VPI Scoutmaster vs. Pro-ject RM10

I had a chance to listen to a VPI Scout friday and was sorely disappointed. I had the salesman play a Rega P3 and it was no contest. I finally convinced him that the VTA must be off. I placed the rega felt mat on the VPI and it cleared up considerably. But was it VTA or the felt mat or both?? I like the way the VPI is built is seems like it would provide years of service. But I would like to hear a Pro-ject RM10 and don't have a dealer locally that has one set up for demo. Has anyone ever compared these two? The scout sounded muffled and uncontrolled in the bass. Again the mat helped but is that a characteristic of VPI? Do they traditionally sound hard or conjested? I understand that the Pro-Ject arm is a real nice arm and the magnetic bearing is appealing but before I plop down 3K I would like some input on what to expect.
Something was probably not optimal in the setup of the Scout. Properly set up,
"hard" and "congested" are adjectives that would never
occur to me as applicable to the Scout. I found the Scout to be extremely
sensitive to what it sits on. If it sits on a low mass slab of MDF, it sure isn't
going to sound it's best. When I first set mine up on the top shelf of my Billy
Bags rack (mdf shelf,) it didn't sound any better than my modified Empire 598III.
After getting a thick maple plinth for it, things improved by a great deal. Mostly
in the the presentation of the lower frequencies. I have a thick, solid slab of
concrete for a floor, so a bouncy floor wasn't a factor. Many owners report
excellent results with Ginkgo platforms as well. I'd consider the cost of an
additional support platform a required expense to get a Scout to sound it's best.
This is an isolation issue, muffled and uncontrolled are not terms I would use in regard to this model of VPI. Hardness is not a term I would use with VPI either. They can sound congested when not using proper isolation.

I've experimented with many platforms, properly draining internal and external vibrations is manadatory. The uncontrolled and muffled bass you're hearing is a symptom of vibrations being reintroduced into tt.

Wall mount necessary with springy floors. Sandbox, Symposium, Nuance, etc. platforms with either stand or wall mounting. I never use anything springy directly underneath mass loaded tt designs. Still waiting for a good explanation of using any suspension under VPI's.
Add a Clearaudio Performance to this list in this price range. I love mine.
Yep another VPI owner that thinks something is wrong with your set up.
See the current issue of Absolute Sound, dubbed the "Analog Issue". It reviews four enty-level TT's including Rega and Pro-jects, topping out at a $1,200 model from a third maker I can't recall. The article might be helfpul in your research.

I have the Scoutmaster and it had a signficantly better "bottom" response compared to it's younger brother Scout in head to head A/B. Sorry, but I have no experience with Pro-ject turntables.

Good luck as approach the heavenly analog pleatau. You won't regret it.
I second the Clearaudio Performance-------
I am glad to see some votes on the Clearaudio Performance as I am considering this as well. I heard one last week but the dealer didn't have a phone stage to match the Glider cart. I owned a Glider years ago and came to realize it was a little forward for me on a P25. I am also curious about the Avis Diva and Michell Technodec and in the same price range maybe go back to Rega in a P7. I am trading my LP12 and want a simpler TT but want to enjoy the sound. Any input on these tables would be greatly appreciated.
The pro ject 10 was tested recently by HIFICRITIC in England. They found it well built but the sound quality was not up to the standard they expected. They found " what let down this turntables performance was an unmistakeable shortfall in dynamic expression and rather slow, downbeat rhythms." They gave it a score of 33 on a scale where their reference is 100. The Rega P7 was in the same test and scored 47 with MM and 55 with MC. I would expect the VPI to be considerably higher than these. I want to add my warning about siteing to the ones above. I have used turntables since 1962 and have spent a good part of my life as an audio dealer setting up tables. I was a VPI dealer for over 10 years before taking a long break starting in 1994. I came back as a VPI dealer this fall with the Scout and Scoutmaster, which are quite different from their older models. It has taken me 3 months to get them sounding the way they should, One very cheap tweak was to place Star Sound discs under the VPI feet, they are under $9 each. There is a lot of performance in the Scout, don't give up on it. I have a good DYI support design given to me by a stand manufacturer if anyone is interested. Stan
The VPI should beat the pants off of the Project. Something is very wrong.
Stringreen and Stanwal are very correct.
I don't much like the Michel!!l, it sounds veiled to me, but I do love the Scoutmaster, I have never heard the Pro-ject 10, but thought the 9.1 was very nice, it was on an isolation platform, so I am sure that helped.

Once again though, get the Clearaudio Performance!!

I am listening to it right now, man, it is dead quiet.
I just completed a modification last night to my Scoutmaster that I think significantly improves the sound. I replaced the standard VPI feet with ones from Star Sound. So instead of aluminum feet coupled to the table by a thick rubber washer you have machined brass feet connected directly. It tightened up the sound and improved the bass and transient response. I talked to Harry before I ordered them and he thought they might well be worthwhile. I am going to try to talk Star Sound into sending him some to try. This couples the table very closely to the surface it is sitting on so I don't know how it will work if you are having vibration problems. I was going to do a comparison test but I am not sure I will anytime soon now as I am very happy with its current sound. Also using the discs for the feet mentioned in my post above. The cones that fit are the 1/4th -20 thread.
Stanwall, that's interesting, I suspect the thick rubber washer is acting a bit like a suspension, re-introducing vibration back into tt. I'm going to try taking my rubber washers off, wonder why Harry uses them?

I've been thinking of using Aurios or Stillpoints under my tt, still sympathetic movements may create asynchronous movment, re-introducing vibrations again.

Perhaps directly coupling spikes is the best answer. Metallurgy of spikes may be an issue as well, brass coupled to the aluminum top plate on my sandbox may not be best, two dissimilar metals. Still, maximizing mass in the spikes would seem to dissipate vibrations more fully. Looking for the exact sonic improvements you mentioned, think I'll try the Star Sounds.
I had the same idea about the rubber washer. The feet with ball bearings and rubber are just not as rigid as the Star Sound. Use the coupling discs and they should work with the aluminum, I would think. Stan