budget table brain buster

I own a Project (Pro-ject) 2 tt (not the Project 2 Perspective), and am considering an upgrade to a Music Hall MMF-5. Not that I don't think the 2 offers great value, it's just that the plinth feels a bit lightweight to me, and reviews for the 5 seemed to indicate it would be a real step up. Or at least that's what I thought, until I started comparing the two closely. The arms are identical, the subplatter identical, and the differences between feet negligible. I can't tell whether they use the same motor or not, suspect they do. Both provide outstanding value, according to reviews. So what's the difference? The MMF-5 has a double plinth, which presumably provides better isolation than the 2's single plinth design. It also has a glass platter, whereas the 2 has a considerably heavier glass and alloy sandwich platter. Generally speaking, I think the heavier the platter the better, and I've read that some people do not like the sound of glass platters...so I'd tend to give the nod to the 2 on that score. But is the 2's glass/alloy platter superior to the 5's glass platter or is that just my stomach talking? And if the 2's platter is better, would any superiority in that department offset the advantage of the 5's double plinth? The supplied cartridges are irrelevant, as I will be using a Benz MC. The 5 is a current model selling for $629 new at audioadvisor, the 2 is no longer made, and sold for $521. More info on the Project 2 at hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/featureshtml/turntableroundup.html and at audiotools.com/oldlp_z.html. My other components consist of a Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 tube pre, Myryad ss power amp, some fairly schmancy cables, and Usher X-929 speakers. However, with a new enfant on board and not a whole lot of vinyl, I don't want to drop a bomb on a table. One of these budget models must suffice. Opinions welcome! (and btw, there's no music hall dealer in my area or I would compare the two directly!)

Hi Balthus,

I would be real cautious about making such a small incremental change. I have not heard the Project table, but I could not live with the Music Hall. I would recommend looking at a Rega Planner 3 with a Rega 300 arm or better. They are in the price range you have identified, used here on Audiogon.

If your budget allows more, I would recommend a VPI Scout.

Good Luck,

In this price range everyone seems to use some variation of the same tonearm. The only exceptions seem to be Rega and Goldring, which use variations of the Rega arm. At this price point you have to prioritize amongst speed accuracy, isolation capability and tonearm quality. If you choose to prioritize the tonearm (as I would), Rega and Goldring are the only choices. Otherwise Music Hall, Project, Thorens, etc provide variations on the improved motor/suspension/isolation theme.

As Mark noted, you will have to spend more money to see across the board improvement.
I forgot to mention that Moth Alamo also sells a variation of the Rega armed theme. Info is available at Britaudio.com
I think you need to consider a bigger budget upgrade.

I suggest that you buy a new vpi scout without the tonearm and install a rega rb300 on it. For less than $1200 you can have an excellent setup to go with your other excellent equipment.
thank you all for your input. consensus seems to be that I stick to what I have until I can afford a significant upgrade, so I'll probably do just that.

Hi Balthus,

I would not necessarily concur that you should stick with what you have. I believe that the Rega Planner would be a significant improvement, and if you buy here used, and sell yours used, you will probably be into it for $200-$300 difference.

I do believe that if you listen to vinyl very much that you will ultimately want to go to something on the level of the VPI Scout/Scout Master, or better.

Good luck in your pursuit,