I would suggest waiting until you have more money before you upgrade. Small upgrades are generally more expensive, because they quickly get replaced, usually at some expense. If you had to do something now, consider a phono stage.
If you want something now, think about an isolation platform for the Rega such as a Target TT1 wallmount. Experiment with various cones and platforms on the rack. But I think you get the most bang for you buck if you upgrade as early in the chain as possible.
Phono stage is a good idea but will probably exceed your budget.
I'd say buy a used vpi 16.5 cleaning machine. That's a ugrade that you will forever keep. It's a big step up in sound quality.
Then upgrade your table down the road...
I have a pretty decent vinyl front end, and the VPI
16.5 made a substantial difference in my listening
pleasure. Not only does it quiet the surface noise,
but it also improves the sound: more dynamic, better
bass, greater transparency.
The two biggest improvements in my system have been
the TacT RCS 2.0 and the VPI 16.5
New table. The arm is good. Get the Expressimo end-stub, if you don't have it already. That way you can still use your Heavyweight. If you got the OL end-stub, your counterweight might not fit. The end stub would be the next logical thing for the arm.
But the table is where the real upgrades will come. For $400, you are going to be severely limited. If you are lucky, you might find a used Linn Sondek LP12 for around $500.
VPI 16.5 definately! Biggest difference in sound and will last forever!
Maybe I can sell my P2 table, use that money plus what I have saved so far and buy the Linn Sondek LP12. What could I get for my table? How big of difference would swapping out tables be compared to a OL arm upgrade?
How big of difference would swapping out tables be compared to a OL arm upgrade?
Do you not know that the stock 250 is already better than the P2? Sell the arm with the table (b/c it won't sell without it), and maybe keep your accessories depending on what you choose as your next table. I don't think the LP12 is a good choice for a rookie, maybe a used P25.
I think that you have a really nice rig going there. The table and cartridge is quite fine. If not a record cleaning machine, as described above, I would suggest a new phono preamp, perhaps a black cube or Monolithic. I base this suggestion on the experience that solid state distortions from electronics, particularly phono stages and preamps, are far more irritating to me than the inherent distortions in transducers. I have spent some time with the Project phono stage and it is not letting through all of the analog glory of your front end.
Doing some Tweeks like some mentioned above are a good idea before dishing out more money. Do you have a proper alignment tool? If not, getting the cartridge aligned is the first stop before passing judgement on your current setup.
What is it that makes you unhappy with your system? What are you expecting out of your system? Are you sure that your source of dissatisfaction is your table?
Personlly, I would buy the DiscDoc cleaning system, then spend the rest on some vinyl.
As others have mentioned, you've got a good arm and cart, but a not so good table and phono pre. 400$ won't get you far w/ the table, but it will w/ the pre. I'll second TWL's suggestion concerning the end stub, Sugarbrie's tip on alignment, and Nrenter's vote for the DiscDoctor stuff. If you still feel like spending some money, I'd get the Monolithic phono pre. They can be found here on audiogon for >300$ (and check out the tubed phone pre kit at bottlehead.com--interesting). You can take the arm and phono pre w/ you when you have enough for a significantly better table. Have fun.
I have the Express machine end stub w/ the Heavyweight counterweight. I like the sound of my system which is 1 year old. I just have that bug to upgrade to get a little more out of my system. I have the Disc Doctor Cleaner. You guys know how it is the upgrade fever.
Well, Trip your arm clearly exceeds the capability of your table. I'd look at that option, and if you have to wait a little to save the money, do that. The table will yield the most sonic benefits.
Thanks for all the advice. I will have to decide now to either get the Monolithic Phono amp or the Rega P3, either way the investment will be worth it.
Trip, If all you are stepping up to is a P3, then I don't recommend it. The main difference between a P2 and P3 is the cost of the arm. You may not even hear any difference between those 2 tables. Moving to a P3 could hardly be called an upgrade from a P2. You need to make more of a move than that to get any real results. Save your money for a higher level table. Just listen to what you've got while you're waiting.
I'd recommend the phono stage if you are thinking along the lines of a P3 for a table upgrade(upgrade?).
Thank's Twl and everyone for your input.I'd hate to make a rookie mistake.