New TT, current Clearaudio...


I have a Clearaudio Champion with a Rega RB300 arm and a Benz Silver HO MC cartridge. I know it's not the flashiest turntable, but it has served me well for the last few years. Since the time I bought it EVERYTHING else has been upgraded.

Here's what I'm thinking... I sell the Champion the way it's setup today and add another $1500-2k. Big question is, what should I buy for about $2200-$3000 used?

Rest of the system:
Audio Physic Avanti III
Pass XA60.5
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
PS Audio NuWave Phono
Cardas Clear from DS to amps and Clear Beyond from amps to speakers. AQ Carbon for I2S from NuWave to DS.
audiojan
Replace your tonearm with a drop in replacement. An upgrade from Clearaudio, Origin Live, Audiomods or a used Basis Vector (if it fits).

You should also put your turntable on a Symposium shelf, or something similar.
@jperry That's actually a really interesting idea! I could just upgrade the table I have to make it better. Never thought about that as an option.
One of the best upgrades I made was changing out a Rega arm on a Basis turntable for a Basis Vecror arm
My first table was a Basis 2001. Almost exactly like your Champion. Same acrylic base. Same platter. Different colors. The Basis had probably a lot better suspension. But basically the same table.

So you may be interested in my experience. Take one apart, they offer surprisingly little for the money. Inside the fancy housing is a rinky dink little motor. Don't count on the bearing being much better. Platter and plinth? Plain old acrylic. Margins on these things must be huge.

Anyway, what I learned from experience, if you are willing to do a little work, turntables like yours present what may be the best in all of audio in terms of going from mid-line to very high end without ever making any major purchases. This works because manufacturers cut corners on parts everywhere in order to hit a price point. Which they do with everything. Unlike everything else though with a turntable you can replace one part at a time, get the full benefit, ultimately ending up with both a whole new turntable and yet still have your old one to sell and recoup a chunk of the upgrade costs.

Right now your first three upgrades would be 

1. Replace the Champion plinth with a BDR Shelf (or better, Shelf for the Source). Either one of these will lower noise levels, improve dynamics and extension, and reveal incredible inner detail. Not easy. You need a shop and some woodworking skills. (Even though carbon fiber it works just like very hard wood, same tools and techniques.) But if you have a shop or access to one then all you have to do is literally trace out and copy the Champion plinth. The difference will not be subtle! Categorically guarantee you will get nowhere near the performance with any table you can find new or used under $5k. That's not idle speculation. I've done it. I know.

2. Upgrade the power cord to your motor. First audition some power cords. Then take the one you like, remove the female end, solder it to the motor. Again, actual experience. I did this on my Basis. Huge improvement. Not nearly as much as the BDR. But definitely worth it.

3. Motor upgrade. You get something like this https://www.teresaudio.com/verus-motor.html
With the Verus motor (and the above mods) you are now in the league of $10k and up tables. For about $2500. All-in.

Eventually if you want you can do the same with the platter and bearing. This is the path I followed. Its not easy but it works and if you do it right you will find yourself with a genuine top flight turntable and one of the all time great bargains in audio. 

http://www.theanalogdept.com/c_miller.htm

(This is with an early motor and arm. Today I run the Teres Verus, Origin Live Conqueror, Koetsu Black Goldline.)
@millercarbon Although interesting, by the time I do all that I’m already at the cost of a high end turntable. Without the hassle and work 
@audiojan 
I would be interested in hearing about your results if you upgrade the tonearm.

Best Regards,

Jim Perry
@jperry I'm leaning towards updating the current RB300 with new wires, counterweight, etc. Although by the time I do all that, I'm pretty close to a used arm...
... and it will not improve the rest of the arm. Take a look at an Audiomods
@jperry Yes, but finding an audiomods tonearms without paying and arm and a leg seems to be darn near impossible.
I thought you had a budget of $1,000 - $1,500. The most expensive Audiomods is about $1,000
@jperry but where do you find Audiomods in US?
They are a direct order from Audiomods. Another alternative is Origin Live which may also be a Rega drop in replacement. You could check with a dealer on this.