Advice on a turntable for a clean midlevel system

Any opinions on a turntable to fit my system; a work in progress? My consideration:
I have 2 in college, so i need to be cost effective. Thus, I am not in the $10,000 plus spectrum.
My Likes: a system that has lots of detail with sweetness in the midrange (the better to hear Coltrane's tenor and Madeleene Peyroux's vocals) , some sound-stage, I like everything from folk, jazz, classical and rock.
Current system: Panasonic techniques turntable from 1975 with Grado Gold cartride (this I want to give to one of my sons), California Audio Lab DX 1 NAD Integrated amp- plan is to upgrade to a Creek (5350) or Bryston, Tetra M1200 speakers- they fit my listening space well.
A VPI Classic turntable and tonearm series are very difficult combinations to beat and come at a very reasonable prices. If you believe in the importance of adjusting VTA for varying thicknesses of vinyl, look at the Classic 2.
Good used VPI HW-19 mkiv
What's your budget (we get that it's not $10,000 but that leaves a lot of room :-))?
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Well Tempered Amadeus. IME, I have yet to hear anything better at even twice its price point. And it includes a phenomenal tonearm.
I have one daughter in college and another in private school so I understand your situation. I think one of the best routes for an inexpensive turntable is a nice circa 80's Thorens or AR. The ARs are easier to upgrade arms. Both are suspended table designs so they need to be isolated from footfalls. These table have soul and have glorious midrange with the right equipment and cartridge. You can find nice AR ES1s or "the turntable" with many different arms that are ultimately manufacured by Jelco in the $500 range. You can slowly upgrade the table over time as budget allows. Spend some time at the Vinyl Nirvana wesite. Many will regale you with Rega and the Rega upgrade path. Personally I am not a Rega turntable fan. Different strokes for different folks. BTW, with your musical tastes you should really consider a tube integrated amp!
If £2500 is midlevel, I'm going to recommend the table I own myself, the Michell Gyro SE. You can often find it packaged with their Technoarm.
You should also consider a used VPI Scout with a few tweaks like the Gingko cloud and the Nordhost Valhalla wiring for the tonearm. Great value for a great TT.
Any of the VPI tables that meet your budget. I have a classic and love it. I listen primarily to jazz and classical.

2nd to Gyro SE/Technoarm. For the past years the used price and new price increased on Michell tables for obvious reason them being champions at the given price range.
I have a VPI HW 19 MKII with a brand new motor and a Toshiba 300 tone-arm. If you live in the Northwest come and listen to it.It has a 12 pound platter and comes with the stock dust-cover. I will be listing it on Audiogon for $475.00 when I get my new TT.
Usually, most Music Hall turntables offer pretty good value. I own the mmf-7 (not the 7.1). It has things like an external, isolated motor, a nice acrylic platter, double-deck base, a nice cartrige that comes with it, ajustable VTA (something the Regas lack at this price point), a dustcover, and last but no least, stunning looks in high-gloss piano balck finish.

The 7.1 has the newer carbon fiber arm.
The previous 7 has the Project 9 series alu arm (this was found on $ 2,500 pro-ject tables). I doubt you will hear the difference.

You can even upgrade buy adding the pro-ject Speed Box II psu.

I sincerely think the mmf-7 is a no-brainer for not much money.
I agree with all the VPI posts. Parts are available, support is easy, VPI will always be in business, etc., etc., and so forth. As an added bonus, they really sound great..

I think - given the situation - that the mmf7 is a better choice than any VPI turntable. Not because it isn't a great table IT IS.

But, read the initial post needs to be COST EFFECTIVE.

Looking at the A'Gon ads today you can get a complete not-too-shabby music hall mmf7.1 (most recent model) turntable INCLUDING a GOLDRING - GL 2400 MM CARTRIDGE (still selling for $ 600.00 ). Price of the 'TT INCLUDING Cartrige? $ 780.00.

What kind of VPI equipment CAN you buy for this amount? Maybe a TONEARM only ?

Using the intended Creek integrated, the mmf turntable will be more than good enough and borderline overkill.

All you need, really, but again, no bragging rights. Still this table looks stunning for sure and is a fantastic value.

Spare parts? This thing has a pro-ject tonearm, Rega platter, and project motor.
Thanks for the many helpful responses. Good food for thought. Given my champagne tastes and microbrew budget $700-1000ish I want to find that sweet spot, a turntable that sounds great, would match up well with a Creek 5350 amp and Tetra speakers) AND one would need to spend 2-3 times more to notice an appreciable difference.

My California Audio labs DX1 CD player is a good example of this philosophy... I upgraded to this from a very basic philips CD player $200 versus $550. The difference was vast, I had to play all of my CDs and essentially rediscover them. I found that poorly remastered CDs flaws were revealed- but that's why we love vinyl right?

I will be looking and used VPIs and Mucic Hall turntables.