The only classic turntable on your short list is the Rega. It has been refined over several generations. IMHO, it is, by far, the best turntable on your list.
Let's talk phono stages and cartridges. The phono stages that you have picked are suitable for MM and MC cartridges. Again IMHO, they do both well, and neither very well. My pick would be the Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 phono stage, another classic, with the Audio Techica AT120E or AT150ML cartridges, no doubt, others will see it differently.
If you go Rega and you have a little wiggle room on the money, I'd sure go for the P5 over the P3/24. It would be worth the minimal extra money just to get the RB700 tonearm over the RB301.
If you go mail order there are a fair number of decent tables at $1100-1500, such as the Origin Live Aurora Mk II, Sota Comet, the Marantz, Clearaudio Concept, Music Hall MMF 7.1, and the Pro-Ject Xperience Classic.
Am I reading something wrong,,your system list a Scoutmaster!So you already
have a nice TT and phonostage?
Assuming you sold the VPI ??? Then I agree the Rega has a long track record and a large list of admirers. I would add a Graham Slee phono stage to your choices but the Musical Surroundings again is very popular. I think it has a lot of options for load etc.
I would buy a VPI Scoutmaster if that is in your sights over all other choices BTW. I love my VPI.
I would go for the 3/24 with a simple phono stage such as the Project Tube Box. It will keep you satisfied at a modest cost and then bring good resale after a year or two when you figure out what you really want. The Scouts are fine, but I think the Rega is more plug and play, as opposed to the VPI that require some skill to set up the unipivot tonearm.
Also take a look at the PS Audio GCPH. You can find them new for around $600 and they can be used as a stand alone pre amp. Extremely clean mids and highs, fast tight low end and dead quiet.
what about the rega P5 with DV 10x5 with the PS audio phono stage,
i am getting great results, with higher end audio gear, like the Ayon Triton and the AZ crescendos satisfy for a while i guess,
PS audio phono it is a great deal for the money, very flexible,
My condolences upon the loss of your father. My Dad passed away on January 19, and it's sometimes pretty tough for me to listen to his favorite records without him sitting by my side. But, ya' know what, his love of music is living on within me, and it feels really good. Maybe both of our dads will sit up there together in the clouds and enjoy their favorite tunes !
For what it's worth, my Rega P3-24/Exact 2 combination is quite good. In my room, with my system, and to my ears, it's the perfect "reasonably priced" analog front end. Good luck, and Happy Listening !
Hi Charles - I agree with Viridian and Johnny - the Rega is by far the best table on your list, and I also agree with Johnny that the arm on the P5 makes a big step up from the P3-24, definitely worth the extra money.
Not many people here would agree but I would take the Pro-Ject RM-5 SE (actually 5.1 now) over the P3-24. My dealer sells both and recommended the Pro-Ject, after listening to them side by side I agreed. Both of these tables will need their optional speed controls to sound their best, which some would consider a negative. If you can stretch to the Rega P5 that's a solid upgrade over both.
I am enjoying my Marantz TT15 s2 coupled with a PS Audio GCPH. It provides all the PRAT you are after, along with quiet performance and a three dimensional soundstage. Great on jazz, rock, acoustic, vocals. Natural sybillants, and a nice overall detailed yet neutral sound. Used you would be in the 1500 ballpark, including the excellent Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge. This is my entry level foray and I will be upgrading at some point to improve the overall low end performance which is good but not the be all end all. Music direct was great to work with for the Marantz. I found the GCPH used here.
Thank you all for your kind responses. And just know that while I received all of this advice from you all, I've been proactive in my search also.
And now, I will be adding the Rega P5 to my shortlist. And this is right along with the Rega P3-24 and the Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE.
I also have a classic Thorens TD-165 in my possession now. But it will need a dust cover (the one I have now is cracked in one place, and actually broken off in one of the front corners), it needs a cartridge (and I'll be looking at a Grado Prestige Gold Mk II for this particular "table"), the arm and the suspension needs to be adjusted and calibrated, and it may need a new belt as well. If this turntable requires more work than it is actually worth, then I will opt for one of the Regas listed in the last paragraph.
I am still at a lost as to what cartridge I will be using with the Regas (the Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE already has a cartridge that I already like, all I got to do is plug it in and start spinning), and right now, I am still looking at Sumikos at this point.
And for the Phono Stage.... I will definitely add the PS Audio GCPH to my shortlist. Right up to the point that I will get a used here at "A-Gon" (provided the price is reasonable).
WOW!!!! Looks like my foreray into the analog journey is going to be just as adventuresome as ride is going to be when I finally get finished acquiring all the pieces.
Again..... thanks for all the advice I received so far and keep it coming.
Well, I took my own advice and put my money where my mouth is. Bought a P25 and I am driving up to Seattle this weekend to pick it up. I'm pretty excited, having owned various Regas over the years, but not in the last five or so.