best turntable under $5k

I just discovered how vinyl is so much better than cd, after using a clear audio emotion turntable for a short while I would like to upgrade to something better. I would prefer to get something that is constantly being improved upon. Is vpi a good place to start or is building a kit the way to go. I want to approach first class sound.
Lirpa Labs Turbo Steamtable--bar none. if i'm not mistaken, the VPI is loosely based on the Lirpa (as so many others are, but fail to acknowledge). it's like not crediting edison! available second-hand only--if you're lucky enough to actually find one.
Pedrillo, I like the Sota with vacuum.
Musicdoc, I hear Professor Lirpa will have his best version yet coming out in about 6 1/2 months. Can't wait.
For that amount on Audiogon, I purchased a used Amazon Model 1 and a used Schroeder Model 1, both in great shape. The Amazon is upgradable to the Reference. Paired with an ZYX cartidge, I will not feel the need to upgrade this group for some time.
Dear Pedrillo: Acoustic Signature is a very good way to go on TT. Final Tool or Mambo models are great.

Go to their web site:
The bearing design and its external power supply design are a tour du force.

You can mate this TT with a DP-6/UP-4 Moerch tonearms.

Nothing come close to this combination for less than 15K.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Another vote for SOTA. I have the Nova Series V with a Kuzma Stogi tonearm. This combo is around your price range new. Using a Graham or Shroeder Model 2 will take you a little higher but is worth the upgrade I'm told. I'm considering the Model 2 myself.
If still available there is a lovely Teres 255 for sale.
Table or table and arm?And for that matter rember that your Cart and phono stage will DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR influence the sound of your set up.Also what kind of sound do you like (now what we like).Sprung suspension vesus hard mounted cones (used SME 10??) i.e.soft versus hard and or fatser sound.A Linn will sound best to some a Rega P-9 where eveything is as tight and stiff as possible may sound better to the next guy.Then there is convenience features.Do you want to use more than one carttridge?Me I'd like to havce a ghreat stereo cart ,one for mono,and one for beaters which is why instead of multiple arm decks (many fewer today than say the 70's)which could get expensive I went with VPI (though Graham and SME allow either tube or headshell swaps).Also for economy I need to find a good phono section which allows for front or easy changes in configuration.Think there are lot's of variables that go beyond "what's the best at X price" unless you know you have proper matched cart/phono section and other citeria figured out.
Good hunting
The Turntables from Teres are an incredible value. The best value point might of the line might be the model 320 that sells for % 5,600.00. It would be worth the stretch of $600.00 over your $ 5,000.00 limit (if that is your budget for the table alone).
Here is the link to the Teres home page:
The Teres TT's are incredibly simple and reliable tables, one of the best motors on the market and perhaps the best sound for the price out there.
Avid Volvere with Rega arm (if you can go 800 higher SME 309. Great tt. Easy to set-up, extremely well made. Dynamics, timing and detail of a non-suspended tt but midrange with depth and palpability of a suspended. Background quietness not unlike cd.
Best under $5k that I've heard is the Galibier Ascent Alu. The mid-range Teres tables tend to smear the image and lose impact on the leading edge of transients. The 360 is better but it's twice what you want to spend.

With a PVC platter the Galibier is $4500, or $5500 with the teflon/alu platter. However if you ask for a discount you will probably get within your budget. It comes with mountings for two arms as standard.

It has the same bearing technology as the Teres because its designer/builder was in that project from the start. It has a simpler and therefore more reliable motor controller circuit and it sounds better.

More at

And unlike most of the guys here who recommend Teres I've actually heard both!

Having said that, both Teres and Galibier offer way better value for money than the longer established brands. Take a look at the materials and work that go into these to appreciate how selling direct enables them to make such great tables so competitively priced.
Another turntable you may want to consider is the progressive ( I had been looking in the $4000 range and the folks one the Bottlehead forum steered me towards Progressive.

The TT is very well built and easily beats all production tables that I have heard at dealers by a very wide margin. It also allows the use of three arms, which was not a requirement for me, but is proving to be a very enjoyable feature. And it doesn't look all that bad either!!

The proprietor (Mike Paschetto) is very helpful and response unlike some of the other builders I tried to deal with. The turntable was shipped promptly and Mike turns out arm boards with very little notice.

I heard the Galibier a couple weeks ago in their listening room. It was the $5500 model with a Shroeder Reference tonearm and a ZYX cartridge (not sure of the model). The phono stage was a Hagerman Trumpet that we rotated a few step-up transformers through. My reason for being there was to audition the Hagerman, which I ultimately bought, but Thom has done a great job on the design and workmanship of the TT.

My recommendation of the SOTA Nova was based on trying to attain a TT/tonearm package in Pedrillo's budget. If $5k is a budget for TT only then I would also recommend the Galibier. It is worth more than that in my opinion and sounds fantastic. Remember though, it is the complete package that makes this happen and I have to estimate all told there was probably $10k or more wrapped up in the analog set-up alone.
Pedrillo: I agree with Flyingred, the Galibier metal design is a very good choice, too.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I need to make it very clear that the Hagerman Trumpet, along with the Artemis PH-1/PL-1 are the two best commercial phono stages I've heard to date. The differences between the two are ones of system matching and such.

Because Jim sells his gear direct to the public (and the public benefits from this), I was not able to take on his product line. The opportunity arose to carry the Artemis line and I availed myself of it.

Perhaps you can run two speakers, but owning two phono stages is a bit extravagant for a small guy who's in the process of stocking his demo room. It is for this reason, and for this reason only that my Trumpet came available, and Clio09 was in the right place at the right time. He is now smiling ear to ear.

Don't hold your breath expecting Trumpets to appear on the used market anytime soon. Owners are correctly reluctant to parting with them.

I mention this because I consider Jim Hagerman to be a friend, and I take very personally any statement which might foster the wrong perception of his very fine products.

Thom @ Galibier
To All,
A qualifier from me. I have not heard any of the Galibier TT's.
Clio09 makes a good point about the budget covering arm and cart too. I would still advocate the Galibier at $4500 because that will last a lifetime.

A good table will give rock solid speed stability which is fundamental to hearing timing, timbre and nuance. My first hearing of the Galibier was with a very modestly priced Denon DL103R mounted on a classic Micro Seiki arm and it blew me away.

Therefore, to keep close to your budget Pedrillo I would suggest that you buy a DL103 (the R if you can run to it) and look out for a used modified (Origin Live, Michell, Expressimo, etc.) Rega arm (which matches the Denon very well). Then over time you can upgrade the arm and cart.

For fun, I bought a used Mayware Formula 4 for $90 and can't believe how well it works with a modest Grado mm cart. It's not state of the art but when carefully set up is very relaxing and enjoyable listening.
the micro seiki (vacuum model) in its original box with the ikeda it245 with a nice cartridge for 4000 looks damned good..
My vote is for the VPI Aries Black Knight with arm (2800). Add in a used Acoustic Research PH-3 phono stage (800). We have 3600. Use the rest on the best ZYX cart Merhan can sell you (

Marty Nickison
WHY OH WHY is vpi mentioned only once???? I thought it is a good turntable.

I guess VPI has been mentioned too many times in the past that is why it was only mention once here. I own a VPI Super Scout Master and I'm very happy with it. For $5200 or $5500 you can have a complete VPI SuperScout Master less cart. Pheripery ring-In my opinion is a big plus on this TT plus the clamp and the SDS motor. Furthermore; VPI's upgrade path is endless.
VPI's ARE good turntables. But they are distributed by less efficient (ie, more costly) means than some other brands.

VPI (the manufacturer) sells your turntable to a dealer, who marks it up before selling it to you. Galibier or Teres (also the manufacturer) sell your turntable directly to you. No middleman so no additional markup. You are effectively buying at wholesale.

Wholesale costs are typically about 40% below retail, so a VPI table that retails for $5K probably costs the dealer about $3K.

Conclusion: if you want the economic equivalent of a $5K VPI, buy a $3K Teres (or Galibier, if they made one at that price point.)
It's interesting that just about all the tables mentioned have been beaten by a modded Lenco idler drive, at least according their original owners. Sorry, I couldn't resist.;)-~
Good point! By all reports those with the time, inclination, tools and skills to do the project should run, not walk, to Jean's "little" discussion thread.

Now if Chris Brady or Thom Mackris came up with an idler or direct drive for those of us who can't be trusted around power tools, we'd all be happy!

"It's interesting that just about all the tables mentioned have been beaten by a modded Lenco idler drive, at least according their original owners."

Some have been beaten. Some others, the Lenco is perhaps as good as these. So in these latter cases the Lenco may get the nod based on nothing else but price, which is a very powerful reason to stay with the modded Lenco.

I have not gotten really serious about a Lenco plinth but I have set one up in a temporary plywood base and an RB 250, fully modified, from Brit Audio. The Lenco does sound really good, but I still preferred the Basis 2500 I used to have. Dare I say it. The Lenco is not the end all, be all table. But it is very cost effective. Now, on to something new in turntables for me!
A temporary plywood base: what does this mean? Now I understand your earlier cryptic message in another thread that you could build any plinth I care to name, a disengenuous statement which meant what I suspected, that you had not in fact built a plinth worthy of the name, and had not tried a variety for optimization. Is the Lenco securely coupled to the plinth? Is the base glued together for maximum effectiveness? Is it pine ply or birch-ply? Is it Direct Coupled (married via the circular area of the top-plate). Is the plinth heavy or is it light? Have you made a serious effort to maximize it? I have to say, I don't think you have made either a fair comparison or a serious effort to get the Lenco singing. I have heard the Lenco humiliate high-end belt-drives and direct drives (Technics SP10 MKII in 70-pound plinth) too often, reports from around the world have been too universal and conclusive, the comparisons are not subtle in their results, so I simply do not believe you have made a real effort to optimize it, it is not a matter of taste unless you consider more detail, much deeper and tighter bass, more natural highs, better imaging and superior timing a matter of taste. What we need here is a serious comparison of the Lenco against anything at all in front of a panel of our peers, and I am not afraid to do this. The time for a Big Showdown is coming. Perhaps some Lenco participant in your area can arrange a fair hearing, in front of witnesses, in the meantime. And in the meantime, if anyone is looking for the best for under $5000, or the best for under $10,000, or the best for under $15,000, I present you the Lenco. And yes, I dare say it, and am willing to back it up in front of any number of witnesses.
John, perhaps you did not read my post or simply became aggitated that I have not whole-heartedly endorsed the Lenco. I openly admitted that I did not seriously undertake the plinth project. You are very quick to jump in when anyone dares to offer an opinion other than yours concerning the Lenco. I did not disparage the Lenco, I merely stated that I believe that it betters some tables but is perhaps only as good as others. Blasphemous though that may be.

Yes, I can build just about any plinth you care to name. That should not surprise anyone since we are talking about nothing more than basic tool skills here. (4yanx's wonderful creations not withstanding!) No, I have not because I have many more important demands on my time. I also don't have time to build my own electronics, or speakers. You say that you don't think I have made a fair comparison and perhaps that may be true. So what! This is a public forum and as far as I know I'm still allowed to voice my opinion even if you don't think I'm that well informed.

It seems that everytime the subject of "What is the best table" comes up most everyone eventually agrees that there is no such thing. But here we have the exception. We are all expected to endorse the Lenco as the best table in the world, past, present and future. Perhaps your creations will be as good as any table in the world. Perhaps someone would still choose anther table if for no other reason than they like the looks of something other than a Lenco-project. Perhaps they may not like the idea of something that hasn't been produced for years. Hell, maybe they just don't like castings and platter mats. note tt2, linn sondek, roksan xerxes, phonosophie....used the world to choose from
It's kind of funny reading this thread. It was almost like saying "my choice is better than your choice" in a very twisted sort of way. At least that's what I got out of it.

Choosing a turntable is exponentially more complex than say a CD trasport/DAC combo. You have the table, the arm, the cartridge, (and the tiny wires that connect the cartridge to the arm wire in some cases) There are tens, if not hundreds, of choices for each category. A simple change in cartridge or tonearm might have a big effect on how the same table could sound.

On top of that, how the combo sounds will depend on the rest of your system as well. And don't worry, any table you get, you will be able to "constantly" improve it if you want. Any slight adjustment in VTF, VTA will affect the sound somehow. And changing the cartridge will get you started all over again. But don't drive yourself nuts. Just enjoy the music.


Thank God you said "just enjoy the music". For a second there I thought you where going to say "Just buy a CD player"
Thought abou it somemore befoe I saw everybody's posts and have to agree givenm midedle men etc Terest is a good bet maybe the best.But I also think they takle that into account and make up for lower sales numbers (shops don't display them) so they chag\rge more given the fact they have lesser salkes and still hav to keep the lights on.It's not as if Bill Gates decided he's make a company as a hobby and just cover costs.
Sota Nova V vacuum. Or, one step up to a Sota Cosmos III used if you can find it.
the SOTA COSMOS is slightly over your limit. nevertheless I belive it is an all out design which uses mass, floating suspension and vaccumm hold down. you need (don't want the suspension to oscillate)to use a light weigt arm and cartridge. I beleive you cannot use mass alone to damp out structual and airborne vibrations. an appropriate arm would be sme and sumiko celebration.
Good news is there is an embarrasment of riches at this price point.
The VPI, scoutmaster, or even the superscoutmaster, would be an excellent table for the money.