The best vinyl I ever heard was on a vpi classic through ARC electronics and a benz cartridge..... the michell is nice as well .... But I am a digital person so take for what it is worth .....
I used a Scoutmaster for 2 years and thought it was a terrific table.I have not heard the classic,but it looks great and would probably be easier to use.I replaced the Scoutmster with an Acoustic Solid Manfred(stock RB-250 arm).I prefer the Manfred to the Scoutmaster.I had originally intended to upgrade/tweak the arm,but it sounds so good as-is,that I have left it alone.
I second the vpi classic. To keep cost down consider using a Shure 97 cartridge to begin with. It too, is low cost and if you don't like it, it would make a great backup cartridge plus it will give you experience in the mounting task. I know, a benz would be better, but I have heard it and was surprised that something so low cost could produce 'benz like' sound.
Thanks for the inputs. I've scheduled an appointment to hear the Origin Live in the coming weeks, after that will find a place to give a listen to the Vpi and Michell gear. I will also start looking for someone that caries Acoustic Signature just to give its fair shake. Seems like the more reading I do their coming up as suggestions so they must be doing something right.
Again Thank you.
You have listed many fine turntables to demo. If you like your current Rega setup, you will probably enjoy moving up to the P7 or P9.
I would suggest trying to stretch your budget and consider the Galibier Serac http://galibierdesign.com/prd_serac.html. While at the higher end of the price range you have indicated, IMO there is a significant jump in performance. Plus the platter and base are upgradeable. Thom Mackris is one of the hobby's good guys and could direct you to the nearest person for a demo.
Good luck with your search.
I have a suggestion that is less costly than some of your stated interests and IMHO far exceeds the musicality of the Rega P9. The new Well Tempered Amadeus is a superb turntable system for $2850. For my auditioning it was far more musical than the P9 - in every way. The cost for an Amadeus will be higher than $2850 because you need to supply your own RCA's. I use Auditorium 23's at $795 per 1 meter pair; they are also available in 0.75 and 0.5 meter lengths. Please do yourself a favor and audition the Amadeus with a good pair of RCA's and your cartridge of choice. If you do, you should plan on a lengthy audition!
YMMV, but in the case of the Amadeus, I seriously doubt it.
03-30-10: 4musica44107I also can't imagine considering turntables in the $3K neighborhood without considering the Well Tempered Amadeus. From what I've read (from both professional and user reviews) the WT Amadeus re-defines that price point. A look at its engineering and damping suggests that it would do that.
I am the happy owner of a Michell Gyro SE, so regard me as biased. Very biased, as is the English audio press, where a lot of information about this table can be found. Was just mentioned in , of course, an English mag as the best choice for entry level high end sound. No argument from me.
Good luck on your enjoyable journey.
I have little to add, other than the general advice I use when buying unfamiliar items. I try to find the top of the line designs available, and then try to find design elements i like that I might not have been aware of, or design elements in common with the lower priced items that I might buy. Without any price point constraints, you find a lot of design concepts available, yet if a common thread is found that is shared among a fair amount of tables it might point the way.
For instance, three point suspension. A simple concept, in that three points define a circle, and records are round. If you believe that a simple design is better, this could be a feature placed on the desirable features list. (simple is very hard to do very well, but is very good to own)
For myself, I put a lot of attention on the main bearing. I knew I wouldn't be upgrading that, whereas motors and pretty much anything else that can be removed can be upgraded. Upgrading is not really the point with a new purchase, I know, but I was shopping for long term ownership. I wound up with the Michell and an oil pumping inverted bearing, made of brass. I understand and like oil lubrication for bearings and this was a part of a well accepted design. No doubt the other more modern materials also work well, but I know what wear characteristics will happen with synthetic oil through the years, and brass sounds good. Most of the big tables are using long chain solid polymers, teflon and the like for platter bearings, as you know.
Hard to answer with out falling into cheerleading for my own past decisions. A large part of my decision was the availability of a matching arm with adjustable VTA on the Fly, which can be done with the Michell arm on the Gyro, with some care. Not an advertised benefit, but that's life on a budget, you find what you want that works in your price range ,
Try the Nottingham Interspace Jr. I was thinking of staying with the Rega line but am happy I did not (don't like rega's build quality/looks). The Nottingham Interspace Jr. is a very good entry level turntable.
As for the Amadeus I've never been able to get past the golf ball floating in silicon dampening.
VPIs look awful and you see "a lot" of them for resale on the gon...