19th Nervous Breakdown...

Here I sit on the fence again, trying to decide whether it's worth it to shatter my budget one more time, wondering if the sonic differences between the following gear justifies the sacrifices necessary to pay the toll.

Should I live on beanie weanies and cheap beer for a good while and spring for a Basis 1400 or 2001 table with a decent arm, cartridge and phono stage for about $3K, or do I "settle" for one of the Regas, a P3 or P25, or one of the Music Halls for less than half that, upgrade my diet, and buy a few albums to boot?

I realize that this is in some ways a hopeless and hedonistic calculus, and that there may be no "right" answer. But I suppose what I am looking for are the opinions of those who have traveled the upgrade path and already paid the price. Was it worth it? How would you describe the sonic differences in moving up to that next level?

If you were starting over and COULD manage to stretch your budget to $3K or even $3.5K, what would YOU buy (entire rig, including phono stage, and, of course, buying used)? Or would you go for one of the "entry' level, non-upgradable units and be happy with it?

I have a good collection of albums from my mid-fi days, and I have a pretty good system (First Sound/Bel Canto EVO 200.2 monos/Vienna Acoustics Beethovens), so I do have an interest in more than 'dabbling'.

I have already received a LOT of help on this site and I appreciate every bit of it. There are many friendly and helpful folks around here. I am very happy with the system I have built so far.

Now if I can settle this analog business, I can relax for awhile and just enjoy the music. So what will it be, oh audio gurus, a VPI, Basis, or Oracle table, or a Rega, Music Hall, or Thorens table? Which arm? Which cartridge? Which phono stage?

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. I wish I were in a position to audition this gear, but I'm not.

thank you all...

B405be49 ca4c 4833 937a c8c57beb4818waltersalas
I forgot to mention the Aragon 47k phono stage used cheap.
Analog is one of those areas where money unquestionably buys real improvement. That said, you have to listen and decide what it's worth to you. My general advice is to remember that it's the music that moves you, not the reproduction of music. You don't need VPI to hear what Beethoven is saying. VPI just brings you a little closer to the concert hall experience.
We are going through the same thing and at about the same time I might add.

I am searching and researching my options to get into analog and am running into the issue of what direction to go in.

Assuming that you have not already committed to an analog rig, I would recommend that you consider the Michell Orbe SE MKII turntable. Not that there is anything wrong with Basis TT's but, I don't think you can get a new Basis 2001 for less then 3K anyway.

The reason I tell you to put the majority of funds in the table is that it's the most expensive and difficult part to upgrade.

If you buy a budget table like a rega or Basis 1400 then if your like me, two months later you will want to upgrade to something better. This will end up as a hidden additional cost. You won't feel it because your not spending the money upfront, but you will in the long run.

The reason I say this is that I considered the Rega myself, but through my research I discovered that they do not have a suspension and are therefore very sensitive to placement. They use small belts which act to couple the motor and its noise more directly to the platter. The platter does not have the same level of dampening as the Michell ORBE. On a positive note they are less expensive, have consistent build quality and come with a good stock tonearm. If cost is the major factor, I would recommend the REGA. Its good, comes with a tonearm and a P3 or P25 won't kill your wallet. Its better than not having a turntable at all.

The Basis is a good table, but again the 1400 has no suspension system. I believe that the 2100 is the entry level unit that gives you a fluid damped suspension. It better for the price. However, if you compare the BASIS 2100 to the Michell ORBE I think that while both offer good suspension systems and dampening. I feel the Michell edges out the Basis 2100. I believe that the Motor on the ORBE is better than the one that comes with the Basis 2100. If your going to spend this kind of money than you owe it to yourself to check out the ORBE.

The basis certainly seems to be more popular among audiogon members. I am not sure why this is the case.

Good luck
Gboren, have to respectfully disagree. I feel the arm/cartridge has the most effect on the sound.
As an example, a friend has a Nottingham Spacedeck/Space Arm combination (list $2500) with a Grado Reference Platinum cartridge ($300). Sounds very good with his Sonic Frontiers Phono Pre, SF LS 3, Audio Aero Capitole amp (yes amp, and it's terrific), and Von Schweikert VR-7s.

I took over a SME V/Dynavector Karat 17D2 MkII and a Graham 2.2/Lyra Helikon SL. These arm/cartridge cowbinations work very well together, a critical consideration IMHO, and each lists for quite a bit more than my friend's total analog rig. Swapping these in for his Space/Grado combo gave dramatically better sonic results, truly a different level. Did my arms/cartridges sound as good on the Spacedeck as on my Oracle V? No, but we agreed the difference was not as great as the step up in arms and cartridges.
Grandpad, I'd be curious to know how his Space Arm sounded on your Oracle V.