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. 

Did you find it finicky to configure?
Rolled my own phono cable, and it seemed to have taken some of the top end brightness off the system.  What fun the tweaking is.
Continue to listen and it seems to be coming along.  The phone cable I put together I think is better than my reused rcas.

morphine is sounding really good.  
Can a cart change make really a huge difference? Looking at a clear audio virtuoso v2 for what seems to be a good price.

Can a cart change make really a huge difference?

huge, as in bigger than big :)
Is it the biggest contributor to a decks sound?  Looking at the ultra versus studio they seem pretty close except for the carts.

Have a lead on a Clear Audio Virtuoso v2 for about four bills, which seems to be reasonable and what was in the Marantz.  Would this make a big jump compared to my studio tracker?