Need Advice On A New Turntable Upgrade

I am wanted to replace my Pro-Ject 5.1 turntable with a better turntable.

I have started listening to vinyl again after years of digital only.

I have a dealer locally that carries VPI, Acoustic Signature and Oracle.

Trying to keep it under 5000,00 including cartridge.

The VPI Prime I was looking at seems to be a great turntable but it is pretty wide and I would have to modify my audio rack which is not a big deal and I am not sure I like the motor separate from the table (I have a cat). I liked the looks of the VPI Classic, a few are still available but discontinued. One dealer I know was very critical of the VPI but I cannot find anything bad about them besides his opinion (he carries Acoustic Signature but not VPI but he is a very reputable dealer).

The Acoustic Signature seems to be a nice turntable. I was looking at the WOW XL. I used to have an old Oracle Alexandria but long gone. The Oracle have some new models but not sure I like the lighted base. I have a LFD Integrated amp and LFD phono stage and Harbeth 30.1 speakers.Any help on a turntable among these or another I might have missed and a cartridge would be much appreciated.


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If I can make a suggestion - before you upgrade, try a Herbies mat on the 5.1.  I have never heard a mat make so much difference on a turntable.  Not that it's not worth upgrading, but just give the Herbies a shot.  You also might want to replace the stylus.  The Goldring it came with is not a bad MM cart at all and it deserves a fresh tip if you want to get back into vinyl.  

My turntable has a Sumiko Blue Point cartridge.

I am keeping it to play records that are not in that great of shape and the new one is to play high quality audio pressings and new albums.

I went from the Project RPM to a VPI Scout and could not be happier.

I think the Classic 1 is a great value. The Prime is probably slightly better, but the Classic is 75% of the cost and you can buy an excellent cartridge with the difference. 

Another option is the Garrard 301/401 or Thorens TD124 with a custom plinth and an arm of your choice. you could easily get a wonderful set up for your budget and be happy for ever, with tons of upgrade paths for the future. I went from an oracle Delphi MK 4 system to a Garrard 301, custom bamboo plinth, Jelco 12" arm and my Van Den Hull MC10 cart (just made it with a light weight head shell for compliance), and some steal pin points for isolation. After refreshing the very good shape Garrard 301 grease bearing I found total costs worked out to. Note; Canadian cost so lower by 30% for US$. Payed $2000 for the one owner Garrard 301, $1100 for the Jelco arm and light weight head shell (New price), $800 for the plinth I had a local gentleman who makes these custom make one for me but you can find great ones for less money then that. $250 for the isolation pin points. all set under $5000 Canadian so room for a great cart to toss on. Its much more musical then the Oracle ever was and I loved that table had it for over a decade. look at my profile for pictures. I would highly recommend this approach but its not for everyone of course.

link of mine playing one of the first times after finishing:

I definitely definitely like looks of the VPI Classic best, I found a decent deal on a b stock that has a slight scratch on it but not really noticeable. I like the motor being inside too instead of separate (I have a cat) like the Prime.


If you’re narrowing down choices, and you choose the Classic, make sure it’s the very last of the production run. A couple of runs VPI decided to try incorporating an inverting circuit for stable AC feeding the drive motor.

What this means is, there is a little DC box feeding the table. You can’t use any speed control devices(SDS, Phoenix) if, later down the road, you want precise platter speed.

I have one of these models, while it’s generally fine, I occasionally see these units listed for cheap, but can’t use them!
On rare occasion, the audio geek ears can hear the speed fluctuation, depending on instrument. Not a deal killer, just sayin....

The final runs do not have this circuitry. Easy to tell, if the power cord simply plugs into the table, you’re fine.

I see Classics listed regularly for great pieces. Spend another 1k on a LOMC, and you’re done. Invest in an equally competent phono stage. The Classic is worthy of a $2k+ unit if your tolerance can handle it. Always good,used listings for $2k+phono stages, which are always negotiable to half or better of retail.

I just had my dealer order the last Classic from the distributor.  Brand new so it should be the final run.  I am looking forward to using it. Thanks for all the help!
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Thanks tablejockey for the headsup about the DC box. I verified today that it is the final run and does not have the box in line.

I am excited to hear it.

I would suggest that you look for a used Oracle mk IV or V. That should be in your price range and they can always be upgraded to the current mk VI version 2 when/if you want.
The upgrades make a really good table awesome. I have had a mk III which I upgraded to mk V, and later upgraded a mk V to mk VI, and recently to mk VI v.2. Each upgrade was a BIG improvement.
Good listening