If you had $2500 to spend on a new TT and cart.....what would you buy?


Without being able to demo any of the choices and decide just by reviews, advice and opinion? What would you buy?
polkalover
I’m not a fan of NEW turntables and I’m super tired of Technics SL1200 series (been using mine for 25 years). The SP-10 mkII is better.

My advice is Luxman PD-444 because it can handle 2 tonearms (including a long one), it’s super easy to mount any tonearm and quickly adjust it without drilling plinth and all that stuff. Because it’s an amazing Direct Drive turntable. Because it’s an awesome design, it’s beautiful. And the price is only going up every year! I have two in my system.

Regarding cartridges you have to find which one is the best for Polka :) But spening more on turntable like Luxman you can spend less on a cartridge, because Stanton 881s is a champ at very low cost (something like $450-750 for a NOS nowadays) compared to more expensive cartridges. I hope it can play Polka very well . Same about tonearms, some great vintage Japanese tonearms available way under $1k ($700 Luxman TA-1 was an answer to Infinity Black Widow. It was made by Micro Seiki. you will see one in my system with Stanton WOS).
I've heard the unit before...and if my budget was $2500. 

I'd buy a Rega P6 with Exact cartridge...simple to set up, sounds great and has a lifetime warranty from Rega. 
For simplicity and good sound the Rega/Exact is a good choice. I would prefer the 1200GR paired with a Hana SL. 
Sota Sapphire, Jelco or Sumiko arm, Garrot Brothers P - cartridge…

Mofi turntable and Soundsmith SMMC 1 with an adapter.  About $2,500.
Brainless, nearly plug and play, I would agree with the Rega Planar 6. Sounds excellent overall especially for the $$. You can play with cartridges if you want, but the out of the box package is very good.
With that budget you should be able to find a really good, very attractive rig that you’ll want to keep. I’d be keeping my eyes peeled for a good used SOTA, Well Tempered, Clear Audio, VPI, maybe a better Rega, AR, or Thorens. The top shelf Technics, Pioneer, JVC, and Kenwoods can also be quite nice sounding, though a bit less esoteric.

Its subjective, but IMO, the trick is get a TT with an arm that’s compatible with a cart that you love. Once the basic TT elements are properly addressed, the carts tend to have the most impact on the SQ. After living with a Nagaoka MP150 with an upgraded MP500 stylus for the past several months, I can heartily recommend giving the MP500 a go if its a match for your TT and pre. It has some incredibly open textured mids, huge soundstage and separation, killer resolution and micro dynamics, and extremely natural delicate treble. It’s in the moving iron class, so doesnt’ need an extra step up.

Enjoy your search
No love for Pro-Ject?
I’m a Sota guy but today I would probably take a hint from MC. You can get an Origin Live Aurora TT with a OL Alliance arm and cartridge enabler delivered stateside for $2250.
Add an AT VM540ML and you are there.
I hope that to be authentic you are going to have to inflate your 2.5 K target by 1% a month. I figure SSI increase of 6% a year is halfway to reality.
Call upscale audio , they can direct you. I have a good experience to them, they can help you what cart match your phono pre as well. I have a very good experience with them.
There is a VPI Scoutmaster listed on Agon for $2500. It doesn't have a cartridge but it's a very good TT which I have previously owned. Then there is a VPI Scout 2 for $1850. No cartridge either.. lf at all possible, I'd go with the Scoutmaster.
In that budget Music Hall 7.3 gets my vote because...
  • music hall’s unique dual-plinth construction
  • one-piece full carbon fiber tonearm
  • fully adjustable VTA, azimuth, and dampened arm lift mechanism
  • counterweight’s center of gravity is level with the stylus tip, is decoupled from the arm, and acts as a resonance damper
  • completely isolated/decoupled DC motor with 33 and 45 rpm speed controls located in the front left corner of the turntable, thus canceling any potential vibration from the motor/belt to the cartridge
  • motor sits on its own resonance-damping puck
  • optional Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge with a nude fine line stylus ($440 value)
  • the supplied cartridge is properly aligned and mounted
  • precision stainless steel main bearing sheathed in Teflon® for noise-free, fluid operation
  • non-resonant acrylic platter with metal screw-on record clamp and soft felt mat
  • high-quality gold RCA connectors and detachable phono cable
  • adjustable tip-toe feet with anti scratch cups
  • low-noise, fully-manual belt drive design
  • built-in round spirit level for proper leveling
AND - they look nice as well

Regards - Steve
There are a number of very nice tables mentioned above that would make for a very nice and satisfying experience. Origins Live definitely gets my interest. The German manufacturer Clearaudio makes a nice entry level table the Concept that can be had with their (must have) upgraded Satisfy tonearm for $2,000 (same tonearm as on the Linn Majik). The Technics 1200GR is also a very nice table if I were to go the Direct Drive route. There are a lot of great carts for under $500. Music Direct has a good sampling in that price range. I have experienced the Hana Elliptical MC and the Ortofon 2M Bronze MM. Both are very nice carts for the money. 
You'll get a lot more value from a used table. Since a cartridge is more of a limited lifespan item, new cart makes more sense unless you're prepared for a rebuild sometime in the near-ish future. 

Maybe some indication of the system this will go into would give a bit of context.  Are you planning for the table/cart sticking around to use with higher end gear down the road? That would make me prioritize highly resolving over convenience, etc. Are multiple tonearms and carts in your gameplan? Cheers,
Spencer
Same old BS, if there are turntables to avoid then Rega and Pro-Ject are two perfect candidates to avoid in any scenario, especially for $2500 with those awful tonearms and cartridges. Any of them is a ripp-off belt drive technology that can’t even provide a stable rotation and only degrade in time. 
These are all good- I asked because I am deciding and every table mentioned - minus the used suggestions (which are also good ideas that I have considered- but didn't research used tables) were in the running. 

I am leaning towards the Clearaudio Concept table with the MC Concept cartridge- Anybody out there have this table?
@polkalover.. I recommended the Concept turntable and currently have one also but want to first say there are a lot of nice tables in your price range so do your homework and read as many professional reviews as you can. My budget was similar to yours and I would only recommend the table with one of the upgraded tonearms and not go with the standard tonearm offering based on my research and also based on a friend that has the Concept with the standard tonearm. The standard arm is much less user friendly when changing and setting up new cartridges in addition to playback quality.
I went with the Satisfy Carbon tonearm that is two upgrades up but they also have a Satisfy Black tonearm for less that is also a very nice tonearm. Upgrading the tonearm will cost you much less doing it at the time you purchase the table than if you decided to upgrade after the fact. The Music Room website has a good breakdown of upgrade pricing vs standalone tonearm pricing. 
Like I said do your homework as my experience with different tables is limited. I've owned Technics and Music Hall tables and thought they were great tables also. 
With that said I'm very happy with my Concept table so good luck with your search.