Do I buy an upscale TT?

I recently heard a $50K TT at a friend’s and was floored by the performance.

It was a sound from a system I have never heard.

I have a very nice Woodsong Garrard 301, Tri-Planar arm and Grado Epoch 3 cartridge. Going into an Atma-Sphere MP-1 pre wt phono.

Discovered an affordable TT based on the Legendary Commonwealth idler drive TT (said to be among the best). One is $8500 and the other more elaborate one is $15K.

And there is another highly modified brass Garrard 401 for $10K. (said to be as good as the Commonwealth)

The big question is whether or not I am going to be pleased with the improvement in sound? There will certainly be a lot of hassle to change TTs!


I have found tables to make an enormous difference in sound. Obviously not just the table though, it's the whole rig from the table to the arm to the cartridge as well as the phono stage. Like any other component tho, different units will have different signatures. As someone else said, what was the 50k table and it's constituent parts? I'd say I less it was a Garrard that's not the way I'd go. I know there's a whole cohort or people that love idlers but if you look at current technology, idler isn't it. Take the Thorens for example. The original version of that table was an idler but when they resurrected it they made it a direct drive. I'd say that the DD technology has come a long long way and is as good as or better than many belt or idler drives. I have a brinkmann Bardo and it's absolutely amazing. 

In the end, what I'd say is try and listen to some high end analog rigs and see what YOU like before dropping 10k or more

@mglik you have a very nice system. Whether the Commonwealth or the tricked out 401 are better than what you have will be very much down to the details of their builds, how far they have been taken. Hard to know on paper.

Do you feel your table/arm/cart are setup to a high level? I know that's a hard question to answer. Its possible setup could account for some difference. 

 btw what table / arm / cart / phono blew you away? Just curious :)

Lastly, and I see you have fondness for idlers, which I totally understand, have you heard good direct drive ?



lug your TT to the friends…….

i agree on refining your thinking about what was different…..and discerning how that relates to strengths  / deficiencies in your gear and or setup….

Enjoy the music and the journey…