My recommendation is for you to search the archives.
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I too wanted to get an inexpensive Analog setup. I went with the Basis 1400 w/RB300 arm and a Benz Micro Glider II (MC) cartridge. It sounded really nice. New cost would be about $2K, although you could easily get it used for $1200-1400.
(I upgraded to the Koetsu Black cartridge after my friend's kids bent the very exposed cantilever on the Glider though, something to think about if you have kids in the house!)
(I am now upgrading to the Basis 2001 with a RB900, that is how much I like the Basis sound! When I get the money, I will swap out the RB900 for the Basis Vector arm!)
Good Luck in your Search!
The EAR 834P will take you along way, especially if you modify it. I wouldn't make the decision about MM or MC until you decide on what arm you will have. That will dictate what cartridge you can use. Have you experienced vinyl in the past? Do you like the warm, musical sound or do you lean more to the highly detailed, somewhat brighter sound? What type of music do you enjoy? Just want to get you thinking.
The Animal makes a good point. There is alot of information along your line of questioning in the archives.
After I posted I went throught the archives to find this question has been asked many, many times. I have about 400 albums fronm the "old days" that are all in good shape, including about 50 MFSL's. I like the warm musical sound, and my musical tastes run from classic rock to classical. I know little about the lastest technology in tables, arms, etc.... After serching for about four hours, I know even less!! I do know that I like the Teres tables, but don't know if I can make that happen.
Well Joe, I'll try to help you out.
Get a Teres Model 150 in "kit form", which only requires you to finish-sand, and apply a coat of lacquer to the base. The rest is the same as the assembly of an "assembled" Teres table. Anybody who has ever sanded anything made of wood could do this with their eyes closed. It costs $1700. It has the same features and benefits of the Model 245, except it is Baltic Birch instead of Cocobolo. The sound difference is very small. It is a good value. Have them drill the armboard for a Rega arm.
Next, get a used, good condition Rega RB250 tonearm. You can get them easily for $200, or less on the classifieds.
Then get a Denon DL103 to put on it. They are $149 new. They sound like they should cost alot more than that. If your phono stage won't handle the low output MC cartridges, then get a Goldring 1012GX for under $200. That's a real good lower cost MM cartridge.
That puts you at $2049 plus shipping for the system, or maybe a little more if you choose the Goldring instead of the Denon.
That's as close as I can get you to the $2k mark, and still access the superior sound of the wood-based Teres. I can guarantee that you can't find anything for that price that will beat this rig.
PS - It would be a good idea to also get the adjustable VTA collar for $40 from OL or Expressimo. You really need to have adjustable VTA.
Yes Inna, but it is probably the best $200 arm available, and it is upgradable with mods that bring it to a higher level. And it is actually better sounding than the more expensive RB300 when modded with a low cost end-stub from OL. The RB300 is commonly put on $2k tables, even by manufacturers. So I don't think it is nonsense to do that, even if the price differential seems to indicate that.
I fully agree that there are better arms out there, but for the budget that he is considering, it is more musical to have the money in the better table, where it would do the most good.
I also agree the Nottinghams are some good tables to look at too. They would probably be my personal 2nd choice to the Teres, for the money.
You state you have access to an EAR.
Does this mean you can buy it relatively cheaply or that you have a buddy who will lend it to you?
The EAR is a fairly decent entry level phono preamp. If you can either pick it up cheaply (or better yet, borrow it for a bit), you can try it out, make sure you want to stick with analog (and all the trials and tribulations that it involves) before you move on to something bigger and better. (I have not been so enthused about listening to music in about a decade, since I got my turntable.)
FYI: Since I have gotten back into Analog, I have noticed that there seems to be a faily constant urge to upgrade the system as every little change, tweak, mod, etc., appears to add just a little bit more to the enjoyment of the music. (Not that this is a bad thing, but it does involve money, which is a limiting factor, at least in my case.) Therefore, you might want to start off slow and work your way up to the level you want. I do this by buying, using and selling "used" equipment, rather than new as the depreciation of analog equipment seems to be rather large. (I seem to be able to buy very well cared for analog equipment for about half price. Which is a good thing, as it is starting to run into thousands of dollars.)
Good Luck in your pursuit of audio nirvana.
I tried building you a Teres-based rig and couldn't quite see how to do it on your budget. So I started thinking about a Nott' Horizon, as Inna suggested. Then Twl's post showed up.
As usual, he's nailed it. He even got you a wood base, which reportedly sounds far better than acrylic. I can't imagine a better sounding rig for this money. If you're willing to deal with the maintenance and hassles of LPs you will be pleased and thoroughly astonished. That Music Hall CDP may soon be gathering dust.
Some people say the Denon's are the best cartridges made for <$800 so go for that if you can. The 103R is meant to be the best of the line, assuming it's still available.
You may have to order that model directly from EIFL in Japan.
Inna's objection to the arm/table cost ratio makes sense on paper, but the detailed reasons Twl gave for these particular selections are spot on. Thanks to his help I have a similar imbalance, $820 arm on a $3700 table, and they play stupendously. Go for it.
I thing the upgrade-itis Kurt describes is far more prevalent and costly with digital than with analog. At least with analog a genuine musical satisfaction is possible. At some point you may find it, many people have on budgets lower than yours. A lot of people, myself included, will never find satisfaction from redbook CD regardless of how much we spend. People on that track go all the way up to $25K dcs rigs and beyond in search of "analog-like" sound, and still don't find it. That's a far more serious danger to one's finances, not to mention one's musical satisfaction.
$820 arm on $3700 table is not the same as $200 arm on $1700 table.If he does that he'll want to upgrade to Origin Silver arm very soon.If not,then he does not need $1700 table anyway.I still think that not much used Nottingham Spacedeck with Spacearm would be a better and much more balanced choice; and Interspace deck/arm probably too. Rega is Rega,don't expect much unless you replace just about every part of it,and even after that.I would also consider new Nottingham Horizon with Origin Silver arm,both new, though I have not heard this combination and not sure if you can buy this table without that Rega arm.Personaly, I would not be operating with $2000 for the analog set-up if I wanted to buy new; it is either too much or too little.$2500-$3000.Better save on something else,really.
For a grand, it is a good deal.
It has some good things going for it. Like a DC motor system that seems to be pretty good. It has a moderately thick platter that is not too flimsy. Pretty decent layout of the design.
It has some other things that aren't all that great. Overall light weight and acrylic construction. Platter not really thick enough or heavy enough. Very little mass in the "plinth" which is just a basic T-shape.
When comparing with the lowest model Teres 135, which shares some common aspects with this Othello, but costs about $1500, the Teres has a marked advantage in certain design aspects. The Teres has a much better bearing structure, much heavier and thicker platter and plinth, the same Swiss-made kind of DC motor, a better motor controller, even better layout design, and a record clamp.
The platter alone on the Teres weighs as much as the complete Othello system. But they both use an acrylic construction, which I consider inferior to the heavy Cocobolo/lead-shot loaded construction of the higher model Teres TTs. I have done some comparisons, and acrylic loses in those comparisons.
Overall, for the money, I think that it has the right stuff at about $1k, and I doubt you'll beat it for that amount. When moving up to $1500, then we have a different story.
Well, after heaaring that I think I knoe what I am going to do. Since I own a woodshop, and am a fairly accomplished woodworker, I think I'm going to call Chris at Teres and build mt own base and platter, using all of his hardware. I think I can build it out of wood I have laying around, finish it, AND do the lead shot in the platter for about $200 (not counting time, of course). I have some Purpleheart laying around, a little walnut burl.......
When you add about $1000 for the braing, motor, clamp and battery system, I think I will be well ahead of the game. After spending a lot of time going over his site, I think I can build a table that will lok good on his Hall Of Fame page.
Now I just need to decide if I want to buy the Loth-X in the mean time. It may work out ok for now, and I can always use a new office system!
Jphii, I think that is an excellent choice. If you have woodworking ability, it is very affordable and effective to make your own base assembly for a Teres. Many of the original Teres owners did just that, because it was originally available only as a kit, without base.
If you are going to make the wood platter, check with Chris for details on how he makes his. Stability is a big factor on this wood platter, and he has done some major research on this subject. I'm sure he'll help you out.
Chris will tell you to get the one with the wood base with the lead shot loading, if you ask him. It is well known in the Teres circles that the acrylic is not the material of choice, but is acceptable for the lower cost table. I would expect that at some point, these acrylic-plinth tables will eventually be discontinued. Just my guess on that, nothing official.
I understand your interest and your desire to study, but the bottom line is that we know about this stuff, and have tried both types, and also know others that have. We are trying to help you out. Get the wood.
OK. Heres an update of where I'm at.
1. Replaced Music Hall with an Audio Note CD2 & changed to Audio Note AN-L cables.
2. Can't find ANY TT I like on the used market to use for now. See #3
3. Bought about $1000 worth of MSFL's
4. Said to myself "Self, you could have been halfway to a Teres rig if you did things in the right order"
5. Been paying close attention to the threads here.
6. My buddy who was going to let me use the EAR phono stage sold it yesterday (dirty*&%^$@%$$)
7. Finally said the hell with it, call CB FIRST THING ON MONDAY!!!!!
So, instead of my usual procrastination, I WILL call CB. I am going to go with the cheapest model for now, and build my own base while I learn to enjoy vinyl once again. I'm a sucker for a kit! After I build the base, I am going to try to do a platter. BUT, as anyone who works with wood will tell you, it will be VERY HARD to make it true. This is going to be the "fun" part.
As I said earlier, I do know my way around wood. The base should be a pice of cake, and I'll probably make it more along the lines of the 340. The only TT I've ever seen that even comes close in looks it the Anna Log. The 340 is just drop dead gorgeous (my wife already thinks I'm a nutcase with my "renewed audio interest" please don't tell her I said this!). I've already been looking for wood and I'm trying to figure out how it would look in purpleheart....
If I can do it, I think I will have to join the Brady Bunch!!
I put my system up here:
Other than going with the base model Teres, I am pretty much going to follow Tom's (unpaid) advice (see, I have been reading the threads!). SO, if anyone knows of an arm for sale, please email me. Might as well get it now. I am going to go with the Denon cart for the initial setup, but need a little advice on the phono stage. Losing that EAR didn't help at all.
Well, I'll keep all informed as things start coming together.
Strange how decisions get made isn't it. Damn the logic, full fun ahead! If you want those MFSL's "broken in" while you assemble your rig, just let me know.
I'm sure Twl will advise you to choose your arm carefully. The Denon 103 series makes more demands on an arm than most cartridges. The good news is, if an arm can handle them there won't be many cartridges it can't handle. Your upgrade path should be pretty wide open.