Rega P3 / Music Hall MMF 5 or 7 Turntable decision

I finally built a decent digital system that I have coveted for about the last ten years. After reading forums here and elsewhere on the Internet, I would like to get an analog front end. I do not currently have a large number of records (less that 30) and would like to keep my budget around $1000.00. I already have a phono preamp.

I have been leaning towards the Music Hall MMF 5 or 7. I am really tempted to buy the MMF 7. I love the new design!! I have also considered the Rega P3 or P2. For the Rega, I would like the newest model with the new design.

I am very green when it comes to analog and would love to get insights from those of you that have thoughts about the Rega P3 compared to the Music Hall MMF 7 or 5. I would also like to find out if I am overlooking any options. Is the MMF 5 comparable to the Rega P3 or is the MMF 7 a better comparison with the P3? I will most likely buy new since I am not finding a high number of these items here or at the other normal places on the Internet.

I have researched here and elsewhere extensively on Music Hall, Rega, Basis and others and could not find any detailed comparisons related to these brands. I also checked Audioasylum and Audioreview among others. I am looking for information like feature relevant to good sound, quality of design, sound quality and long term use potential. I really want to hear from people that have experiences with multiple brands or have done research on multiple brands.

Just as background, I know the background related to the Regas being durable and about their long history and strong reputation. I know that the Rega tonearms are very well respected. I also know that the Music Hall are made in the same plant as the Project turntables and the build quality might be suspect and that the Project tonearms are not as well respected as the Rega arms.

I listen to mostly jazz(Bill Evans, Jane Monheit, Dave Douglas, Charlie Mingus, Stan Getz, Nina Simone, Dianne Reeves, Groover Washington, Yellowjackets, Miles Davis, John Scofield, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitgerald, Dexter Gordan, Gil Evans, Kenny Barron, Don Byron, Eric Dolphy, Jim Hll, Michael Brecker, Keith Jarrett and Betty Carter). I do not know if this helps, but this is what my current system looks like:

Rega RCD 971 CD Player
Bel Canto 1.1 DAC
Rotel RQ-970BX Phone Preamp
Adcom GFP 750 Preamplifier
Odyssey Audio Stratos Monoblocks
Magnepan 1.6 Q.Rs
Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables bi-wired
Acoustic Zen Matrix interconnects DAC to preamp
Acoustic Zen Matrix interconnects preamp to amps
Acoustic Zen MC2 Digital cable CD Player to DAC
Harmonic Technology Pro AC 11 Power cords for Monoblocks, preamp and DAC
MMF5 is $500 new complete with cartridge and arm.
I've desided to start from Rega P3 and my vinyl collection started to grow up 10x faster than digital.
Rega P3 has an excellent RB300 arm that will be good for any higher quality deck. Rega P3 is a level-up TT from MMF5.
As to MMF7 (which is in the same $ range as Rega P3) I do not know how flexible that TT is in terms of arm choices i.e. is Project 9 arm portable to any other turntable or is there any other arm that will be good with MMF7?
"I would also like to find out if I am overlooking any options."


I looked at those options, too (also the Sota Comet)...then read in about modifying the Technics SL-1200MKII. The 1200 is by far the most well rounded TT under $1000. Built like a tank, too!

The Rega arm is way overrated. Also, glass and particle board doesn't seem to do anything for me.

I bought a 1200 brand new for $450 and still in the process of modifying it (only need to get the tonearm fluid damper, change the tonearm wires and hook a low output MC).


If you can't stand being mocked because you have a 'DJ turntable' then the Sota Comet with the RB300 arm should be your first choice. It was my runner up.
I would definitely go with the P3-2000 Rega. I am an old analog fan, I've had a component system since the 70's and own ~600 lps. I just replaced my old Rotel RB900 (Rega Planar 2 clone) with a P3 with a OL250 arm. The sound is truly better for the price. If you buy it from Brooklyn Audio, the better tonearm will be within your budget( I am in no way affiliated with them.)

BTW, I listen primarily to jazz, including many of the artists that you have listed.

Have fun and good luck.
I have had my share of TT, in order of chronology, Sota Sapphire, Systemdek IIX, Thorens 160, Rega P3, Thorens 320MkII, Michell Gyrodec SE (Origin Live-modded RB250 arm),and now just got the MMF-7. Clearly among them the Michell tops the list but let me tell you, the MMF-7 gives it a run for the money. Considering it is less than half the cost of an equivalent Gyro without the cartridge, plus it has a very respectable MC cartridge to boot (Goldring Eroica LX), I gave the nod to the MMF-7 for value. For a budget TT, it is my choice. My setup, for reference, includes: Merlin VSM-M, Transcendent Sound OTL, Jeff Rowland Coherence One MkII, Musical Fidelity E624 CD as transport going into an ART DI/O and the MMF-7.
Good luck in your hunt.
The rega and MMF7 are excellent choices. DON'T Get that Direct drive Technics unless you want to DJ. It's built like, and sounds like, a tank
Maybe I'm missing something- Psychoanimal feels that the RB-300 is overrated and "glass & particle board" tables don't do anything for him, yet his "runner up" choice is the RB-300 and a belt-drive, non-resonant table/platter design which is a very close cousin to non-resonant "glass & particle board" designs and completely unrelated to the direct drive, ringing alloy-plattered, highly resonant-chassised Technics. Additionally, in previous posts he has stated that he has no use for belt-drives and needs "electric brakes", but his dream table is belt-drive VPI which doesn't offer brakes as an option. Can anyone explain this seemingly divergent logic?

On the other hand, Psychoanimal does bring up a table worth looking at in the Sota Comet. It's about the same price as Rega and MMF7, and has the RB-300 arm. Anybody have any experience with it? The subject of your cartridge selection hasn't come up yet, but don't skimp on it- a good cartridge makes all the difference on a good table.
If you take the rubber mat out of the 1200, replace it with a felt one and install a DJ cartridge w/short canitlever and tracking at five grams, it will sound like a tank. If you do the modifications that's a different story...

This is a quote from Extremephono:

"Personally, the RB arms are over-hyped, cheap no doubt, but it has no VTA which limits ability to work with various cartridges (after market Rega VTA kits are available but why bother ?)."

Does Rega publish bearing specifications for their tonearms?
Technics does. Pretty good, by the way...and you get simple, easy to use VTA adjustment.

One of my trusted salesmen sells Music Hall and VPI. He told me the 7 is not worth the money when one can get a VPI Jr. Much better TT. He still agrees that for under $1000 I made the right choice. So does Bill Parish of GTT Audio and ALL my other trusted salepeople. They know my listening room is for musical, video and other types of enjoyment and relaxation, not a Voodoo Lounge.
Jimbo3, you bring up a good point about cartridges. I would like to hear thougths about good catridges to marry with any of the tables. Psychicanimal, I would like to focus more on audiophile type tables such as Rega or Music Hall and others for aesthetic reasons. I have heard numerous people say good things about the Technics, but it is not what I am looking for in my current system. I have also seen your comments related to the 1200 as I was doing research in the Analog forum.
...RB300 is considered to be a necessary and sufficient for high end analogue playback. VTA can be aquired in addition if needed. There are Rega rings that can lift up by 2 and 4 millimeters. Any tonearm that you will spend more will not change the sound as much as you would spend more for the deck. Change the cheap internal wiring and phono cable BOOM! you're in the next level.
MMF7 might be good one too(Basis-like-design) if bought without the cartridge or even without tonearm(I've tried a bunch changing one after another on my Rega).
Coolness factor...the Technics comes in a black version.

I see your point, though. Take a look at the Sota Comet, then. It is very beautiful. They are made here in Chicago Metro. You could get a good used arm for it (SME?). Thanks for reading my posts. It took me a while before realizing the 1200 would be the best choice for my budget. Although it has a resonant aluminum platter (damped on the underside) and chassis, it is surprisingly quiet. Like any DD, it must be properly isolated. I am working on designing a granite shield for it. The silicone fluid damper is what makes the system work right, but I have still to get it. Want new racks first.

Jimbo, the VPI w/flywheel is not my dream table. Technics does not make the high end TTs anymore. If you read posts from people that have owned several megabuck tables you'll find that those higher end Technics are awesome. Of the currently made TTs the VPI is one hell of a beast. No doubt. As for the electric brake, it is extremely convenient for people like me who play lots of records. Just in case, I will not modify the electric brake like DJs do...

Again, the 1200 was designed as a budget audiophile TT. I know it's not for everybody, but should always be considered in the under $1000 category. Especially because it's still made by the thousands and the customer benefits from the economies of scale. That's why they can put such good bearings on the tonearm.

Peace to all.

"...I know the background related to the Regas being durable and about their long history and strong reputation. I know that the Rega tonearms are very well respected. I also know that the Music Hall are made in the same plant as the Project turntables and the build quality might be suspect and that the Project tonearms are not as well respected as the Rega arms."

It looks to me that you already have the answer to your question.

Please don't pay any attention to a Technics recommendation! The new P3 is a big improvement over the old Planar 3, primarily because of the new power supply. The RB-300 is not over-rated; it's a tremendous arm that alone is worth the money. Pair it with a Grado Sonata cartridge and you have a remarkable combination that's somewhat future proof.

On the subject of cartridges, if you are leaning toward the P3, their top model cartridge (the "Exact"-$500 or so) would work and it would have the added advantage of having the precisely right VTA and it's 3 hole mounting system makes alignment a no-brainer. Be careful of Grados on any Rega table as they tend to hum a little more.

For most "audiophile" tables, a moderately good medium-to-high output MC would probably be the way to go. (retail of $450 to $700 range.) At this level, matching the cartridge with the arm is not a big factor- most cartridges will work fine with most arms. But before you make a final decision, you may want to check back with other "Audiogoners" to get some feedback.

Most of the major cartridge models have had alot written about them and it comes down to the kind of sound you are trying to achieve. Some folks like a certain range of cartridge for classical and some who listen to another genre will swear by another set of cartridges. Like you, I listen to alot of jazz and acoustic music and enjoy a Benz LO.4 very much. (A high-output version is also made.) It's very quiet and picks up subleties that other cartridges seem to miss. It's not "zingy", so it does not accentuate the slight brightness of my Maggies. A lower price-point with similar qualities would be the Benz Glider.

After reading alot of what folks are saying about particular cartridges, you'll get a feel for what will work best for your application and taste. Determine your budget, but don't buy something on the low end of the budget soley to save a couple of bucks- swapping out cartridges can be expensive!

The MMF-5 is great but it just got me hungry for better sound. The P3 is far superior, and I listen to the same music as you...

The nice thing about the P3 over the MMF-7 is that if you get the upgrade itch later on, the arm you already own (RB300) will compliment just about any turntable you buy.
If you are looking for a used table try the Rega 25...should be in your price range.
Agree with Jimbo. Get something like a Benz Ace or similar.

If you want a fast, responsive cartridge for the jazz drums, I've been hearing really good things about the Ortofon Kontrapunkt A, but it's a low output MC.

I trust the Needledoctor kids. They get to play around with lots of cartridges on different TTs. Guess which is the most popular TT among them...

Hint: It's direct drive...
I would really try to get a used Rega 25 too. It craps all over the P3, a table which, in my opinion, is a step down from your cd rig. I have not heard any Music Hall players.
oracle delphi

well tempered 'table/classic

sota star sapphire

all the above can be found used for $1k or less, complete w/tonearms, & sometimes decent cartridges, to boot. nothing brand-new in this price-range will come close, imo.

ymmv, doug s.

If you only have thirty records get a P2 and spend more money on records! Why have your stereo cost more than your software collection?