vpi scoutmaster versus technics unbiased

Anyone heard both the vpi scoutmaster and the technics mk5g not the earlier versions and preferably with tonerarm dampen kit to tell me whether there is big difference in sonics. Lets assume no sds or clamp with vpi but newer tonearm. phonostage is dartzeel preamp and amp is dartzeel as well. by the way i am happy with the technics mk5g that I have but wondering whether the scoutmaster with my existing benz ace low output cartridge would have a lower noisefloor or what would the benefits necessarily be. I listen to jazz and rock. If you sneer at direct drive then at least admit it so I am aware of the bias.




There is a gentleman in Los Angeles who presently lists a Scoutmaster for sale. Why not contact him a see if you go listen to his table? Maybe take your table along to compare?
Is not the entire platter part of "the direct drive" motor?, Hence, an awful lot of EMI (electro magnetic interference) swimming around that platter, Oh so close to that expensive magnetic cartridge? You decide.
One belt, motor on seperate plinth, free at last! free at last!

I will contact him but do not believe he has setup or used the tt so might not want to lose its unused tag for me....plus if he does not know how, i doubt he wants me to fuss about with the tonearm setup of the scoutmaster....


The technics is used by djs everwhere and has sold lot more tts than even vpi.....not sure they would have a glaring emi issue with their tt they have built for 30 years!!!!

I have no tv, phone, or other devices in room other than cd player, preamp, amp, speaker
Well, another idea is to start a thread asking if anyone in LA has a
Scoutmaster you could hear.

Relying on opinions in a discussion thread is a dicey
proposition, because we all have different listening experience, priorities and
systems. Also, as an alternative, perhaps Elliot carries something in the price
range of VPI you could hear.

Similar to the Technics SL12XX tables, VPI tables have a long list of upgrades
that owners find necessary to "get the best out of the table". You have to ask
yourself if this is a road you want to travel.

You might consider looking into the offerings of Galibier if you want to get
close to the end game without endless upgrading. A Galibier Stelvio TT with
entry level arm runs about $3800. The Stelvio can also be upgraded when
time and funds allow.
I should also add if emi was a problem with this tt, it would be consistently present on albums and not varying from record to record.....

I like the technics so dont want to get on the upgrade treadmill unless the difference is big!
well tvad you are right it is like opening pandora's box and i do like the technics so doubt I will do anything for now. If the guy selling in la had it setup and broken in I would certainly listen to it
07-23-08: Lwerner
Is not the entire platter part of "the direct drive" motor?, Hence, an awful lot of EMI (electro magnetic interference) swimming around that platter, Oh so close to that expensive magnetic cartridge? You decide.
One belt, motor on seperate plinth, free at last! free at last!
Typical audiophile-approved dogma with speculated theory but no substantiation. You have to pay between $3-5K to get a belt drive TT with as low an S/N, weighted or unweighted, as a $500 Technics SL12x0.

Every drive system has its strengths and weaknesses. What about the hysteresis inherent in a flexible belt drive system, or the side pull on the rotor bearing? You can sit in an armchair and point out design disadvantages in anything, but it is the implementation, not the design theory, that ultimately determines if something works well or not.

The EMI thing didn't put off Goldmund, Grand Prix, Teres, and some other direct drive entries in the high end.
Barring the expensive DD models mentioned by Johnnyb53, the cognescenti of direct-coupled(i.e. idler) & DD TTs generally favor vintage Lencos, Technics SP-10 & early Denons. They can be purchased for under $500 on ebay and restored/replinthed to great effect. The advantage of superior speed stability in these TTs, may or may not be offset by the advantage of low vibration inherent in belt drive with an isolated motor. Having myself tweaked a VPI belt-drive TT in areas that separately address speed stability and resonance control, my vote goes to speed stability as making the greatest improvement. It will forever be debated whether any belt drive TT can approach the speed stability of DD, and whether DD can be as quiet as belt drive.
I just sold a fully modded M5G for a Scoutmaster. For some reason, in my setup, my M5G had a high pitched noise (was not a ground issue). The noise was coming from the pitch control. My previous TT MK2 did not have that problem. Anyway, in my system, the VPI has a much larger soundstage and deeper bass. However, I was using a Dynavector 10x5 on the Technics and now using CLEARAUDIO MAESTRO WOOD Cart so not really fair comparsion. Technics imaging was dead center but VPI is more of a spread center. Both very good but different. Technics was much easier to setup vs. VPI. Speed control much better on Technics than VPI. Speed and noise seem to be the most common issues between these two TT's from what I've heard from the online forums.
If I'm not mistaken, the OP is primarily concerned with LP surface noise. If I'm wrong, then I apologize.

However, assuming surface noise is the complaint, is there a difference in surface noise between belt drive versus DD tables?

I always thought LP surface noise was mostly a product of the vinyl condition, and arm/cartridge selection, match and/or set-up. The table itself was less a factor when discussing surface noise.
I've had the VPI for just under two months and have replayed several of my most favorite LP's and most have shown a signifgant improvement in LP surface noise. Again, I don't think it's 100% fair comparision due to a different cart and arm. Maybe the MC cart was just to harsh for the Technics on my system and picked up every little thing. My phono preamp is a jolida 9d.
Sorry it my first post was off the OP. Hopefully this on gets closer to the info your after.
Hi Radiohead,
I have both the Sl1200 with a KAB damper, matt, rewire, and a VPI Scoutmaster stock. Both are going into an Ayre P5xe phono preamp.

Both sound excellent. Now, they have different cartridges. The Technics has an Audio-Technica AT-33PTG moving coil, and the VPI has a Dynavector 20H.

The Technics offers fantastic ease of use, very good cost to performance ratio, easy set up and easy cartridge changes (removeable headshells & easy VTA).

The VPI requires a larger investment, has better ability to track excellent cartridges.

Now, in regards to sound quality, when I have a serious listening session with a very fine LP, I always go to the VPI. It sounds better to me. Blacker backgrounds, better image, noticeable bass depth and power.

If I'm having friends over and playing their records, or having a party, I like the Technics which still sounds very, very good. The KAB modifications are superb and I highly recommend them if you select the Technics.

I hope this helps, that's just my SPIN on things!
07-24-08: Hififile
The VPI...has better ability to track excellent

Will you define what you mean by this? What criteria are used to make this
I am going to stick with the technics tt for now and maybe one day change out but keep this for awhile since I really like it and work on getting better at cleaning my records with the vpi 16.5.

I have an SL1210 M5G, and pretty much every tweak I've made improves inner clarity, dynamics, and lowers noise floor. These have included the fluid damper, a sorbothane (not sorbogel) mat, Sumiko or LPGear ZuPreme headshell, brass footers, thick plank platform, and shock abosorbing footers under the plank. I recently swapped out the Vibrapods under the plank for a pair of plank-wide thick gel pads. They're actually gel wrist rests for computer keyboard that I got from Office Max. I estimate they further isolated the turntable from room noise by about 1.5 dB *over * the Vibrapods.

You will also lower the internal noise of the SL12x0 series if you get some factory bearing oil (I got a tube from KAB) and lube up the spindle bearing. Easily the best $4.95 you can spend to improve the performance of this TT.

By the time I did all those things, the cumulative effect on the SL1210 was transforming. The combination of quart-controlled direct drive and these vibration control and isolation upgrades has made for a dynamic and rhythmically compelling presentation.