Table upgrade: SOTA Comet? or ?


Looking to upgrade my turntable. Like many others, I'm playing my old vinyl more and buying new vinyl when I can afford it. Four years ago, I bought a Project RM-5.1SE with stock blue point 2 cart. For $1000, it was a nice table to get back into analog again. Now I'm thinking about a SOTA Comet, not sure this an upgrade or lateral move...? I guess the real question is can I make a sizable improvement on a $2000 budget?
larseand
Larseand - I've been back into Vinyl for about 10 years now and have tried a lot of "budget" gear.  One of my first "nice" tables came with a BP2 cart and while it probably sounded a bit better than any vinyl setup I'd ever owned before, having upgraded and moved beyond, I can say with 100% honesty that the BP2 is not a great cartridge (particularly for what they cost MSRP).  I've had two so far, and even though I still have one in the box in a drawer) I hope I never need to pull it out and mount it.

It provides some pretty good detail, OK bass, etc. but to me it sounds weaker than some much less expensive MM cartridges that I've tried and I even put them through multiple phono preamps at different setting to bring it to life.

You have a pretty nice turntable already, and while I don't suggest that you spend all $2K of your budget on an upgraded cartridge, you can certainly achieve much better sound out of your current table with a better cart and perhaps a different phono stage (you didn't mention what you have now).

If you throw some $ at a better cart and perhaps a better phono preamp, then if the weak link becomes your current 5.1SE then it will be a easy private sell with your current BP2 without taking a big hit.

On a completely separate note - The BP2 is VERY susceptible to cantilever bend/ suspension problems.  The Pro-Ject/ Sumiko recommendations are that you run half the anti-skate as is recommendations for most other cartridges and this must be absolutely be adhered to, or even skip adding any anti skate altogether.

Happy to stay engaged in this discussion as I've inadvertently been through multiple rungs of the the Pro-ject and Sumiko range based on what my local dealer has/had available.

Greg
After a near 30 hiatus, my reentry was a Rega RP1.
It was fine for what it was, to play my beloved records I just couldn’t part with when CD’s were the new kid on the block.

I don’t know anything about the Comet, and a quick glance it appears to just be a nice entry level table, maybe nicer since it is US made?

What Greg mentions regarding using the best cart/phono you can swing is solid advice. Those 2 components are gonna show you what your table is capable of.

If you're convinced you need a new table, I would save a couple more bucks and religiously scan the listings for a VPI Scout or even a Classic along with spending as much as you can tolerate for a LOMC.

If you already have a decent phono amp then, you will hear what the fuss is all about.

Someone else can chime in regarding a different, but equally competent brand.



Thanks for the feedback! I failed to note my phono pre is the Pro-ject Tube Box 2 w/stock tubes...Also, I too was not convinced the BP2 was all that great, but at the time it seemed OK.... I like the cart/phono pre upgrade idea as long as the Pro-ject can do it justice.

Andrew
Take a look at this one!
http://www.hifigem.com/polytable.html
Not knowing anything about the rest of your system and knowing that this is a process I would strap that Blue Point to the best table arm combo I could afford, with that said I would look in the used market for a VPI Classic or better still a Scoutmaster and enjoy the BP till I could upgrade it later, it really isn't a bad cart and you will be surprised by the level you can achieve with a really good table. I recommend VPI because that is where my experience is. Good luck.
Get rid of those stock tubes first thing in your phono stage that is your first upgrade. Then like others I’d go for a better cart. If you can swing it a MC will be a huge step up to better sound, something like the audio technics at-art 9 is a huge value at around $1000 new. Look around for tubes but a good source is the tube store and other similar