Choices, turntable purchase choices?

Recently I have been investigating a future turntable purchase. Not that my current JVC, QL-Y5F is a problem or not working right, but as in much of this hi-fi hobby we look to make gear changes at times. Thus, I began to think, I want to make sure any turntable I'd buy is one that I'd hopefully enjoy for a long while at least 5 years before any future upgrade or change itch may return. If I'm lucky maybe longer. This is why my budget range is above going entry level or the likes. No, I do not have a Champagne budget, but a Regular Joe beer budget range. However I want to get a rig that will give my notably solid vinyl playback quality enough to hopefully keep me happy with said table for a while.

So lots of reading and surfing the web etc has led me to a few choices I'd like to ask for opinions and if any of you own or have owned your thoughts.

1: Clearaudio, Concept $1400.00 to $2000.00 depending on cartridge options. If sans cartridge I'd look at putting my Ortophon 2M Blue on it. How does the Concept MM stack up as an alternative to the Blue? Is the Concept MC worth $500 more than the Concept MM?

2: Rega, RP6. $1500.00 to $2000.00 depending on going no cartridge or adding the Exact2. Rega definitely goes another direction to the Concept. It does come with a dust cover as standard though. Looks to have a nice RB303 arm too.

3: VPI, Scout $1800.00 with no cartridge or dust cover. Another cool tone arm though.

4: Another suggestion in the $1400.00 to $2000.00 range?

None of the choices above precludes making future cartridge changes and/or phono Preamp ones. I have a Cambridge Audio 640p running well right now.
Good questions, I have been reviewing the same to see where the most bang for the dollar was.
But, I was also considering older eqpt
in this price range..... can we include
those thoughts/comments in the responses/

VPI classic used
I'm open minded but I do not want to swamp my list of choices by too much though. I have a nice vintage table now and am only investigating moving on to new(er) stuff. That said, I'm looking for something different as well as hopefully a step up as hard and as subjective as that request may be, to what I have and not rudimentary stuff or entry level. I'm thinking about a table that will be a long term keeper. The costs of buying and swapping gear too quickly in the end swamps just buying a unit more special. Not Champagne special but say premium beer special :-)
In my opinion, a Sota Sapphire gives the best bang for buck, especially a factory refurbished model. Also, a used VPI Classic. Either will give you considerable pleasure in the future
I haven't heard it, but the Well Tempered Simplex sure looks interesting. I think The Audio Beat did a review of it not too long ago. Best of luck.
The WT Simplex is interesting as are all the WT tables. I just would like to have seen the Simplex have a more standard look in dimensions, length x width ,much like the other WT tables. It may not have much to do with sound but dimensions have an effect on me. I'm not so wild about any odd or such tables including those that have a minimalistic roundy, round look... That's just me, I don't mind detached motors, split plinths even exotic materials etc but I like a more traditional look in over all width x length. The WT Amadeus looks more pretty to me but $3G or so pushes the price.
VPI Scout!!! 1300@ Musicdirect B Stock. I purchased one and it came in flawless condition. Spend the left over on a cart.
Last time I checked, the Amadeus retailed for $2700. If you don't mind the fact there is no cue lever, I would urge you to consider it. I believe Don Better is an Ortofon and WT dealer. Perhaps he has tried your Ortofon on an Amadeus.
No affiliation w/ Don or WT, but I do enjoy my Amadeus.
There is a Well Tempered Reference and a Classic currently for sale right here. The older arms have slightly different adjustability.

While a different turntable may be an audible improvement your Technics is still a very good deck. Using your budget on a new high quality cartridge such as a Benz Micro Wood would provide greater sonic gains.
Any VPI !
Bring my thoughts up to date.

First thanks for all inputs to date.

The tables I noted are all going to be good units and as such will likely keep me happy for hopefully at min 5 years before any possible upgrade itch were to return :-)

I'm leaning towards the Clearaudio Concept. I have these options. To get it with not the MM Concept cartridge but the next model up MM Wood Classic ($1500). Of course for more money I can get it with the MC Concept ($2000). I lean towards the lower price model so that if an itch to make some intermediary changes were to come before 5 years I could maybe satisfy them with then upgrading the cartridge on the Concept turntable without feeling to make a bigger change LOL :-)

I still consider going Rega RP6 either sans cartridge ($1595) or with the Exact ($2190). I've never heard a Rega either and find all the reading online towards Rega interesting, QUITE POLARIZING! It's either loved or hated but very little feeling in between for that brand. The understated looks but with IMO liking either gloss black or Red is cool. I see gloss blue (that would be my fav) but never see it as an available colour. I'm not sure if the RB303 arm is better, similar or worse than the Verify arm on the Concept. Both probably ROCK! I once had an RB250 on my previous DIY turntable. How much different and/or better is RB303 over the RB250? I do wish the Rega came with a VTA. I know Rega does not stand much on such but I like the option and the Concept has it. The more affordable after market VTA add ons for Regas, how good are they and how easy are they to add on?

As to VPI, I like the Scout II in looks over the Scout but now we are over $2200. The Classic 1 is $2750+ and I'm now tending to not go that high. I know, I know maybe in time it could be a better value as maybe I'd keep it longer but this often insidious hi-fi hobby is often more about emotions and not rational thoughts. :-( Both VPI's are still hanging on and I do plan on making a choice within the next few weeks but I'm tending towards the ideal that I will be looking at fixing the upgrade itch which may hit me within 5 years or so. How do I know that? My hifi purchasing history.

Music Hall mmf2.1 had it appx. 3 years
DIY Table made and rebuilt once to a second variant had it for 2 years
KAB Modded SL-1200MKII appx. 2.5 years
Current JVC QL-Y5F owning it for 2 years now.

Each table noted were nice and changes/upgrades were more out of emotions than not so I have a feeling I will get an upgrade itch before 5 years LOL :-)

If I were to buy a table that may be a lifer it would be to shoot the wad and buy an Oracle Delphi MKVI at about $9000. At table type I've liked a lot over the years. But I could not feel comfortable at pumping out that kind of cash today.

Anyways any more thoughts on my latest points and especially questions?

why not buy an Oracle Delphi III or IV if that style suits you. You should be able to find one for under $2000.
You should consider the WTL Simplex. I have the Amadeus and I would consider it's performance to be outstanding.

Marantz TT-15S1. It's sourced from Clearaudio, has a special ebony wand version of one of its tonearms, and includes (mounted and aligned) an ebony-bodied premium Clearaudio MM cartridge (I think it's a Virtuoso) with a retail value around $850.

The whole package retails at $1499 and is available many places.
Marantz TT-15S1, does not seem to be available in Canada. Can't get it from the USA (restrictions on sales via Music Direct). If it were so it too would be on y list. :-(
I don't know the cost of the low end Kuzma or Nottingham models, but I would think both companies make something at the upper end of your price range, and I would personally choose either over the ones you've mentioned. Also, you can get some really great tables for $2K, if you are willing to buy a second-hand item. Then too, there's.... Lenco and the weird wild world of direct-drive.

05-03-12: Les_creative_edge
Marantz TT-15S1, does not seem to be available in Canada. Can't get it from the USA (restrictions on sales via Music Direct).

In that case, that could take you back to the Clearaudio Concept. Instead of the entry-level MM Concept cartridge, the relatively expensive MC Concept, or the substitute Ortofon Blue, consider the Audio Technica AT150MLX. It's not much more than the Blue but performs more like something in the $600-800 range. Some audio reviewers consider it to be one of the best cartridges under $1000 and The Absolute Sound named it the 2011 Cartridge of the Year.

I've been living with mine for 4 years and it's *at least* the equal of the Rega Exact. Replaceable stylus, too. The compelling testimony *is* that I've been living with it for four years and have no urge or desire to change it. As long as you give it a total capacitive load between 100 and 200 pF, it offers up a high resolution presentation that is full-bodied but not bloated, detailed but not unnaturally so.
Another vote here for the Simplex. I also have the Well tempered Amadeus with upgraded power supply and it's simply awesome for the price. I too have been bitten by the upgrade bug over the years, but I really don't ever see myself upgrading my Amadeus....I may move up on cartridges and phone stages....I know it's well beyond your stated price range, but you very may well end up saving in the long run. Also, it's extremely easy to set-up (some people are put off by the golf ball).
I suggest that you read this review first to acquaint yourself with the different drive technologies After reading this review, I suggest you test the different drive systems real time.

I settled on idler drive as being more "real" despite the concern about rumble contamination. It is not an issue in my system but may be in others.

I have tried direct drive, tape drive, and idler. You should too.
Pro-ject Xpression III with a Benz Ace?
Again , I do appreciate all replies given. Every one of the turntable suggestions are likely great machines and would serve ably for years.

Since the last few weeks of pontificating a new turntable purchase my mind and ideals have bounced around like a ping pong ball. I've come to a few principles to help guide my next purchase.

1: I realized that I will likely be looking at table that will serve me for maybe 5 years or so. No, it probably won't be my last. I will in the future as I have in my past experiment.

2: I to limit things gave myself a $2,000 MAX. hard cap. I know it may now rule out some nice turntables suggested but I needed to establish a hard cap in order to help guide me down a hopeful proper choice for me.

3: My short list is now these in alphabetical order:

a). Clearaudio, Concept with the MM cartridge. (I can get the first Aurum wood body cartridge) for $1500.00. I have decided to forgo the MC version as this keeps the door open to before 5 years maybe try out another step up cartridge without having to front the money for the MC choice today.

b). Clearaudio, Concept sans cartridge but then buying and adding an Ortophon 2M Bronze. $1400+$370= $1770.00. I have experienced the 2M Blue on my vintage JVC QL-Y5F. I found it to be a very pleasing cartridge on that table. A buddy of mine also has a 2M Blue but on a Vintage Pioneer PL-530 and it too sounds nice. The Bronze surely is a step up I'd figure. Is this option worth $270.00 more than the first choice?

c). Pro-ject 2 Xperience. Includes Sumiko Bluepoint2 cartridge. I'd consider adding the Music Hall Cruise Control 2.0 thus this totals $1499-$299=$1798.00. I wonder how much the Cruise Control may help in platter drive and accuracy. Have no idea how good or bad the Sumiko is. How good is the Pro-ject carbon fibre arm esp. vs. the Clearaudio Verify or a Rega RB303?

d). Rega RP3, sans cartridge. I would add to this choice the TT-PSU and the Ortophon 2M Bronze cartridge, total price I can get is $1660.00. Please read on for a follow up on the Rega after I suggest next choices.

e). Rega RP6, sans cartridge. I will add the Ortophon 2M Bronze to it. the total would be, $1865.00.

f). Rega RP6 with the Elys2 cartridge, total price $1690.00

*** Between the three Rega choices, what are your opinions in comparing the RP3 optioned out choice vs. the RP6 choice both using the 2MBronze? Is the RP6 worth $200 more? I mean it looks very sexy with its gloss finish (I'd get black or red) (the RP3 I'd get in titanium). Rega says the plinth is not just a fancier in colour/gloss but is better machined over the RP3 ??? The added aluminum hub adapter is better how ??? Both have the RB303 and it looks like a nice arm. I'm not averse to investing $200 more if I get bang for the buck. Next The RP6 forgoing the Ortophon but sticking with an Elys2 (not the pricier choice in the EXACT2). It's now almost the same price as the RP3 option I noted but how does the Elys2 stack up to the 2M Bronze?

There is a VTA adapter that has presets of 2-4-6 mm to add to the Rega arm base you move the adjusted choices under the arm mounts to change VTA for future cartridges. Does this fit on the RB303? ( The Needle Doctor does bot say in its product description). Will the Ortophon 2M Bronze require any VTA adjustment?


I know I can't expect you all to make my choice for me. I've never owned any of these brands products let alone the choices presented here. I trust all are capable turntables and are all BELOW my $2000 hard cap. I only ask for your feedback. Those of you who own or have owned any/all of these and those of you who have listened and shopped for a turntable including these?

It's not just so easy to plop $1500-$2000 on a competent table. I want one that again will hopefully keep me satisfied for up to 5 years or longer. It's not a lifer as I now I will be in the market down the road but I want a good playback machine that can play all forms of music generally (I'm generally into all accept country, rap and hip hop) nicely and without worry of product failure.

Again my previous turntable experiences in models include these:

1981 JVC LA-11 basic belt drive with a Shure M72 cartridge got as a young teen back in the day.

1978ish used Pioneer PL-38, full manual direct drive with an Empire 2000e cartridge.

2003 Music Hall mmf2.1 with the basic Music Hall Tracker cartridge upgraded to an elliptical stylus.

2005-06 a DIY table using old belt drive parts from a n late 80's Japanese table. A Rega RB250 arm. Cartridge put on it was a Denon DL-110.

2008 Technics SL-1200MKII with Cardas arm rewire from KAB. Ran the Denon DL-110 on it. Sold it to a family member when I bought a classic, vintage JVC QL-Y5F. I had to own said table as back as a teen I drooled over it. :-) I put the Ortophon 2M Blue on it.

So you all have an idea as to my experience with turntables. I trust any of these presented updated choices here will please me and I hope would keep me satisfied for a while.

Again I know its all subjective and I really do appreciate all your feedback given and now asked for. I've never owned any of these and have never heard them I have been reading up a lot and to a point of going nuts :-) over the last few weeks and want to pull the trigger but hopefully with as much info as I can get.

You might add the new $1300 VPI Traveler to your short list. It was on silent display at the recent NYC Audio Show. Of course I have no idea what it sounds like but it looked and felt like a solid, substantial product. The price would leave you a lot of money left over for a cartridge.
After weeks of shopping and studying to find my next turntable to meet my new wants I chose to scale my options to a sub $2000 limit. It was still rather hard but in the end I chose to go and discover the Rega ideals in vinyl playback. I got myself a P3-24 with Ely2 and TT-PSU. A more than fair price well below my max budget.

I look forward to receiving it and I hope it gives me a number of years of vinyl playback pleasure. I know there are rd parts mods one can add to Rega's too but I also know this will not likely be my last turntable but I still want one that will give me sonic pleasure. I'm confident this baby will do so.

I will return later once I've had it running for a while to give you all my impressions.

Well done Les, I think you will enjoy the Rega-really nice turntable. Congratulations and welcome to the world of Rega.
I just bought a Rega RP3 and installed a Linn Adikt MM cart. and it sounds as good to me than the 2 Linn Sondek 12 LP's I had with the Ittock LVII tonearms. 810.00 + 550.00 for the cart. vs 2,700.00 much simpler and a lot less hassle and lots cheaper to upgrade.