VPI Prime vs Super Prime Scout

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jboersma, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. jboersma

    jboersma Active Member Thread Starter

    Find myself with the opportunity to trade in an old VPI table for a new one and have been going back and forth between the Prime and Super Prime Scout. Prime seems like the better long-term buy, but of course it costs more.

    What would you do?
     
    displayname likes this.
  2. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Do you mean the Super Prime Scout from Upscale? If so, it seems to be pretty much the same thing as the Prime, just named differently. What's the difference between the two?

    JohnK
     
  3. Davey

    Davey I carry the moon inside a silver bag

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The Prime has the 3D arm, a heavier motor pod, thicker plinth and different feet.
     
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  4. BlackCircle

    BlackCircle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pottstown, PA
    Was thinking the same thing a couple months back. Upscale said they wouldn’t take my VPI Scout SE as a trade in so I move on. I went to Music Direct and got a great deal on a Prime before the price increase. Love it. Solid solid table. Since you already have a VPI you know what your getting.
     
    displayname likes this.
  5. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Thanks. It wasn't clear from the descriptions.

    IMO the Prime is a better base for upgrades that VPI offers, like the periphery ring, and improved feet.

    JohnK
     
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  6. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Timely thread as I’ve been contemplating the Super Prime Scout too. Is Upscale Audio taking in your VPI in trade?
     
    displayname likes this.
  7. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    If you don't mind the price difference, I would for sure go for the Prime.
     
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  8. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I guess the biggest difference between the Prime and SPS is the arm. Is the 3D arm a huge improvement over the regular arm?
     
  9. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    As noted above, it's more than the arm that's different. The Plinth, motor pod and feet are also different.
     
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  10. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I understand.. still curious to know general opinion regarding the 3D arm to the standard. My memory might be wrong or maybe it was earlier versions of the 3D arm, but it didn't seem the majority thought the 3d arm was an improvement. Also perhaps there were production issues with the early arms which can be understandable. Ironing out the kinks perhaps.
     
  11. jboersma

    jboersma Active Member Thread Starter

    No, not working with Upscale. Have a unique situation, but don't want to jinx it by giving away too much about what's going on. Just interested in thoughts around these two tables.
     
  12. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I was under the impression the Super Prime Scout was a Upscale Audio thing. I suppose any dealer could get VPI to make it though but I haven’t seen it offered anywhere else.
     
  13. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    Any VPI dealer would be able to get this build done. But I've been doing more Prime Scouts with the 3d arm lately versus the metal arm on the "Super" Prime Scout.
     
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  14. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    So you recommend the 3D arm over the metal I presume. What is the biggest advantage, knowing it can be subjective, with the 3D arm?

    I also find myself wanting the on-the-fly VTA adjustment. Not really sure why because I'm not a VTA adjustment type of person. I don't swap carts and I don't change it now with different weight records. So it's more lust than function I feel. My current set-up I spent time setting it to a "typical" record and leaving it. Set it and forget it. Soooo... do you think VTA adjustment is something people get into more with the OTF tonearm base?

    I also remember Steve Hoffman not particularly liking the OTF adjustment knob and fiddling with it when he reviewed the Avenger. He went the route of adding/subtracting paper from the platter to change height.....
     
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  15. jboersma

    jboersma Active Member Thread Starter

    VTA on-the-fly does seem to be a useful features. And latest I'd heard, tone arm material preference seems more subjective than tone arm length. Super Prime Scout has a 10.5" metal arm while the Prime has a 10" 3D printed arm. I'm just vacillating on whether or not the plinth, motor, and feet differences are worth the price difference. Leaning towards "yes"
     
    displayname likes this.
  16. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    On the VTA adjustment, I would honestly say a big portion of people that have the feature, never use it. Is it nice to have, absolutely. Is it necessary to make your table sound great, absolutely not! lol

    The guys at VPI are going to tell you basically hands down that the 3d arm is better than the older metal arms. In my comparisons, I would tend to agree that the 3d arm is better, although I'm not sure if it's a huge difference.

    Honestly, to me, the biggest differences between the Prime and Super Scout are the plinth and the feet. Those two items alone really make the Prime the step up in sound that it is.
     
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  17. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    It does make sense the plinth and feet would be a big factor in comparing the the two tables. Thanks for the insight!
     
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  18. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    The arms are the same length. The 10.5 designation is to distinguish from previous versions of the metal arm. The metal arm is a bit more "lively", which some people like, but that is because the 3D arm is much better at controlling resonance. Detail is not lost with the 3D arm, in fact I found it more open, and with a bigger soundstage. Regarding length, as the arm gets longer (9" 3D, vs. 10" 3D vs. 12"3D), the sound tends to smooth out more and be more balanced, mostly because of reduced distortion. That said, 12" arms are more fussy about alignment, because any mis-alignment is magnified. 9" arms will be more up front in PRAT. As for VTA on the fly, for me it helps reduce time in setting up a new cartridge, but after that I never touch it.

    JohnK
     
  19. jboersma

    jboersma Active Member Thread Starter

    I didn't realize the arms are actually the same length. Thanks for clarifying that.

    What is PRAT? Haven't come across the acronym before.
     
  20. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    Pace Rythm And Timing
     
  21. jboersma

    jboersma Active Member Thread Starter

    Ah. Ok, so what does it mean to be "more up front with PRAT?"
     
  22. Jeremy Bunting

    Jeremy Bunting Forum Resident

    VTA on the fly is a game changer if you’ve got a cartridge that’s sensitive about proper setup. I use it every time I switch to a record of a different thickness. Sometimes even records of the same thickness sound better at slightly different settings. Got an album that’s too bright? Just turn the knob. Sibilance? Turn the knob. Loss of detail? Turn it. It just takes a few seconds to get an album to sound ‘right.’ Now that I’ve heard the difference it makes I don’t think I could go back.
     
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  23. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes

    I just visited the Upscale Audio site and it says the value of the Super Scout is $58,997.32, but you can buy it as a blem for $2,899. They seem to have blems available in every color, so there are a lot of blemished tables, apparently. You can call if you don't want a blem. I would never trust a product of a firm that claims this is a $59k turntable- however you are not dealing with Upscale.

    If it were me, I would go for the Prime. I don't think any of the upgrades on the Prime are earth shattering, but taken together should make a noticeable difference. Full disclosure- I have never heard a Super Scout, but I have heard a Prime and it sounds damn good. I also think on-the-fly VTA is an important feature.

    However, if money is a real issue the Super Scout should suffice.
     
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  24. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    It's surprising to me how many people believe a company would make down a product from $59k to just under $3k. It's a joke for people with a sense of humor. Now if you find it funny or whimsical or in good taste is obviously subjective.
     
    beowulf likes this.
  25. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Wow, it sounds like VTA is a cure-all for you. Glad it has worked at so well for you. I haven't found VTA adjustment to be as effective in practice and this is with a micro-ridge stylus. In all honesty, if setting VTA becomes a necessity to "fixing" so many records, I'd probably stop listening to records and focus on digital as crazy as that sounds.
     

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