Buy a Technics, it's the Honda of turntables. I would rather have something that's a little fussy and get the extra performance in both cars and stereo equipment.
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Sounds like he doesn't want fussy, just high performance at a price point.
Rega is hard to beat for your criteria in my opinion, The p5 plus a rega cartridge. 3 point mounting so no real adjustment other than dailing in the VTF (vert tracking force-weight) which is simple.
Good to go and killer sound
2nd the recommendation for Technics. Talk to Kevin at KAB Electroacoustics (http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/). $2K should be more than enough to get a nicely optioned (tonearm damper) 1210 along with a great cartridge. If you get one of his modified "integrated" cartridges, I think that would be about as close to plug and play as you can get. I like the car analogy.
A B&O 8002 table would do the trick. Tangential drive and tracking. Easy to set up and plug and play. No VTA, cartridge alignment or much else to fuss with. Pop the cartridge in and use the slider to set the weight. Auto return at the end of an LP side is a nice feature too.
You can find these used on eBay. For best performance send it to Soundsmith and have it refurbished. I got mine back from them recently and the performance is outstanding. Your total investment will be under $1200 (including cartridge) leaving enough left over for a phono stage and record cleaning kit.
If I was in your boat I would be tempted to try the Funk Firm Funk that's listed here. The RB250 is a perfect candidate for upgrade of counterweight/wires(super easy) or replace the tonearm if needed. Plenty of budget left for the other tough decision- cartridge and phono stage.
No, I don't know the seller etc...
I'll throw my vote in with the Technics lot...
I totally understand and empathize with your stance. I own both a Technics SL1210 mk5 and a Linn LP12; I'm pretty sure they represent opposite ends of the vinyl spectrum from a turntable tweaking, care and maintenance standpoint. Sometimes I just want to spin and spin and spin with no thought to anything but enjoying the music - I choose the Technics. Sometimes I want to squeeze every last bit of everything out of an LP - I choose the Linn.
Good sound out of the box
Less expensive than anything close to it's build quality
Easy setup/re-setup (VTA, VTF)
Easy use (start/stop, 33 or 45 w/ a quick push of a button)
Easy cartridge swapping (removeable headshell)
Compatible w/ a varied list of very good cartridges
Dead-on speed accurate
You can set it and forget it or, if you change your mind about tweaking, experiment to your heart's delight.
Jfrech, You misunderstood, I said, "I would rather have something that's a little fussy and get the extra performance in both cars and stereo equipment." , but my recommendation is Technics. Technics has sold over 1,000,000 turntables, I think they know what they are doing. A Technics 1210 MKII turntable from KAB, with upgrades and cartridge will come in well under budget.
The Technics fanboys are in force on this thread. Sorry, but the Technics is a tweaker's delight. NOT a good from the get-go TT. And telling him to buy it modded from Mr XYZ is like how does this guy know to trust your advice?
As for cars, I think the Honda S2000 and Mazda Miata are in the same boat.
As for turntables... good performance plug and play...
You need a dealer more than advice from the Fanboys for Technics OR Rega.
If finding a reasonably local dealer is impossible, Then getting a premounted cart, like the Rega with 3 point mount cart is better, or an internet dealer with a great setup guy (Music Direct has a great reputation)
TT's are a PITA for setup. Used to be anyone, almost anywhere could find someone to set up a TT. Now, it's tough, unless you can find a person to trust, you HAVE to learn to do it yourself.
For the money, buying used is better.
Sorry I have NO advice as to brands or models.. Your list of needs is too strict for used.. you would have to do the set-up yourself, if you added a new cart to a used TT.
(I own a Rega P5 with Benz Glider, and a used Kuzma/Stogi S with Dynavector 17D3, a Bryston 1.5 phono, an Audio Research SP-15 for Phono,)
I own a Honda S2000, and for my vinyl I would be firmly in the Technics Camp. While my current table is an SP-15 (I wanted more tonearm flexibility) I owned an SL1200 and for plug and play performance it's hard to beat. Having also owned a few belt drives, the speed stability of the Technics is unmatched at anything near it's price range. The KAB tweaks and some nice cones will give you a table you can enjoy for a long time, and will kill the MMF 2.1. That was my table before the Technics, so you and I are on roughly the same path. You won't be sorry you upgraded.
As for cartridges, after a swing through MC land I've landed back in MM territory. Currently I'm using an NOS Andante P-76, but there are lots of good choices out there; check out Raul's thread here:
and you'll have plenty of great recommendations .
The above posters are correct in recommending Rega - they are indeed the Honda S2000 of turntables, and the stock tonearm (RB300) on the mid-market models is legendary. They also do particularly well with the boisterous music you prefer. If you want to avoid turntable settings, the Rega cartridges are designed for the Rega arms - no settings or adjustments other than setting tracking force.
As for phono preamps, if reliability is important to you, Bryston used to make a $700 phono stage, the BP-1, which sounds good and is bullet-proof (all point-to-point wired and 20-year warranty - they were used by radio stations), but I believe they are out of production. You could call Chris Russell at Bryston to see if they make them to order.
Either the Technics SL1200 MK II or Rega P3 are good choices. Yours is a question that has been asked dozens of times, and the same answers can be found in those threads.
You *will* need to do some thorough homework about phono stages. There are a handful of excellent options that would fit in your budget, especially if purchased used, but you need to know how to properly match your cartridge's impedance with the phono preamp's impedance, and also the gain structure. MM cartridges are more easily matched to budget phono preamps, IMO. They require less fussiness with impedance matching.
That's one reason the Audio Technica AT-150Mlx is a good recommendation.
Anyway, good luck. Do your homework before you write the checks.
I know nothing about SP-10's, other than reading about it's excellent rep and strong following. I am getting ready to add a second TT, to use aside my Basis 2500/Vector 3. I am not a great setup guy, and have had a few dealers work on my TT to get the best out of it. Let me get to my point here though. I will come right out and say I am sure the SP-10 deserves the high praise it receives. However, it can be an intimidating and/or confusing option for your average Joe like me.
For instance, I checked out this thread because I was interested in the SP-10. I proceeded to google Sp-10, and
saw that it was no longer in production. Then I clicked Soundfountain.com and saw some gorgeous looking plinths for the SP-10. I am considering the new Well Tempered Amadeus, as it is in production and ready to go. I am likely in the minority here, but frankly would not know where to start in pursuing an SP-10. The Amadeus on the other hand would be nearly as easy as driving an S-2000 off the lot at Honda.
Wow! That's a lot of replies in a short time on a holiday weekend. Thank you all. Here are my thoughts.
Perhaps the car analogy wasn't a good one for the non-car folks out there for whom the word Honda holds a certain meaning, so let me elaborate: The Honda S2000 was a $40,000 convertible. It should in no way be compared to an Accord or Civic. It was an amazing machine, but, of course, no comparison to certain Italian imports.
I am surprised by all the Technics recommendations. I know they are workhorses just by the number of old units that are still running, but I have read nothing but bad things about direct drive tables: rumble, resonance from the motor under the platter. Are these issues overstated?
I have listened to a Rega P3 -- in fact it may have been the setup recommended by Wgallupe -- and honestly, I wasn't that impressed. Don't get me wrong, it sounded good, but compared to my previous entry-level MMF, it didn't blow it out of the water as I would expect at over triple the price. I also thought it sounded a bit grainy, perhaps this is a property of the DynaVector cart (?). Is it wrong to expect to a $1700 table/cart to blow away a $400 one?
Though nothing is set in stone, I honestly wasn't looking to go the used route. There are so many models available now (who would have thought that 15 years ago?) and having a dealer set up the system for me is a big draw. Before I posted this, these were the models I had in mind:
Can anyone attest to the user-friendliness of any of these models? Will their sonic qualities be immediately apparent upon first listening?
Tvad is right. My SP-15 is dead silent, no rumble, no motor noise, nothing, and the SL1200 was the same. I've heard the MMF 7.1 and the Rega P3, and they're pretty much lateral moves from the MMF 2.1. They're all just variations on the same theme. If you want to notice the difference right away, get the Technics.
Elizabeth has clearly not driven an S2000. :-)
"Elizabeth has clearly not driven an S2000."
Nor has she had an SL-1200, I suspect. "Tweaker's delight"??? Nonsense. And getting it modded by Kevin at KAB is NOT getting it modded by Mr. XYZ but by one of the most widely respected, most honest purveyors of audio gear in existence. Modded or not, the SL-1200 (and its variants) would be an excellent choice and will last a lifetime, or just about!
"I have read nothing but bad things about direct drive tables: rumble, resonance from the motor under the platter. Are these issues overstated?"
Yes. I wonder where you read these "nothing but bad things" from. After all, the most highly regarded and the most expensive turntable in the world, Rockport Sirius III, at the time of its release was a direct-drive turntable. The record you will be playing is made from a record cutting lathe that has a direct-drive motor. Enough said.
By the way, there's more than one brand of direct-drive turntables other than Technics so if you don't like Technics does not mean you have to dismiss the whole direct-drive genre. I prefer post-1975 era products.
There are many poorly made belt-drive turntables out there as well with toy motors and glass platters. Be ware of hack jobs.
I like idler-drive, belt-drive, AND direct-drive so whatever you choose is fine by me but to dismiss the entire genre of products based on hearsay is limiting yourself the chance of getting exposed to different sound and fun. It's a shame.
Shrevie - Here's my read on what you are saying. You want good performance and impeccable reliability. You would be happy to have wold class performance but don't want to pay for it in time, money or effort. Therefore, you willingly accept a compromise in performance in order to stay under budget and enjoy "set and forget" record playing. I'm with you 100% on all points and I not only would choose the Technics option, I have chosen it.
Technics has made and sold more turntables than any other company in the history of the world. They have spent more money on R&D than Rega will ever live to see. And KABUSA provides the bridge between the utility of the Technics DJ table and the desires and needs of the audiophile community.
In the past I have used and owned SOTA, VPI, Well-Tempered, Linn, FONS, AR, B&O, Yamaha P-2, Luxman PD441, Denon, and others that don't spring to mind just now. I just sold my Technics SP-10 because I felt I could no longer justify tying up that much capital in something I use so little. Instead I now use a Technics SL-150 MK II with a Rega RB-300 tonearm. I am doing this only because I already owned the stuff. Otherwise I'd have purchased a KABUSA modded Technics 12xx table of some sort. The testimonials from people I know and respect like Armstrod and TVAD are too numerous, reasoned, and credible to be ignored.
By the way, a lot of the fiddling and fidgeting people do with their turntables is the result of a natural desire to maximize the experience rather than a need to continually adjust due to failure or fault.
Shrevie: You're asking for a new S2000 on a base Miata budget. Unless you go for a used turntable and preamp you aren't going to find your S2000 setup for $2000 USD. But you could have a decent base Miata setup for that amount.
I know there are lots of Technics owners that swear by the 1200 but there are also plenty of Technics owners that upgraded turntables. And I'd bet that most of them spent more than you're wanting to spend. But if you want reliability and ease of ownership for what you're willing to spend, the Technics 1200 is an obvious choice. And if I was buying a 1200 I'd splurge on the KAB tweaks.
The advice on going with moving magnet cartridges is good advice if you don't want to futz around with a moving coil setup. Moving coil cartridges are my preference, but you do need to pay attention to the signal path to get them to sound their best and that typically takes some extra cash for a step-up transformer or a more complex preamp. If you keep it simple with MM you can get a good preamp and cartridge for less money.
One last thing: Despite Tvad's snide comment about the Music Hall mmf-7.1 turntable, it's a good table for the money. (Not the best, but I don't believe there's a "best" anything at a given price point.) However, to get the most from that turntable you may need to fine tune it, something you wanted to avoid.
I am a happy owner (since new) of a 1999 Contour SVT. I do not need KAB. I have a Rega P5 with Benz Glider, and Bryston 1.5 phono, also a Kuzma/Stogi S with Dynavector Karat 17D3 via an Audio Research Sp-15 used just for the phono section. First off the Technics arm is like stone age design. It does the job, but is certainly no beauty. the bearings are just adequate. I am fully aware of the fanbase of the Technics. same for the Lenco, Garrard... Decent but retro. I'll take a modern TT design. You guys are trying to sell this dude a Corvair and pass it off as a modern machine. Hah.
One last thing: Despite Tvad's snide comment about the Music Hall mmf-7.1 turntable, it's a good table for the money.I don't think it's a good table at all for the money, and I recommend avoiding it. Sorry to be so blunt, and sorry to be stepping on some toes, but my experience has been that one can get a better table for less money.
Good points Elizabeth. I don't doubt the reliability and enjoyment a Technics SL-1200 can provide. I experienced the same with my B&O machines. They're modern looking, easy to use, and offer a big bang for the buck. However, buying one in decent condition is difficult to do and it took a complete rebuild to get the most out of the 8002 I own.
On the other hand the modern Galibier Serac I own with SME Series III S and B&O MMC-2 cartridge isn't going anywhere and demonstrates a lot of virtues that current day designs offer. It has relegated the refurbished B&O 8002 to the garage.
The counterpart to the Contour SVT was the BMW3 series.
The SVT is the key point. Bonderant used them when they came out as Race training vehicles. The mags raved about the SVT Contour, called it: "the poor person's BMW".
My old, beat up SVT can still outcorner 99% of the cars on the road.
Just today some old fart in his Chrysler 300 thought he could corner with me, his sorry ass nearly went into the wall after he hit the gas to keep up, then when he foolishly hit the brakes while trying to squeeze into the same space i was in on the ramp. I hit the brakes too, just to say if he smacked me i did all I could to avoid an accident. MY SVT doing 50 around the curve stopped without a wiggle. His chunk of shit bobbed sideways three feet off then two back and nearly lost control. I hate fat, crappy cars. He certainly had more horsepower, but what good is it with dinosaur suspension?
My personal recomendation: A fully-modded KAB Technics, about $800, a Denon DL-160 cartridge, $180, and one of these phono stages:
Pro-Ject Tube Box II $750
Lehmann Audio Black Cube Statement MM $500
Dynavector P75 $780
SimAudio Moon LP3 $549
Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 SE MM $410
Check out KAB's EV-1 record cleaning system (~$160) for an effective, low-cost record cleaning system.
Or, here's a turn-key solution at exactly your price-point:
The only thing you lose is a vacuum cleaning option.
Blindsided. I would have NEVER known! i guess answering dudes who blow smack about my ride is off limits... Why don't you whine at Rrog too? or is because I: 1) dis' Technics and upset the Technics fanboys? or 2) drive an American car? and Rrog is a Technics cheerleader?
As far as the turntable goes. I can't find a new TT, including cart AND phono, with the attributes the dude who wants a Honda S2000 of turntables for $2,000. NO raises or future upgrades.
Your post dissing me didn't answer the question either. Your prior post lauding the Technics is just more fanboy cheering.
I have no dislike of the Technics. I just think it is, along with the other old school TTs, not anything near what the guy wants.(though THOSECAN have a good arm, just at way more that $2 grand) Your notion of what a turntable should do may differ. The arm on the Technics is just not good enough to be in the starting gate. And once you pull that arm and start messing around, it no longer is: $2,000. and no longer anything more than an experiment.
The automotive contrast is the Honda guy wants to buy a new Honda S2000 and offers the dealer $10,000 cash. What is gonna happen? no deal. For his $10,000 I saw a badly used Porshe.. a used Mazda, even a used high milage S2000. He wants a 'new' TT(AND cart AND phono) for $2 grand. He is gonna be disappointed, no matter what he does. I say, Save your money.
The closest is a used rega or VPI with PS and a used cartridge, with ?? phono section for a few hundred.
The KAB Technis is in the price range. It plays LPs. It has a fanbase where you can glory in owning one and be smug knowing others like it. But if you want what you asked for. The Technics is not it.
I owned a KAB Technics. I don't believe Elizabeth has.
Earlier in this thread, I recommended either a Technics SL1200 MK II *or* a used Rega P3...so even though I speak as a past KAB Technics owner, I don't consider myself a fanboy to the exclusion of other possibilities.
However, Shrevie, I like the same music you want to hear..."Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Beatles, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Louis Jordan, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ramones, Talking Heads, that sort of thing".
I can say without equivocation that Stevie Ray Vaughn's "In Step", and Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" sounded *incredible* on my KAB Technics table (using either an Audio Technica AT-150Mlx or Dynavector cart). In some respects, it was better than my $10,000 digital source (better dynamics for one).
I'm certain the same is true on a Rega P3, but you'll have to find a used one.
If you're patient, and you're willing to buy used, for $2000 total you can pick up a new Technics with the KAB tonearm damper, or a used Rega P3, an Audio Technica AT-150Mlx cart, a used Wright WPP200C or Heed Quasar phono preamp (or any of the phono preamps previously mentioned by Bondmanp), and cleaning accessories (start with brushes and fluid...you *don't* need to invest in a record cleaning machine at this point).
Just know that you will be dipping your toe into a world were many of us ended up spending double, triple and quadruple of our original budgets...and we did it very quickly.
Analog gets expensive fast unless you're one of the few who can ignore the audiophile chatter and be satisfied with the starter rig.
Figuring the expectations of someone whom I do not know is hard, but I don't think one can find the S2000 of analog rigs for $2k, especially a plug-n-play. A good value TT is more expensive than that. Maybe Shrevie knows better for him/herself and having heard a setup in that price range. Maybe he/she has specific goals that can be met at that price. I hope one of those goals isn't frequency response. Try before you buy.
"Fanboy" is an insipid pejorative, the use of which generally indicates a weak intellect coupled with a mean streak and unbearable sense of inferiority.
Technics has owned turntable sales all over the U.S. since the late 1970s. For reasons I am unable to cite, they were the turntable of choice for radio stations and, later, audiophiles up until both groups migrated to CD.
A stock 1200 series turntable will serve your purposes nicely but, as others have pointed out, you may feel a desire to pursue incremental improvements over time. If so, KAB can provide numerous options at small prices. If not, you will still enjoy a performance level that belies the modesty of your investment.
As for phono preamp, there is really no reason to buy that new. It doesn't have moving parts and is unlikely to reach you with appreciable wear if you screen your seller.
There is a strong tendency to follow the lead of purists and their other followers when asking advice on audio forums. "Me too" disease causes the Amen chorus to conflate unnecessary concerns and standards. Buy what makes sense to you.
I would not be afraid to buy used but you are and you should follow your gut on that matter. Just don't be pushed to inaction by rumors and warnings. There are a lot of Rega owners out there who are very happy and there are 100 times as many happy Technics owners.
100 times? golly what a fantasy. Now lets count TT's for sale today, on the goN'
Technics, all types a dozen, Denon and Linn, same number about 12. Rega, over twenty. VPI even more. So we have either no one selling all these Technics if "hundreds" more per other brand, they would also show up as hundreds for sale? doesn't that make sense? Or, your theory is they are Sooo good no one would EVER sell it.. Hooey.
Clearly the most popular turntable brands are VPI and Rega.
Your 'sales of DJ turntables over the last 40 years is not an audiophile phenom. The "most popular" audiophile turntables are VPI and Rega. With many other brands gaining popularity. I am amazed how one post has attracted every Technics fan in the AudiogoN system. Do You guys email each other to rave about your favorite TT? Same thing happens over on Audio Asylum, Someone posts about anything concerning a possible Technics convert, and BOOM! the same half dozen Technic fans show up and praise the Technics.
I own a Rega, I don't give a damn if anyone buys one. I own a Kuzma, same thing, who cares.. You guys seem to own stock in Technics, or are KAB's buddies.
Our OP wants to buy a turntable and use it, not turn it. His will probably not show up for sale on Audiogon. Ditto for hundreds of thousands of other users. Technics is an appliance like the Honda S2000. It does perform very well, and well beyond its price point, but it is not meant for people who obsess about their audio system just as the Honda is not for those who collect pit crew autographs.
Most of the world does not have audiophile disease even though they do like music and do want to listen to it at home and they do see the value in quality audio reproduction. They just don't time their wash cycle or track their refrigerator temperature fluctuations, or perpetually upgrade their water heater looking for quieter operation or quicker temperature rise. Most people research the purchase of their appliances before buying and then put them to use in improving their lives without a thought of upgrade or tweaking for the entire life of the appliance. This is how normal people function. Obsessives, however, rave about minutiae and pursue the absolute sound relentlessly, unaware and unconcerned that they are a marginally sane minority speaking in terms to which the fully functional cannot relate.
So, unless I misread Shrevie, he just wants to be able to play records at an acceptably refined level without altering the normal course of his life for matters other than routine oil changes and tuneups. He asked for a Honda because he wanted a Technics.
Not taking any sides, but search for Agon virtual systems revealed (regardless of particular model number
Technics TT - 164
Rega TT - 257
Although a data point: I have heard Technics SL1200 at a classy record store in Santa Cruz and the sound was simply unforgettable (the classical piano piece sound still lingers in my mind,weak in the knees buckling sound, really) even in less than pefect environment. No, I do not own either Rega or Technics TT set ups, although all this rave about KAB modded Technics does tempt me add one more TT to my stable, i must confess. Just my perspetive...
YOU NAILED IT!!!
When I got back into vinyl after a 16 year absence in 2003 it was firstly out of dusting off my old 1981 JVC LA-11 belt driver. It was in storage for over 16 years. The rubber mat vulcanised and was chucked for a piece of cut felt I made. The belt was slightly stretched and took a few minutes of play to get sounding like it was running 33.3 rpm. The Shure M-72 ?? cartridge had a skewed canti-leaver. But I said " What the Hell lets fire it up." I still had a few dozen LPs in storage and put on Alan Parsons Stereotomy. When the needle hit the vinyl I felt an Oh Oh something special is happening here. Well it lit a fire and I became a vinyl fan again. I bought a belt for the old JVC but within weeks I bought a new turntable, a Music Hall MMF2.1. which I liked quite much. Leading up to the purcahse I read a lot on line and believed [wrongly] that direct drives especially older Japan Inc. ones were crap! I scratched my head as I tried to recall auditioning said units back in the early 80's and never thought ill towards a good direct drive. But I figured with the internet and all this online stuff the audiophiles were better expert. I figured I guess belt drive is the ONLY way to get good sound and only NEWER belt drives for the most part. Well I did not want to spend too much money so I bought the MMF2.1. It worked very nice even with its entry level cartridge. Well I was now first becoming a vinyl snob who began to diss CD's and one of those so called know it all belt drive experts. This disease stuck with me for oh about 4 years. I did get back into liking CD's as I got a beter cd player and knew I had to enjoy CD's too as not all my music wil be only on vinyl. By 2007 I began reading up on the Technics SL-1200MKII and visiting Kab USA website. I read a lot and soon realized I was just another ahole audiophile wannabe who poo poo'ed direct drive, well after being reeducated to see that it is more than just the type of drive system but the whole unit that counts I bought a KAB modded SL-1200MKII. Threw on my Denon DL-110 cartridge and it was an easy to set up, easy to use and pleasurable turntable. DEAD SILENT, ROCK STEADY SPEED and a pleasing analogue presence. I moved out of the much ballyhooed crap of being belt drive vinyl snob and knew that this belt drive direct drive thing was CRAP! This said the sound and stability of my SL-1200MKII pleased me so I got interested in quality direct drives. Well I knew I wanted to experience the Golden era of Made in Japan Inc. direct drive tables. The major Japanese makers from the late 70's to the mid 80s reached a peak of superlative designed direct drive tables. The beter ones were cool and I then found a TOP OF THE LINE JVC QL-Y5F to add to my system and she's a beaut. Sounds airy, euphonic and slightly thick in bass sound. She runs DEAD silent and ROCK steady with her double quartz lock. She is a fully auto (Oh no the audiophiles scream) but with only electronic controls ie: no mechanical switches, gears or parts for the functions. As an audio fan and one who enjoys really LISTENING TO MUSIC and no longer just obsessing over gear and tweaks she makes me very happy as an audio fan.
We all range from audio fans, to geeks, to audiophile snobs and the general public ain't much like that. We as such gear heads should do our best to educate the general listening public as to how one can get great sound without being a geek but not turn them off of good sound. We are as fans in this hobby who are blessed with a desire to get more info and to better understand that the avg. music listener does not care to be as into it. We should positively impart the idea of quality sound without being jerks and pissing people of so ts they only live with MP3's
You 'might' keep the TT you have, buy a Benz Glider medium output cart for $900, put rest into used Phono preamp. For $1,100. you could get a pretty good phono section.
yes the cart would be more than the TT. but it would be a GREAT cart.
As for the Technics... the tsunami of responses would lead one to think everyone owns a KAB Technics or wants one... gee i wonder if it is a conspiracy???
Then at least a few Rega proponents chimed in.. I guess they got lost? At one and a half again as many Rega owners you might wonder where are they? donno... I just mentioned the conspiracy.. i can't fix it.
The music begins with the cartridge/TT/tonarm and ends with the speakers. Both are electromechanical interface devices. Finding harmony between the beginning and end is the path to a satisfying TT/arm/cartridge combination. The TT must compliment your speakers and style of music that you like best. If you are looking to just dabble in vinyl then start with a modest setup. If you are planning to upgrade the other components in your stereo, then buy something slightly out of league with the rest of your system.
I guess I just liked the sound of my music played back on the Rega table.Right. Being a musician has no relevance to what turntable one owns, IMO.
From what I know about most musicians, particularly professional musicians, they don't usually have expensive stereo systems. They often own modest systems, and they listen for different musical attributes than do audiophiles.