Analog Front End for 5000

I have been listening to digitals. Recently, I bought many classic LPs at very good price. I want to set up my analog system. I purchased a music hall MMF-7 TT to test, but I am not satisfied. I want to buy a turn table, a tone arm and a cartridge with a budget of $5000. I listen to classic music the most.
By the way, how much should I spend to set up an analog system which can sound better than any CD player.
Any suggestion is appreciated.
Sota Star,ET 2.5 and Benz Ruby 2.Check the Sota website At refurbished Star should run around 2600.A used ET on this site about 950.00 and the cart.1000-1300 and you have a front end that will kick butt.Good luck
If you can hear through noise, you are well on your way to analog contentment. With the budget you have you should have no problem finding an analog front-end. I, for one, am dubious about any touted advancements in tt/arms/cartridges in recent memory. On the other hand, I am a sceptic, so there you go. My only question to you is: what is the rest of your system, has it reached such a level that you can spend 5k going down this route? If so, try to find a dealer who still sells analog and knows how to set up a proper tt/arm/cartridge combo. Listen to what the dealer has, try for a home audition in your own system. The list of usual suspects you probably know about: REGA, VSP, SME come to mind, but since I have not auditioned any of these in any meaningful way, I would let your ears be the judge. By the way, is it not a tall order to try to beat "any cd player"?

Personally, I don't think that I'll be spending $5,000.00 on my analog system when I will begin assembling it around next month or so (I am going to spend about half of what you are proposing to spend). But now, if I were to spend that amount, here's what I would go with:

(01). Phono Stage: AcousTech PH-1 -- $1,200.00 (new).

(02). Turntable: VPI Aries -- $2,000.00 (used).

(03). Tone Arm: JMW-12 -- $800.00 (used).

(04). Cartridge: One of the Grado Reference models (but I'll be opting for a low output MC this time around) -- $1,000.00 (give or take a few $$$$$$).

And then later on, as soon as the budget recovers, then upgrade the tone arm cabling, upgrade the cables going from the turntable to the phono stage, and then invest in a record cleaning machine (I'll opt for one of the "mid-level" or "high-end" Nitty Grittys (they seem to do as much as a VPI 16.5 does, but for about half of the cost)), and you are well on your way to a lifetime of analog bliss and enjoyment.

Good Luck..........

There's a Basis 2001 w/Graham 2.2 for sale here right now... with some negotiation you may be able to get in just over your budget with a respectable cartridge. I have this rig (with a MicroBenz m2) and I'm very pleased...
I couldn't agree with the Sota Star suggestion more. I began with a Sapphire and recently traded it in for a Star. Both the Star and Donna and Kirk at Sota are fantastic. I have never had a better experience in this hobby which is well known for it's snobs.
I've spent many hours listening to VPI turntables and would never seriously consider buying one. They fall far short of the Sota in every respect, except they seem to send more samples out for magazines to reveiw.
I use a Rega RB 900 arm with a Benz Glider and have never heard better sound from my vinyl.
Call Donna and see what a refurbished Star will cost, then you'll know what you have left to spend on an arm and cartridge combo.
Since I got my TT set up CDs are only for background music not serious listening. CD can't compete!!!
NRCHY: Have you made a direct comparison with other tables? If so, which ones...(besides VPI as you stated)??

I am interested in what you found with the Regas and the comparisons.
look into a eurolab t/t with a morch DP-6 arm
I'd second the eurolab with either morch arm (you can get them at a good price from The teres is interesting too, but i havent heard it.