Recommend a TT/Tonearm combo under $2000?


I've decided it's time for a hi end analog playback system. I'm starting off with the turntable/tonearm combo. Right now I'm using a typical receive with phono stage built in, so I plan to use my Sure V15xMR. I'm looking for a turntable/tonearm combo under $2000. I'll also entertain cartridge reommendations as well. My current vinyl playback device is a Yamaha PX-2 linear track, which works well and sounds nice, but i realize that most linear tracking turntables do not reproduce sound as accurately as it should due to the tone arm having to constantly compensate for tracking errors. I've looked at some offerings from Rega, VPI, Sumiko, Goldring, Sota, Linn, and Thorens; but the number of turntables in my price range is overwhelming.

My main musical interest is rock and classic rock. Most of my vinyl is either original 60's-80's and some 180gram reissues.

Steve Bennett
arnold_layne
I'm probably going to cloud the waters for you but here goes. Watch for a Basis 1400 series table with a modified Rega tonearm to come by on the used market. This is a very good combo and will rock! You will be well within your budget. Much better speed stability than the Rega tables. I would suggest the VPI, Sota and the Basis lines. I'm pretty sure you'd be very happy with any of these. One thing to also consider is if you need suspension or not.

Best of luck in your search,

Dan
The new Marantz TT-15 looks like a real bargain, made by Clearaudio with a limited edition ebony wood tonearm and ebony wood $800. cartridge included. under 2K
Speed stability is not an issue with the P5/P7 Regas. They have corrected the common problem with the P3 (which is easily fixed with some electrical tape around the subplatter anyway).

I won't recommend a particular table for you because I haven't heard enough. I have (and enjoy) a Rega P5. From the Rega line, this is exactly the table you should consider, given your price range. Consider it with the power supply upgrade. I will say that it stomps all over the P3 in every area.

That said, I suspect that you will need to listen to two or three top contenders and decide which sounds suits your tastes best. Good luck!
The problem is finding a hi end audio dealer near where I live to audition different turntables. There doesn't seem to be any. Just the typical Best Buy and Circuit City. We used to have a hi end audio dealer years ago, but he didn't stay in business long. Seems I live in a town where Ipod's and mp3's are as hi end as it gets. I live in Southern Maryland.
Speed stability is not an issue with the P5/P7 Regas.

Yeah, right.
>>Speed stability is not an issue with the P5/P7 Regas<<

Funny stuff. LOL
For reasons too involved to explain, I just bought one table/arm at $1500 new and a second arm/table/cartidge at $2500 new.

The former: A discontinued Transrotor Sirius with a nicely modded RB 300 (vta, re-wire, rebuilt stub). I added a $500 Clearaudio and ended up at $2k. Certainly not the last word in analog, but I'm hoping for good results. I can add more when I set in up in +/- 10 days.

The more expensive table is an Acoustic Solid Wood w/unmodded RB300 in a VTA sleeve and a "for now" Ortofon mm cartridge. This table weighs app. 60 lbs (should be effective mass loading), and offers interesting upgrade potential. Down the road, I can re-wire the RB300 and re-build the back end (app. $300 for both mods from Britaudio.com) and replace the Ortofon (pick a price tag). It's also a nice looking object w/ high WAF for use in my family room.
Speed stability is not an issue with the P5/P7 Regas. The power supply corrects any speed issues
I've been reading up on the VPI Scout with the JMW9 tone arm. Retails for $1600. Has anyone used this combo? Every review I can find on it seems to hold it as the best turntable/tonearm combo under $2000.
I looked at the VPI before buying the equipment I listed in the post above. It's a very good table and a fine value. As near as I could tell from auditioning (variables make it next to impossible to reach definitive conclusions), the VPI probably comes down on the warmer side of neutral. Build quality and customer support are going to be hard to beat at the price point.

For me, the issue came down to the unipivot design of the JMW. I use (or have used) both a Graham 2.2 unipivot and a JMW in my main system and find the unipivot designs more demanding in care, handling and partnering gear (table/cartridge). For my application, I decided to stick with captured bearings and was most comfortable with the modified/modifiable RB 300 in this price range and chose the tables accordingly.
A VPI scout with a RB300 modified with VTA adjustment might be the way to go then? I like the fact the Scout is modifiable to tweak the sound in the direction you want to go with it.
If the economics work out that might be a good way to go, but VPI probably prices the JMW package to make it compelling. A fully re-wired modded RB 300 is app. $600 (from Expressimo (sic?), Origin Live, Moth, etc.), so it all comes down to the price of an armless Scout.

BTW, my reluctance to fit a JMW as per concerns listed above is largely due to the fact that these tables will sit out in the family room and living room where they are subject to more handling/abuse than my main system. Don't interpret my decision not to use a unipivot under these circumstances to mean that the JMW is not a good choice for other applications.

Good luck,

Marty
Speed stability is not an issue with the P5/P7 Regas. The power supply corrects any speed issues

Should I laugh--or cry?

***
Nottingham analog spacedeck with whatever arm you can afford (either rega or nott's own) depending on whether you buy used or new.

Either that or a VPI.
I agree with the Spacedeck recommendation. There are several on Agon now, with and w/o arms. The new Ace-Space arm is a decided improvement over the old arm. This combination just plain makes music.

Oz
Hi Arnold...I just got back into vinyl and have been more than pleasantly surprised! i bought a Basis 1400 signature with a Rega rb300 and sumiko blackbird cartridge. I've had my table for 2 months and have not listened to a CD since, of course I will soon but man what a surprise. It absolutely blows my digital front end away.

The other key factor is the phono pre...that is in my opinion at least as important as anything else...it completes the front end. I decided on an audio research ph5 and finally...you must have a record cleaning machine!

It's an investment but I decided if I was going to go for it to go all in...that was my reluctance to move back to vinyl in the past, i think it's hard to piecemeal and really make an impact.