I NEED YOUR HELP with a turntable purchase

Hello Everyone,

I need your help with my first high end turntable purchase.
I will be purchasing in May.

I am looking for a really good turntable for my system. I am not sure which way to go. I checked out a Spiral Groove, and so far I really like that one, mainly for it's no nonsense approach and the ease of use. I have also heard about Basis, SME. SME seems to get really great reviews and their owners really seem to like them. I don't quite understand the significant upcharge to US customers though.

my budget is around $15-30k, hopefully including tonearm and cartridge. i could spend a bit more if necessary. i am NOT necessarily looking for the most expensive turntable, but I want the most bang for my bucks. The phone preamp will be Audio Research Phono Ref2.

the rest of my system consists of:
Preamp: Audio Research Anniversary Ref 40
Amps: Audio Research 610T
Speakers: Wilson Audio Maxx 3
Digital: dCS Scarlatti stack

I would appreciate and help you can give me.

15-30k you would be better off saving the scratch and picking up an used VPI classic TT.
You my friend need a Saskia!
I would talk with Albert Porter about a high end Technics SP-10 with a great tonearm such as a Graham Phantom, with the stellar Ortofon A-90 cartridge.

That, or a Sota Cosmos with the Phantom arm and Ortofon.

Good luck, I think you are going to love it.
You have an amazing assortment of fine turntables to choose from. You might have a look at the TW Acustics Raven. It is no nonsense, beautifully built, and fairly priced.
Get custom Simon Yorke and be set for life.
Does a particular design/style TT seem to work better with a certain type of set-up? ie: amp-pre/speaker combos? Example, I have low power SETs w/high efficiency speakers... the OP has a much different power/speaker set-up.
On the other hand, if you wish to start slowly, try that TW Raven or Fletcher Audio Omega Point Five with Zero tonearm or SME table/arm.
Consider the Transrotor Fat Bob. With a Phantom, Triplanar or SME tonearm and you'll be in heaven.
Thanks for all the responses.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the turntables that I listed in my post?
I am not opposed to purchasing used.
I have heard the Spiral Groove once. It was excellent. I feel the Ayre/DPS with Mr. Bauer's tonearm (which I have owned for about a year now) is just as good as the SG and so is another option you might want to consider. Better yet, consider the Shindo Garrard. As good as the Ayre/DPS and Spiral Groove are, the Shindo Garrard is in another class entirely.

BTW - That's one nice system you have!
SME 30/5.0 SME arm with an an Ortofon A90 and the Audio Research Reference Two phono preamp with be up to the quality of the rest of your system! I love my Continuum Criterion table, but wish I had it running through your Anniversary preamp!
Do you really need folks on this site telling you how to spend 15-30K on a TT :)
Most bang for the buck?
Buy a used Garrard 301 for 295,--$ and buy a plinth for it for 12000$.
any comments from the peanut gallery?
I would buy a VPI irrespective of what I had to spend.

Thanks again to all of you.
Thanks for your input too Chuck.
I do appreciate all of the feedback because i want to hear from people with first hand knowledge of some of these turntables. i don't want to make a mistake. of course i don't have to spend that amount of money on a table, and would not mind spending even less. i do want something that will match well with my system though.
Jon, your question was answered about the other tables with the suggestions.

A Garrard with a new plinth is a great sound too.

I'm leaning toward to the Sota Recommendation right now.

Great upgradable table, with a great resale if you decide to get out.

Sota Cosmos, Graham Phantom, Ortofon A-90, your done!!!
I have been using Avid TTs Volvere and now Sequel SP since 06. If I had your $$'s Id be looking at an Avid Acutus Reference. Add SME V and one of the many high end cartridges and you would have one of the best setups available. No one combines the qualities of a suspended and non-suspended table like Avid. Ad great engineering, workmanship and ease of set-up and use and the decision is easy in my opinion.
Hi there,

I have a Final Audio Labs string drive with Naim Aro, also Garrard 301 & 401 and various arms including unipivot, air bearing and gimble. I would not recommend any of these and many of the suggestions above simply because I believe your main criteria should include ease of set up. My recommendation would be the SME combo because its performance is unquestioned, they have been around for years and will continue, and most importantly they are easy to set up. As you know from the gear you have, system synergy is a key for satisfaction in audio and the SME combo ensures this. The new 20/3 would be worth considering as it is the best bang for buck of the range and should allow plenty of change for cartridge experimentation.
SME 20 or 30 is just to "dead" sounding IMHO. Yes they have the blackest background but no life to the music. The Yorke designs are simple and have PACE but because of Yorke mandating the use of his own arm they lack detail and focus and I'd never get another Yorke, no support either.
A 301 with appropriate arm might just be your ticket to nivana.
So SME and Simon Yorke are no good. This is the biggest bullshit that I ever heard on this forum. And Walker is garbadge too, no doubt.
I like the Oracle Delphi Mk VI with a Graham Phantom arm that I've heard with a Zyx Universe cart...it's on the lower end of the stated budget, but sounds fantastic to my ears.
My $15k analog rig:

Clearaudio Innovation Wood Compact
Clearaudio Universal Arm with VTA lift
Shelter Harmony cart.
I should mention my other associated equip:

Clearaudio Balance + Phono stage
marke Levinson 380S pre-amp
Pass Labs XA 100.5 class A monoblocks
Wilson Watt/Puppy 8

I am very happy with the analog rig.
Depends on the sound you are looking for. I would purchase the Oracle Delphi Mk VI as mentioned above if I wanted the most beautiful music to be heard.

I also agree with the Sota Cosmos recommendation for a no-frills, do it all excellent turntable that has no weaknesses and is easy to set up

The Basis turntables, especially at their higher end, are works of art visually and technically and are probably the best engineered table made today. I could easily live with their Ovation or their newest beauty.

After that, there are a number of tables that will do the trick, some of which may be from companies that may not be in it for the long hall. The 3 above have been around a while, and provide excellent customer service.

For arms, the Graham, Triplanar, SME or Helius would all work well. For cartridges, take your pick of any number of well reviewed examples.
Give me a 10% fee, and I'll put it all together for you and you will love it or your money back.
Dear Jon,
As you might have expected, the responses are all over the lot depending upon the bias of the person who posts. Very few of us really have a broad experience of hearing many different expensive turntables in our home systems, which is the only way to make a judgement among them. So, everyone here is correct, and everyone here is also wrong. (Plus, Syntax was being facetious.) There are a few choices that cannot be "wrong", in my own equally insufficiently informed opinion: Walker, Saskia, etc, but most of those would actually exceed your generous budget for this purchase. Another candidate not mentioned should be "The Beat", a direct-drive turntable made by Steve Dobbins in Idaho. If you get an input here from "Thuchan", do take it seriously; he is one guy who HAS heard everything in his home system, although his system preference is very different from yours. By the way, while I like the SOTA Cosmos, I cannot agree that it has "no weaknesses". Suspended, belt-drive turntables have a characteristic sound that is not generally to my taste and includes unstable pitch, at times.
The Basis turntables, especially at their higher end, are works of art visually and technically and are probably the best engineered table made today. I could easily live with their Ovation or their newest beauty

Yes, they are the most serious ones. He found the solutions where others fail.
I personally dont agree with the suspension beltdrive unstable pitch story of lewm.
I would not go for a unipivot arm , but with a more rigid arm construction with bearings on eather side , for example sme v or da vinci for example(beautiful) .
And than take a good stable record drive mechanism.
There are many choices and the better/quiter the drive the more neutral the sound will be ,Tw acoustic also is nice , i think basis would also be a nice choice and not to expensive .
And to get good things cheaper , go for good secondhand maybe.
Good luck your system definitively needs a great TT set up , wonderfull system by the way.
I also saw a secondhand rockport sirius 2 for sale on the net for a little bit over 10000 euros , always nice to get a classic in .
I run an Avid Volvere TT with an Origin Illustriuos tonearm and an Ortofon Per Winfield cartridge. Incredable vinyl!!
I havent had a problem with fluctuating speed on either my Oracle, Sota or VPI. The Sota especially is rock solid once it starts turning and settles down after about 3 seconds. So sure, when you first put the record on, and clamp it, the platter moves on its suspension, but not appreciably thereafter. Ive seen much more movement of the arm and stylus due to warps or eccentric records than because of suspension movement during play.