Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby Arsh » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:23 pm

Harry, you and I have corresponded a bit about this (thank you!), but I thought I would post this here so you and others could comment further and so those with similar questions might benefit from the discussion.

Please forgive the length of this post; I hope you bear with me and read through.

I have a Scoutmaster that was my late father’s turntable. I have made numerous modifications and upgrades to it (please see below) and use it in my main system. I now have the opportunity to purchase a VPI TNT-HRX (with standard 12” arm) from an acquaintance. I had been considering saving up for the Direct Drive or other “uber table.” If I get another table, the Scoutmaster would move to my secondary rig, which still is quite good and gets a decent amount of use. I am quite attached to it for obvious reasons.

I do love the the sound of my modified Scoutmaster, and it’s addictive—a joy to use. I have to force myself to stop listening in the evenings so I can get some sleep!

Here are the modifications I’ve made:

1) 2” thick Terrastone platform from EdenSound for table

2. Separate Terrastone platform for motor

3. Large Terracone footers for turntable

4. Brass damping weights for chassis and motor

5. Upgraded capacitor for motor

6. ADS and SDS motor controllers

7. Stillpoints LPI record weight

8. VPI periphery ring clamp

9. 2 custom metal VPI 9” tonearms (“Classic type”) and one 9” 3D arm in addition to stock JMW9 arm, all with different cartridges (Proteus, Paua, Purpleheart, Zephyr Mk II)

10. Transparent Reference MM2 phono cables

11. Herron VTPH2A and Musical Fidelity NuVista Vinyl phono stages.


So, after doing some reading and research, it seems that the options are:

1) do nothing now and save my money for a Direct drive or avenger
2) buy the TNTHRX table now; I would need to buy a new platform for its larger footprint; then probably upgrade the arm to a Fatboy arm
3) buy the dual motor flywheel assembly for my scoutmaster now, and then possibly still get a Direct drive or avenger table at some later point.

All constructive advice is welcome. My apologies again for the lengthy post and thanks in advance.
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby Brf » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:39 pm

Based on the fact that you state that you love the sound of your modified Scoutmaster, I would leave well enough alone and look at investing the money on other aspects of your system that may yield a more significant improvement.
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby teenage diplomat » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:45 pm

As a long-term HRX owner, I’d advise you to go for it, particularly if it is a low-mileage, recent-production unit. One way to tell is the platter. If it is frosted acrylic, it is getting fairly old. Another way to tell is the tonearm. IIRC, the first generation came with the 12.6 arm that didn’t use fluid damping. The next metal arm, the 12.7, did use fluid damping, was tapered, and had Valhalla wiring. Then came the first and second-generation 3D printed arms. Now we have the Fatboy. The age matters because the bearing ball on which the platter rides, and the thrust plate in the platter that contacts the ball, wear over time, and because the sonic signature of the older platters and arms may be different from what you expect, given your familiarity with the scoutmaster. Ive listened to both the new DD and the Avenger, and I can assure you that a recent-production HRX (or an older one brought up to current spec) will give you virtually everything those ‘tables do. Those ‘tables will sound different, but not necessarily “better.” What will be better is your bank balance!
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby Orchids1 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:34 pm

What Brf said, absolutely. Rich
Avenger (w/mods), SS Paua, Phoenix Eagle psu + tach, Sutherland 20/20 phono, Audionet Pre1G3, Benchmark AHB2 monos, YG Carmel 2 spkrs, JL e112 subs, Nordost/Audio Sensibilty ic, Kubla-Sonsa spkr cable; Auralic Aries renderer, Auralic Vega dac; Amazon Echo
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby Arsh » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:16 pm

Thank you guys. It’s a tough one. There is a lot to be said for not fixing something that’s not broken. That TNTHRX appears to be from about 2008. It does have an acrylic platter. Not sure about the arm but I will find out. I am a little bit worried about losing what I like about my scoutmaster but I would still have it. I’m not going to sell it. Just move it to my secondary system. The question I’m trying to answer for myself is if one of these other turntables will really make a dramatic, revelatory, transformation for the better in my listening experience— perhaps in ways that I don’t even appreciate are possible. The argument in favor of the direct drive is quite convincing— New technology, limited edition, complete set-up in one chassis, etc. However, getting the TNT/HRX for a very reasonable price is quite appealing. But, I don’t want to do that as a stepping stone. If I buy another turntable, considering how much I like what I have now, it needs to be a as much as possible a final or best or ultimate table. Another thing about the TNT/HRX is that, unlike with my dad‘s table, where I knew exactly how well it had been cared for, I really don’t know about this one. I have never actually bought a brand new truly high-end turntable. Thus, I do have a bit of an itch to do that, although that in itself is not enough of a motivation for me to do it if it doesn’t really make sense. I also get a great deal of satisfaction from taking an older product and restoring it and bringing it to its optimum performance potential. There is really nothing about the rest of my system that I think I want to change.
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby teenage diplomat » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:19 pm

Arsh,
BRF may be able to shed more light on what I'm about to say, but here it goes. An HRX from 2008 almost certainly will require replacement of the ball on which the platter rests and thrust plate in the platter due to excessive wear. The factory can do this without difficulty, but will need you either to bring them the TT, or dismount the bearing from the plinth and send it, along with the platter, to them. Rather than messing with the platter, however, you might want to consider upgrading to the current high-mass aluminum platter. That will be more expensive, but it will bring the HRX up to current spec. I'm guessing that the HRX you are considering has either a JMW 12.6 or 12.7 arm. Both are excellent, but neither will get you the nth degree of excellence available with either of the currently available 12" 3D arms. So, if you want an all-out, state of the art TT (which I call a "destination turntable") I would limit myself to two VPI choices. For a new TT, I would select the DD, which comes with the 12" Fatboy, at a cost of about $15k. But if cost is a determining factor, you are getting a really good deal on the 2008 HRX, (no more than $6k), and you're willing to pay for a new platter and Fatboy, I'd go with the HRX. Just my $.02.
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby 10ovr » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:50 pm

teenage diplomat wrote:Arsh,
BRF may be able to shed more light on what I'm about to say, but here it goes. An HRX from 2008 almost certainly will require replacement of the ball on which the platter rests and thrust plate in the platter due to excessive wear. The factory can do this without difficulty, but will need you either to bring them the TT, or dismount the bearing from the plinth and send it, along with the platter, to them. Rather than messing with the platter, however, you might want to consider upgrading to the current high-mass aluminum platter. That will be more expensive, but it will bring the HRX up to current spec. I'm guessing that the HRX you are considering has either a JMW 12.6 or 12.7 arm. Both are excellent, but neither will get you the nth degree of excellence available with either of the currently available 12" 3D arms. So, if you want an all-out, state of the art TT (which I call a "destination turntable") I would limit myself to two VPI choices. For a new TT, I would select the DD, which comes with the 12" Fatboy, at a cost of about $15k. But if cost is a determining factor, you are getting a really good deal on the 2008 HRX, (no more than $6k), and you're willing to pay for a new platter and Fatboy, I'd go with the HRX. Just my $.02.

Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio still has some new HRX Turntables for sale with ADS at less money then updating an older HRX,I just bought one and traded in the 12" 3D tone arm that came with it for the Fat Boy and I'm having them install a Mag Drive and Reference Feet( you can do later), I was on the list for a HW40 but decided to go with the HRX instead,, Just a thought https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collection ... onearm-ads
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby teenage diplomat » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:23 pm

10over, at $9800 plus about $2200 for the Fatboy upgrade, assuming its still available, you’re talking $12,000. Assuming $6000 for the used HRX, I think Arsh should be able to do better by trading in its 12.6 or 12.7 arm for the Fatboy (assuming the program still is going) and buying a new platter from VPI. Either way, he would have a great table. And once your upgrades are complete, you will have the definitive HRX. I think one other member has a similar setup. I was considering it, but gagged at the cost.
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby Brf » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:17 pm

10ovr wrote:Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio still has some new HRX Turntables for sale with ADS at less money then updating an older HRX,I just bought one and traded in the 12" 3D tone arm that came with it for the Fat Boy and I'm having them install a Mag Drive and Reference Feet( you can do later), I was on the list for a HW40 but decided to go with the HRX instead,, Just a thought https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collection ... onearm-ads


10over, what changed your mind between the 40DD and the Mag Platter/Fatboy/ HRX?
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Re: Advice on possible upgrade to TNT-HRX please

Postby 10ovr » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:50 pm

Brf wrote:
10ovr wrote:Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio still has some new HRX Turntables for sale with ADS at less money then updating an older HRX,I just bought one and traded in the 12" 3D tone arm that came with it for the Fat Boy and I'm having them install a Mag Drive and Reference Feet( you can do later), I was on the list for a HW40 but decided to go with the HRX instead,, Just a thought https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collection ... onearm-ads


10over, what changed your mind between the 40DD and the Mag Platter/Fatboy/ HRX?

#1 You and the other guys on the forums love for the HRX :D
#2 Have wanted one sense the first time I saw one
#3 Can upgrade as I want,The 40DD is what it is,,,
#4 Being that I worked on Mercedes Benz for 28 years I have a hard time buying the first year of anything till all the problems are work out,,Not to say there well be problems :D Time well tell ,,
#5 and Now I get to hunt for a rim drive :lol:
Would you trade your HRX for a 40DD ?????? :lol:
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