Look at the Musical Fidelity product line they fit your budget and do a good job for the money.
13 responses Add your response
Im new to vinyl as well (at least for the last 10 years)and I just purchased a Rega P3 2000 for $450.00 on the GON. I upgraded the cartridge but it came with an Elys and I thru it away. You cant go wrong with this TT. Smooth as silk, quiet, great sound. So my recomendation (and thru my reasearch a lot of others) is to go with the Rega.
Rega P-3 is the standard.. also because it comes with the Rega arm, which is a great arm. I've never used them but I hear great things about the Rega cartridges too. I had a Rega P-3 for years that I kept modifying (maybe 15 yrs of so) until last year I took the plunge and went for a Rega P-9 which I love.
You can't go wrong with the P3, but I would recommend the RB250 instead of the RB300. The 250 has better stability because it has no VTF(vertical tracking force) dial and has two bearings, and no spring. The only thing is that you will need to upgrade the endstub(it's plastic) and then the counterweight. This may be more expensive but in the long run a better sound. I know because I have had a P3 with both arms on it.
I'll take an RB250 over a 300 any day. There are some very effective yet inexpensive mods you can do later. I second the suggestion to go with a VPI HW-19 Jr. Great tables, and they're quite easy to upgrade as your funds allow (and believe me, you'll be upgrading. No one escapes the sickness ;) After a while you'll have turned it into an HW-19 MkIV that will play with some of the big boys! VPI does the low-end well in my experience.
I haven't much experience with SACD, but you'll have no problem exceeding your Redbook performance.