Music Hall MMF7 has a lot of what you actually need and you won't have to break your head about matching different tables and different arms. It also has fully-adjustable tonearm.
You might switch later-on to the better cartridge.
The VPI Scout and JMM 9 arm is a super combo. Mate that with a Dynavector 20-XH (2.5Mv) and you be in vinyl heaven for around $2k.
I recently bought the MMF-7 and am happy with it. In order to get more you will have to spend a thousand more. With a $1k budget the MMF-7 is the choice I made after a lot of research.
How does the Rega 25 compare to the MMF-7 and the VPI Scout (ease of set up, adjustments,etc.)?
I meant to also include the Basis 1400 compared to the MMF-7 and the VPI Scout.
I don't know about me recommending any tubes to put in your phono stage, whereas I am going to be getting a "solid-state" phono stage (the Monolithic PS-1 + HC-1), so I am going to leave you either at the mercy of others here, or leave you out there on your own.
But now, if you are shopping for your first turntable, then I may throw a couple of suggestions to you.
(01). The Music Hall MMF7.
(02). Rega Planar 25 mated to a Dynavector 20-XH (just like Camadeco has suggested).
(03). Basis 1400 mated to a Rega RB300 arm and a Grado Reference Platinum.
Or, you could do just like I did, get a used Thorens for about $200.00 to $250.00, mate it to an inexpensive Grado Cartridge (no more than $200.00 for a cartridge), and then spend the rest of the savings on obtaining tubes for your phono board and buying vinyl. I just bought me a used Thorens TD-147 (and it was a "one owner and well cared for" table too) for about $125.00 (including shipping and handling), and mated it to a Grado Prestige Gold for almost another $200.00. The Thorens TD-147 was a $550.00 turntable almost fifteen years ago. So, while I still may replace it with a VPI Aries Scout/JMW-9 or a Rega Planar 25 (and either table is going to be mated to a Grado Reference Sonata), I may not be that inclined to do so after all after I find out how good the Thorens really is when I finally fire it up for the first time in September. I don't think I'm going to regret my decision either.
If you don't mind going used you might consider a VPI HW-19 Mark 3 with Rega arm. Unlike the Scout, it has a suspension which may, or may not come into play depending on the environment you plan to use it in, but don't underestimate it's importance in typical listening situations. Another possibility would be a SOTA Sapphire with arm, again, unlike the Rega, Scout and Music hall it has a spring suspension. All great players by the way; it is just fantastic to live in a time where there are so many rewarding choices.
In bellow $1000 range MMF7 has certainly the best value with the least amount of headache especially for the first time analogue buyer.
Which ever Music Hall turntable fits your budget is a good place to start looking and listening.
The MMF-1 is $199; the MMF-2.1 is $299; the MMF-5 is $499 and the MMF-7 is $999.
Those prices all include a factory installed cartridge well matched for that turntable and price point.
Bradz- There is alot of value in carefully purchasing a used table but, if you go that route, be sure that it is shipped only in the original packaging. Many folks are reluctant to buy a used cartridge, though as it is difficult to verify the age and condition.
VPI Scout ($1500 retail without cartridge). I would also suggest contacting Hart of Audio advancements. He is an analogue expert, carries reasonably priced equipment and is a pleasure to deal with.
Find a used Well Tempered
Thanks for all the responses so far! I like the fact that the VPI scout can be upgraded later on along with VPI's reputation for making good turntables. The mmf-7 seems like more in my price range though. I've seen adds for the mmf-7 for around $750. which would allow my budget to buy more vinyl. I really appreciate the input and would like to hear any more. Thanks again!
If the MMF-7 is in your price range but you are attracted to VPI why not get a HW-19 Junior with Audioquest or Rega arm? The table is fully upgradable to a HW-19 MK5 in easy, affordable steps and should cost around $700.00 to $900.00 used. I prefer the AQ arm due to the ease of VTA adjustment but many will prefer the Rega for it's holisic view of the music. You really can't go wrong either way. Happy hunting.
if your 99 phono comes with sovtek LPS 12axt's pull them and get some nos tubes.
the 2 sovtek 12ax7's will be seated in the 1st 2 positions.the 1st postition MUST be a very quiet tube.the sovtek LPS is said to be very quiet but I disagree
My 99 phono came with sovtek's and nos jan phillips($25 option) I replaced them all with killer nos tubes.telefunken 12ax7's and radiotechnique (special reserve) 12au7's.
this phono stage now is almost as quiet as the dead quiet solid state black cube and stomped the cube in a/b listening tests.(and not from the shower either mario)
Alot of good recommendations in here folks...,what to do, what to do?! Being a retailer, I'll keep my opinion to myself unless specifically asked for it. But I did want to point out that the MMF-1 is a phono stage, not a turntable. Happy hunting Bradz.
Hi Mario. I'd like your opinion on a turntable please. I remember talking to another member here before and he mentioned that I should contact you about Rogue pre's when I was seeking opinions between the 66 and 99. He mentioned that you are very knowledgable about Rogue equipment. Since I'm using a Rogue Magnum 99, I'd like to know what turntables you have used with the Rogue 99 pre, and with what results. Thanks in advance!
Carefull on the NOS.Most of it is overpriced junk.Not the real thing.
Yes true NOS is tthe way to go.But carefull where you get it from.
Some of the Radiotechnique out there is very bad and noisy.Buyer beware
I have some 12AU7 Radiotechniques (special reserve) that are quiet and sweet.I got mine from Kevin Deal.
If I remember correctly, he mentioned there's a batch of 'techniques out there that are of low quality.
I agree,buyer beware.
Thank you all for the responses!
The Rega P3 is a great table for 750.
I use Mullard 12AX7's in my phono stage and while they are good, I think the Sovtek 12AX7LPS tubes are a real bargain. That's what I was using before the Mullard's and they are not far off the Mullards.