Better TT or Better Pre? MMF5 vs XII vs Debut III

Morning all...

I'm setting up a small system for my study and I'm in a dilemma re: which TT to choose. It's a budget system, so please keep that in mind. I was thinking about the Debut III with the Tube Box II. Then, I started thinking, would it be better to get a MMF-5 or Xpression II and a cheaper phono stage like the pro-ject phono box II, then pickup another stage later (save up for a Slee maybe)? Is it easier to upgrade the phono stage rather than the TT? What are your opinions?

I should also state that the phono stage upgrade may be up to 1-2 years before able to do so. Starting medical school, so I just won't have the time to worry about those things..
No experience with the equipment you've described (although I have owned the original Project Phono Box-it was nothing to get excited about); I would think that it might almost be a wash (in light of the fact that the Phono Box II is supposed to be quite a bit better than the original).

Keep in mind that in many cases the real limiting factor with these entry level "package" tables is a throwaway cartridge. My gut feeling is that, if you can't upgrade for a couple of years, the way to go would be to economize on the Debut with the Tube Box, particularly if you could have the included cartridge totally credited towards something like the AT 440 MLa.

Either way, you should probably look at upgrading the cartridge and/or stylus (without totally blowing your brains out of course) before you bring the table home to get the most out of what you are spending.
Thanks for the response...

Makes complete sense to knock out the cartridge. So, maybe I'll go with the Debut and Tube Box. Get a new cartridge and enjoy it over the next few years. Then, when school is over, I'll be able to upgrade everything.

Thanks...any other opinions appreciated

What do y'all think about getting the speedbox as well? I've heard amazing reviews about this little gem. Esp. with some of the lower end tables (debut, xpression, etc).

For about the same money you're talking, I would get a Technics SL 1200 Mkii (about $400), a Bellari 129 phono preamp ($249), and an Ortofon OM 10 Super ($60).

With the Technics, you won't need an external speed control, the cartridge/tonearm compliance is a good match (and you can upgrade all the way to an OM 40 Super with just a stylus upgrade), and the Bellari is a Stereophile Class B giant-killer phono preamp.

For ergonomics, quietness, build quality, longevity, and transient dynamics, the Technics has it all over the entry-level audiophile-approved MDF-based belt drive tables.