I like the look of thorens. Would replacing the tonearm be worth a hoot? First post on my own post. Lol!
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You can only go up from the 2.1. However, if you can put off a purchase and save up some more you could make more than what will probably be a small step up. I understand that you prefer to buy new, but if you could consider a used table your money will go much, much further if you are a little careful.
I had a MMF 1.0 with a Benz Mirco MC20 ($250 maybe, I bought it a long time ago) + a multitude of tweaks like DH ceramic cone feet, a ringmat, and a rewire. After about 9 years of ownership I thought I would skip the midlevel upgrade and jump straight to a Michell GyroSE with a SME 309 arm and a $1500 low output MC that was part of the sale (audiogon). What a disappointment. The level of audio improvement was positively not worth the investment. The MMF with the benz cart delivered appx 80% of what the gyro does at 10% the cost. That said, the Gyro is a beauty and a conversation piece and I'm glad I have it. I know if needed I can sell it for what I paid (unlike the MMF)
Anyway, my advice would be to enjoy what you've got, $1000 isn't going to get you much further.
Yes, $1k might get you much further though $1.5K would be better. Turntable and arm are the last place in the chain where you want to save. And forget about the look unless you have a special ability to guess right the performance based on look; it is not impossible but very difficult. I would suggest used too though sometimes you can get a great close out price on new or demo unit. My preference is Nottingham tables.