As regards tt's, go and listen so some top flight rigs. Decide for yourself which drive technology gives you your preferred sonic result (belt-, idler-, or direct-drive). Then listen to a few more tt's that use your preferred drive system. Then, maybe you can ask here for opinions to help you decide among 3-4 possible choices. Otherwise, you can be prepared for the hugely divergent personal opinions of a bunch of audiophiles. And you know what audiophiles are like, me included. What I own is obviously the best.
By the way also, you cannot really divorce your choice of cartridge from your choice of tonearm. So I would choose tt first, then tonearm/cartridge as a unit. You have asked a very complex question with nearly infinite variables, but that will not stop others from telling you what to do.
No analog stores in KC so it's hard to go listen. I would be interested in opinions on pod based tables versus suspended tables as well.
A used Basis turntable would be a competitor here. With a $6,000 budget you could get a 2200 with Vector 4 tonearm and have funds for an excellent cartridge. You also need a good phono stage if you don't already have one.
Ranges of how that $6000 might look: $3-4000 table, $2-3000 arm, $2-3000 cartridge
"Pod based". Do you mean like in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"?
The issue of outboard pods is yet another can of worms. There is a long thread here based on only that question. (Search on "Copernican".) Be prepared to be confused.
Why not introduce yet another variable: Are you prepared to buy used equipment? Are you prepared to buy well restored vintage equipment?
If you are willing to think out of the box you can acquire a TransFi Salvation rim drive TT and T3Pro Linear tracking arm for about $4500. There are several reviews and threads on Agon, Search Transfi and/or Salvation.FWIW I think it is the best bang for the buck there is.
Why is Trans-fi "thinking out of the box"? It's one of a bajillion
legitimate candidates that probably comes to the new owner in a box.
VPI ...pick a price point and go
Townshend Rock 7 with Rega 303.
Stringreen and Rodman, Do you mean to say that of all the turntable/tonearm combinations in all the world that can be had for $6000 or less, you would choose "VPI"? Not to denigrate VPI as a brand name in any way, but perhaps the OP would like a more specific response. After all, VPI make many combinations of tt and tonearm in that price range. And you don't think it matters what cartridge is chosen?
IMO, VPI is fine, but so too would be a dozen or more other choices.
Another thing to think about is whether you want a suspension or not.
If you don't have a rock solid turntable stand, you might want to consider a turntable with a good suspension, such as a Basis.
I've owned three Basis tables and each has been a good bang for the buck table. My latest table, bought used for $6500, is a Basis 2500, with a Vector tonearm and a Dynavector XV-1S cartridge, with about 10 hours on it. I have rarely heard a table sound much better than this.
@Mr L- The OP asked about, "Bang for Buck"
turntables and arms. That's what we addressed. I'm assuming
they are capable of doing their own research, and picking from
the VPIs available(drives/suspensions/arms), according to
their tastes. That a cartridge would have to be chosen, based
on the VPI arm's design and effective mass, SHOULD already be
understood. Matter of fact YOU already mentioned that. Why
do I need to be redundant? BTW: YES; If I were looking for a
$6K vinyl system, I would build one from VPI components.
Not against buying used gear or vintage gear. Looking for great sound with minimal tweaking.
Tables I have owned:
Basis Debut Gold vacuum
VPI TNT4/Scout/Classic and several other custom VPI's
Rek o Kut yamaha denon
I mean to say at any price point Harry has a fine turntable to compete with any on the market at that price point. In addition, you get the VPI customer service which is impeccable, carried value for those who want to change for something else, and upgradability. The VPI arm can accommodate most any cartridge....sometimes the counterweight should be different than the one supplied, but a simple phone call/E-mail to VPI will make sure all is well. Sure there will be some differences in sound, but halls, and rooms all have different sounds.
Curley, You are nowhere near the novice I thought you to be, based on the list of excellent turntables you have already owned. You might ask yourself why you were or are not satisfied with especially the top two or three on your list, the Basis, the TNT, and the Merrill. Did you sell them off, and do you now regret it, or are you just looking for something new and different? If the latter, and if the tt's on your list left you less than satisfied, you might try a different drive system from belt-drive. For the kind of money you are willing to spend, I would suggest you consider the direct-drive turntables from Brinkmann. There are several vintage direct-drives to think about as well, but you'd want one that is "done" and ready to use. Another option is a tricked out Lenco L75. But tonearm goes with cartridge, more than anything else, at the risk of repeating myself too often.
Thinking about a Feickert/Triangle/Oracle/Hanss
I was impressed with the Pear Audio Blue turntables I saw at the recent Newport Show. They remind me of the old Nottingham decks, but the distributor claimed that they have improved materials and better construction.
There is a new model, the Robin Hood, that is supposed to be available in July. I am waiting to see the reviews for this model. Judging by the pictures the new turntable looks great.
Bodotes, You wrote, "I was impressed with the Pear Audio Blue turntables I saw at the recent Newport Show. They remind me of the old Nottingham decks, but the distributor claimed that they have improved materials and better construction."
Do you mean to infer that the distributor admitted there IS a relationship between Nottingham Analog and Pear Audio? Is Notts out of business?
"Thinking about a Feickert/Triangle/Oracle/Hanss"
How about the Luxman PD171. This is what I plan to look at in this price range. The Feickert Woodpecker (table) is in your price range, but a good arm would take you over it. I have seen the Lux twice, but have yet to hear it. Bad timing at the Montreal show.... It's a gorgeous table IMO! It should soon be available in a new version that offers greater flexibility with tonearm choice. However, my dealer couldn't say enough good things about the current version w/the Jelco.
Here's the thing, we all hear different. As we age our ears change so one man's illusion of being there is another man's cd-like sound. It's really hard to spend $6K wisely unless you are willing to listen to all types of turntables to find out which "illusion of being there" is yours. If it was me, and I had that money to spend, I'd start with a Well Tempered Amadeus and an EMT TSD15 and really listen and see where you are. It's an incredibly neutral setup, titling to the warm side.. very tactile though so that translates to live. Easy to setup. At the same time maybe pick up a TD124 with a decent arm and compare the two using the EMT. If neither of those satisfy you try something that tilts to the more accurate side like a VPI or a Basis. It's a process. You'll convince yourself that anything you spend $6k on is great but you'll never know if it's the best for you unless you listen in your own system to multiple turntables.
Lewm, I don't actually know if Nottingham Analouge is still in business. I was assuming that Tom Fletcher's original firm went out of business after Tom passed away in 2011, but that may be incorrect. According to their website, Pear Audio Analouge says that they are building their Pear Audio Blue turntables based on Tom Fletcher's latest designs, and that Tom Fletcher had been designing turntables for Pear Audio Analogue founder Peter Mezek for some time before his death. More than that I do not know.
What I can reiterate is that I saw two of these tables at the show and was very impressed. I have previously owned two Nottingham turntables, and while I enjoyed them there were a few issues that drove me nuts. As far as I can tell without a formal demo, the Pear Audio Blue turntables have kept all the things I liked about the old Nottingham line and improved the things I was less happy with.
I am looking forward to seeing and listening to the new Robin Hood turntable. My local dealer tells me that he should have one to demo sometime this month.
Bodotes, I too was a satisfied Notts user, although I've since gone on to a tweaked Lenco and several vintage DD turntables. I thought my Hyperspace was excellent, however, very open and "big" sound. After asking my question here, I did go to the Pear Audio website, and they do leave the impression that for sure there is an affiliation with Notts, if not more of a takeover of Tom Fletcher's philosophy. What I don't see in the Pear Audio product line is anything comparable in scale and ambition to the Dais or the Anna Log, let alone even the Hyperspace, if platter massiveness is any criterion. Two things I would have changed regarding the Notts paradigm: (1) More powerful motor that can start the platter from rest with no manual assist, and (2) less compliant drive belt. And of course you need the motor controller to max out the performance of any Notts; I could not believe the improvement I heard with the use of a Walker Audio Controller.
Lewm, I don't know about the Dais or Anna Log. I never saw one of these decks. I have owned a Nottingham Horizon SE and later a 294, and from what I saw I would say the Pear Audio Blue turntables looked much better made. The fit and finish was certainly better then on my old tables. My bugaboo with the old Nott decks was with the damned Space tonearm. The new tonearms look like there has been substantial improvement.
If I had the bucks I would spring for the Kid Thomas deck with the regulated power controller and Comet 2 tonearm. But I don't. I am hopeful that the new Robin Hood will meet my requirements.
I am sure you will be happy with your choice.
Third the VPI/pick a price point method. Love the VPIs.
If you have no ego and some DIY skills perahps look at a technics 1200 or SP10. But that option is really for tweakers only IMO.
Lewm: "And you know what audiophiles are like, me included. What I own is obviously the best."
Thanks for summarizing audiophilia for me. For a long time I thought being an audiophile is to think "what I own is what I LIKE best." Now I know.
Dear Hiho, Upon further thought, I would wish to modify my definition of audiophilia, in the interests of both fact and humor. But the OP has more responses here than he really needs.
Dfel, With $6000 to spend, one can purchase a very highly "tweaked" SP10 Mk2, needing no further work or repair. Not that I recommend such above all the other possibilities; I am just pointing that out. For far fewer bucks you can have a restored Kenwood L07D, which in my opinion would blow any VPI, save possibly the DD VPI, (and any SP10 Mk2) into the weeds and comes with tonearm. Takes a little sense of adventure to do that, I admit.
You have revealed the following information:
1. Looking for great sound with minimal tweaking.
2. The sound must create the illusion of being there, accurate vocals and sufficient bass.
3. Tables I have owned; Basis Debut Gold vacuum, VPI TNT4/Scout/Classic and several other custom VPI's, Merrill, Heirloom, Loth, Transcriptor, Kuzma Stabi, Rek o Kut, yamaha, denon.
4. Thinking about a Feickert/Triangle/Oracle/Hanss.
5. Not against buying used gear or vintage gear.
1. $6,000.00 for the turntable and tonearm only?
2. What cart are you planning to use?
3. What is your taste in music?
4. What kind of Amplification are you planning to use?
5. Same wIth phono pre; which one are you planning to use?
Great sound with minimal tweaking will eliminate the likes of Townshend Rock 7, Well Tempered Amadeus GTA MKII, Linn Sondek LP12, etc. because these tables, although they provide great sound, require constant tweaking for optimal performance so you may want to stay away from them.
There are MANY factors (other than TT and arm) that will help create the illusion of "being there" as well as accurate vocals and sufficient bass. Cartridge, phono pre, amplification, cables, speakers, isolation devices, etc. You must find the right synergy between ancillary equipment in order to create the so called illusion you're looking for.
Actually, ALL the tables that you have owned (as well as the ones that you are thinking about) CAN and WILL create the illusion you're craving for with the right combination.
The Source, meaning a Turntable player, is at the beginning of the audio chain. This is where the music/audio signal starts. I am sure you have heard the old saying....."junk in junk out"
That said, I am a firm believer that your system will be as good as your cart will allow it to "sing". Your cart and phono pre MUST BE up to par in order to make it work.
Me, I am a big fan of Lyra carts but there are MANY other great brands that will be as good or better to your ears. Choose wisely and spend the money where it counts.
You have owned TTs that are FAR superior that what I've EVER dreamed of.
What I am trying to say is that you need to find the right synergy and not necessarily a "better" table.
Hope you find what you're looking for.
I second the Trans-Fi Terminator tonearm (yeah, I know, but I didn't name it). Mine is working with a Notts Mentor (one of the last, with the new bearing), which I have re-plinthed to good effect.
Friends with Schroeders seem impressed with the combination, which is good enough to support a high end Koetsu. One of the best things about the Terminator tonearm is that the wand is light, but readily accepts extra mass to tune it to the cartridge of choice. Mine works without weights for my (good) MM, and with 14g extra for the Koetsu.
That versatility is something which you may find to be most important.
Pulled the trigger and purchased; Triangle Concerto/Jelco12" arm/Arche headshell/ boston mat/ Audience cable/ Triangle Zeus cart
Congrats! The Concerto is a beautiful table!
I just bought the Audience phono cable, love it.
Let us know how you like the Arche headshell. I have been curious about them for a while but there is so little information available about them.
How do you like the Zeus cartridge?
Boston Mat sucked on my 401.