Stereophile's Products of 2009 2009 Analog Source Component of the Year
VPI Super Scoutmaster Reference rim-drive turntable ($8200; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.2, February 2009)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order)
Benz Micro ACE phono cartridge ($700; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.6, June 2009)
Koetsu Coralstone Platinum Mono phono cartridge ($15,000; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.5, May 2009)
Miyabi monophonic phono cartridge ($2800; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.31 No.12, December 2008 Review)
Ortofon SPU Synergy A pickup head ($1850; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.32 No.2, February 2009 Review)
Ortofon SPU 90th Anniversary phono cartridge ($1899; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.32 No.4, April 2009 Review)
SME 20/12 turntable w/312S tonearm ($31,995; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.5, May 2009 Review)
Sony XDR-F1HD FM/AM tuner ($99.99; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.32 No.4, April 2009)
It's surprising to note that the VPI Super Scoutmaster Reference Rim Drive turntable costs nearly $24,000 less than this year's worthy runner-up, the tank-like SME 20/12 'table with its arm. Though our reviewers awarded each turntable three first-place votes, the VPI earned a decisive victory with more votes overall. And while the difference in price between the two 'tables is staggering, it should come as no surprise that our writers were so impressed by the newest addition to VPI's Scout line.
In the Super Scoutmaster Reference Rim Drive, VPI's Harry Weisfeld has fused together several of his favorite design elements, borrowing the Super Platter and JMW-10.5i Memorial tonearm from the standard Super Scoutmaster Reference, and adding to them the Mini-TNT Stabilizer feet and dual-motor/flywheel module of VPI's top-of-the-line HR-X turntable. Most important, it sounded "fantastic," with a punchy, aggressive bottom end and a precise top-to-bottom coherence that kept Mikey listening long into the night. He called it "one of the best values of the true high-end turntables now available," and decided, "Unless you want to move into +$25,000 territory, you could buy one and be done." Now that's the kind of high-quality performance we're talking about!