Help for my return to vinyl -- $2K rig.

I'm thinking of buying my first TT, cartridge and phono preamp. I grew up listening to records and have perhaps 100 saved up from my youth.

As part of a move, I decided to upgrade my system, and my dealer is a devout vinyl guy-- I listened to a bunch of vinyl while auditioning amplifiers and really loved the sound. The setup I listened to most was a Rega RP-6 through either a bellari or rega phono stage (I'll just try to forget what I heard through the Shindo/Garrard rig in the big room). I believe that rig gets close to $3K including a cartridge, which is just a bit higher than I want to go at this point. I'm thinking $1,500-$2,000 for a new TT/Cartridge and used phono stage. I don't generally like to buy used components with lots of moving parts, but electronics are generally fine.


Line Magnetic 518IA (22 Watt Integrated 845 SET)
Merlin TSM-MME
Cary 306/200

Here's the thing-- my budget will be high enough next year to get the Rega Rig mentioned above, maybe even something nicer, so if I'm going to be disappointed by the offerings in my current price range, maybe I should just wait a year rather than buying some typical entry-level rig and losing the money the minute I drive them off the lot and realize I want more. OTOH, I'd like to enjoy some vinyl now. I'll appreciate suggestions.

I would consider the VPI Scout (old model) for $1750 at Upscale Audio OR the new VPI Scout 1.1 for $1950. Include the Ortofon 2M Black MM cartridge and I think you have a great package in your price range.
Your system consists of some high quality components and it would be a mistake to compromise on a new budget turntable. Quell your buying used phobia and purchase the Basis 2001 with modified RB250 currently listed for 1600.00 which will be a solid foundation for years to come.
Spending less to begin with usually doesn't save money in the long run.
BTW no relation to seller
2 small steps ultimately cost more than 1 big step. I would wait for available funds and purchase what you want.
Thanks for your thoughts. The Line Magnetic and Merlins do make for a pretty resolving pair that won't suffer a subpar front end very well. I'm thinking forbearance might be the better part of valor here. May have to wait till next year.

OTOH, I don't think my mom would mind me borrowing her 1980s era B&O TT. I could always use my budget to buy a quality used phono preamp right now and wait until next year to buy a TT that would really make my heart flutter. Makes sense or do i stop squirming and just put the analog rig on hold?
Put down the $2k on the Garrard rig and the rest either on the credit card or work something out with the dealer.
The big problem with the B&O table will be the cartridge. It may be need to be replaced, if it has never been changed, which may be the case.
I agree with the VPI Scout table as a very worthy start if paired with a good cartridge. There are usually very good 'previously owned" phono stages for sale. I think you will be very happy with a Scout, but then you'll want a record cleaning machine before too long LOL. - there are several manual cleaning rigs that work just fine.
I don't think debt is the way to go but that is a personal decision.
Second thoughts: buy a used 401, a 12" Jelco arm and an Ortofon Bronze and order a plinth from the guy on eBay. Figure 800 for the deck, 700 for the arm and cable, 400 for plinth and 500 (or starter AT95 for 100) for cartridge. A bit of reading on servicing and help here will get you a top dog setup.
Thought i made it clear I need the total cost of turntable + cartridge + phono stage to be under $2K. These suggestions are all close to or over $2k without the phono stage, and some of them will still need a cartridge after that. The Shindo version of the 301 is $25K alone.

I guess I'll be waiting a year to buy my vinyl rig after all.
Croft Acoustics RIAA Phono Preamp $995
Sota Moonbeam turntable arm included $750
Grado Silver $200
Second the Croft Phono. Just roll out the JJs.
I agree with Rhl though I am not familiar with the Basis . Buy the TT/arm combination that you can afford. Buy an inexpensive Cartridge and used phonostage as these can be improved upon as you expand your vinyl collection. My TT/arm have served me for 32 years.
My stereo is a step down from yours, and I have been down this road in the past with a rig in that price range. I currently am saving and waiting. Vinyl is great, but the gear adds up in comparison to a one-box CDP.
I agree with Rhljazz, purchase the Basis 2001 with modified RB250 currently listed for $1,600

Then buy these two items below and you should be at about $2,000 including shipping.

Yaqin Audio MS-22b Mullard tubes RIAA phono stage $150
Sumiko Blue Point Special mc less than 200hrs $150

I think starting with a Basis TT, which is a bargain in the used market, is much better than buying an entry level TT.

If you get upgrade fever, you can get a Basis Vector tonearm, add a MC transformer in front of the Yaquin and buy a MC cartridge. All of which will make a big difference. If you deceide to upgrade later I would upgrade the arm first.

No relation to any of the sellers.
If you really just want a decent table that comes with a cartridge you should look over the Music Hall offerings. I own an MMF-5 which came with a cart. Not sure if the current one does. It should get you started after getting a decent phono stage, for well under $2k and much closer to $1K. It is simple and pleasant.
Second Mechans suggestion . I got the newer MF 5.1 with their 2.2 phono stage , MF's cartridge (made by Ortofon) plus cables and 3 used albums from my dealer for $1,100 out the door . Very listenable .
If you were to omit the phono stage it would be less than 1k . Then just add whatever used piece that strikes your fancy and budget .
Buying a used TT can be a crapshoot if it has to be shipped . I believe that there is a thread here on that subject not too long ago .

Just start with something and see what you like and don't like , then adjust . Procrastination really doesn't sound all the great !

Good luck .
OK, so some time has gone by and I'm ready to buy a vinyl rig. Cash reserves have replenished, so we now have about $3K to spend on the whole setup, including cartridge and phono preamp.

My dealer has suggested:

Rega RP-6
Dynavector 20X2 Cartridge
Dynavector P-75 (current version)

A big advantages is that the shop will set up everything for me so it's pretty darn plug and play. I have never set up a turntable and don't want to get very involved with it.

Kind of a no- brainer. Since you don't want to get involved with it go with your dealer. What other options do you have?
Someone could suggest either a completely idiot-proof used turntable or reasonable set-up service in/around New York City that would address my set-up concerns and yield the lower price of a used table, or offer an opinion of another new analog rig in my budget that would be better.

I'm also very open to used phono stages that cost about the same as the Dynavector-- $850 or so.
Your response above makes sense .....

"My dealer has suggested:

Rega RP-6
Dynavector 20X2 Cartridge
Dynavector P-75 (current version)"

Seems like a no-brainer decision, especially if your dealer will set it all up for you. The Rega RP6/Dynavector combo should keep you very happy for a long, long time.
Your dealer is offering you a great gig for $3,000.00. However, you can do MUCH BETTER! There is an Rega RP40 selling for $995.00 in Agon which is basically an RP6 for $600.00 less. Go for a used P-75 I or II for about $500.00 and buy a new Lyra Delos.

The RP40 comes fitted with a special edition Elys you may be able to sell for $200.00.

I have owned 15+ tables in 25+ years in this hobby and I currently own a heavily modified RP3 that comes closer to RP8 standards with a P-75/Delos combo. To my ears, best combination ever owned.
@kiko65, basically a RP6? Same plinth?

I would recommend getting a RP6, Audio-Technica AT33PTG/II from 2juki on ebay, a Groovetracer reference RP6 subplatter and either the dyna or a Jasmine LP 2 mkII phono preamp. And get the clearaudio LP that does the 1K tone and check your belt. I had a white belt but sold it after the black was more on par for speed. Have a red belt to try. I should do that tonight...
Get a VPI Scout with the Dynavector 20X and get a VPI P75 phono, but I must tell you that the Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 SE Phono or get the MC version of the Graham Slee make a killer set. You may have some money left over to buy a few LPs. If you are buying used (except the Cartridge) You should have plenty left to buy music.
VPI Travelor w/ Grado Presidge 1 cartridge or Dynavector 20X
It gives the higher priced VPI rigs a run for their money
Due to upgrading I have a used RP-6 in red soon to be up for sale in like new condition. If you were interested.
Yes Sbrownnw,
Exactly the same plinth, double brace tech, tonearm, 24v motor, sub-platter, belt, and bearing assembly. A "metal cap" snaps on top of the sub-platter to fit the glued, two parts glass platter. The only main difference is the addition of the TT-PSU which comes standard with both the RP6 and RP40. Actually, the RP40 has better feet and a better belt plus comes with a cart.

I'm a big fan of Rega. That said, Rega TTs up to the RP6 are considered a great value albeit their limitations. This is why so many Rega owners love to tweak their TTs. Groovetracer's (to name just one company) reference sub-platter (zirconium ball/sapphire thrust plate), delrin platter, and counterweight are superior to Rega's entry level equals, but no longer necessary when you move up to the RP8/RP10 line.

Not to take anything away from the AT cart but the Delos is in another league.
try to look this up!continuo/cwnw

I have restored and tweaked garrard 401 with 12-inch ortofon arm and the rig above competes toe to toe with it. The garrard is little more dymanic but the continuo with opus 3 LT arm wins in other aspects like gracefulness, delicacy.
The RP3 and RP6 are not the same plinth / internals.
Yes they are Sbrownnw.
The RP6 has more internal reinforcements and results in a heavier mass
Internal reinforcements? Please explain yourself. As far as I know, it's the same plinth with different coating for a high gloss finish, nothing more, nothing less.

I did a head to head comparison with same phono pre and, to my ears, there was no difference between the two.

reason why I ended up buying the RP3. Both great tables but if you like tweaking (like me), the extra money was not worth it.

my current tweaked RP3 gives the RP3 a run for it's money for $2,500.00. A $500.00 saving that I used for a top cart (Lyra Delos).

RP3 plinth w/Doble brace tech, 24V motor, and bearing well, everything else is gone.
RP8 tonearm
Groovetracer reference sub-par
Groovetracer delrin platter
Groovetracer 130 gm counterweight
Edwards Audio little belted
Dayton Audio brass cone threaded footers
Zirconia bearing with sapphire thrust pad.
Looks like a good place to start:

rp3 vs rp6 vs rp8

Also read that it has additional CNC machining and reinforcements here and other places. Plus I like the sound of the heavier glass platter on the RP6 plus the Groovetracer Reference RP6 subplatter brings it to another level...
Darn speller on my cell phone (much easier with the iPad).
I meant that my tweaked RP3 gives the RP8 it's run for the money.
I also meant to say "little belter" and not "belted".
Sorry for the typos.
Sbrownnw,I strongly believe that the RP8 is in another league compared to the RP3 and/or RP6. The way the 24v motor is cased and tuned plus the addition of a much better sub-platter, 3 layer platter, and double pulley/white belt assembly no longer requires any other upgrade from the likes of Groovetracer. The only tweaks I would recommend for the RP8 and/or 10 would be the counterweight.
One thing we can agree on is that Rega's latest incarnation of turntables are far superior than their previous generation. The RB808 is simply one of the best tonearms I've ever owned, comparable to the late RB1000 and, to my ears, better than Linn Ekos. My current TT replaced a rather expensive Linn Sondek LP12/Lingo/Linto/Ekos/Akiva combo and I don't miss it at all!
Happy listening!
buy a good condition, used Technics SL1200mk2 (or 1210). Send it off to KAB. Have Kevin install the tonearm damper, tonearm rewire, outboard power supply and the wax thrust plate damper. Install an Audio Technica AT150MLX cartridge.

Phono preamp flavor of your choice (and don't skimp here).
Hello Sbrownnw,

Been doing a little research on the Rega TTs and here is what I found:

The RP3 and RP6 plinths are slightly different:

RP6 - made from medium-density fiberboard
RP3 - made from coarser particle board

The finishes are different as I stated before.

The braces are also slightly different:

RP6 - the top brace is a sandwich of aluminum and phenolic RP3 - the top brace is all phenolic

The dustcover hinges are secured diferently:

RP6 - are secured with screws that are an inch and a half long and heavier-gauge
RP3 - used half-inch screws with lighter gauge.

Not sure if any of this will provide a significant sonic improvement/difference (not to my ears).

Anyways, you were right.
Consider a Clearaudio table; sometimes the Performance DC comes up for around 2K.

Great engineering, simple no fuss setup, clean, accurate sound.
Look for a late model Rega P9(RB1000). Ask any P9 owner(included)and they will tell you a used P9($2500?) is impossible to better. The RB1000 tonearm will due justice for a mid-level Koetsu. Not many(if any)$2500 decks can pull that off!