Look at the VPI "Super Prime Scout". Scout plinth with Prime platter and tonearm. Used one at the Florida Expo in a friends room and it performed very well for the retail asking price.
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I have looked at those super prime scouts on the upscale audio website and they look pretty impressive. Does something like that get me the most performance for the money vs getting an older used one that was a "better" or at least more expensive when it was new? Would that be worth a grand more than like the aries black night with some upgrades? I know it's all relative but just trying to get the most performance out of the money and not have to worry about wanting to upgrade anytime soon.
I'm not saying that I have to use the denon or that I'm in love with it, but it's just sitting on a shelf and could be used if needed to. 😊 I think that I have a couple others sitting around too but I think they are lower end yet. I think there is a grado gold, some shure, and maybe another but I can't remember for sure.
Just so many options. Lol I just want to know that I'm going to notice a decent sized improvement over my current table if I spend an extra grand or two grand or so. I'm not limited to just vpi but they have been the main ones that I've been looking at. I want to be nice looking also and be preferably black too.
I have some similar components.
Very familiar with the Focals with PL(great pairing) but don't have them in my system.
Been using a VPI Classic for 6 years. It's delivers enough of what a REALLY nice system is capable of. If I were starting over, I would look for a used Aries/Prime, or some iteration of a Classic with the 3d arm. Get something for considerably less than a brand new, full retail unit.
You're aware audio at this level is especially subjective, and argued to death by "experts"
A proper VPI setup will show you what the fuss is all about. It's a polarizing brand. Users either like them or despise the uni pivot. The "experts" have plenty to say what's wrong with the design. My ears could care less.
From what I've read the Marantz is a decent table for what it is. How much of an improvement is a subjective call, but I would say you would hear noticeable differences that should be pleasing and more convincing.
Whatever VPI you decide on, spend as much as you can on a proper cart.MM,MI or MC.
I can't believe how similar our systems are. Lol what turntables did you use before the classic? I just don't know what direction to go. I had one person tell me that I should look at some of the other clearaudio tables like the performance DC table. Any opinions about other tables that might be options are welcome also. I just don't have a ton of experience with a lot of different turntables like these. The Marantz is the best one I've had.
The Marantz is made by Clearaudio.
No personal experience with Clearaudio tables, but I know they’re solid.
As mentoned, you can get a bazillion recommendations on what’s "best".I used Regas years ago as a re entry for playing records.
If you do want no fuss, just play an LP, someone may chime in with a current Rega suggestion. It looks like a P6 or better is the way to go.
Best to look at everything in your budget, and report back and consider all the suggestions. Demo something at a dealer if possible.
I'm definitely trying to look at all options available. The only dealers here around Des Moines have some lower end ones, the same Marantz and a McIntosh. That's about the extent of it. So my only way to learn anything is to read and hear from people with some experience with some other options that would be in the budget. So that's why I came here. 😁
I bought a Super Prime Scout with the Soundsmith Otello cartridge and I could not be happier. It is an awesome turntable, and the on-the-fly VTA is awesome. I cobbled together my system for under $6K using the New VPI, A Threshold NS10 Preamp, Parasound HCA-800II, and I just hooked up a pair of Snell J3’s; the ones sitting on ebay for ever, can’t believe it. Those Snells are the Cherry on the whole system but my VPI Super Prime Scout is the heart. Gorgeous sound, great looks. Great value. I’m a huge fan and believer.
I'm getting a sense that you are looking for a new toy, but if your only issue is the color, I looked around a bit and saw that frosted acrylic can be painted. Maybe you could just have the plinth painted black?