DIY turntable: where to start? And meanwhile....

Here�s what happened:

I went to the Teres website, pointed in that direction by Twl a while back, and got good and wired at the thought of a high-end turntable that could have something of a person�s own energy in its construction. I was especially into the idea of buying key parts rather than a complete kit, �sculpting� the base out of something that moved me....

Then I thought that since I�d never really looked under the hood of a turntable before, I might get a Thorens or an AR and upgrade and tweak it as a first project, acquiring some turntable savvy and a decent - whatever that means - turntable in the process. (I haven�t had one in a very long time. My wife and I are just now putting our sound system together again, after �abstaining� from recorded music since about 1990 on account of, well, you know what. But enough is enough, right? There is plenty of analog out there that we�ve never heard, along with all the gorgeous familiar stuff that we�ve done without for over a decade!). So my first question is:

Any thoughts on these proposed projects and/or on DIY turntables in general?

Now my cat jumps into the picture. He has this motto, NO WAITING, which he is always reminding me of when I�m in the middle of something that might make me think otherwise. What does this mean? We need a turntable. Not just a delectable art-function synergism next year, or a decent old refurbished one in a few months (I�d like to take my time and to experiment with the Thorens or AR), but a really nice, real thing right now, no waiting. So my second question is:

Any thoughts on something this side of around $800 BC (before cartridge)? Anybody who�s lived with a VPI in this range, a Linn LP12, Rega P25, Basis to speak out?

Oh right, system and music. At present: Audible Illusions Modulus II pre into Van Alstine-ized Dynaco ST-70 power into home made bass-reflex cabinets w/Fostex FE-204 single drivers. What music will we listen to? Probably better what music won�t we listen to - sorry, can�t think of any! Definitely mostly acoustic, simple to complex, e.g. single wind instruments, Ali Akbar Khan and other ethnic classical, early European music on period instruments, Handel, Wagner (as long as it�s conducted by Solti and produced by Culshaw and the soprano part is sung by Birgit Nilsson and it�s the Telefunken pressing, we�re not particular), Cab Calloway, Lightnin Hopkins, Jim Kweskin, the Chieftains, Pat Metheny....

Thank you. Love this forum.
Hi Phoenixpizza. The only thing that is really DIY about the Teres is polishing the base and armboard. Everything else is actually just assembly of the platter and spindle. Oh, and you have to drill the armboard for the arm, but I think Chris will drill it for you if you tell him what arm you have. When you get any TT, you have to do some assembly anyway because they don't ship them with the platter on or the arm in many cases. So it is not terribly different.

If you are looking for a good sounding TT kit for a lower price($800-$900) look at the Origin Live website, under the Turntable Kits heading. They have a suspended TT kit, called the Ultra, that they say can be assembled in under 2 hours. It was reviewed in 2001 by British Hi Fi press as sounding better than the similarly priced models from Clearaudio, VPI, Sota, Sumiko Pro-Ject, and a tie with the Audio Note TT(Systemdek). It is ugradeable to DC motor and battery power, and has a OL modded Rega arm, which is a killer arm for the money. Galen Carol Audio in Texas is a OL dealer, and I'm sure he can get you the TT kit.
Thank you, Twl. I’m afraid that some of my points weren’t as clear as they should have been, especially after I’d deleted enough of my long-winded post to fit it onto the forum.

My idea with the Teres project was not to buy the complete kit, but to purchase the platter assembly (platter/bearing/housing...) and the motor assembly (motor/pulley/controller card...) for about $1000 altogether, and to build the rest of the TT myself - once I knew what I was doing. I thought that a first turntable project (say, upgrading a Thorens TD-160 per might be a nice step between where I am now and where I’d like to be some day with the Teres, and I’d have a turntable to go with the new ‘expertise’ when I was finished. I’d thought to take my time and sort of savor that first project, though, hence the second question re a ‘no waiting’ turntable, per Buhaki’s suggestion (that’s my cat).

I do wonder whether someone who has done some DIY turntabling might have some favorite resources, references, projects..anything to get a person closer to being able to obtain a few key components (from Teres or wherever else you can get really great TT parts at a modest cost) and to build the rest himself. I wonder if you can manifest the same sort of magic building a turntable as you can building speakers - with a few good components and some research and workshop time, you put together something that can barely be approached sonically for several times the cost otherwise, and that has, as if that weren’t enough, a one-of-a-kind beauty that resonates with your own creative taste.

BTW, Twl, when I said that you had pointed me in the direction of Teres, I was referring to a thread I read several weeks ago, not the recent AR one. Many of your threads (themselves many!) have meant a lot to my wife and me on our way back into recorded music. Keep up the good words.
Thanks for the kind words.
If you want to do a 2 stage thing, then I would reiterate my feelings from the AR post. Get a Rega Planar 2/RB250. Then get used to how to set up a cartridge, and deal with analog equipment. When you decide to move up to the Teres, whether you make the base or buy one, you can transfer the arm from the Rega to the Teres. The RB250 arm is the best part of the Rega Planar 2. Then you can upgrade the arm with the Origin Live modifications, and have a killer arm on a killer TT. Alot of folks think that a OL modded Rega RB250 is about the best arm under $1k.

By the way, when the Teres was still a project, all the buyers made their own bases. No base was available. You got a bearing, platter, and motor unit. If you want to see some examples of Teres TTs with DIY bases, then go to the Teres website, and click on the Teres Project section, and then click on the "Teres Hall of Fame". There are about 25 pictures and descriptions of home-made Teres TTs that used the platter/bearing/motor from the original Teres project. You might get some ideas from there for your own project.
So perhaps 'building the rest' isn’t as esoteric and tricky as I’d thought it might be. It would be convenient if simply the good care and feeding of the interim turntable would be enough of an education to approach building a proper base and putting the whole 'ultimate' thing together successfully later on. Back in my day you left table/arm/cartridge set-up to the experts, or we did, anyway - but the experts were emphatic about the importance of our leaving it to them. We didn’t touch their delicate adjustments, just played the records.

Re the no-waiting table: As far as I know, we would have a hard time living with the Rega 2 until the spring, which is when I’d be starting work on the Teres (or whichever platter/motor seems the best way to go at that point). I had been wondering about a P25, though. Is the RB 600 not as ‘mod-friendly’ as the RB 250, perhaps? And do I wind up with a better arm in fully modifying a 250 than in partially modifying a 600, or are the end results fairly similar, or...?

By the way, are we alone in here? Is it something about DIY in the subject, I wonder? It's probably my chatty post. I'll be more concise next time - I got sort of carried away by the party of bringing recorded music back into the house!
Yep, I think we're pretty much alone in here.

The P25 is a nice table and the 600 is a good arm. It is not quite as mod-friendly as the 250, because the modded 250 will exceed the modded 600. The 600 can be considered better in some areas like bearing quality and tapered tube, but the 250 has no spring operated VTF adjuster, which imparts a resonance on the tonearm. The VTF spring on the 600 can be defeated by setting the VTF to 3 grams(factory defeat setting) and then VTF can be applied via moving the counterweight ala RB250. The upshot is that you pay more for the 600, and can get better results with the 250 when it's modded. Also, you may have more trouble selling the P25 with no arm on it, and the used Planar 2 you can just basically toss out since you got your money out of it with the tonearm, or sell for $100 to get some money back.

If you feel like you need the performance of the P25 for the short term, there is nothing really wrong with the 600 arm, and it will mod very close to the 250. So you would not be hurting yourself later with that arm. Or you could just get a P25 and use it, and then sell the whole thing(which would be alot easier to sell), and get the new tonearm when you buy the Teres Kit. Teres is selling Expressimo modded RB250 arms with the Cardas re-wire, SS end stub, VTA adjuster, and drop counterweight, for $475 complete. This is less(or pretty close) than a stock RB600 arm. The modded 250 will significantly outperform a stock 600.

So, there are a couple of ways to go with this.
I appreciate that. Thank you.