Build a TT based set up for $5K

Hi everyone,

I've begun a fun and exhausting search for the "perfect" components to make my Hi Fi system. I've decided to go the turntable /2 channel stereo route.

* I would like to keep the total budget around $5K.
* The TT should be new/near mint.
* I have no problems getting "gently used" amp set up or speakers.
* I generally listen to classic rock, reggae, some classical.

TT candidates:
* VPI Traveller
* Rega P5 or 6?
* any other suggestions?

Amp: Should I go for an integrated amp and get a separate phono stage or are there any good all inclusive amps?

I was looking at some used speakers and came across Atlantic Technology AT1 speakers for around $1800. Any thoughts? Other recommendations are welcome!

I'm a newbie making my first foray into this really complicated and intimidating world (My head is still spinning after reading all the jargon filled reviews). I'm mostly looking to find component combos that have been proven and give me the best value. I would greatly appreciate any help I can get.

Thanks in advance,
- VPI traveler with Ortofon cart (2M blue or a mc-3 turbo, which is what I have) - $1300 + $200 - $300 for cart
- Jasmine LP 2.0 mkII phono preamp - around $550
- Exposure int amp and maybe one of their tuners if you want a matching set - $1650 for 2010S2 only
- Tekton speakers (I have their 6.5t monitors and love them, I have heard their floor standers are very nice also), if you go monitors, make sure you get good rigid stands - $600 for the 6.5t + $200 - $300 for stands
- Mogami cables (2549 for interconnect from Pro Audio LA, 2921 speaker cable with audioquest BFAs) - less than $300

That puts you right around $5000 and would have a very nice system. Check out my system page as I have a nice picture showing most of the gear I've mentioned (audio refinement instead of exposure and hope to get a traveler soon).
Thanks for your great response, this is exactly the kind of input I'm looking for. Any opinion on the Atlantic AT1 speakers I mentioned?

Do you think it would make a big difference to get a dedicated phono stage or should I get a integrated amp with phono like the Maratnz pm5003?

I've been hearing so many great things about the Traveller, that it might be the one I settle on. The "recommended" cart was the grado... is the MC3 turbo a better fit?
I have no experience with the gear you mention (marantz, grado, atlantic). I know what works for my ear and my system and many people agree with how the components in my system work. I have been a musician (trumpet and french horn for over 10 years) performing in many live venues and this setup just sounds right to me. I think you would be very happy out of the box with my recommendations. It will take a little effort putting it all together, especially the cables and maybe the Traveler with an Ortofon, but that is half the fun. Happy hunting...
The Traveler/ Ortofon 2m Black is a very musical combintion. I have been having a great time with this pair for the past 2 months. As far as the rest of your system, take a look at this

You would benefit from the synergy of the system. The stuff is built like a tank and it's hard to believe the prices. The sound has to be heard to believe. One of the well respected and always well reviewed companies.

A Traveler-Ortofon front end with an Odyssey system will lead to some long happy nights.
Thanks Sbrown and Zen for your responses.

I was reading the reviews on the Odessey products and it seems like they are really solid and an excellent value for money.

Choices... Choices!
Sota Star with vacuum platter, Sumiko ft3 arm and Ortofon 2c Black cartridge.
PS audio GCPH. Has remote volume so can drive amp directly.
Odyssey Stereo Amp
PSB Stratus Gold i or Synchrony two speakers.

All purchased used.
You will also need to realize that there are a number of different approaches to building a system. In general (and while some low priced speakers like Tekton have their followers), I would recommend spending big on your speakers. They will make the biggest difference. To be satisfied with what you are getting, try to audition as many speakers as possible and to think about what aspects of music are most important to you. Some people like very forward speakers (Zu and Tektons would be examples) others find forward speakers fatiguing to listen to and prefer more laid back speakers (think how in your face the sound is). This will be both personal preference and related to music genre preferences.

At $5k I might spend as much as $3500 on speakers.
My Tekton 6.5t monitors are not forward sounding and remind me of larger (and with more bass) linn tukans with a better tweeter. Speakers that sound forward to me usually have metal, kevlar or a carbon fiber drivers. Speaking of linn, I've always respected their source first stance.
At $5k I might spend as much as $3500 on speakers
What do you suppose those $3500- speakers will sound like with $1500- of electronics, cables, turntable, etc. feeding them? You would only use a fraction of what the speakers are capable of.
The best sound will come from a balanced system. A forward presentation can come from many components, the room size/dimensions or/and the recording.
Well, Zenblaster I suppose those speakers would sound pretty great with the right electronics.

If the speakers are efficient enough for them, I'd look to perhaps a Peachtree Decco or a Rega Brio-R or a Dayens integrated. Cables from Blue Jeans Cable. And then pair that with a used turntable such as a VPI HW-19, a Technics 1200, or an old Rek-o-kut.

The Peachtree, Rega or Dayens can be found for under $1000, and I have seen each of those turntables I mentioned for under $500.

I'd put that set-up against about any other combo of equipment totalling $5000.

Now what speakers up to $3500 is the question...
Any recommendations on speakers that would work well with vinyl? I would mostly be listening to classic rock and some classical. also is it worth it getting a dedicated phono stage or is there an integrated amp that has a phono stage good enough for the $5K system?
You've asked a pretty hard question since we don't know enough about the space where you're planning to use the system. I actually just did this for my sister. She wanted a modest-but-good system that would be a minimum of bother (read: no tubes). The VPI Traveler/Ortofon 2M Black combo is a good idea. I was able to find her a VPI Scout with a different Ortofon for about $1,000. We also got a British brand: LFD integrated amplifier with a built-in phono stage for moving magnet cartridges, which was about $2,700. She added a dock for her iPod which plugged into another input on the LFD. Finally the speakers were a used set of Green Mountain Audio Europa's which were about $900. After adding in wire, and a CD player that I gave her, we ended up at about $4,800, pretty close to where you are looking.

And the system sounds fantastic! The Green Mountain speakers present a very natural sound, great with classical, orchestral music, and rock, although they do not have deep bass. The LFD is a real gem, and totally innocuous. You don't notice all the great things it does, until you compare it to lesser gear. It was obviously crafted by someone (Dr. Bewes) who cares about music.

Frankly you should probably track down local resources, either local audio dealers or a local audiophile group with members who will let you hear their systems. Your taste and ideal sonic profile might lead you to favor horn speakers, or planar speakers, or you might fall in love with little flea-powered single-ended amplifier systems. I think the most important things to note are a) it should be fun and b) getting stuff that works well together is critical to the best outcome. Buying based on reputation or putting together a random list of "recommended" components is a sure path to mediocrity.

Good luck with your search, and have fun!
My $5K system.
Yaqin MC-10CL integrated tube amp $600 new (+$300 for tube replacement)
Yaqin MS-12B phono pre amp $300 new (+$100 for tube replacement)
Arcam FMJ CD23 CD player $600 used
Tyler reference monitor with stands $1000 used
Clear Audio Bluemotion $1200 new
Audio Technica AT150mlx cartridge $350 new
Cables, interconnects $600
With respect to the room for the system.... I will be setting it up in the living room. The floor plan is as follows: Living room flows into the kitchen.

The Living room is 16ft X 15ft and Kitchen is 21ft x 15ft.

The Living room has TV @ 12:00, Couch @ 6:00, cabinets and 2 chairs @ 9:00 and the 3:00 side is open to the kitchen. There is no real boundary between the 2 rooms except for a 2 foot wide archway.

The issue is whether I should place speakers facing lengthwise @ 9:00 on either side of the chairs or on either side of the TV @ 12:00.

I don't think I can place them 3 ft from the wall like in dedicated listening rooms. Does this mean I have to go for monitors?
I forgot to add the ceiling is 9.5 ft
assuming you will be sitting on the couch to listen, you should put the speakers on either side of the tv, and out at least a foot from the wall, more if you can. I think PSB makes the best speakers for the price. I am using PSB Synchrony Ones now, but they have many other less costly models, including the most recent image towers that have gotten rave reviews.
If I place the speakers at 12:00 on either side of the TV, the 3:00 side is essentially open (where the living room flows into the kitchen), would that be a problem?

Thanks for all your input, I learn more every day at this site!
Depends on how far it is from the 9 oclock side to the side wall, but probably not, especially if you use a littel toe in. the reflections off the left wall will be delayed and reduced in amplitude, the degree based on how far away the wall is.
I appreciate your input.
Hello Arjundas:

Have you gotten your Analog Rig going yet.

If not, may I throw another suggestion your way??

Anyway, here's how I would approach it. This is based on what sounds good to my ears.

And here goes:

Speaker System: Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures -- $1,300.00 (Used)

Power Amplifier: Odyssey Stratos -- $1,375.00 (New)

Phono Preamplifier: PS Audio GCPH -- $600.00 (Used)

Turntable/Arm: VPI Traveler -- $1,000.00 (Used)

Phono Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Blue -- $240.00 (Used)

Interconnects: AudioQuest Black Mamba (RCA -- Turntable To Phono Preamplifier) -- $110.00 (New); AudioQuest Red River (XLR -- Phono Preamplifier To Power Amplifier) -- $120.00 (New)

Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Type 8 (8 Feet/Bi-Wired) -- $200.00 (New)

And Your Total Will BE: $4,945.00

All you need to do now is start enjoying your precious vinyl.

Good Luck and Happy Listening.

Most systems suggested in this thread are great starters!

My personal preference though is a Rega TT over a VPI every time. Rega gets the musical timing much better than VPI.

For phonostage PS Audio GCPH is great if you get used else get a Lehmann Blackcube SE which is stunning.

Cartridge, either Ortofon 2M or Audio Technica AT-33 PTG or AT150MLX (I prefer the Audio technica because it is more fun and dynamic)

Speaker + Amp: (Quad 12L + Exposure 2010s2) or (Naim Nait 5i + Neat Motive SE2)

Cables: Mogami 2549 interconnects and Mogami 3103 speaker cables (if using Naim amplifier, get the NACA5 speaker cable)
Is there a way to delete a post when you realize its too late to suggest ?? :-)
I would keep it as simple as possible:

Croft Phono Integrated: $1900
Clearaudio Concept MM: $1500 (had captive tonearm)
Speaker cables: JW Audio: $80 (at $10/ft.)
Speakers: $1500 leaves you with some nice choices: Nola Boxer, Revel M106, Dynaudio X14, etc.