Cliffwood upgrade path?

Cliffwood upgrade path?

Postby jacobus6f6 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:49 pm

I'm making plans to purchase my first turntable, and am vacillating between the Cliffwood and Scout. While the Scout has a clear upgrade path, I can't find details on the Cliffwood to support the same conclusion. Does the Cliffwood support an upgraded platter, tone arm, etc.?

If there is no clear upgrade path, other than selling the Cliffwood, then purchasing a higher quality player, then that gives me pause.

Any details would be helpful here. Thanks!
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Re: Cliffwood upgrade path?

Postby spinblackcircle » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:37 pm

jacobus6f6 wrote:I'm making plans to purchase my first turntable, and am vacillating between the Cliffwood and Scout. While the Scout has a clear upgrade path, I can't find details on the Cliffwood to support the same conclusion. Does the Cliffwood support an upgraded platter, tone arm, etc.?

If there is no clear upgrade path, other than selling the Cliffwood, then purchasing a higher quality player, then that gives me pause.

Any details would be helpful here. Thanks!


Maybe Mat or Marc will chime in but here are some thoughts I would like to share after going through a dozen tables in the last 6-7 years.

While the Cliffwood might technically support a platter or arm upgrade, it just doesn't make financial sense at that price point to dump more money into it. Not to knock VPI but it's usually less expensive to trade in than upgrade. You would be better off purchasing from a dealer that has a good upgrade program. If you don't have a good local dealer, SoundStageDirect probably has the best turntable trade-in/upgrade program.

Even on the Scout or Scout Prime, the cost of a 3D arm or Classic platter is 50-70% of the cost of the whole turntable.

It's also a cart before the horse scenario. On the Cliffwood you have a thinner lighter plinth, so do you really want to build upon that foundation by adding a 20lb platter and 1-2K tonearm?

It's not just the Cliffwood, it's really all tables below 1K.

If you think you will be upgrading in the near future, just spend the money now as it will save you money in the end.

All that being said, personally if I were going to buy a table in that price range right now it would be a Cliffwood. I've owned the Pro-Jects, Music Halls and Regas in that price range.

A real aluminum platter, reliable AC motor and solid tonearm really have allot going for it compared to what most of the competitors are offering.

The Cliffwood can also do justice to higher end cartridges than the Grado Green. Put a Hana SL/SH, Grado Platinum or Sonata, 2M Black, etc... on there and I bet it could hold it's own against more expensive tables.
VPI Prime/Grado Reference Master, VPI 16.5 RCM, Audio Research LP1, Audio Research VSI60, Martin Logan Electromotion ESL, ClearDay and Audio Sensibility Cables
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Re: Cliffwood upgrade path?

Postby DeeCee » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:28 pm

spinblackcircle wrote:
jacobus6f6 wrote:I'm making plans to purchase my first turntable, and am vacillating between the Cliffwood and Scout. While the Scout has a clear upgrade path, I can't find details on the Cliffwood to support the same conclusion. Does the Cliffwood support an upgraded platter, tone arm, etc.?

If there is no clear upgrade path, other than selling the Cliffwood, then purchasing a higher quality player, then that gives me pause.

Any details would be helpful here. Thanks!


Maybe Mat or Marc will chime in but here are some thoughts I would like to share after going through a dozen tables in the last 6-7 years.

While the Cliffwood might technically support a platter or arm upgrade, it just doesn't make financial sense at that price point to dump more money into it. Not to knock VPI but it's usually less expensive to trade in than upgrade. You would be better off purchasing from a dealer that has a good upgrade program. If you don't have a good local dealer, SoundStageDirect probably has the best turntable trade-in/upgrade program.

Even on the Scout or Scout Prime, the cost of a 3D arm or Classic platter is 50-70% of the cost of the whole turntable.

It's also a cart before the horse scenario. On the Cliffwood you have a thinner lighter plinth, so do you really want to build upon that foundation by adding a 20lb platter and 1-2K tonearm?

It's not just the Cliffwood, it's really all tables below 1K.

If you think you will be upgrading in the near future, just spend the money now as it will save you money in the end.

All that being said, personally if I were going to buy a table in that price range right now it would be a Cliffwood. I've owned the Pro-Jects, Music Halls and Regas in that price range.

A real aluminum platter, reliable AC motor and solid tonearm really have allot going for it compared to what most of the competitors are offering.

The Cliffwood can also do justice to higher end cartridges than the Grado Green. Put a Hana SL/SH, Grado Platinum or Sonata, 2M Black, etc... on there and I bet it could hold it's own against more expensive tables.


Spin nails my sentiments exactly - I started with a HW-19jr due to its upgradabilty (which I never took advantage of) but got a trade in with an excellent deal for my Scout 2.

So go up to something makes a good gain with upgrades or start with a Cliffwood and trade up.
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Re: Cliffwood upgrade path?

Postby jacobus6f6 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:00 am

Thanks for the feedback guys. I've always liked the process of upgrading something (used to build my own gaming computers) so it sounds like the Scout is the way to go. Will just need to save a little longer before diving in.

Great tip regarding Sound Stage. Hadn't come across them yet, so I appreciate the recommendation.
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