Been reading about the Jelco 850L and the other newer models as I look for arm with budget of ~ $1000 (new or used) to go with a Sota Star and Dynavector XX2mkII. Not a ton of user comments, but just about every one I've read (here, VA, vinylengine, and a few smaller boards) all imply thrilled owners and not a one who regrets the purchase. Sound quality performance value for its price is reportedly high and that has been my experience when I've heard the older 750 series and even their lower priced arms. Another arm under consideration is the Audiomods Series V.
My take so far:
Jelco: pro - longstanding reputation for quality, demonstrated by so many OEM arms provided to turntable manufacturers, good fit & finish, compatibility w/many carts of varying compliance, flexibility of changing headshells(including w/azimuth adjustment), high likelihood of parts/service if ever needed, likely decent resale value if I ever choose to go in another direction.
cons: extra electrical connection points @ armtube and headshell, lack of precise repeatable VTA adjustment (although EasyVTA aftermarket product can address this), knife edge bearings theoretically an improvement, but my impression is that in practice they often aren't ideal.
To use a car analogy is this the Toyota Camry of tonearms?
The Audiomods Series V:
pros: keeps the best aspect of the new Rega arm and replaces almost everything else with better design and quality parts, precise micrometer VTA adjustment, silver wire one piece loom from pins to plugs
cons: one man company uncertainties on parts/service if ever needed, relatively little user base or resale market, no opportunity to listen before buying, a bit more costly than the Jelco.
Hoping it's not a Saab 900; really cool when they were around but at some point a quirky performer from days gone by that might not be a keeper.
So anybody care to chime in on these or others that fit the bill in the same price range? If you're curious, the rest of the system is here: Austin City Within Limits