Just got a Dr Feickert Blackbird and it is excellent. Had a SME10 prior and that was also good, before that I had/have SL1200GAE and it is a very good table but I wanted to do 2 tonearms which led me to the Blackbird
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@dtximages - If you are really going to stick with a budget, name your budget and stick with it. I agree that a new Technics SL1200GR is a great turntable. However, once you get a decent cartridge, you're over $2K. Is that within your budget?
If not, the Pro-Ject Carbon Debut Esprit SB is a pretty nice deck at a little less than $600. It's a complete package including speed control, acrylic platter, a decent cartridge and a phono cable. I have one and enjoyed it right out of the box. I did ultimately upgrade the Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge by replacing the stylus with a 2M Blue stylus. I also replaced the phono cable with an Audio Sensibility Impact SE (cryogenically treated, plus break-in service). So, I've got close to $900 in it and I think it sounds pretty good.
You can get a less expensive Pro-Ject without some of the upgrades. You could also get a U-Turn. They have been pretty well reviewed, are US made and are really inexpensive. I have not heard the U-Turn.
A used Pro-Ject, from someone who saved the factory packaging, could be a great value. I've seen them down in the $200ish range.
Good Luck. Let us know how it goes......
The Pioneer PLX1000 with Nagaoka MP150 is a nice setup, but it is nearly $1000 new. That's fine if it's within the budget. The Pro-Ject Carbon Debut Esprit SB is a complete setup for less than $600.
I recently missed a nice, less than 1 year old, Pioneer PLX1000 w/Nagaoka MP110 for $525 on my local Craigslist. That would have been a great setup at that price.
dtx images, What are you going to put it on and what type of flooring do you have. The environment around your table is very important. If you get an unsuspended turntable and put it in on softer floors, anything that is not concrete you will have an unfortunate experience and give up. Same if the cabinet is not rock solid. Good suspended tables like SME, SOTA and Basis are immune to this, not that you do not want to put them in a solid situation. If you have wooden floors you can compensate somewhat by using a wall shelf. They make them specifically for turntables. The SOTA Sapphire 4 is $3500 w/o arm. It is the least expensive suspended table I know of. You will never have a reason to buy another table. You can play with arms and cartridges.
mijostyn, what am I going to put it on? I knew this was going to take me deeper than I anticipated ha..
I was just going to put it on a solid side table or on a marble fireplace base.
I guess I'm unaware of how much the table mattered.
I did find a red Pro-ject Debut with preamp for $240 locally im going to pick up tonight.