Looking for a turntable around $1k...


I don’t and won’t have tons of $ to throw into an analog set up. I’m primarily digital and CD but I still have enough recordings that are vinyl only as well as others of sentimental value that I listen to regularly enough  that I can justify getting a decent turntable, at least at the price point I set. I know that some people have expensive opinions about turntables, but I can’t go there. 

My listening set up is a Schiit Mani phono preamp, a Decware Torii MkIV amplifier, and Omega 6.5” Alnico Junior XRS speakers if that all matters.

I’ve been using a Technics AT-LP120 for years and I have come to hate it. The tone arm is floppy and it has become pretty much impossible to lower the needle without it bouncing off the record. If someone down the block sneezes, the record skips. No matter where I place the table. Everything about it has gotten worse and I fear that the turntable is damaging my records at this point.

I’ve been considering the Rega Planar 3 but do I even need that?

Is there a sleeper turntable around $1k that I don’t know about?

Could I just get by with a Planar 1 or 2 given that vinyl is what I listen to 3rd most behind HD streaming and CD?





pip_helix
Rega Planar 3
Ortofon 2M Red
3mm Rega spacer
Close to 1k all in
The VPI Cliffwood would be on my short list for 1K turntables.  I don't know if they're still being made but some dealers may still have new stock.  Comes with a competent tonearm and cartridge.
Pioneer PLX 1000 for $700 + free shipping from various online retailers! Add a good cartridge and you will have a TT setup that compares well with far more expensive ones! A $90 Grado is good to start with. I use a Denon 103R mc cartridge ($300) on mine. I also own over a dozen turntables - including a Linn Sondek. I became curious after reading Herb Reichert's review some years ago in Stereophile. The PLX 1000 is a Technics 1200 copy for a fraction of the price. It is still excellent and affordable for many. And sounds a lot better than any Rega!
The PLX 1000 is a Technics 1200 copy for a fraction of the price. It is still excellent and affordable for many. And sounds a lot better than any Rega!


Hmmm.....I haven’t heard of the PLX 1000 before. Seems interesting. What’s the problem with Rega? All of my reading lead me to the Planar 3 but I’m interested in a dissenting opinion!
Clearaudio Concept or Marantz TT 15-S1 are what I would get. 
Clearaudio Concept or Marantz TT 15-S1 are what I would get.



Alas, those are pushing $2k new which is double my budget. 
If you want the Planer 3 get it with an Exact II cartridge. You will probably be disappointed with the Ortofon Red and no spacers are required. 
You might consider a MoFi Studiodeck. A bit over $1K, but has received pretty good reviews.

But, if you want a really solid table that not much can phase it in terms of any vibration or movement, an old SOTA. But, a really nice one with an equally nice tone arm and cart will cost you at least $3K, unless you get really lucky. You could find an older SOTA table sans arm and cart for your budget though.
What's wrong with Rega? One word - rubber bands! A belt drive - even the expensive one's - lack the sheer momentum and drive in the bass easily achieved by most direct drives. 
Don't forget that I also use a Linn Sondek but my direct drive TTs have a sense of solidity compared to the beguiling "airiness" of a good belt drive TT (Ariston, AR, Empire, Rek-O-Kut, Sony, Thorens, Yamaha). I own all these plus the Linn!
The cartridge is most vital for getting the most music out of those tiny grooves! That's why I have been using moving coils since the mid-70's. For the cheapskate the Denon 103 series (1962!) still reigns at the top! They are not fussy about set up and have a sense of musical "rightness" often lacking in far more expensive cartridges.
@jasonbourne
I agree that good DD is a better option, but his budget is $1000. Did you read that part? He is considering a Rega P3. With an Exact carteidge that can be had for about $1500. 
I think a Rega P3 is a great option - the great value of a P3 in my opinion is the upgrade ability and the basis for using a MC cartridge.  

Here's the rub - streaming and CDs are 'more convenient' mediums so I would be inclined to get a P1 or P2 if you are not sure.

I have a Rega P3. Great TT with the capacity for some upgradability. 

I also like vintage Dual TTs. Go to fixmydual.com, get yourself a 1218 and buy a cartridge with an upgradable stylus.
+1 on the MoFi studiodeck.  I recently purchased one, and I am impressed with how quiet even cheap used records can be when properly cleaned.  It is fully adjustable for proper cartridge alignment.
+1 on the Rega P3. I've owned the P1, P2 and P3 (and currently own a P6), and I think that the P3 is worth the extra cash over the P1 and P2. The P3 is much better out of the box than the other two and has a good upgrade path should you wish to expand your capabilities in the future. I really liked the P3 while I had it and highly recommend it. With a good turntable like the P3 you might find vinyl engaging enough to keep you interested for a very long time. I think most audiophiles will quickly outgrow a P1 or P2, the performance gap is that great.
Fluance RT85
Comes stock with the Ortofon 2M Blue. It has an autostop feature(not lift and return), ceramic platter, and is quite beautiful to boot. There are plenty of Fluance haters on here and would have you spend $$$$$ on a tone  arm. I don’t deny the knowledge or merit of expensive equipment. If you are budget minded the RT85 is $500 and sounds pretty awesome. Lots of videos online to check out opinions.
What do people think of the Technics SL1500C? I'm in the same position- have a Moth that runs slow, a Thorens TD160/ SME3009/ V15 which I've never liked and is in need of TLC and a Technics SL-B210 that also takes eons to lower then bounces like crazy and a brilliant but dull Project Debut
agree dd is better. less hassle switching speed etc. less maintenance issues like loose belt. fast on off. 

the most important is the adjustability opitions  of the tonearm IMHO. and the type of compliance range  you want to play with. tonearm is as or more  important as cartridge. 

70db or more
0.025 percent or less 

for tt spec will have less upgrade bug problem as well. 

The Pro-ject the classic with 2m silver is right there at your budget. It is $1199, but I’ve seen it go on sale for anywhere between $999 and $1099. It is a fabulous well made solid turntable. The Pro-ject the classic sb @ $1499 will get you the speed box option built in plus either a sumiko blue point or Ortofon quintet red moving coil. You are not going to find a better built or better sounding turntable for the money, unless you buy something used. I own both the classic and the sb and use the Hana el moving coil on one and an ortofon quintet bronze on the other. They sound terrific. Go and read the Michael Fremer review on the Pro-ject the classic sb. He found that it sounded great and believes it to be a great value. In fact, read any review of the Pro-ject the classic turntable, all are positive, some glowing. It has very good isolation properties, a terrific carbon fiber/aluminum 9" tonearm, full adjustability for azimuth, VTA, etc....and a genuine wood plinth in three finishes. Its a Linn on a budget.

Alternatively, the Music Hall MMF-5.3 is a bargain right at about a grand.

That plx 1000 has proven to be junk....it is NOT built like the technics 1200 or whatever...it is cheaply made with a crappy tonearm with loose bearings.

Here are some reviews to keep you busy.
https://www.analogplanet.com/content/pro-ject-classic-sb-superpack-turntable-%E2%80%9Cbrains%E2%80%9...

https://www.whathifi.com/us/pro-ject/classic/review

https://worldofturntables.com/pro-ject-the-classic-complete-review-hearing-test/

https://www.cnet.com/news/pro-jects-turntable-makes-you-want-to-get-up-and-dance/

https://www.audioappraisal.com/pro-ject-classic-turntable-review/

https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/pro-ject-the-classic-sb-turntable/

https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/1218-project-audio-systems-classic-sb-tur...

https://wallofsound.ca/audioreviews/double-tt-review-pro-jects-the-classic-sb-super-pack-funk-firms-...
If you want good DD under $1000, would you considered vintage? 

I was in the same situation. I wanted a better table and didn’t have the budget to go right for a new Technics, so I found a restored one on ebay and have been very happy with it so far.

You might check out a seller called TurntableTom. He restores a lot of older Technics tables and usually charges $250-450. That leaves plenty of money for a nice budget cart like an AT microline or even something like a KAB Ortofon concorde OM30. Something to consider...
I've owned Regas and Thorens' in the past and could never quite optimize their set-up. If you are knowledgeable and enjoy tweaking and adjusting your turntable, they could be a good choice. A year ago I purchased a Fluance RT85 fitted with the Ortofon Blue 2M. This is a fantastic sounding turntable for the money. It minimizes adjustments and the feet provide very good isolation, so it's quiet. I've also auditioned the MoFi Studiodeck (with the matched StudioTracker cartridge) and thought that was an excellent sounding turntable and would probably be my choice to upgrade. Oh, I'm using a Schiit Mani, also an outstanding value. 
Brand new Technics SL1200 mk7 cost exactly $1000 and this is the best you can get with your budget (in my opinion). If you can expand your budget to $1800 you can even get the next GR model

This is about mk7 (and GR is even better): 

"The direct drive motor (D.D. Motor) formed the core of the SL-1200 Series. In addition to providing unparalleled accuracy, the D.D. Motor technology that was introduced in 1970 offered reliability for long-term use with its excellent durability. This further evolved with the SL-1200MK7, and achieved even higher sound quality as the Coreless Direct Drive Motor.

The SL-1200MK7 comes with a static balance S-shaped tonearm to carry on the Technics tradition. The tonearm moves in a unique arc as it tracks the record disc, and reproduces music with high fidelity. The bearing section features a high-precision bearing structure. The tonearm provides high tracking performance without stylus skipping even under hard usage.

Each insulator foot consists of an internal spring and rubber, and the bottom surface is covered with a cushion material. They effectively shut out vibration even in a loud sound environment. If the turntable cannot be set up on a perfectly level surface, its height and inclination can be adjusted by turning individual insulator feet."


As a Rega Planar 3 (newest revision) owner,
I’m settled for now. The spacer recommendation I saw earlier is likely required for many carts. An Ortofon 2M Re is not a good recommendation however. Look at a  a 2M Bronze (better engine and superior stylus shape), or a good Audio Technica in an appropriate price range. 
Pro-Ject Carbon. 
$995 at Amazon. 
I have a Pioneer PLX 1000 right now with a Ort 2M Bronze that is satisfying. Bought the PLX by Stereophiles recommendation. 
Now I want to upgrade both though, and I don't listen to vinyl all that often, but I do use it for ripping to flac files.


I agree with chakster, at this budget new.. would be the best choice for the money. 


Pioneer PLX 1000 or Technics SL 1500C or 1200 MK7.

"That plx 1000 has proven to be junk...."

...until you try it.
practical point of view as well.. the easier the operation, setting the easier to hit optimum. and also learn the most how to be a better turntable user. as tt is complex but becomes easier when parameter easy and consistent to control. 

too fancy or too simple. I seen people go round and round. even very experienced users.

I use 2nd hand hi end dd which, but again I am able to restore to good conditions.. otherwise it's also useless. I have many choices.. 124 125 thorens lenco garrard. better? maybe. but very difficult to restore and mess it up. doesn't mean it's worse than DD.. just much more difficult and can get very expensive and end up with mediocre or incorrect  sound.is common. some experience from our group of players. better buy new, suits the usage. end up cheaper. 

Technics SL-1500C, direct drive, absolutely perfect for around $1k.
No messing with belts and pulleys.

I have a Linn LP12 which I am thinking of retiring and switching to the above Technics....

I’m wondering why the Teac TN-4D Direct Drive hasn’t been mentioned.
$700 on Music Direct. Would leave room for a pretty sweet cartridge.

Seriously considering it as the specs appear to equally compare with Technics.


I’ve experienced direct drive and belt drive turntables. I believe it’s about execution in the product versus the approach. 
For example a motorcycle with a chain, belt or shaft are different but the overall objective of riding motorcycles is the same. 

I like Rega’s approach for turntables. And other turntables are good though at the lower price points it’s not about approach, it’s about execution
I will be picking up my Planar 3 with 4 mm of spacers for my OC-9 ML this week.  Been researching  new TT's for months, IMO it's the best combination of table and arm in that price range but if you like switching carts on a regular basis it's not the TT for you (or me).
I've had both the Sl-1200 Mk5 & the Rega RP3. Both sounded great.
I used both with the same cartridge, actually I used a OC9-MLII along with about 5 others.

The Rega sounded a little better but it did run a little fast, not much. I
also really like the Rega Arm.

The Technics is nice like uncleang said if you like to change cartridges
plus it's built like a tank.
Once again about Technics mk7:

This model is superior to previous generation like old mk5 and cost only $900-1000 and this is a brand new model with many features from GR!
The MK7 would be my #1 choice for sure at that price.
some people might hate on me for this.

Bang and Olufsen makes some fantastic turntables. New cartridges are expensive, but they look and sound so good.
"...Bang and Olufsen makes some fantastic turntables. New cartridges are expensive, but they look and sound so good..."

B&O was considered more style than performance, most would only take cartridges specifically designed for B&O. In high end audio they were not favored for those reasons. 
I would look gently used, your $$ will buy much more.
I picked up a VPI Aries Scout in that price range a few years back a great table for the money.
OP here....

I want to buy new for the possibility of financing through a dealer and because my brother bought a used turntable once and shipping wasn’t kind to it.

So I figured I’d go with my original choice and get a Rega Planar 3. Even though they’re listen in stock all around, no vendor seems to actually have one. 6 week wait.

The VPI table isn’t in production anymore.

So then I went looking at the Schiit Sol which can’t be ordered from their website and per another audio forum is on hiatus for the foreseeable future due to supply chain issues.

I have to admit that I was drawn to the Rega because my wife also likes its looks. I should have put that looks were a consideration on account of WAF in my original post.

Anyway, time to dig back through this post and into some of the other suggestions....

Pro-Ject is interesting but damn do they have a lot of models....what’s up with that?
Pro-Ject is awful in my opinion, just like nearly all belt-drives under $1k.
You can't even adjust tonearm VTA on many of them. Such a toys. 

Meanwhile a brand new Technics mk7 Direct Drive is back in stock and cost only $900 
How about that NEW Technics 100C. At least it makes sense in that you don't have to pay for a phono stage you won't be using. Should be an interesting comparison sound wise to the 1200 mk. 7. I'm a fan of the cleaner look (-: