Next Turntable

I've been reading, digging through archives, studying anecdotal comments, and the like, here and on the Vinyl Asylum, to figure out my next TT move. I am strictly a vinyl-only guy, and for those of you who remember my other posts, recently came back to audio after a decade long hiatus. I have been revamping my system, the only remaining piece from the early 90's being a Well-Tweaked, Well Tempered TT.
I want to take a step up in the TT world. Here are my parameters:

1. No twenty thousand plus investment. I could see 10k for a table, sans arm and cartridge, but that's about where I'm going to draw the line; obviously, if I don't have to spend this, I won't.
2. Not too tweaky. Don't want to worry about air pressure in suspensions or arms, constant adjustment, or endless fine tuning. While I'm not against the occasional adjustment, I want to listen to music, not pay homage to the equipment.
3. No overt colorations, but the TT does not have to be the
last word in technology, exotic materials, or dramatic looks. It just has to play music, and combined with an appropriate arm, give me deep bass, 'jump' or thwack, open
airy and non-bloated mids and extended highs. If I have to trade off anything, I suppose that would be the highest octave extension in favor of musicality and palpability of the rest.
4. Some of the contenders- Kuzma Stabi Reference; VPI TNT 6
(perhaps Hotrod, but the changes in the platter and bearing, given some of the negatives I've read about the HRX, make me hesitate); Brinkman- overbudget, unless slightly used; Simon
Yorke, ditto. Others might be a Basis, Sota, or Well-Tempered Reference. All are fine tables, but I think I would like to get as close to
state of the art in this step; on the other hand, I'm not
looking for this month's 'hot product' since I tend to hang on to equipment. Turntable comparisons are pretty close to impossible, I dunno, maybe a dealer would be willing to set one up in my home, but I don't see that happening even at this price point, and even if it did, having one table for a short period of time is not going to be too telling.
As to arms, I like the Graham. The Kuzma air arm looks neat, but it violates my set it and forget it rule. If I went with the Brinkman, I'd probably do their arm.
That's it for now. TIA.
Dear Whart: +++++ " but I think I would like to get as close to
state of the art in this step; " +++++

What I understand for state of the art TT is a design that has: speed accuracy and speed stability in the short/long and very short run, a bearing that not only " lives for ever " but that be transparent to the signal, it has to have an external motor and external separated power supply, it has to be insensitive to any electrical AC deviations, it has to have a very good anti-vibration system and a very good system for a fast energy dissipation, it has to have high mass and be all metal build, it has to accomodate two/three tonearms, not to tweaky and do its TT job in natura/transparent way with out any " intrusion " to the audio signal. There are other issues here but what I named are critical.

Well, I think that Rockport and Walker designs almost achieve those targets and are " state of the art " designs.

Near those designs, with out those very high prices, could be: Simon Yorke, Galibier, Acoustic Signature, Transrotor, SME, etc.. You can't go wrong with either one.

For your Parnassus, I like the Ikeda, Audio Note and Brickman tonearms.

Regards and enjoy the music.

I upgraded to an Amazon Model 1 turntable, Triplanar Mk VII tonearm and ZYX Universe cartridge about a year ago. My selection criteria were very similar to yours. You may want to do some research into this combination.

I'm very happy with my choice, and received excellent service from my local distributor, Mehran of Sorasound (

Best of luck!
I made "that" search a few years ago, too ( like others ) and I stopped with Basis. Listened to Simon Yorke, Amazon, owned Well Tempered and so on.
All good, depends a bit on your wishes for Arm, how many of them, suspension etc. and how serius you want to go in analog.
When you are interested in something rare, but really good from outside USA, check out Amazon Reference or TW Raven ( can hold up to 4 arms )
lots of tables have poped up in the last decade, most the best values are still the old reliables...linn, oracle, well-tempered, sota, thorens(not the new thorens). of the newer models, the origin really stands out......the best table/arm buys on audiogon at the moment is a wilson-benesch act 1 and 2. many of the new hi end tables are over-priced for what you get......the reliable rega 9 still is among the best, as are a few vpi models, but god they are a pain-in-the-a#s.
VPI Scoutmaster, would be an excellent choice for your setup.
I have a SOTA Nova Series V and am very happy with it. If I had to do it over again I would look very hard at Galibier Design. I was very impressed with the table when I heard it. It was set up with a Schroeder tonearm and ZYX cartridge.
I have to tell you that the LATEST SOTA COSMOS is an "out of the park homer",in almost any area of real concern.There are now even a couple of recent mods,beyond the series III,that take this table about as close to the state of the art,as anyone is likely to really need.The last few years,for SOTA,has given way to sensational design integrity,as well as fit and finish,IMO!As to the clamp issue,the vacuum system is still superior to any other method of clamping available.It does NOT harm records,as I have owned a vacuum system for over twenty yrs,without so much as an extra tick,or pop!Priced very fairly,and darn nice looking too!What's not to like?

That being said,there is a wealth of alternative choices.Based on your comments,I will tell you that my dear friend,who previously owned a TNT-5 w/Air Tangent arm,jst got the NEW TNT with both the all Plexi platter,and the new multi laminate(I think aluminum,and plexi),to compare.His arm of choice(he got tired of the maintenance of the Air Tangent) was the VPI 12.6 arm.Sporting the latest Titan cartridge.

He is a very experienced record collector/music lover/hobbyist(in that order),and is doing cartwheels over the current performance he now has.He has not gotten to compare the two platters yet,as he wants to iron out all variables before doing so.Truthfully,I have always loved his older set-up,and will hear the newest in two to three weeks.Yet,I have always trusted his choices,so the newest VPI TNT must be superb!

I have recently read about what,also,seems to be a new,yet very special table design.This from Grand Prix Audio.Looks to be a very well developed design,and though S.O.T.A. is quite compact.Meaning not alot of money to be spent on support platforms(which can suck up a budget).

As for arms,I can't tell you anything new,and don't want to risk seeming to be a cheerleader for the usual suspects,though I do have my own preferences.All commonly discussed arms,on these threads, are superb.The best choices will be made in proper mating to your cartridge of choice.Rely on a "considerate" dealer,and you will have an easier time.

Best of luck!Now go find some good LP's,and expect to be staying up a bit later than usual!!
I recently upgraded my table. After a great deal of research I went with the Galibier. My experience with Thom Machris of Galibier has been excellent and his table is one of the very best I have heard. It is easy to set up and does not require constant adjustment.A pleasure to use.
I second the votes for something like Galibier or Teres.

- utterly non-tweaky by design

- capable of supporting virtually any tonearm (or two)

- better performance/dollar than tables sold through traditional distribution channels (fewer hands in the till)

- you get to deal directly with the designer/builder, they're both great guys and Thom Mackris of Galibier is very accessible

I've compared the Amazon Ref to various Teres models. Any Teres from the 265 up will outplay it, for far less money. I suspect any Galibier would also. I do love dealing with Mehran though (who doesn't!).

well, I think i've settled on the Kuzma Reference TT with a Triplanar arm. I'll let you know what I think once it is delivered and running. Thanks again for everybody's input.
I searched for a TT for a great deal of time - listened to a good few. It is a daunting task and frustrating to try to sort a table's sound quality from the systems they are shown in, not to mention wide differences in arms,carts, and dealer/mfr. setup (in)competence.
Of all,(Includes various VPI, Sota, Teres, Linn) I found the Galibier gets the nod in just about any dimension I could care to name. It is the best table I have ever heard.

If this will be your first TriPlanar, please read the thread linked below. It will help you get the very best from a very fine arm and also avoid a few possible frustrations.

Congrats on the new rig, enjoy!
Thnx, Doug. Quite helpful.
Congratulations, Whart! You will be very happy. What cartridge will you be using?
Gonna try the big Transfiguration- have a old Parnassus that is readily trade-up-able to a Titan- have a Van de Hul something or other sitting around- and my old friend George has insisted that I try a couple, including the Colibri. Why, any suggestions? The system, as you know, is AG Duos, Audiopax 88's and the Steelhead. (Which the dealer who sold me the TT thought was a sucky preamp/phono stage for making music, but what do I know- it does seem to let alot of music through, and even with my ears previously tuned to the lushness of my old SP-10, I don't find it 'unmusical'). Thanks for the kudos, Brian.
I am looking forward to installing the table. And, while I thought I would be able to avoid expensive stands, etc., my trusty ol' Target TT wall shelf is probably not up to the task of the 88lb. Kuzma. So, it looks like one of those Finite Elemente wall shelves. I don't have the right wall height to install the Grand Prix wall shelf, and I've never had good turntable fortune using floor stands. I thought about having my friend, a chopper builder, fabricate or have machined something really heavy duty, but by the time I'm done with him, have it powder coated or whatever, and buy a decent shelf, I'm close to the same, and it probably won't be as good. Nobody accused me of being a DIY'er. Oh, well....
Hi Wartz, I reckon opinions are like you know what, and everybody's got one! (lol)

None the less, when you factor in everything associated with the Table, such as Arm, Cartridge, A great Phono Stage to compliment it, it sure isn't hard to come to the $10K mark, in fact, given the money in hand, I could easily exceed that price tag by three times in 20 seconds! (And I consider myself an analog dummy)

Yes, the Graham arm would probably be on my own personal short list (If I had the money!). Truly beautiful stuff indeed!

I think you'll agree though, there comes a point in price in the ultra high-end where one starts cutting hairs, and the bottom line I guess is "How deep are your pockets"?

Then once you somewhat achieve Analog nirvana to a given point, I would then think one would start carefully examining, and questioning whether the rest of the system (Speakers-Amps-Pre-Amps) was up to snuff?
Yes, the VPI's are nice, and I probably wouldn't discount the HRX so quickly until you hear it.
Compliment it with an Arm, a Cartridge, and a Phono Stage if you don't already have these, and you're easily looking at $25K combined cost.

I've always liked the VPI Aries myself, and you'll agree that there are numerous tables in this price range.

Tough to say what I'd ultimately buy given the bucks? Maybe an offering from Clearaudio? Manley Steelhead?
Top of the Line Lyra Cart, or Koestsu? Tough choices, even for a dreamer like myself.

Me, I settled on more meager equipment, a VPI HW-19 with MK-IV Platter, Sutherland PhD, Glider Cart, AQ Arm.
Not bad stuff, and enjoyable, but certainly not the last word in Analog. (Maybe 20 years ago it would be)

I reckon the best advice would be to do more homework, sleep on it, and given time, try making what you think is the wisest decision. Mark

Rather than trade for a Titan, you might consider having Lyra rebuild your Parnassus into an Olympos. Jonathon Carr told me that was possible. The Olympos is the best cartridge I've heard, though I haven't heard a Titan and have no idea how they'd compare.

NOt a bad thought. The Olympus is on the high side of expensive cartridges, but the 'trade in' allowance for my Parnassus apparently takes account of the fact that it is an early one, having platinum plates sourced from unobtainium, and is what is used in the Olympos.
The dealer who sold me the TT is strongly of the belief that the Titan is the wrong cartridge for this horn system- same guy who really doesn't like the Steelhead either. I will admit that hearing the Transfiguration on the big Kuzma, playing on a pair of those JBL K2s powered by Viva stuff was pretty impressive, but i didn't know the track he played, and of course, that's one, five minute impression.
The other thing I'm finding is that the Duos are really tricky on the bass. Maybe part of it is my room, and perhaps the change in TT, arm and cartridge will make some real difference-Mark51- i've just gone through an entire reassessment of my system as you've described, and changed everything, now, including the TT--but having a selection of cartridges is probably the only real way to hear what they can do in my system.

Hey Whart, what a great choice you made!! I hope you enjoy and please keep us posted as to your comments!
Thnx, Rwd. Nice Revox (what was that, an A-77? It's been so long and that nomenclature just popped into my head). I also spied what looked like a smoked Cohiba, perhaps an Esplendido, in the ashtray. I won't ask where that cigar came from. :)
Regards, and I'll definitely keep ya'll apprised.
oracle delphi, linn sondek, origin, rega9, well tempered....if you are going used add wilson b, thorens, ar a-77. and I just e-mailed you.
Having just written a note on another subject, I spotted this thread on the "Next Turntable"... It's quite premature right now, but let me just say this: If your plans don't involve an immediate purchase for a new turntable, you may, from time-to-time, want to watch our website ( for news of our next area(s) of interest. In looking at what's out there for use with our Phantom tonearm (and the older 2.2 models, too), and seeing examples of what's right (and wrong) we believe we'll have something good to offer in this competitive market. We'll have information posted when the time comes.... In the meantime, perhaps this will provide some interest for future plans! Thanks, and Stay tuned! Bob Graham/Graham Engingeering
Bob- thanks for chiming in. One nice thing about this 'hobby' is that you can interact directly with the designers. I'll keep my eyes out- your products are among the most highly regarded in our analog world. Regards,