Transrotor Dark Star.
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The number of differing opinions may equal the similar number of the applicable tables meeting your price criteria. I had been craving a nice table for quite (!) some time and had been holding off until after I move to a house. A close to perfect (for me) TT became available, with a location that availed pickup for me. So... my choice was the La Platine Verdier. Mine came with a OMA slate plinth, as well. Tho, I do happen to like the classics. Then, I found a DaVinci Grandezza Grand Reference tonearm. I plan to buy a new Lyra Titan I. Full tube system, here. Take your time in choosing so that you find the TT you will be truly be happy with!
There are a lot of people that have replaced mega-buck TTs with the Technics SP 10 and a good plinth. A good DD TT will sound better than all but the very best belt drive tables. Compared to those there is almost no difference.
You can spend a lot of money, but you don't have to especially if you want good sound. I had a number of tables in my room ranging from the Sota Cosmos VII to a Teres, and the technics was better than anything I have owned.
Another big +1 for the Bauer DPS/Ayre turntable. The combo that really kills is the one pictured at that link--with DPS's own dedicated tonearm and a Lyra cartridge. The earlier prototype had a hot-rodded RB250 tonearm, but the final productized one with the DPS tonearm is better.
Between Ayre's power supply and DPS's unique bearing and pulling design, this 'table has the best speed consistency of any belt-drive I've heard anywhere near this price. It does not have that characteristic "belt drive" sound; it's more neutral and the speed consistency is better.
The design of the turntable itself is all about vibration damping and control, and DPS managed to package it in a modest, elegant rectangular package.
Stereophile's review is here, but as usual Art Dudley couldn't content himself with reviewing the product as shipped; he swapped in his Naim Aro tonearm, negating half the equation. His review is extremely favorable, but the DPS tonearm is so good it deserved full consideration. The picture at the Ayre site shows the DPS tonearm; Dudley's S'phile review evidently shows it with the Aro. Still, that may give you more what you're looking for, as you could install a SME, Graham, or whatever and Dudley's review gives you what the turntable does apart from the tonearm.
Links to more reviews are available here.
I can add to the recommendations for the DPS3 - I have owned mine for close to three years now. I usually have the chance to listen and setup many turntables (e.g. Verdier, Raven AC, several VPIs) and never felt like I should consider switching at all. The DPS easily perform at the level of the Raven, Verdier, etc. but is even more a set it and forget it turntable. The DPS/Ayre is highly underrated IMO.
I am running the DPS with a Schroeder No2. fw and either and Allaerts MC1B or a Lyra Delos.
One note though, rereading the original post - the DPS is not really for tinkering. Even the isolation platform and isolation mat are provided and already optimized.
If you enjoy tinkering, get a Verdier or Galibier, experiment with different arms, cartridges, drive belts, motors, supports and suspensions...
I want to thank all those who took the time to post suggestions. The DPS is intruiging but the one that caught my heart was the Avid Acutus Reference version and the Micro-Seiki RX-5000. Both are in the ball park but there is no where to preview either in Toronto. Mind you I have purchased all the other components without the benefit of a preview as well and so far I am delighted. I guess that is why your opinions are so important in my decision process. Thanks again.
I will add a mild contrary view - all based on personal experience:
All around best deck - Oracle
BBFB - SP-10 or Victor TT-101 in heavy plinths
Best "drive" Lenco (slate plinth is best), followed by Garard 301 / Thorens 124
Most airy sound - the Micro Seiki 5000 or even better a Micro air bearing deck.
Most pleasure ..... a Micro Seiki :)
Great choice of table. Congrats! Isochronism has a good idea. The wonderful thing about your new table is that there are lots of armboards available for them, and getting new ones machined for other arms not currently covered should not be difficult.
I enjoy long arms on my Micros and note that there are several decent Japanese long arms from the same period as your table.
Chosenhandle is a Brinkmann dealer but omitted disclosing that. Business slow?
Contact dealers in your area and audition the various contenders, preferably in your own system. Ask what in-home setup and alignment services are included -- these are far more important than you may realize. Spend your money wisely.