Their is a Nottingham Dais and SME V combo for sale (I have no cennection) that would be tough to beat for the used dollars.
I've owned the Meitner combo and currently own the Dais with 12" Anna combo
I would hold off until right after CES. There is a new turntable coming out that will be launched at the show. It should be incredible! Sorry I cannot say more.
IMO, there is no question you can top the performance of your EMM Labs digital gear with an analog front end. As good as the Meitner gear is - and it is the very best digital front end I have personally ever heard - a top notch analog front end is, to my ears, in another league.
I am very pleased with my current analog rig, which consists of the latest model VPI TNT, the SME IV tonearm and the Dynavector XV-1s cartridge. Some ideas in higher end turntables that meet your "low maintenance" criterion are the Brinkmann Balance and Lagrange, the Simon Yorke S7, and the SME 30/2. I believe all of these could likely give you what you are looking for.
Dear Macallan25: +++++ " It would be my first TT " +++++
How many LP's do you own?, here the software is really important too.
Btw, I agree with Cincy about the cartridge and tonearm. For the TT: Acoustic Signature, Verdier, SME or Basis.
+++++ " a top notch analog front end is, to my ears, in another league. " +++++
I agree with, at least with Redbook.
Regards and enjoy the music.
After reading many posts on this site, it seems to be the consensus of opinions that a high quality turntable will beat the best digital gear including the Meitner. I respectfully disagree, after listening with my system as follows: VPI Scoutmaster, with a Clearaudio Discovery cartridge which has a Thor Audio Phono stage, Thor Audio TPA 150 watt Monoblocks, Quad 988's, and on the digital side a Cary 306/200 which I use as a transport, with a Thor Audio Dac, I can say that on identical music, the digital cd side wins 8 out of ten times. I know that I am in the minority on this one, but with a quality CD/Sacd
the music has more depth, more dynamics than with my turntable and my phono stage by Thor Audio which is top notch, and so is my Linestage by Thor Audio really super. I just find the CD sound superior. Now in the interest of getting better turntbale sound I was thinking about spending another $3000.00 and upgrading to the Super Scoutmaster, with the new JMW-9 arm, but now I am in for $5500.00 with a nine inch arm. I might be better waiting until I can spend $5000-$6000.00 on another table with a 10-12 inch arm. Supposedly the longer arm yields better performance. Either my didgital performance is super or my turntable performance just doesn't do it for me. Any comments would be appreciated.
Dear Kjl: I know very well your cartridge ( I owned ) and I think that your tonearm is not the best match for it. The Discovery likes a medium-high mass tonearm with solid and very well made bearings, like SME or Ikeda tonearms. I think that you have " to play " a little more with the VTA on the Discovery. This cartridge is a very good music performer.
Of course that a better TT can help.
Now, there is another issue and is that the LP's and the CD's are not produced ( engineering ) the same.
There is no single reason for a better dynamics on the CD " per se ". The LP has a more extended frecuency dynamic extension, more natural music presentation and better tonal balance. Where the CD could be better is on the low bass response. Now, the SACD and DVD Audio is something diferent , better tan the Redbook and very near from LP. In some recordings it can even or beat the LP.
I know that, like you say, your Thor electronics are top notch but the use of SUT's is not the best for the quality music sound reproduction.
Regards and enjoy the music.
What are Sut'S?
SUT = step-up transformer
I love my EMM stack, but once again my simple Nottingham Hyperspace, SME V & VdH Condor are simply more enjoyable on more music. I don't know what I have going on but it is incredible. Mind you it isn't a huge difference, but large enough that I almost listen only to Vinyl. The EMM is very good on CD & excellent on SACD. Still SACD although technically better than CD & very close or better than Vinyl can still lose the musicality of vinyl.
My main concern would be the lack of SACDs & more music coming available on Vinyl all the time.
Hope I have helped.
I'm in the decided minority on this one, but in my experience the EMM CDSD/DCC2 combo is simply the best source I've ever heard, period. And I've heard a number of SOTA turntables--in my home, in other people's homes, and at shows. Sure, top-notch analog does things that SOTA digital doesn't, but the converse is also true. I don't feel that it's a matter of one format's unquestioned superiority over the other. I think it's a matter of presentation. For me, the Meitner stack suits my sonic priorities to a T. IMHO, if you want a turntable, you'd be buying it for the sonic DIFFERENCES, not necessarily because it's out-and-out better than the Meitner. That's my view, and I'm sticking with it.
Dear Hooper: +++++ " . For me, the Meitner stack suits my sonic priorities ... " +++++
That's all about: our music sound priorities.
I respect your personal opinion, your sonic priorities,
and for mines the Redbook can't match the LP analog source, it does not matters if is Meitner or dSc players.
Digital Redbook technology is a very limited one against the LP " old " technology for a " real " music sound reproduction ( if you put a thread about we can have a dialogue on it ). Now, the digital DVD-A technology is something diferent and can compete against the LP one.
I don't know if when you speak about " sonic preiorities " you are talking about music priorities in a real event: live music. Mines have foundations on live music not on home audio system music.
Regards and enjoy the music.