Try LPgear.com - $30.00 for a 1400 belt
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A modified Rega RB 300 tone arm would work just fine. (That was what most of the Basis 1400 tables were sold with originally.) The reason I say modified is that the standard Rega shaft had a sleeve afixed to it by Basis, so that the locking screw could tighten properly. (You might be able to jury-rig some sort of sleeve yourself, and just use a standard RB 300 tone arm. If you can't afford a RB 300, a RB 250 would work too, albeit not quite as well.)
My brother in law uses my old Basis 1400 with a modified RB 300 tonearm, with a Grado Gold cartridge, and it sounds very good. (However, with a better cartridge, like a Koetsu Black, it can sound great. That is what I used to use on it before I upgraded up the Basis line.)
Good Luck in your search!
Flo...sorry I also forgot to ask what phono stage you have? Can you consider MC carts over and above MM carts based on your phono or no? If only MM or High Output MC, a good fit with your arm and your phono would be:
(1) Sumiko Blue Point (list $299 but you should be able to get it closer to your budget with a discount). Nicely reviewed cart and good value for the money. When matched with your arm, you get a resonant frequency of 9.59Hz which is pretty close to being smack inthe middle of the recommended range of 8-12 Hz. This is a MM cart.
(2) Ortofon 2M Blue (list $199). Also nicely reviewed cart. When matched with your arm, you get a resonant frequency of 8.1Hz. Also MM cart.
(3) Grado Gold 1 Prestige (list $220). When matched with your arm, you get a resonant frequency of 8.5Hz. Also MM cart and nicely reviewed.
When you can afford it, spring for the Basis belt. Their newest belts are extremely precisely ground to an even thickness and sound much better than their old belts. I doubt that a non OEM belt would come close. Two different friends heard both an upgrade to the belt and the installation of the $5,000 motor control unit, I believe on a Basis 2500, and actually thought the belt made a more substantial difference.
Although the 1400 is the cheapest model in the lineup, the critical parts are actually manufactured to extremely close tolerances, like all Basis turntables. The benefits of a similarly manufactured belt will be heard on this table.
Thanks everybody for the valuable feedback. I think I narrowed it down to the Grado Gold and LP Gear replacement belt for now. With two kids in the house there is always a chance that the stylus gets broken so easy replacement is definitely a plus. I would love to get the basis belt but feel that at this point my money is better spent elsewhere which brings me to my next question: what would you recommend as a phono pre-amp in the $ 200 - $ 300 range to go with this turntable/cartridge combo. So far I've been running my other TT through the integrated MM phono stage of my Onkyo amp. I like the bellaria VP 130 (with the added bonus of having a headphone jack) and the Musical Fidelity V-LPS but have not heard either one. 'Am also open to other suggestions. Cheers.
I have not heard the Bottlehead tube unit, but, it has a good reputation. It is a little outside of your price range ($369) and it is a kit that requires assembly, but, I saw and heard a Bottlehead amplifier that came from a kit and it should not be that hard to build even if you don't have experience. Go to:
Pro-ject also makes some low cost phono stages, such as their Phono Box II ($159) and Phono Box SEII ($329). Two friends actually heard the Phono Box II in comparison with Pro-ject's much more expensive tube phonostage and both much preferred the cheaper, solid state unit. I believe Music Hall makes a low cost unit as well. I haven't heard any of these units myself.