Music Hall mmf-5 vs. Rega P3

I know the high praise both of these TTs usually get puts them solidly in the best-bang-for-the-buck category, but in a head-to-head which one is the build? sound? I suspect the P3 may get the most nods, in which case, what changes or mods would the mmf-5 need to go through to match/exceed it? Thoughts?
go for the p3 which can be upgraded with a lot of different aftermarket products....the rb300 arm can always be kept for another table or resold and replaced with an upgraded arm or you can upgrade it yourself by sending it to Expressimo for the Incognito wiring and heavyweight and a VTA adjuster

the mmf5 is a turnkey solution...always go for the rega in this comparison
Great thread...I'm curious,too. I just bought an MMF-5 to resurrect my 20-25 year old vinyl collection. Initial impressions are VERY positive. Ultimately, I would think that the P3 gets the nod due to its inherent upgradeability, but I'd like to read someone's impressions of the two, side-by-side, right out of the box. Also interested in incremental MMF-5 upgrades. Thanks.
Your first clause is a false premise. A real false premise. Both decks really suck in the speed/rotational stability department. Read the specs.
I just bought an MMF-5 a couple weeks ago on researched the purchase here on audiogon. Before I comment on the 'table I'd like to point out the fact that if you search the archives you'll see that Psychicanimal never misses an opportunity to jump in with a negative comment whenever there's a thread mentioning MMF turntables. While he's certainly entitled to his opinion, it seem to me that anyone so focused on negativity, and so obsessed with putting down MMF, leads me to believe that he is jealous, insecure and just plain inexperienced about what qualities to look for in a turntable. Seeing his comment "read the specs, it sucks" sounds more like something I would expect from a petulant, immature 14-year-old boy, not the carefully reasoned comments of an experience audiophile.

The fact of the matter is that judging the performance of any turntable depends in to a major extent on how carefully it is set up and what ancillary equipment it is used with. The proof is in the listening, not the specs, and that is where the MMF-5 shines.

Tthe MMF-5 turntable is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a turnkey solution for getting into vinyl. It offers tremendous adjustablility for a 'table at its price point and it can be made to perform at a greatly exalted level with proper setup. I spent two full weeks carefully wringing out the best performance in mine and am just amazed at how accomplished this 'table can be.

Yes, the MMF-5 is limited in absolute terms (and what piece of audio equipment isn't?) but set up properly it is VERY musically satisfying and will provide a huge slice of "analog heaven". I have heard the Rega and it is also a fine choice, but it has different strenths and weaknesses compared to the MMF-5. The Rega has a better arm (I don't think anyone would dispute this) but it also runs 1 percent fast, has no suspension and its VTA is non-adjustable. I listened to both and concluded that the MMF was the better choice for me. I have mine sitting on a seismic sink and have replaced the stock feet (which helped deepen and define the bass, and greatly lowered the noise floor), replaced the hardwired interconnect (which gave a nice increase in detail) along with a few other tweaks that have brought out the best in it. But just leveling the 'table (get it perfect, it's worth it) and getting all of the setup paramaters dialed in are more than enough to see what this 'table can do with your favorite albums.

I'm not into the juvenile male posturing (your turntable sucks, mine beats yours), just into good music, and I think that most any turntable can be made to perform nicely when set up by someone with care and experience. Choose what works best for you and enjoy the music.
Yeah, I have a mmf-5 and I enjoy it very much. I just purchased a green P3 with a dynavector 10x5 cartridge 'cause the deal was too good and 'cause I fancied the green ones the first time I saw 'em. I believe this to be a long-time tt for me. Yet, I can't help but think the mmf-5 is a dandy table that i could have lived with for a long time as well. I would like to formally sing its praises!

oh, psychoanimal...ppppt.
it seem to me that anyone so focused on negativity, and so obsessed with putting down MMF, leads me to believe that he is jealous, insecure and just plain inexperienced about what qualities to look for in a turntable.

Quite the contrary, it's you who's ignorant.

An older generation Thorens belt drive with a frequency generator motor will outperform the Rega and the MMF-5. Why? Because of speed/rotational stability. Belts stretch with time and electricity fluctuates constantly. That's one of the main reasons why those Thorens are still coveted by the belt drive fans. Truth is, a current model cheap Technics belt drive with FG servo motor will also give those two TTs a run for their money--probably up to the $700 price range.

Finally, when it comes to decks, specs DO matter. A TT with bad wow & flutter specs will not sound right--period.

I'm enjoying a cocktail right now, listening to my mmf-5 and digging it all. It occurs to me that that is the thing. I have no desire nor do I have the patience to suffer the self-posturing verbal masturbation that passes for discussion from some of the chuckleheads on A'gon. Debate, ideas, discourse- these are truly fine and good things, as are opinions. The spirit of most of the posts here and on A'gon is usually exceptional. It is the small yahoos with their brains broiling and furious fingers clicking the loud and silly farts of their outrage that how dare we not recognize their brilliance?! The record needs to be flipped and I need another cocktail.
To quote Ossorosso: ppppt.
Man I am laughing my but off!!!
very good post / 02-26-05: David_w

I am glad you are enjoying you new analog rig David.

That as Mikey Fermer says "can kick the crap out of any cd player"

Ron, as I was sayin'. The P3 or the mmf-5: any more HELPFUL thoughts about these two tt's? I am seriously thinking about keeping my mmf-5 as well (if I can justify the extra equipment and $$ tied up), its sound is just that enjoyable to me ears and me soul. Anybody have any experience with an mmf-5 with a rb-300 arm? That might be the best of both worlds!?
It's Guiness time!
I think it's a toss-up, FWIW. Tweaking these tables is fine and you do pick up something for the efforts. But I don't think either really stands out over it's rival.

If you like the Music Hall I would suggest looking at the MMF 7, which I think is the strongest table in the Music Hall line. You get the advantage of a seperate motor pod, a better model of the Pro-ject arm and a better platter. I owned one for a while and really liked it. There are several things you can tweak; upgrade the tonearm cables, upgrade or loose the RCA connectors altogether, swap the cone feat for some good brass ones. You could probably do these to the MMF 5 as well, but there is a lot to be said for that seperate motor. Watch the used market here and try to snag a MMF 7 used. That is the best bang for the buck IMO. Brand new, I'm not so sure.

I did some research about mounting a Rega arm but to do it right would have meant heavily modifying the plinth. I chose not to do that since I knew I would be selling the table at some point. Granted there are some cartridges that won't mate well with the Project 9, but there are many very good cartridges that will. Now you might just drop in a Linn arm with no problem, but I wouldn't know which one to suggest.

I love Guiness but I have to watch my weight. So it's Jack and Diet Coke for me. Nascar is on!
Guiness only has 125 calories! As if I needed another reason to drink it.

Good points on the two 'tables. mmf-7 does appear to be a dandy 'table.

I have the tweaked "Bombaywalla" mmf-5 (see reviews) and a Rega P3 and there's not much difference in sound...maybe the mmf-5 sounds a little better but the build quality & looks of the rega seem better to me. I should get rid of one ( I also have a Pro-ject tt )...this thread may help me make up my mind. I probably will keep both. All tables were bought used here on Audiogon and have been a joy to use. If somebody held a gun to my head (my wife may do this at any moment) and ordered me to keep one I would keep the rega...
I've got a MMF9 and love it! Personally, I think the Music Hall tables are much better suited for the folks who want to set it up properly and forget about it and get on with the business of enjoying music. If you are "handy" and like fidgit about then I think other brands will work better.
Thanks to everyone here (err... make that MOST everyone) for good, reflective comments on how these 'tables sound, and how they are to live with.

I've not personally owned a P3, but am very familiar with it, it being such a mainstay in our circles. I however HAVE owned a Rega Planar 2, and more recently in past years, also the MMF-5, MMF-7, and the MMF-9 (not auditioned, but owned in my system for long stretches each). Though the MMF-7 would be the keeper of this lot, for me, I've enjoyed them all very much, in different ways.

Keeping with the subject of this thread though, the Rega P3 has always sounded more forward and aggressive to me (note that I intend all of these terms in a very subtle sense), and a little more bold. The MMF-5, which so impressed me for just how much it could do at its level, tended to sound a tad lighter, certainly more laid back in presentation, and perhaps in some ways, more musical than the Rega.

But I might have used the phrase "impressed me" inappropriately just now, in trying to describe what I want to say about these two 'tables. Because overall, that phrase always seemed more appropriate to the Rega. Listening to the P3 makes music "sound impressive" (in an audiophile way). Spinning wax on the Music Hall 5 on the other hand, music seems to come out more self-effacingly; but at the same time, for that very lack of self-centeredness, the little product itself leaves an impression on you, in afterthought.

The tonearm is really the P3's sine qua non - in sound character and build quality. Overall, I've always liked the touch and feel of the P3 a bit more than the MMF-5. Sturdier and more substantial. But I wouldn't be surprised either to learn that what the MMF-5 lacks in this department actually helps it in a way, by adding to its charm. It's that "you get so much for so little" quality the MMF-5 has, I guess some psychoanalysts would find a way to show how that biases my perception of what reaches my ears.

If you've managed to wade this far through all my rambling dreck, you'll realize I'm really saying that both 'tables can serve the music quite well in their own way. That's been my experience with them. The Rega lends itself more easily to upgrades and tweaks, if that sort of thing attracts you. However, one tweak I'd suggest for the MMF-5 is a mat upgrade to smooth out the "ringy" overhanging tone you sometimes get with the glass platter.

Keep on living music.
I started out in analog with the MMF-5. It was initially a fine introduction to analog. If you want to remain happy at this level , my suggestion is don't listen to the high end tables out there. The improvements you can make to upgrade the MMF 5 are not worth it compared to buying a better tt. I shelved my MMF 5 after listening to a few Amazon tables and Euro lab TT's . The comparison in sound is like comparing my Revel Studios to my old Bose 901's. I thought the Bose were great until I went out and saw the world. I don't know anything about Rega tt's, but my advice would be if you like what these entry level tt's do, live with them for awhile , then move up to a more serious table. Well worth it.
someone should point out that the rega costs alot more than the music hall. i like the music hall because one can spin the platter with a finger to get it moving; on the rega you don't want to touch it because the belt runs on it. i have upgraded the stylus to the 1042, which yields a big improvement. skip the 1022; it runs too low to the record. i got the special paper ringmat; it made it sound a little better. i think the build quality of the musichall is higher ( yes i had the rega for a while). one thing i really like about a (relatively) cheap setup is i can change out the stylus pretty often.. playing records would be a very expensive proposition if i had a high zoot cartridge.

how do i go about changing the dedicated interconnect? thanks
Every P3 I've heard sounds bright (although maybe it's the systems?). generally the MMFs are a little less $$ and more of a turn-key solution, like someone else mentioned. The rega arms are great, bu tI don't know about the rest of the table. But then again the project arms aren't as well respected as the regas and the MMFs aren't very upgradable.

I don't buy the "take the arm with you to another table" upgrade with the Regas. Sure if you do that, you are in essence left trying to sell an armless P2 or P3 on the market, and who wants to buy that table? Not many people as everyone wants the Rega arm! So in reality, what you should do with a REga is use it for a while, upgrade the cart, then buy an upgraded table, move the arm and cart to the new table and use it for a while. Then buy a better arm downt he road then sell the Rega on the used market as a complete TT+arm package. that would be better than trying to sell an armless Rega IMO. Whereas with a Music Hall, you're more or less stuck with a forklift upgrade (unless you're taking the cart with you).

The music hall can be tweaked a little. I believe LP gear sells an upgraded stylus and mat for the MMF2.1 and the MMF5 or MMF7 can use a different cart. You could also use a Michell record clamp (I do) {under $50} or defeat the suspension. I defeated my MMF2.1's suspenstion with 3 Dayton Audio cones from Parts Express (I couldn't afford the Mapleshade ones at the time, plus the mapleshade dealer hasn't talked with me in a while {What's up with that Tom??!?). I placed the three cones on the flat underside of the plinth thereby defeating the suspension in the stock feet. I place two in back, just under the motor and tone arm, and another one in right/front/middle to balance out the player. It works great I get a much wider/deeper soundstage that I did before. The effect is not subtle to me, but it is to my wife.

To summarize, for me it came down to the fact all of my auditions for the Regas sounded bright and the music halls did not. Personally I wanted the Rega to win as the project arm is a POS, but *meah*.

Psychicanimal has real issues. I would just ignore anything he says.