Suggestions for my first turntable

Okay, many of you have read my previous post about how I finally got to hear a record player and was blown away by how much better it sounded. So I'm considering my first table (I'll definitely buy used).

I'm sort of torn as to what approach to take. Part of me wants to do what my friend's dad did, just go buy a $50 table at a swap meet and add a nice $200 cartridge to it. But that has its own risks, and also I'd like something reasonably low maintenance. I find myself drawn to tables that look nice, since it will have a prominent position on my top shelf. The Basis 1400 in particular looks sweet to me. I think I'll feel bad about spending so much for a table when I have no records, though. Can people comment on what quality level (including price point) they would recommend for someone breaking into analog. Knowing what you know, what would you buy for a friend getting into analog?

My system will consist of a Plinius 8200 mkII (integrated which includes MM and MC phono stages) and Joseph Audio RM22si signature speakers. Side-question, do I need to consider special interconnects for a turntable, or do all the same properties hold for, say, CD interconnects.


The good news is that you have a LOT of very good choices today for a starter turntable system, while the "bad" news is that you actually have to choose one of them.

If you look through the Audiogon archives, you will find a number of threads over the past year from people looking for suggestions about their first turntable. It would be a good idea to look through the archives, since there is a lot of information there that may be not be re-posted in response to this thread.

I could certainly offer a number of suggestions, as I know others can, but we need a starting point: how much are you willing to spend for a complete turntable, tonearm and cartridge combination?
If you want keep the cost down, there is the Music Hall MMF 5 which sells for $500, including a pretty decent Goldring cartridge. Appearance is basic, but it's not ugly. For a little more (about $750) you can get a Rega P3 w. arm but no cartridge and it's available in a number of colors if that's your thing. At about $1200 Rega has the "25" with a good arm, again no cartridge. I've not heard one, but the VPI Scout @ +/- $1500 including arm has gotten good reviews and is apparently selling like hotcakes; looks good too. But if you really want to go for extraordinary looks and excellent performance, check out the Bluenote Bella Vista. It sells for about $1300 with no arm or cartridge, but can be bought for about $2000 with Bluenote's own arm and cartridge. More than worth a look.
All good suggestions. Might contact in Minneapolis as they have great info and selection of units.
Okay, my response to your question: I would say I certainly will not spend over $1000 (used). I'd be very happy to spend $500 on a good table with good cartridge...just sold on here (that would have been good for me I think) is an older wooden Acoustic Research with a 100hr-used Ortofon $250 cartridge included.

Then I saw the Basis 1400 player and liked the looks of it a lot, and realized I could go up towards the $1000 mark if the sound quality was really cuts above.
sub $1000 with arm two choices come to mind:

I've always liked the SystemDek IIx (Scottish) for value. Decent table with a respectable arm and can be had for under $300 used.

I'm a fan of Oracle 'tables and think their Alexandria is a terrific bargain. You should be able to find one for under $500. Hard to beat this 'table without spending a lot more.

This leaves you room for decent interconnect to the integrated, turntable shelf, and a good pickup.