Not that I have been around the vinyl block a million times but a SOTA with an SME arm with a Clear Audio cart was a great fit for rock music.........very pleasing!
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OK, you want Top Dog performance at beer-budget prices?! Try a rebuilt Lenco, if you've got the cojones ;-)! No tonearms are preferred over others, cartridges depend on tonearm. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will touch a properly set-up idler-wheel drive for rock and jazz. Or for classical. Or for folk. Or for country. I miss any? But if you want the Ultimate, then set up a VPI JMW tonearm - 10.5 or larger - on a Lenco with a Decca Super Gold or higher Decca. It'll blow the hair off your head. As to 95%, it'll be a surprise if something out there can manage 95% of the performance of said rebuilt Lenco/JMW/Decca, that's true ;-).