Ok. Let me simplify. Given my current setup, would I get more bang for the buck with a $2500 investment in a new cartridge or a new turntable/tonearm?
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I recently switched from a Dynavector 10x5 to a 20x2 low and the improvements were across the board. Much more inner detail especially in the mids on up. Better tracking. More defined bass. Also the highs were a little less forward but more accurate. BTW I have it mounted onto a RB250 arm that has simlar upgrades to yours.
So IMO you can take your current TT tonearm set up to a whole new level with a significant cartridge upgrade.
Let me apologize to you from our analog gurus' lack of contributions in answer to your question. I asked this same question in theory and got many more answers. I asked can you get great sound from a mediocre table with a really good crtridge? The answers I got at the time, (I know next to nothing about analog myself) tended to be that, you need a really good table to get the best out of a costly high end cartridge. So I will parrot that and tell you to get the better table/arm.
To Mechans, Karl does not have a mediocre table. IMO the tables he is considering purchasing are a small step up from his current modified rig. However the improvement in upgrading from an entry level HOMC to a LOMC (with proper step up) is a much larger difference. The OP can not buy a "costly high end cartridge" for $2500 nor improve his TT tone arm situation all that much for that same amount of money.
I do not disagree with your statement "you nead a really good table to get the best out of costly high end cartridge" but the 10x5, although very good for the price, is hardly a high end cartridge and IME will not deliver a lot better sound on a better TT set up than Karl currently has.
Thanks Jjrenman, Mechans and Manitunc for your responses.
I was leaning toward a LOMC cartridge, like a Dyna 20x2L or a AT-OC9ml/iii but wanted to make sure I wasn't wasting time in the context of my somewhat ancient turntable. The logic being if the new cartridge didn't get me to where I want to be then I can always mount it on a new TT/tonearm.
I received several LPs in the mail today. One was a new release from The Knife. Its a 3LP set that included the album on CD! I like it how labels/artists are recognizing our mixed digital and analog needs.
Other experiences are welcomed. Was your analog quantum leap a new table or a new cartridge or some other tweak?
I had a Rega P-25 turntable with a Dynavector 17D3 cartridge. My progression in steps was:
1. Purchase of an older Basis 2000 TT with a Basis modified Rega arm
2. Changing to a Shelter 901 cartridge
3. Changing to a Basis Vector 3 tonearm
One of the most significant changes was the last change to the tonearm. It was a stunning change that I did not expect. I think most in this hobby have made changes to their systems ands said "I think that sounds better", but this was a change where I said, "I can't believe how much better this sounds."
So in short, each of the changes made a difference, that I could hear for the better, but the quantum leap was the Basis Vector tonearm.
I hope you enjoy your quantum leap as much as I have enjoyed mine.
In the meanwhile enjoy all of the small changes along the way.
I'd upgrade the table/arm. You are in the vicinity of a Well Tempered Amadeus or Simplex, which would get you an upgraded arm and table. At $2500, you could get both a Simplex and an upgrade at cartridge (20XL if you like the Dyna sound).
Even with the wiring upgrade, I think that the RB300 is probably your weakest link.
I've spent a little over a week with the Anvil. It is a fantastic turntable. Very straight forward and incredibly heavy without taking too much space. I started a thread on Vinylengine if you would like to see pictures. The demo unit I have has Stillpoints Ultra SS as footers and another Stillpoints vibration device on the armboard.
Bruce provided a Roksan Nima with a DL103. I have been swapping with my modded RB300 and AT OL9 MLII.
I think this table would not hold back any cartridge or arm combo. I would also love to hear it with a Moerch.
My only complaint is a functional one. The silk suture that serves as the turntable belt is a bit finicky on the demo model. If it gets twisted a certain way it will come off the platter. Takes a while to hear this actually as the table continues to spin for a long time. This has only happened a couple times.
Bruce of Anvil, who was kind enough to set up the table in my system, told me the actual production model holds onto the belt better and thicker suture or even rubber belts are an option.
I'll let you know if I decide to go with the Anvil.