AS Challenger mk 2 vs. Avid Diva 2 sp vs. Rega P9

After many hours of research i've narrowed down my next turntable to...
1-Acoustic Signature Challenger mk 2
2-Avid Diva 2 sp
3-Rega P9

Have heard the P9 mulitple times and was impressed. Frequency extension and bass slam appear to be a minor weakness with the P9. Have never heard the Diva 2 sp or any AS models. From what I have read the Avid/AS excel where the Rega P9 is deficient. I would appreciate any comments from current/previous owners or those that have had experience with these 3 turntables. FWIW i'm considering a Helius Scorpio 4 or OL Encounter tonearm on the Avid/AS, cartridge preference is a ZYX R100 for all 3.
I dont have experience with the turntables you mention, but I do use a Helius Omega on my Sota Cosmos IV. It is an exceptional arm. the Scorpio 4 uses similar bearing methods, so I would expect a similar sound. Their bearings are essentially 3 balls forming a base with one ball forming a point to make a triangle. supposed to provide the least friction in a fixed bearing.
I havent heard the AS TT but I have heard the P9 and Diva extensively. For me there is no contest, P9 is hands down better, especially with its RB1000 tonearm it is an amazing all rounder TT. In the Avid range it is the Volvere and beyond which really is top class. I would prefer the Volvere to P9. But Diva to my ears is purely a budget product which is made only to fill the gap.
Pani/Manitunc-Thx for your response. The Diva 2 i'm considering is the SP model. Which has a 6.3kg platter vs. 2.5kg it also adds speed control. I would never expect a basic Diva to outperform a P9.
You may want to consider the Rega RP8! I think it will soon be available, if not already. I also recommend the Well Tempered Amadeus, as another option. I am buying a TT for a second system, and have settled on the standard Amadeus.
Another interesting table that's not too expensive is the Merrill REAL table. The only one I know from experience is the Amadeus,the GTA would fall in to your general price range
Townshend Rock is another worth considering.
Roscoeiii-Having read your other posts I assume you own the Townshend Rock 7? Is it true that the standard motor is very power cord sensitive? Does the standard motor use a wall wart as a power supply? These possible issues had swayed me away from the Rock 7, since the optional power supply/dc motor which addresses these issues costs an additional $1900.
Dayglow- It sounds like you may have read it, but there is an A/S review of the Rock 7. It's written by Robert Greene, and he makes comparisons between the Rock and the Amadeus. What I drew from the review was he seemed to like the Rock a bit better. He also thinks they are cut from a very similar sonic cloth. Perhaps both tables using damping, may contribute to their sonic similarities. Again, just one persons view, but an interesting read. That review comes up if you google Townshend rock 7. My thought on the Rega's is the company seems to be implementing changes to their newer models. The RP3, RP6, and RP8, I believe would be those latest models.
Fjn04-I think i've read every review regarding the Rock 7. I just think at this price level a seperate power supply and speed control should be standard, not a $1900 option. Rega is now taking pre-orders for the flagship RP10 in the UK. Rega has removed the P9 from their website, meaning remaining stock should be getting a healthy discount.
Dayglow- That's what I figured on the P9, since the RP series is out. The rock 7 is definitely more $ than an Amadeus. It's like $3200 without a tonearm. The Amadeus is $2850, or $3250 if you add the DPS power supply. So basically the Rock still needs a tonearm, and will cost that much more. What is your actual price range, because I was figuring it was full retail $ of a P9. That's around 5K I believe.... I am not familiar with the Avid or AS.
Fjn04-My goal was around $5k for tt/arm/cartridge which i'll probably exceed(lol)! The Avid and AS retail at $4500(no arm) but discounts can be found. One retailer has a new P9 for $3995 so I expect the price(s) to fall even more as the RP10 is unveiled(no official pics yet). Are you using a Dynavector 20x2 on the Amadeus?
Dayglow- In main system, which is listed on my system page, I have an Amadeus. I have an Emt TSD-15 mounted on it. The retail on the EMT is around $1800. For my second system, I just bought another TT. I was debating between a Rega RP6 and Simplex. While leaning toward the Simplex, I then justified getting an Amadeus. So as crazy as it sounds, I am buying another Amadeus. I believe the Amadeus may be the sweet spot in the line, and I wanted to have that 10.5" arm. I figure the longer arm won't be a limiting factor for any future cartridge. There are quite a few nice TT/arm/cart setups in your $ range. I am no expert, but look at it all as a system. If you want to use the ZYX, make sure the TT/arm that you buy will match up. Then of course, the same goes for the phono stage.
Yes Dayglow, I scooped up the only Rock 7 I have ever seen used. I previously had an Amadeus, and agree with Greene's assessment of the two tables, though note that Greene was using a Rega 301 arm. Trough or no trough the table needs a better arm than that. I run it with a Moerch DP-6 with a ZYX cart.

Power is not a wall wart. And motor doesn't seem a problem to me. I haven't noticed power cord differences but only briefly played with that. If you are worried about the power, maybe pair it with a VPI SDS?

Build is much more substantial than the Amadeus. You can see my comparisons between the tables on AudioCircle.

Just noticed that Steve Guttenberg cited the Rock as one of his 2012 Top 10 on his CNET blog.
The Amadeus GTA is vastly different in a build quality sense when compared with the MDF based Amadeus. I don't think the standard Amadeus has poor build quality, but I agree that it is not "substantial" feeling. I was surprised how much better the GTA is in this regard and it does sound better too.
Vortrex, Did you think the GTA was better in any specific area? I haven't done any comparisons, but I could still upgrade my order.
Word has it that the upgrade path is like:
Simplex > Amadeus= 10% better, Amadeus > Amadeus GTA= 5%....
Sorry to steal the spotlight, but this info could prove useful to the OP. Cheers, Don
if I had to put a number to it I'd say the GTA is 5-10% better, most notably for me is the bass and an overall "bigger" sound. I'm also hearing some slight nuances that I never did before.
And once you get to the GTA or a Vortrex, you are at the end of your upgrade chain for analog except for the cart and phono stage. For better or worse. The Well Tempered tables sound great but you lack a tonearm upgrade option. Not that there aren't other areas of a rig that can be improved. The Well Tempereds sound great. But this is worth pointing out. It could be a plus for some. For theb tweakers, maybe less so.
Pani/Manitunc-Thx for your response. The Diva 2 i'm considering is the SP model. Which has a 6.3kg platter vs. 2.5kg it also adds speed control. I would never expect a basic Diva to outperform a P9.

Dayglow, it is not only the platter size but the suspension system that the Diva lacks compared to their (Avid's) established models. The Volvere has a similar suspension mechanism as the Acutus which makes it sound extremely close to the Acutus. The Acutus sounds more hefty and goes deeper in the bass but the Volvere sounds a tad more agile. However they are more or less alike sonically because they share a similar platform and build. Hope this helps.
Thanks Vortrex, your comments are much appreciated. Just to make sure, it sounds like at one point you went from an Amadeus > Amadeus GTA ?
If so, I assume all else including cartridge remained the same.
Dayglow-If you spend around 5K on the TT setup, what will you do for a phono stage. You haven't mentioned anything about owning one.
Fjn04-Have an Allnic H-1200.
Dayglow- Sounds to me like your in nice shape. The H-1200, although no longer in production, is supposed to be a nice piece. I believe Allnic is coming out with a new entry level unit. Hopefully, you will soon have an opportunity to hear one or more of these TT setups.
Fjn04 - Yes, that's true.
Update-I purchased a used Rega P9 and received it today. Need to replace the mat and standard feet/belts. There are conflicting viewpoints whether a clamp or record weight is needed on a P9, any owners have an opinion?
Awesome Choice!!!! I was just about to say Get the P9. Of course I own a P3/24 with all the upgrades :-) Good Spinning!!

Matt M
Check Out Groovetracer on the Net. The counter weight they have will do the trick. And you can check out the subplatter and Acrylic platter they sell.These products are the finest quality upgrades out there.

Matt M
Superb choice !!
Hi Dayglow,
I own the AS Challenger and I think it is a good choice. I have not owned the other two but I have heard Rega RP8. I considered the Avid and the Townsend Rock 7. But the affect of mass on rotation stability and bass response swayed me to the ASC. I am not sorry about my choice. The sound is expansive and neutral. It is also super quiet. I think you would have to go a lot higher on cost to get comparable quality and performance.
Jujuw1-I see this is your first post. Welcome to the club! After about 100 hours on the Rega P9 I would say overall i'm satisfied. I went with an AT-OC9 MK2 due to it's low cost and giant killer status. The giant killer status IMO is 1/2 true. It lacks the refinement and texture of many $1000+ cartridges but for under $400 I have no complaints. A Goldring Legacy could be my next cartridge choice giving me more midrange texture(not coloration) and relaxing the somewhat hyper/energetic P9. I very seriously considered the AS Challenger but there were to many posts claiming poor customer service. I hope this never becomes a problem for you, but i'm sure it's a great sounding table.
Please by the Rega wall shelf for your P9. It made a huge difference on my P25 and I heard a P9 with and without it in a friends system and it was surreal the difference it made.