Will VPI scout or Michell Tecnodec beat my emmlabs

Theoretical question. I have not had a turntable since my Technics SL1200 in the 1970's. I have only 3 new LP's, of alternative artists that I am currently into (bought for auditioning purposes only). Yet, I think I would like to add vinyl to my system: emmlabs CDSD; DCC2; Lamm M1.2 ref amps;Kharma Midi-Grands;Jena Symphony cables. (Perhaps, I am crazy ... given that I don't have a vinyl collection ... yet, a lot of the indie/alternative stuff is available locally or on internet in vinyl ... sometimes recordings are only available as vinyl !!! ... plus, I am tired of worrying about copy control discs that can be a problem ... So, I would like to consider adding vinyl if it can get me past what I have now with digital)

However, I don't want to spend more than 1000-1200 for a table and arm. (Obviously, I will also need a phonostage + cart ? budget ??). I can get a used VPI Scout (6 mo old with 300 rpm motor) for this budget vs. a JA Michell Tecnodec, as two possibilities. I am curious whether any of these tables can allow me to get a significant slice of the benefits of vinyl, without spending a lot of money ? With a reasonable phonostage and cart (not too expensive though), would this surpass my emmlabs. Unfortunately, locally I don't have the ability to trial many tables. There are only 2 high-end dealers (one largely internet-based_, but most of the stuff would have to be bought outright, as demos are not readily available.

Finally, if anyone thought the VPI scout was a reasonable candidate, any suggestions for a decent phonostage and cart that would be appropriate for my associated equipment and allow me to get the most out of that table ? Again, I apologize but I don't have anywhere local to try these things out right now.
While I don't have a Emm Labs setup, I do have a Capitole Mk 2SE and an Ayre D1-xe. I was thinking as you were now, except I had a couple hundred old records in a box.

I bought a table/arm/cart for 750 used (nottingham horizon,RB250, and Dyanvector 10x5) and a Whest phono stage. A few new records to get me started and a record cleaning setup (essential)

This meager 750 (more with phono stage and record cleaner) setup is way better than either player I have, so good that I find it impossible to listen to CDs after playing vinyl, it is so much more natural and dynamic that a CD, CDs sound dead in comparison. I still enjoy CDs, but listen to them first or don't listen to vinyl at all when playing them.

I think you will be astounded at how good an inexpensive player will be compared to your EMM gear. Just be prepared for some frustration from time to time with the vinyl. It's not all perfect and even a new record can sound pretty bad, but when you get a good one it's heaven. I'm getting to the point where I would rather hear real music with a little crackle than dead lifeless and compressed music that is crystal clear.

$1100 can do a lot in the world of analogue. Also, can do even more if you go used. Here's a good idea:

VPI HW 19 MK III used with tonearm ($400)
Grado Gold ($160)
Ear MM tube Phonostage used ($500)

$1060 total.

any thoughts?

Marty Nickison
Depends on your listening priorities. If you like the vinyl sound--and some of us actually don't--buy a turntable. If you prefer digital, then put your money into fine-tuning that. As far as I'm concerned, the EMM stuff is the best source I've ever heard.
go 'used' whatever you do
amen to that.
Hi Lawrence, I've been trying to make a similar decision except I don't have the Emmlabs gear. I could use a digital upgrade as I do enjoy listening to SACDs but I've been wanting to go the analog route for a while. Unfortunately, I find it amazingly difficult to make my budget work when I'm starting from scratch. It seems to me that unlike other areas, a couple hundred dollars goes quite a bit further in analog. $500 cart vs $750 cart? Big difference. But what's $250 in the long run for someone who owns your $$$ system? And this sort of thing continues up to a very high pricepoint in other parts of your analog rig. You have to compromise somewhere of course, but where will you draw the line when you know that a worthwhile upgrade is only a little bit of money away? And one big setback for me in my quest for analog has been the need to clean records!!! A good RCM is really needed sooner or later so you might as well "start out clean." To compound my problems, I am out of single ended inputs on my preamp and so I need to run things balanced and a balanced phono stage cost a lot more money. But this won't be a problem of yours of course. Don't forget you also need more interconnects!!!
There are differences between digital and vinyl. Are we saying, and hearing, these differences as making one format better than the other? Its one of those classic audiophile arguments you have to answer for yourself.

Having said that, I somehow doubt that a Scout (even a fully loaded and tweaked version) will better an EMM Labs front end. It would be more interesting if you included some of todays top cartridges and phono stages, but then your talking big money and it sounds like your looking to keep costs within reason.

Don't get into vinyl if you think its going to be cheap. Cartridges, phono stages, RCMs, cleaning fluids, interconnects, power cords, set up tools and tweaks will add up fast. Then it will take some "work" to dial everything in to your liking and it will still be "fussy" at times...but it can be really enjoyable and make great music. If you get hooked on it, great. Its lots of fun and gives you another way to enjoy music and this hobby.
As Dlwask says, vinyl and digital are just different animals. But then comes into play our respective tastes and priorities as listeners, and therein lies the final answer.

I've listened to systems with a VPI Scoutmaster/JMW-9, Shelter 501 cartridge and Chenin phono stage and I've listened to systems with EMM Labs processor and transport. For my listening priorities, I'd far prefer listening to vinyl on the Scoutmaster setup, even though I recognize the excellence of the EMM insofar as digital playback is concerned.

So, I'd certainly fall among those vinyl fanatics who will say, "Yes, you can match the performance of your EMM gear." But, whether it will sound so for *you* will depend on *your* listening priorities.

And, I fully agree with the cautions not to assume you can accomplish superb vinyl replay "on the cheap" or without an investment of time, care and energy.

Best wishes in your considerations,
I have an EMM set-up like yours and Kharma 3.2 speakers - so maybe we have that in common - driven by Atmasphere preamp (MP-1) and amp (MA 2) and had the same question as you a year ago - ended up with a vinyl system, that unfortunately costs more than your budget, but to my ears is in just another level of palpability, with so much more organic, real, live music than the EMM can produce. Just night and day. (Sota Cosmos V, OL Illustrious, Shelter 901, Ear 324). But then, I bought used: $250 Thorens 125 II, Shure V15vMXR, Wright WP 200 - all for less than $1K - for my office system and it has the same relative merit vs a $5K (now) APL 3910 digital deck that is probably as good as the EMM, which I still have at home - same result: despite costing 20% of the digital system, it is real, palpable and alive.........message: Vinyl reigns to my ears, even though the equipment does not even approach state of the art. I recommend you follow Afro 18's advice - you wont lose anything if you sell it if you either are disappointed or want to upgrade (which I bet my house you'll do:))

P.S. Rest of Office system: Jadis DA 88 Signature int amp, Merlin TSM-Mx speakers, Cardas GR i/cs and s/cs