dollar above it. Don't waste your time or money on the heavy kit either. For whatever reason, the standard Spacedeck has the magic. Also, I don't care much for the Nott arm. I got much better results with a hot-rodded RB600 with Incognito wiring and OL Structural Mod. Adding Pete Riggle's VTAF improved the focus and bass.
The Spacedeck itself sounds much better than it has a right to sound. It responds to arm changes, mats and other tweaks, for better or worse. My current setup includes the Living Voices Mystic Mat, VPI weight and Graham B-44 Phantom arm. Many would think I'm crazy to use such high dollar accoutrements on this table. They have been incorporated over time by careful listening and the Spacedeck allows these devices to shine.
If I were to have to choose between the stock Spacedeck/arm and stock Scoutmaster/arm I'd probably lean toward the Scoutmaster. I feel the Spacedeck delivers black backgrounds like nothing else in it's price range. Unfortunately I feel the Spacearm kills it. Just my opinion.
I agree with most of the above with the exception of the comments about the Spacearm. I have owned two Spacedecks and have tried a variety of arms. A modded RB600, an OL Silver, OL Encounter, Bluenote Borghese and Borromeo. I prefer the Spacearm to all of them, and especially the new Ace-Space arm. To my ears there is a distinct synergy with the Spacedeck and a Nott arm. But as always, to each his own.

Well Denf, I'd say you got a lot of opinions that most likely didn't help with your decision. Ain't this a fun sport? Hey, both turntables will play music for you quite nicely. If you have a dealer that carries both tables, I'd say listen to them both with your eyes closed and follow your heart and ears.
Best of luck.