Hi: I have a Linn Axis and a VPI HW 19 that will out perform the Rega 1. If you are in the Seattle, WA. area you are welcome to listen to these tables. I will be selling them eventually for about what your budget allows. Rob.
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IMO, you won't do better than the Rega tables in that price range. If you can stretch for the P2, that would be even better, but the P1 is a very nice start. The other very nice thing about the Rega tables is that they can be pretty much set-it-and-forget-it if you want them to be. They have quite a bit better soundstaging and imaging than anything else in that range, too, if those qualities are important to you.
I might be able to stretch for the P2 if the "tax man" is good to me this year. Lol the good thing is that I have found a great dealer that will set me up with some time to demo I just have to make the 3 hour drive. Have had some time using tables and lp's so I do know how to treat them. Yes the imaging is important to me and as I understand it the tables can be upgraded which is also a factor. Given all that did you factor in my system? Thanks for the input had an E-mail stating that a Linn Axis or a VPI HW19 would outperform the rega P1. What do you think?
I sold several of the HW 19s in my earlier hitch as a VPI dealer and found them very well made and reliable. I don't recall any purchaser who wasn't satisfied. Check out current listings, I saw one the other day at around $500 without tone arm. I have some reasonable priced arms if you buy one without.
See also the Audiogon archives, as there is a lot of information from similar question.
I believe your preamp has a phono stage. If so, you won't necessarily need a separate one. You didn't mention if your price range was for the turntable only, or if it was for everything (turntable + tonearm + cartridge).
Music Hall MMF-5: Includes a Goldring cartridge. The cartridge is OK, not great. You'll do better with some of the Ortofon offerings. Unfortunately I found the tonearm's low mass to be limiting in terms of the number of cartridges it worked well with. Nevertheless, it will get you decent sound with good quality records.
Project Debut: Similar in many respects to the Music Hall (I believe they might actually be made in the same factory). Pros/cons similar to the Music Hall.
Technics SL-1200: There seem to be two camps; one thinks it's the best thing going under $1000, the other thinks it's overblown. I currently have a KAB-modified Technics (from kabusa.com). It blows away the Music Hall and Pro-ject I've had in the past. It works well with a wider range of cartridges, is built like a tank, easier to adjust various tonearm settings, and has its own dust cover. (Don't underestimate the importance of that latter feature, particularly if its in a rather dusty room.) It's by far the best sounding turntable I've owned, and has a clear upgrade path through mods from Kevin at KABUSA.com. The turntable-only price will be in your budget, but you'll need extra for a cartridge.
Rega P1: They have a good following, but I've never listened to one, so I can't in good conscience offer an opinion one way or another.
You'll also want to consider budgeting for accessories such as a record cleaning machine with cleaning fluid and a cartridge alignment tool.
I hope that helps.
I understand that a tonearm and cartridge can be extra. and yes it must have a dust cover. Also am only intrested in a belt driven table. Also, I do have enough smarts to know that I must clean my vinyl and cartridge. I assume a nitty gritty will suffice. May start that thread soon as t the efficiency of various lp cleaning machines.
Just out of curiosity, why are you limiting yourself to belt-driven tables? Direct drive vs belt drive is one of those classic audiophile debates, like digital vs vinyl, tubes vs solid state, planers vs cones... Clearly there are plenty of people on both sides of the fence.
Of the tables I mentioned above, only the Technics isn't belt-driven. And yet in my system it's the best sounding table. Go figure. Several years ago I used to wonder why a few people so passionately recommended their modded Technics turntables; now that I own one I have a better understanding.
You can have custom acrylic dust covers made for you by a plastics company. (Check the archives for suggestions.) I believe they cost something on the order of $50-80 when I was considering getting one made for my Pro-Ject RM6. The point being that the presence or absence of a dust cover doesn't necessarily matter, but you'll have extra cost getting one made for a table that doesn't come with one.
A good cartridge is the Denon 110, costs about $100. It is a high output moving coil, you will have to see if your phono stage is compatible, also the Shure 97 at a little lower price. A used Rega would be good, the arms I have are SME 3009s and a Systemdek. A good mod is replacing the feet with Audio Points from Star Sound. I have done this and just sent some to a member in California who is happy with them. You can make a very good turntable platform from MDF, I am using one I made, let me know if you want the details.
Always had a thing for Thorens tables I will re-look at it.
Was looking at your system and wow it is nice. Also read you were looking for quality vinyl and that you like Jazz.
I have purchased a few very nice Jazz lp's from an Audiogon member named Ferrari and if you look at my feedback you will find his info.
He auctions his lp's and always has "see pics" after the description so I always know to pay attention to those as 9 out of 10 times they are his.
He always provides a review of his albums and lots of info.
Check him out as his albums,at least for me, have been the finest I have purchased without actually holding them in my hands.
If you like Thorens, try here:
Vinyl Nirvana Thorens TD-165
$319 plus cartridge. Dave knows these and AR tables well. He may even have an upcoming project table that you might be interested in. Worth talking to him.
I, too, am keeping an open mind about direct drives. While I now have a Roksan Radius 5, a fellow in Germany just today shipped to me a Dual CS-704 semi automatic direct drive he has refurbished. All I need do is attach a US ac plug.
For $341 including shipping, I suspect it'll be a bargain if it arrives as advertised.
I never could afford a higher end Dual in the '70s. It'll be nice to have a classic decades later.
Ah-ha, sorry, was not trying to bypass the system.
I have placed an ad and paid for it here, but it will not post for 4-8 hours according to Audiogon.
In the meantime, you can look at a picture here:
Nice looking table I will go look for your listing. I read that it is great for rock and some jazz what are your opinions? I happen to listen to lots of blues and jazz but also some rock too.
Do you have problems with skipping due to vibration read that many suggest mounting a wall rack for these tables. This would not work as I have a small room with barn style angled walls and the whole lenght of which currently has my system on it so no room.
Yes, despite the high-quality suspension, I have had trouble with footfalls causing skipping.
I have only heard this 'table with the Grado Sonata, which hums a tiny bit at the end of a side. I'd recommend another, shielded cartridge (I like the Ortofon 2ms, but haven't had experience with a lot of current cartridges).
In any case, the soundstage is large. Tonally, this is an extremely warm-sounding combo. There is a lot of clean detail, but this would never be accused of being bright or shrill. It is indeed great at rock! I didn't notice it lacking with jazz or classical though.
I replaced my modern Technics 1200 mk II (with KAB fluid damper and cardas rewire) with the Systemdek and was very pleased at the easy sense of musicality. I think the modern 1200 is a good-sounding deck, but it's not in the same league as the Systemdek.
Another 'table to check out is the Yamaha PF-800. Last summer they were going for outrageous prices, but you can occasionally find one now for under $400.
That Thorens looks pretty sweet, too!
I need to hear some other tables, I guess.
I have a KAB Technics SL1200 with several of the common upgrades. It's on a sand box designed by Galbier Design and built by Timbernation (about $290). The Dynavector XX2 II cartridge was aligned using a MintLP. Phono preamp is a modest Heed Quasar.
I recently took delivery of an Esoteric UX-3 Pi, which is still breaking in, but at this moment the Technics SL1200/Dynavector/Heed Quasar makes the Esoteric sound broken.
I did check out the site and waiting for a reply for him. As I understand it he only has 2 to 3 tables for sale per month. The Thorens he has for sale is nice. Great thing about him is that he takes into account your system, experience and musical tastes and trys to find a match for you. Can't wait to see what he thinks would be my match.
Thanks so much for the info as I would much prefer to go with quality vintage verses new. I have a thing for all things old and am a huge antique fan no matter if it's furniture, hi-fi, or houses. I LIKE the look and the fact that items were built better. Not to say there are not great manufactured products out there. I just like my stuff built like brick s*** houses.
We shall see!
My Dad also turned me onto AR Turntable in Nashville, Tn. that takes Ar's and Mods and works on them. Getting ready to go there and see what's available.
Is that George Merrill's shop in Nashville? He and Anthony Scillia have been modding AR's for years. The latest Merrill tables are also very well received, alas way outside your budget. Dave at Vinyl Nirvana also offers the Merrill-Scillia AR mods. So if you're leaning between AR and Thorens Dave is a pretty good source of information for both brands.
Rega's - probably the most consistent and reliable table/arm combo that has ever been made - certainly the Rega and Linn LP-12 are the only models i can think of that have been on the market with minor changes for decades.The Rega's seem to show up used with about the only problem ever being the need for a new belt if they've been sittin for awhile - any Rega dealer can provide that.
The problem with a lot of other designs is they require a skilled trained person to get them set up and adjusted for max performance - this is particularly true for most "sprung" chasis designs - especially as they age. Pretty much not a issue with the Rega's.
03-29-09: StonedeafThe TechnicsSL1200 has been on the market since 1972. Nearly four decades.
Over 3 million have been sold, and many 70s vintage SL1200 tables are still in use.
Seeing as you have a Superphon Revelation in your system, you might be interested in my recent experience with a turntable.
Not too long ago I obtained a Superphon Revelation that came along with a VPI HW 19 MK II that I bought thru a coworker. I have been using a Yamaha C-2, but finally tried the Superphon last night. UNBELIEVABLE! The synergy between it and the VPI is really incredible and much better than with the C-2. This is so even though the Superphon has a few issues (external power supply hums a bit, which can be heard through the speakers during silent passages and the mute switch only quiets the left channel). I haven't yet tried the Superphon with another turntable, as my Yamaha PX-2 has a MC mounted, but there is no doubt that the VPI (which came with a Grado Signature Lab tonearm and Shure V15V-MR cartridge) and the Superphon sound truly amazing.
Though I got a good deal, I didn't pay much more than the upper end of your range and that included the pre-amp. I have no doubt that you would be extremely pleased with something like what I happened upon.
Best of luck!