Your Opinions Please Regarding VPI TT's

I have a VPI HW Jr., w/ AQ PT9 and a Dynovector 20x cartridge. I am happy with the table, but since vinyl is my only source for music, I am going to upgrade to get the most out of my system (BAT PK5 phono stage, Decware Zen Select Amp and Omega Speakers with Wasatch Cables).

Anyway, my question is, should I upgrade to the VPI HW 19 IV with the SAMA motor, or should I buy a Scoutmaster or Aries table? Are the uprgrades worth it? Are the new VPI tables that much better then the HW 19 IV? I dont want to spend too much money, however, I want a table that I can be happy with forever. Thanks in advance...
The Aries is always a great choice, but you then have to play with what it sits on.

The HW19 is a great turntable, and upgrading the platter to a MK III or IV sure beats what's on the Scout now. I would think about the MK III platter and a JMW arm to replace the AQ.

Just an aside, a friend had both a Mk III version and a MK IV version and preferred the III for musicality. He thought the IV was a bit more analytical to his ears. Don't know myself.

Thanks for the info. I am also considering the Rega Planar 9 which is also in the price range of the Aries. It will be the most expensive, but may also be the best option. I am scared of upgrades in general and think that if I have to spend 1000 to get to an MK IV, why not just buy a new TT (Aries, Planar 9) and sell my jr. Very confused....
I have never used the VPI stuff but have used Rega and am a current Audio Note owner (typical suspended belt drive bopuncy thing that sounds fine). Were I in the market for another table VPI would be at the top of the list for the following reasons that have nothing to do with VPI making an excellent turntable.
a) They've been around a long time;
b) They support older products with upgrade policies;
c) Logical progression from one product to the next;
d) Made in America. Do your part for the trade deficit.

There are so many "good" turntables it comes down to a matter of budget (primary), personal taste, and the arm/cartridge synergy which may be the most important thing.

If the cost of the upgrade seems fair then there is a lot to be said for just dealing with VPI and sticking with what you know.
Hi, Rich, it sounds like you have a really nice system, and you're wise to invest in the front end.

I've owned VPI turntables for the past 15 years -- several incarnations of the HW19/SAMA and currently the Aries with the. The leap from the HW 19IV to the Aries provided a MUCH more musically involving experience, although to be fair I didn't A/B both tables with the same tonearm/cartridge combo (when I moved to the Aries I replaced my Moerch DP6/Promethean Super Green arm/cartridge with the JMW10 arm and Benz Ruby cartridge.

However, I was able to compare with Aries setup listed above with the TNT, and ultimately preferred the Aries.

You might consider finding a sympathetic analog-friendly dealer (if you don't already have one -- I KNOW how scarce they can be) who would make it relatively easy to trade up.

You've got a really fine turntable. It MIGHT make sense to replace the tonearm/cartridge. Unless you're a master at analog setup, I recommend having a professional do it -- the difference can be astounding.

I've found that a good dealer can set up and fine tune a turntable/arm/cartridge WAY better than I ever could. Not to mention speaker placement, vibration attenuation, and other subtlties.

For what it's worth, my audio adventures took a quantum leap when I decided to forego mail order for a dealer I trusted.
Williamsims, I ditto your comment that a dealer can ultimately be the best help in making sense of the endless choices out there. I spent years forging ahead on my own, reading the "reviews" in the mags, and only recently rekindled a 15 year old relationship with my local dealer who started me in this hobby. I am now making jumps, no leaps of progress in tuning my system to produce music, not just notes.

Thanks for your responses, I think that I am leaning heavily toward the Rega Planar 9. It comes with a power conditioner, tonearm cable and a terrific tonearm. I have not listened to the Aries v. Planar 9, however, my dealer tells me that he believes that the Rega is the better table for my system (he sells both the Rega and VPI). It would be great if I had the time to critically listen to both, but that is not a reality in my life. I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the purchase of a Planar 9 over an Aries for a SET based strictly vinyl system. Thanks again.