Vpi ScoutMaster vs Acoustic Signature Final Tool

Hi folks,

Has anyone here ever compared the 2 decks mentioned in the title? I'm contemplating a source upgrade but i can't audition the Vpi locally as there's no local dealer at the moment.

I believe there is great price disparity between them in the US market but they are roughly the same in the Australian market(US$4k to 4.5K) . Acoustic Signature Final Tool Mk2 is almost twice the price of Scoutmaster in US at the moment but this is a quirk of the exchange rate and they should be competitor in performance term. Both are well built, using suspensionless design and well reviewed in the past.

Some of you will be horrified to hear that Scoutmaster retails for US$4200 here despite the current A$1 to US$0.94 exchange rate.

I briefly compared the VPI to the AS Wood (large platter version) app 2 years ago. This is the more expensive wood bodied AS, but it's still cheaper than the Final Tool. Both the VPI and AS were clearly very good 'tables and the demos were in different systems so truly meaningful conclusions may be hard to come by, but...

I don't love the VPI arm. The AS Wood is designed for Rega mount only - so it's limited in this regard - but I personally much prefer the Rega arm. YMMV.

The AS is a monster. For a mass loaded design this is not trivial. The platter, motor, controller, and plinth are all very impressive at the price point - although the falling dollar has, no doubt, evened the field some over the last 2 years. (My 'table in gloss black w/ Rega RB300, Ortofon HOMC, record weight, and electronic controller was app $2500.)

As you may have guessed, I ended up with the AS and I have been very satisfied.

Note: I also use an Oracle/Graham 2.2 w/Nightingale in the same system. When I recently subbed a Lyra Dorian for the supplied Ortofon, the performance gap between these 2 decks became IMHO pretty narrow.

No knock on the VPI - My guess is that those who prefer that arm will probably be very happy with the VPI system - but, my experience with the AS leads me to believe that it is (or at least was) a truly great value.

Good Luck,

The underwhelming performance of the JMW-9 makes the Final Tool a no brainer.
Dear Jasper: Both TTs are really different in almost any single TT characteristic design. In its own way both are good TTs and have its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you like the acrylic platter then the VPI is the way to go but if you like the metal one then AS is the way to go: this is only one example how different are, the acrylic has its own signature sound and the metal a different one.

We can find a lot of differences on those TTs. IMHO and according my audio priorities I preffer overall the Final Tool: it has a great and unique bearing design with a very well made and very clever power supply design and this TT give you the opportunity to mount three different tonearms at the same time. It's very good performer too and its quality sound reproduction compete with almost any thing out there. It is too a reliable design, I own for more than five years and never had/have any single trouble.

Of course that the people that like the VPI characteristics can/could say that they prefer this one over the AS.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Dear Jaspert,

I think both are good choices. I own the AS Mambo and have been very, very happy with it. The Final Tool is very close to the Mambo and its performance should almost be at the same level.

The AS turntables come with the Alpha power supply, which really keeps the turntable speed dead on. This is something you will need to buy separately should you choose the VPI.

The Final Tool bearing is the same one found in their top models and it is guaranteed for ten years. This bearing does not need any maintenance, which was one of the main reasons for me to choose the AS.

IMHO, a high-mass design allows for more flexibility when it comes to selecting a mat, since it can handle heavier mats (SAEC SS-300, Micro Seiki CU-180, etc).

Best Regards,


Big thanks to all who has chimed in with your input so far.
I'm a bit surprised by the remark on the JMW 9 tonearm as i thought it's an asset rather than a liability but i did a search in the Analogue archive and see where you are coming from.
At this stage, I plan to get a local demo of the Acoustic Signature turntables and take it from there.Hopefully it will be a decent jump in performance relative to my current Roksan Radius 5 (maple)/Nima tonearm combination.