Help with TT ideas for my first TT


Hi All,

I have been reading alot of reviews and searching around for my first TT.  ALot of recent recordings that i want are basically only coming out on vinyl or super crappy mp3.  I have an Aaron integrated amp, with some custom built SB Acoustic Monitors (Bromo).

I am looking at the marketplace in the 1 - 1.5k range and see I can find alot of different solutions and wanted to get peoples thoughts:

Marantz tt-15 - Seems like  bargain at 1500, but difficult to setup
Clearaudio Concept - good reviews, bumps against the magnetic arm (Cement floor at my place)
Music Hall MMF 7.3 - Seems like a great solution
VPI Cliff Wood
Pro-ject X1 or X2 - Have read some reports of motor noise
Rega Planar 2 or 3 - Seems to be they are what they are

With such a crowded field how do people choose?  I live in Central Mass, and dont have alot of options in terms of auditions so would love to get peoples thoughts. 
kro77
rega rp3 (with the better tonearm) -- easy peasy, sounds very good, over time get a better cartridge

just make sure it is well placed, isolated

you will need to spend thousands to better it
Which one is the better tone arm?
Thought abought the highly rated MOFI tts?
Looking at the refurb MoFi Ultradecks now....

anyone have them, love the look.
When I wanted to add a new current production TT to my collection of vintage TT's I chose the Pioneer PLX1000. At $700 and another $300 for a Denon 103R mc cartridge this is a combination hard to beat for the performance/cost ratio!
Clearaudio Concept - lean, analytical
Music Hall MMF 7.3 - Warmer, which is what you want in a budget component. "Seems like a great solution" Yes it does.
VPI Cliff Wood Another similar warmer more forgiving sound.
Pro-ject X1 or X2 - Have read some reports of motor noise
Rega Planar 2 or 3 - Maybe not as lean as Clearaudio, but close.

Setup and convenience of use are important but difficult setup is almost always exaggerated. More practical concern is cartridge output, since if its too low its hard to find a good phono stage for it in your price range. 

Really hard to go wrong with any of them. But if MMF seems like a great solution it probably is.
I am hearing the marantz maybe a good value of parts but they dont really work well together, or are harder to manage to get good sound out of compared to the others.,
How does the MoFi compare to the Music hall solutions, i believe both were Class B recommendations in 2018 by stereophile
Brother in law has the MoFi on Ginko isolation with Ortofon Bronze - sounds great. 
argh more choices, I came here with 6 now up to 8.

Based on the list what are things that people think could be over rated or at the bottom of the list.  Seems like the 1 - 1.5k range is very busy with lots of good options.

The MMF, MoFo and Rega seem to be moving to the top of the pack.
That was meant as a joke BTW, re-reading it sounded kind of DBgy..
Well, I have heard the Marantz, alas none of the other tts mentioned. 
In comparing the Marantz to my SME 10 A (using SME V tonearm) I could only be positive surprised i.e. there was hardly, if any, performance difference for me to discern.
(Look up my system for perspective of what I'm saying). 
Depending on the quality of cartridge used it could be argued to sound even better. 
YMMV, as always.
Also it is a VERY attractive looking deck, for who likes a more 'modern' yet solid looking deck. 
M. 
That is a pretty big comparison as I think that is like a 6 - 7k setup.  Could it be that the Marantz name just does not have the Cache of some of the other boutique brands?


Could it be that the Marantz name just does not have the Cache of some of the other boutique brands?
Could be one aspect for sure as Marantz is NOT the first name that springs into most audiophools minds when you mention TT.
I have always thought it was a nice looking piece which may also help people dismiss it as a "serious" piece of gear.
Maybe if they tripled the price........
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I've owned a MMF 7.1, the Concept, and a Clearaudio Emotion (very similar to the TT-15).

The Concept was a really nice table but super sensitive to footfalls.  Didn't work with the springy floors in my house.   Shouldn't be a problem with cement floors.

Not sure what makes you think the TT15 is hard to set up? My Emotion was easy enough to set up. A little fussy in terms of keeping the motor in place, belts  coming off, and grounding. The Virtuoso is really good, but not as good as a similarly priced cartridge like a Hana SL. And it's really easy to break of the cantilever. 

The MMF 7.1 is solid, not fussy, well isolated, and can sound really nice with a good cartridge. That would be my recommendation of the ones I have experience with. 

I would also recommend the Mofi deck. I've spent some time listening to one and found it very engaging and it didn't seem to be fussy in any way. 
You do have options. Fidelis in Nasuha, NH & Goodwins in
Waltham. Doesn't get much better that them two. 
Kro 77, Hey I'm up in southern NH!
Anyway, you might want to look at the MoFi Studiodeck. I have a friend in the business who thinks that is the best low priced TT. I have not used any of these turntables so I have no direct opinion. Certainly if you are just getting started I would not spend anything more than you are. It would be a pity to spend $5K on a table to find out you don't like it. I would say once you get to 100 records you might consider moving up.  
Technic's 1200GR with vintage Nos cart and your good to go. Such an easy table to set up and the arm is quite decent. It will last forever too!
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MOFI StudioDeck.  Check out the reviews.
Do your self a favor and just seek out one of the many used VPI Scouts, preferably with the acrylic platter and the original 9 arms and forget about it. These are some of the best bang for the bucks in audio. I know I just opened the door for the anti unipivot guys but what the hell. There are several listed here, a little over priced for what they are asking and a few on the other selling site that should be able to negotiate to $1,100.00 to $1,200.00. Enjoy the music
"Do your self a favor and just seek out one of the many used VPI Scouts, preferably with the acrylic platter and the original 9 arms and forget about it. These are some of the best bang for the bucks in audio."

They are!
I hate to say this (not really) But VPI makes some of the worst turntables on the market. Their engineering is strictly stone age. I'm in big trouble now 🥵  The truth will set you free? 
Well it didn't take long now did it? I didn't realize they built turntables in the stone age, found one on an archaeological dig, did they? Enjoy the music
Hoping this is not a flame war, just looking for insights.
Just ignore them OP.
You have still had many great suggestions so far and I would say it is time to do some more research on those tables.
Yeah I am doing some research, which some of the discounts thinking of starting with a MoFi Deck as it has a 60 day guarantee and then go from there.  Seems the lowest risk option and see where I go from there.


The MoFi is a good choice in that price range. Was looking at the Ultradeck until I went absolutely crazy. In a good way of course. No regrets.
How did you skip Technics? Their new offerings would be an easy pick. Virtually no set-up, too.

Aside from them, roberjerman's Pioneer PLX 1000 recommendation is a good one. Do not be discouraged by the idea of "DJ" etc. That turntable works well even with Ortofon 2M Red. Going up to roberjerman's Denon cartridge may only bring it higher.
I've had a new model Rega Planar 2 and eventually upgraded the arm to the RB330 (used in the planar 3 and 6). My dad has a new model Planar 6 and I currently have a current gen Planar 8. The current model planar 3 seems to be the sweet spot on pricing vs features/quality. I would be looking for a deal on a Planar 3 or 6 if you can swing it. Both are great tables.

I dont have any experience with the MoFi tables but they seem well regarded amongst the people who own them. Seems to be a solid choice..

Not 100٪ sure, but I believe Marantz table is made by Clearaudio (or at least uses some parts sourced from them). I have read several accounts of owners saying it was a great table but they ultimately ditched it for something else due to what ever reason. Take that with a grain of salt as I have no personal experience with this table.
Clearaudio did advance the art with the development of the magnet thrust system on their bearings and their motors are excellent but otherwise their turntables do not offer much more than VPI tables do. Their tonearms vacillate between pretty good and downright terrible.
VPI's unipivot arms are downright terrible. Their new gimbal bearing arm is a vast improvement. Both VPI and Clearaudio are more interested in cosmetics than performance. Thus the turntables at the bottom end of their ranges give more performance for the money. With their more expensive units both companies become hyper focused on isolating the platter from the motor instead of isolating the entire turntable from everything else in the environment which IMHO is far more important given modern motors are very quiet and are spinning quite slowly. 

it is a pretty competitive market... all these are similarly well performing products, no dogs in the bunch - just choose based on what attributes/conveniences matter to you -- mofi decks seem to have a lot of buzz, of course, regas and projects and clearaudios have been out there forever for good reason
Get a Technics direct drive (SL1500C).  Great table at a great price.
No belts to fiddle with:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-M69FZQj3bRn/p_133SL1500B/Technics-SL-1500C-Black.html?XVINQ=GLX&aw...

I just bought and returned a Rega Planar 3 because it had a very very loud hum as the cartridge moved close to the spindle. If you search for that issue, seems not uncommon. I’m going to try a Pro-Ject X2 now. But do look at the Rega hum issue. Seems some don’t have a problem, but I was already at budget and didn’t want to experiment with different cartridges and such. I just wanted a $1K turntable I could enjoy. Planar 3 wasn’t it. 
Pro-Ject The Classic SB as offered with a Sumiko Blue Point Special HO moving-coil is awfully attractive for $1200. I don't care for Rega tables or carts, but I do like their tonearms. Clearaudios beautiful, but beyond that they always seem pretty average. I have no experience with Mofi. My personal favorites are VPI, but 'real' VPI's are $3k for starters with cart. I strongly disagree with those who diss the VPI tonearms. Unipvots are like panel dipole speakers, they are capable of much when properly set up, but are not for everyone. 
+1 for MoFi and Rega Planer 3
I have owned a Planer 3 and was stunned with how much better it was over digital. And the MoFi has been very well received. They pulled out all the stops, considering price point, to create a modestly priced TT. I would get the best Ortophon cartridge you can afford.
Thanks for the feedback.  Why Ortofon? I was wondering is there a bug used market for carts or do people just change them out as the mess with them. 
Sorry for all the newb questions, but how do people decide on one? Seems like hard to demo compared to cables.

I have read blue and bronze are good but the mofi has some decent ones.  Thinking of sticking with mm to start. 
Just stick with the MoFi cart to start. Get your feet wet, and when you desire to get in deeper, by then, you will have done more research to decide if another cart is desired, or not. From what I have read, their carts are very good at their price point, and really, you are getting a good deal with the table package, as purchased separately, they aren’t ‘cheap’ carts. The StudioTracker, which comes with ‘your table’, I believe, sells for $200. The UltraTracker sells for $500.
Great thanks for the tips
My Studio Deck arrived today so will work on figuring and setting it up.  Ended up spending less than i had talked myself into at 918 bucks which seems like a really reasonable starting point.
Im with TooBlue.....they are easily repaired/modified and keep their trade-in value if you should want to move on, They are competitive at every price point. The most important contributor of good sound for vinyl is the setup.
Congrats @kro77  on your first deck! What cart did you choose? I'm with @bkeske go with modern cart like a MoFi to start. My first cart was a MoFi Master Tracker. It's good for the money!