What Turntable to Buy


I am going to buy a new tt and was wondering which one you would pick if you could have your choice between the Super Scoutmaster Signature or the VPI Aries 3 with the 10.5i arm. The Aries will come with either the SDS or the Outer Ring Clamp for the same price as the SSMS. Which one would you pick?
clarock
I picked the aries 3 (seriously) I recently upgraded from a scout and bought the aries after hearing both. you would also need the upgrade on the motor to make the table superior- it has a flywheel and different feet for the table. plus the 10.5 arm is superior to the 9 in many ways. I also have the outer ring and the sds
I'd pick a Nottingham. Their tonearms are better than VPI.
I have to agree with Audiofeil ...you can get a great Nottingham Innerspace or Space Deck used and be blown away by the performance and simplicity of these TT's.
I just got a Spacedeck 294 with the 12" arm and it is killer!
I think it is a good bit better than the regular Spacedeck(which is great).
Frankly,the 294 is better than any VPI,IMHO.
And it is only about 4 grand new.Probably too early to find a used one.
Aries 3 with JMW 10.5i arm
agree with audiofeil
Dear Clarock: VPI with a better tonearm than the 10.5i.

Along with the Aries you could take a look to Acoustic Signature and Galibier TT alternatives: both are great sound designs.

Btw, which cartridge do you own or think to play on that TT?, the choose of a tonearm ( not for a TT ) is critical, that tonearm has to make a good match with the cartridge.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.
I can't help with the VPI choices, but Galibier is about to release the Serac, which will be more affordable than the Gavia or Stelvio. It shares a lot of the critical parts of Thom's more expensive designs and is probably worth looking into. I believe it will include an arm as well, though I think the actual model has yet to be determined. Anyways, just a thought:-).
Agree with Raul and Mab33.

Galibier Gavia - $2250
Very probably a step up from either VPI table due to the quieter motor and the superior platter-motor coupling from a non-elastic drive belt. This type of belt is a vital component in my experience, and no VPI motor is quiet enough to use one without transmitting vibration and cogging into the platter. Thom's motor is quiet by design, so he doesn't need to isolate it from the platter with multiple rubber belts and flywheels. His motor controller is properly designed to begin with, so he doesn't need to sell you an outboard one. Choose the right components and simple jobs (turning a platter at 33 1/3) can actually be achieved with simple designs.

Tonearm of your choice - $2-3K
A well chosen tonearm in that range will outplay a JMW, especially a JMW-9 (Signature or no). The choice of arms may be influenced by your choice of cartridges, as Raul said. Contenders in this range include the Moerch DP-6 (good) and Schroeder Model Two (better). I expect people could suggest others too.

Regards,
Doug

P.S. I don't own any of the components recommended above so I'm not grinding my own axe. Just trying to help you get the best music for your money.
Totally agree with Doug,Raul. I'll go out a step further to say that, if you have ears, either VPI is something you will eventually replace once you realize what you bought vs. what else better is out there for similar money. A table designed and made like the Galibier you could actually keep.
How many of each have you seen for sale used? This says alot...
Doug, While I will certainly second the recommendation of the Galibier Gavia (being a satisfied owner myself), your pricing is a bit off the mark. The basic Gavia with a PVC platter is $4500. The standard Gavia with a Gavia platter is $7000, and the price with a Stelvio platter is $8000. See Thom's site for the details.

http://www.galibierdesign.com/prd_gavia.html

Perhaps you were thinking of the new Galibier Serac which, as far as I know, has not yet been released.

Dave

Thanks for all the information. I am going to be using a Benz Ebony H cartridge. I need a high output MC because I am still using my trusty CJ PV-7 preamp. As for dealers, VPI is the only brand that has a dealer that is close. All others are several hours away if I wanted to audition even though most auditions are very different than what I normally hear at home. I have about $6k to spend on tt and arm so I will try to get some info on the ones listed so I can make more of an educated purchase to get the best for the $. The rest of the system is made up of Infinity RS-1B, IRS Series 3 amps for bass columns and Krell KAV-250A for mid/tweeter panels and AZ wires throughout.

Thanks

Chad
I forgot to mention that my current tt/arm is a VPI MK III with a Rega RB-300 and a Benz Glider cartridge.
I have been in contact with Thom and am awaiting the release of the Serac. I intend to use mine with a Micro Seiki MA-505 tonearm, which Thom also has and occasionally uses in his set-up. I'm actually in search of a cartridge and have been focusing on Shelter and Dynavector. However, based on my recent table search in which I have looked at Acoustic Signature, Acoustic Solid, and some vintage tables, the Serac to me is shaping up to be an excellent long term value.
Clarock, a couple of additional comments. Before my Galibier, I used a VPI 19 Mk.III with SDS and VPI JMW-10. Cartridge was a Glider M2. I went to the Galibier Gavia, first with what is now called the Serac platter (PVC) and I then upgraded to the previous top platter, a Teflon/aluminum platter with lead and oil damping. I've used the VPI arm, an AudioQuest PT-6 and a 12" Moerch DP-6.

The Galibier Gavia is a dramatic improvement over the VPI 19 Mk. III in terms of detail, dynamics, background noise (the background becomes black), and speed stability. These comments apply regardless of platter, arm or cartridges that I've tried. I haven't heard any of the more recent VPI tables, but since you're using the same VPI I had perhaps my comments are relevant.

The Benz cartridges work really well with each of my arms, so I don't think you'll have any compatabilty problems there. That applies not only to the Glider but to the L2 that I am using now.

If I were you, I would think in terms of putting more of my money into the table (in order to get something like the Gavia) and less into the arm or cartridge. From my experience, I know I could live quite happily with the Gavia and something like the AQ PT-6 or a similar arm like your Rega 300 and a decent cartridge like the Glider. Of course, it is also easy to upgrade in the future to an even better sounding arm and cartridge, but the point is you could be happy with a setup like that without any need to upgrade.

I would also recommend the Moerch arms. They are genuine over-achievers.

I hope some of this is useful.

Dave
Clarock, a couple of additional comments. Before my Galibier, I used a VPI 19 Mk.III with SDS and VPI JMW-10. Cartridge was a Glider M2. I went to the Galibier Gavia, first with what is now called the Serac platter (PVC) and I then upgraded to the previous top platter, a Teflon/aluminum platter with lead and oil damping. I've used the VPI arm, an AudioQuest PT-6 and a 12" Moerch DP-6.

The Galibier Gavia is a dramatic improvement over the VPI 19 Mk. III in terms of detail, dynamics, background noise (the background becomes black), and speed stability. These comments apply regardless of platter, arm or cartridges that I've tried. I haven't heard any of the more recent VPI tables, but since you're using the same VPI I had perhaps my comments are relevant.

The Benz cartridges work really well with each of my arms, so I don't think you'll have any compatabilty problems there. That applies not only to the Glider but to the L2 that I am using now.

If I were you, I would think in terms of putting more of my money into the table (in order to get something like the Gavia) and less into the arm or cartridge. From my experience, I know I could live quite happily with the Gavia and something like the AQ PT-6 or a similar arm like your Rega 300 and a decent cartridge like the Glider. Of course, it is also easy to upgrade in the future to an even better sounding arm and cartridge, but the point is you could be happy with a setup like that without any need to upgrade.

I would also recommend the Moerch arms. They are genuine over-achievers.

I hope some of this is useful.

Dave
Dave,

I was indeed thinking of the Serac, to keep the budget similar to a Super ScoutMaster Signature. Thanks for clarifying.

Doug