How much $$ in a TT to equal a midfi CDP

I'm intertested in getting into a turntable, but it's a scary task. I'd like to know what people here think I need to spend to surpass a 'rega planet' or 'rotel 971' level of sound. I 'm giving the comparison because if I cannot surpass the sound of these midfi CD players then I don't think I will spend money on a TT and records. I'm very interested in hearing the "record sound", but I guess I'm not sure if it can be done on a budget. Anyway, I obviously know very little about TT so any help would be great. Thanks.
Hi Mailman; yes, it can be done on a budget. A Music Hall MMF-5 TT from Audio Advisor is $500, comes with a $175. Goldring cartridge, and sounds great. Audio Advisor gives you a 30 day audition also. If you need a phono pre-amp, the Musical Fidelity XLP-S is about $275. and is very good. I auditioned this combination against my all Levinson digital front end and it compared very well-- except for the background noise of the LPs. In the end, I definitely preferred my Levinson gear (which should be quite a bit better than either the Rega or Rotel you mention) because of its much lower background noise level, ie as compared to the white noise, static of varoius kinds, and crackling of LPs. The louder "pops and ticks" did not bother me. On brand new virgin vinyl, this TT very nearly equaled my 10K+ digital front end-- I was impressed. In a recent issue of Stereophile, M. Fremer said (paraphrasing) "this TT will make a vinyl lover out of the most hardcore digiphile", and Listener Magazine recently gave this TT a rave review. IMHO, MF was wrong as I returned my MMF-5, but if you like the sound of records, this TT WILL compete with pretty high end digital-- assuming you can listen past the inherent vinyl background noise. I borrowed a good vacuum cleaner from a vinyl junkie friend and cleaned all LPs I played. I also purchased about $300. worth of HQ new vinyl to test this TT aqainst my digital system, and in many cases I had the same CDs and LPs for direct comparisons. One track of Creedence Clearwater Chronicle, "Green River" (a favorite) actually sounded better on vinyl than digital. The viny version had it all-- pace, rhythm, timing, timbre etc.-- Bass was not as deep, but it was more natural and convincing. If you don't mind all the fiddling around you have to do with vinyl, this combo can very nearly compete sonically with very HQ digital, and that's the beauty of it-- true high-end music on a budget. With this combo, a decent integrated, speakers, and wire, you can get into high end audio on a budget. I was playing the MMF-5 and my digital gear through about $15K worth of electronics, wire, and speakers. Good Luck. Craig.
i think if you buy used, a $2k rig, complete w/turntable, arm, cartridge, & fono-stage, will smoke *any* digital set-up. sure, digital has less background noise - but also less music. one person's opinion. doug
I've heard the Rega Planet in a good system and to me, it sounded a bit harsh, lacked harmonic continuity, and was not at all pleasant in the high frequencies. I think that there are many decent TT/cartridge combinations in the same price range that can paint a much more musical and coherent sonic portrait, without the digital harshness I heard and with a sweeter more extended high frequency spectrum. Middle of the road digital gear is not hard to beat...
What I have experienced is that analog, as in a TT, will give you a better 3 dementional sonic picture. Also, it seems to sound more organic, as in "real". This organic quality extends throughout the frequency range, for the most part. The above qualities is what help TT hold the cards over digital. When I want to be fooled into believing that I'm at an actual event, I turn off the lights and spin the "wax". Keep this in mind when you compare and I believe you will then become a believer. Otherwise, if you only look at frequency response, ie., comparing bass and treble extention, ect. and background noise, you will miss the boat. If people complain about background noise they either have a bad or worn pressing or are playing their system at well over 100db's. Yes, you can get groove noise and yes there can be pre-echo, however, a well set up and maintained system can minimize noise problems and when the music plays, even a loud volumes the noise will be masked. Although, I feel for classical lovers when it come to very quiet passages recorded on bad vinyl. Anyway, with that being said, I agree with the above post, "buy a used $2000.00 machine". Look at VPI's HW's MKIII or IV, Rega 25, or a Well Tempered. But, buy a "new" cart. Also, if you need a phono stage check out MF last article in SP. He reviewed a number of inexpensive stages and they too can be had on the used market. Finally, I would agree with the first post regarding the price of admission. A person could buy a Rega 3/2, MMF, or a cheaper Sota or VPI and still get that 3 dementional organic feeling. And finnally, finally, the one thing about vinyl is that it is a whole lot of fun. Looking for a finding great spots for used albums, ie., $2.00 is like the feeling you had as a child on your birthday! Enjoy!
1k will surpass the digital rigs you mention 2k will slay them.I recently bought a Well Tempered Classic with a Benz Micro GLider.I am in heaven.I sold my Anthem CD 1 which is a 1699.00 Cdplayer because the vinyl is better.