VPI Prime or Scout or ???

Hi all,

I’m new to record players. I’ve always been a digital music person. That said, I’ve got s nice setup now and am looking for a record player for occasional records. I won’t be too serious about it and digital will remain my main source.

i know with some of the higher end players there is a learning curve but was hoping for something not too difficult to learn.

Being from NJ, I was pretty interested in VPI. I’m not sure I quite understand the differences between the Prime and Prime Scout. The Prime would probably be near the top of my budget. Also, I have no idea which cartridge to get. 

For context, I’ll mostly be listening to vintage jazz and rock. The turntable would feed into the Phono stage of my Mytek Manhattan. Any suggestions welcome! There is a pretty good deal on a Prime Scout I’m looking at so that’s why I figured I’d ask the experienced people here.
Ag insider logo xs@2xmayoradamwest
@mayoradamwest I agree about the Technics. Not big on the DJ look, but if it has the sound I am aiming for then so be it
@mayoradamwest - Yes, it will sound much better than a similarly priced rega.  
I upgraded from a VPI HW-19 Jr/Rega RB-300 arm (which was the last turntable I was going to own) to my Scout 2 (older model) the current last TT I would ever own (heh).

ANY VPI (practically) will give you a simple, nice performing TT that will last and allow for upgrading.

I originally wanted a Prime but size constraints held me back. 

The Prime likely will yield better sound, all things even but it depends on your financial and physical constraints.

Good luck!
If you go with VPI and a unipivot tonearm make sure when you set the tracking force the scale is very close to the height of the of the surface of the albums you will be playing.

With this style of tonearm if the scale platform is 5 or 6 mm higher than the record surface then actual tracking force will be lower than what you measure. 

It is explained in the set up video mentioned above.
you may need to see it in person to appreciate the precision of the technics design.
The regas are very good, however they are limited by the arm.  with as good as t he arm is, it does not allow for critical VTA adjustment, so you are limited to certain cartridge designs.  That being said, if you like one of those cartridges, The RP8, for example, is just a great table for the money, hell, the RP6 is as well.
The regas are very good, however they are limited by the arm.  with as good as t he arm is, it does not allow for critical VTA adjustment, so you are limited to certain cartridge designs.  That being said, if you like one of those cartridges, The RP8, for example, is just a great table for the money, hell, the RP6 is as well.
My opinion based on years of experience....

Let's compare rega tables against similarly priced competition.  Sine they are mentioned above, we can look at the RP8 and RP6 as examples using Acoustic Sounds web site as a reference....

RP8 ($3000 - $4200) compared to a Clearaudio Performance DC ($3600), VPI Prime / 3D tonearm ($4000) or VPI CLassic 1 / 2 ($3300 - $4000). Is the stock RP8 anywhere close to any of these tables?  Is it competitive in performance with these tables as delivered STOCK?

RP6 ($2000 - $2200)? VPI Prime Scout ($2200), Clearaudio Concept ($1800). Does the stock rega come in anywhere above a very distant third?    

@bpoletti  which of the tables you mentioned have the best dynamics if one were looking for a punchy and dynamic sound? My googling always comes back to the Technics but I struggle with how a table affects this vs the cartridge.
@gochurchgo - 

My opinion....

Everything else being equal, my opinion on the listed tables is that it would be either the Clearaudio Performance or the Prime / 3D arm.  I think the 3D arm on the Prime would push the VPI ahead.  IMO, a good arm seems to make a difference in a cartridge's ability to reproduce tight, popping dynamics.

Just my opinion.   

I wish I had more experience with the Technics tables.  It is a line I confess a minimum of familiarity. 

I've got the 1200 GR is the first table I purchased and love it! Tables need to fulfill many requirements. They must sound good, aesthetic quality is important and budget. I'm proud to say I'm a two turntable man now! I just purchased a vintage Luxman PD-444 from Japan and can't wait to try it out. Two tables under $4000. 

@mayoradamwest you'll find what you need, just take your time. 
For those following along, I do appreciate all the feedback in this thread. I think the advice that I most took to heart was finding a local shop. I did just that. There is an amazing shop very close to me with selection of turntables, speakers, and components. After listening and discussion with the owner about my setup, we landed on a Rega RP8 with an Ortofon Black cartridge. He’s going to do the setup for me and he has the same one on demo so he can show me everything I need to know. Hearing the table (vs several others) and reading reviews, I think I’m going to be quite happy with this setup. Luckily, he also has 100% trade in credit towards another table if I’m not happy. 

So the moral of the story here is probably that the best advice was to find a local shop. I learned way more from doing that than reading any review. 
Awesome! The RP8 looks great; good choice. The Ortofon black is a good start too - is that a 2M, Quintet, or Cadenza? All 3 are fine cartridges, either way. You definitely haven't make the mistake of starting too low with sub-par budget analog gear, which only leads to frustration and regret. Enjoy!
thanks @mulveling it's the Quintet Black. I auditioned with the Quintet Bronze but figured why not spend an extra $150 for the Black. I'm not sure I really understand the sound difference between the different lines, but the owner of the shop seemed to prefer the Quintet pairing with the RP8.
The Prime, The RP8, and the 1200G are all great tables.  I picked the 1200G.  It was just personal preference.  The RP8 was really great, if I could have mounted it to the wall that may have been my choice but that was not an option.  The Prime is a nice table as well.  tough choice.
I have a Nottingham Analogue TT, which almost competes with my air bearing TT. I use it for mono. Both are clean, quiet, solid.

Consider a Tom Fletcher design: NA or Pear Audio. No hype, small production, no bragging rights. Just high value for money.
The Rega is great, especially if you can mount it to the wall.  It is a pretty light table but it sounds very good.
I’ve been using the Rega for a few days now and it sounds spectacular. I’m not sure what improvements I’d get with more expensive TTs, but I’m happy. I have a pretty amazing setup for digital, and most of the records I’ve played sound better than the digital version. I’m using the Phono stage in the Mytek Manhattan II so the path is exactly the same for digital, but the turntable path is 100% analog. Very impressed so far.
@mayoradamwest I was previously using a Rega RP3 with Denon DL-110 for a few years.  Prior to that I had a VPI Classic 1 with Dynavector 20x2 L.  I sold the Classic 1 to fund the purchase of a PS Audio Direct Stream DAC (which is absolutely fantastic as far as digital goes).

I ended up with the Rega RP3 not long after buying the PS Audio DSD because I couldn't stay away from vinyl all that long.  I was amazed at the value it brought to the table, comparing it to my memory of the Classic/Dynavector combo.  

But, as things tend to go in this hobby, I was bit by the bug here recently and decided to upgrade to a Prime Scout.  The Prime was out of my reach at the moment.  I bought a Soundsmith Otello to go with it.  I am really enjoying the combination a lot.  It has fantastic dynamics, good transparency, tracking, and noise floor.  The one thing I do miss about the Rega compared to the Prime Scout is the Rega/Denon combo definitely brought more warmth and texture to the table.  I'm curious what your experience has been with the RP8 in that regards.  I had considered moving up the Rega line prior to buying the Prime Scout.

i have the VPI Prime with Bearpaws and a 1200gr TT. 

The VPI is  better, but not $2300 better. They are much closer than most would want to admit. 

The 1200GR is no looker, but it grows on you. 

The 1200 plus a Nagaoka MP-500 MM cart, $2300 +/ all in if you have the phono pre and your set for casual listening, plus you can change our headshells and try different carts. A set it and forget it set up that will last.