I should probably add I mostly listen to rock both new and old and throw in some jazz every now and then.
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the emotion is on my short list but I don't have a local dealer to audition.
I'm also considering a new Rega P5 or used P7 with an Ortofon 2M Black or a VPI Scout II or used Scoutmaster with an Dynavector 20x or possibly a Well Tempered Amadeus with my current Ortofon 2M Red.
My local dealers only sell Linn, Rega, Nottingham and Pro-Ject so anything else I would have to mail order.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
At $3K I'd go for a WT Amadeus. Since you're committed to a Slee Era Gold, you're looking at a high output cartridge. You could stay right at budget with an Audio Technica AT150MLX, which is an extraordinary cartridge at $300. Then you could get a premium Clearaudio or similar high output cart later wen funds permit.