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If this is a first table, I would say the Rega 3 or VPI Jr, either with the Rega arm. The VPI provides for an upgrade path, which is an attractive option. Both are lower maintenance designs. I have an LP-12, which is a very good table as well, but has caused much neurosis with set-up issues. It would be best to have a local dealer to assist with this. If at all possible, listen to the different tables and get a feel as to which one would be right for you. Good luck!
wait for an oracle. i got my perfect-condition mk-l for $850, & this included a decent grace tonearm, & shipping from canada to maryland. of course, i now have ~$2k into it w/gnu tonearm, power-supply, & mk-v upgrades... ;~) but, ya don't *have* to do all that to it, and, meantime, yule still have an excellent 'table, and a work of art, as well. shoot higher, if this 'table is gonna ge yer last. my opinion of course...
Lolo, the set up for the Linn (and also the Oracle, If I'm not mistaken) requires adjustment of the sprung subchassis for maximum performance. If not treated like a "close 'n' play," the Linn retains it's setup fairly well. BUT it does need readjustment periodically (for me, 1-2 yrs). I've encountered some folks who seem to think that 2 weeks after proper setup their LP-12 is going to go out of adjustment and sound like crap. That of course, is not true. The "flip-side" (if you will) is a newer mass-loaded design such as the VPI Aries or the Immedia. Their approach to resonance control is mass to achieve isolation as opposed to springs. It really boils down to taste (and of course BUDGET), insofar as both design and sound go. The Oracle mentioned above is I'm sure an excellent table, with a rep for being a bit "cool" sounding (at the same time very musical). The Linn on the other hand, has a rep for being "warm" with some fairly well-known resonance "issues" (in the process of correcting). ANYWAY, lest I ramble incessantly, good luck in your quest. I would recommend a higher-end table in a previous incarnation (as Sedond suggests). Then you'll have the option of upgrades. Regards, -John
musikdok is right that the oracle, w/its three springs, requires adjustment at initial set-up. but, it's not hard, & it stays adjusted once set-up. also, easy to check, w/a built-in bubble level on the suspended subchassis.
one of the things oracle learned from their original design was that a subchassis counterweight, opposite the tonearm, was wery effective in stabilizing the suspension - a recommended upgrade to the earlier oracle 'tables, now standard on the mk-v wersions...
Interesting facts Sedond - I've not seen "up close 'n' personal" an Oracle (not heard one of course), but it does seem quite the refinement of the sprung subchassis design (not to mention a beauteous modernistic table). Perhaps, some day (when an LP collection of 5000+ manifests - yeah right!), I'll look for something besides my humbly-yet-effectively modded LP-12. Just out of curiosity, what arm and cartridge do you currently use? Regards, John
i recently replaced my sumiko premiere ft-3 tonearm w/something a bit more modern, but a steal at the price, imho - an origin-live modified rega rb-250 this mod replaces the internal wiring, and also does structural mods. there is also an external-wiring mod, but i opted for the 5-pin din connection, to be able to use my straight-wire tonearm cable. i also got the o-l adjustable-vta base. i bought everything gnu - as a cheapskate who usually buys used, i felt this was a bargain even brand-gnu! :>) o-l sez the modded rb-250 even beats out their modded rb900, due to differing bearing-mounting schemes, which allows the least-expensive rega arm to sound the best w/the strutural mods.
re: cartridges, i'm currently using an ortofon mc-25fl, which i think is an excellent-sounding budget cartridge. i have a lyra clavis that has been rebuilt by vandenhul, but it's yet to be mounted - i wanted to digest the other changes to my 'table, prior to mounting this cartridge. (i also got the origin-live dc motor/power-supply upgrade at the same time as i got the gnu tonearm. as this was designed w/the lp-12 in mind, ewe mite wanna check it out.)
http://www.stoneaudio.co.uk/ (where i got the o-l stuff)
Great minds think alike! Thanks for the advice, but I'm way ahead of you on O.L. upgrades (i.e., DC motor kit). I installed it on my LP-12 about 6 mos ago, and have been smiling ever since. I didn't know it was applicable to the Oracle! I've strongly considered the O.L. 250, but can't come up with any major gripes about my Ittok II. I'm more concerned with replacing the standard subchassis with the Cetech. I can appreciate your approach to the Lyra - I'm awaiting my first *really* good low-output coil to arrive, but will likely continue to use my interim cartridge until the subchassis is in. I'd be very interested in your experience with the 250 - my impressions are that it may not be the "giant killer" it was first reported to be but is nonetheless a superb value and a great performer. Happy Listening! John
i think the o-l modified rb250 is a killer arm, but then again, i've not had any of the really spendy arms in my set-up. this is one area, where, if i like the sound, i take the reviewers' word that it's good... :>) as i replaced the ft-3 at the same time i replaced the motor/power-supply, i can't say how much the improvement was attributed to the arm vs. the motor
i highly recommend replacing your linn's stock subchassis - i fabricated a corian subchassis & delrin armboard for my old c&j walker 'table, & it made a *big* difference...
re: cartridges, i obviously hope to have my socks knocked off w/my rebuilt lyra (which the distributor assures me crushes the stock wersion), but, frankly, i think the ortofon (0.3mv) is really nice - it is *much* more neutral & smoother than the blue-point it replaced.
To Lolo: If you're still following this thread, I've come to a conclusion (FWIW). Purchasing a second-hand TT is one thing, but used arms and cartridges can be tricky business, with ham-handed folks inflicting damage on unsuspecting gear. All things being equal, it seems that the Origin Live modified RB-250 is perhaps the best value on the planet right now. If I were starting from scratch, I'd purchase one of these highly-touted arms new, then find a good second-hand table to mount it on. I would imagine it to work on virtually any table - it reportedly is even a good match for the LP-12 due to the increased structural stability that the mod(s) bring. Then, get a good budget cartridge and start enjoying vinyl! You can always upgrade the cartridge (and the table, depending on which you choose), but you'll have the foundation for years of enjoyment I'm sure. Regards, John
I was alos looking for a turtable in that pricce range a while ago and auditioned the planar 3 because of all the praise it got. Listening to it, I quickly came to the conclusion that the planar 3 with an exact cartrdige was not nearly as good as my $700 cdp. I've decided to save up more, and might go the VPI or Basis route for the upgradability. Anyways, I would suggest that you listen to the more expensive players and/or the VPI line before buying something in the $800 range. And the planar 25 is WAY better than the 3. Viel Gluck