I'm looking to replace my old MMF-7.
Budget $2000 new or used.
Also matching phonostage.
Budget up to $800 new or used.
Don't forget about a matching cartridge.
Music Hall 7 is my first turntable so I'm not really experience in that field.
There are a lot of choices out there - help me choose the best candidate for the money.
Thanks !
No such thing as "best". There are lots of good choices within your budget but a VPI sounds different from a Linn sounds different from a Basis sounds different from a Nottinghsm sounds different from a Rega and so it goes. We all have a bias as to what we like. I recommend VPI but there are lots of other good choices.
I agree with Narrod. It's what sounds best to your ears! I would suggest by my own liking, Michell ....
Comparing TTs is one of the more difficult exercises. There's no shortage of strong opinions on the subject, but I doubt many opinions are based on comparing TTs with all variables fixed (e.g. same arm, same cartridge, same phono stage, same platform, same system, plus careful TT set-up. A magazine reviewer's opinion might be more worth following, since at least a magazine has the resources for a proper comparison.

After tinkering with TTs, one of the few things I know for sure is that variations in platform & siting may be as significant to the sonic outcome as variations between TT designs.

A $800 phono stage to equal your $2 TT may be tough to find. Perhaps a used BAT or ARC PH-3SE or later model.
I understand that choosing one turntable over the other is a preference decision ( I can't argue with that statement since we all have different taste in music & sound. If this wasn't truth we will be listening to the same brand of speakers etc. ) but I would like you to guide me in the right direction. Maybe you can suggest different approach in finding the next best thing from what I have right now.

I don't know if it helps but I mostly listen to classic & vocal jazz, blues & pop. My system with exception of Cyber 222 MK II tube preamp is listed below ;

Vandersteen Quatro - speakers
Consolance Cyber 800 - tube mono blocks amplifiers
TacT 2.0 - preamplifier/room correction, modify
Rega Apollo - CD player
Music Hall MMF-7 turntable with Creek phonostage
Sonos wireless music system with Nixon tube DAC
Stax electrostatic headphones system
Krell Showcase surround sound processor/preamplifier
Optoma HD-80 1080p dlp projector
Westinghouse 47inch. LCD 1080p
HP Slim line media computer with 1080i card & 201 Sonny DVD changer accessible-operated by Media Center
Rel subwoofer - active only when watching video
various conditioning, voltage stabilizers, diffusers absorbers bass traps & tweaks.
Linn LP12's are an excellent buy used IF you have a dealer or tech in your area to get it serviced and set up. If you don't, I'd recommend something like a Rega P 5.

But mind you if you do have a Linn dealer in your area, I think 2k into a used LP12 gets you an awful lot of turntable - much, much better to my ears than what you would get at this price new from Rega (which I still think is a great company).
Right now on Audiogon there are used Nottinghams, VPI Scout, and Oracle Delphi, all w/arms, in the $1K-$2K range. Another option around $2K would be a replinthed Lenco idler drive(check Jean Nantais's website). There is a lunatic following for these idler drive TTs that believes them to be superior in dynamics & PRAT to every belt drive TT ever made. The arms used with these TTs seem to be noncritical. I've not heard a Lenco myself but do respect the ears of some who have. This could possibly take you to the endpoint at a reasonable price. Other classic idler-drive options in your price range include refurbed Garrard 301/401.
"D" do you remember Jean Nantais wabsite.

MrJ: These sites should point the way. Also, Mike Paschetto at Progressive Engineering does a nice job with refurb Garrards. Dave
Mrjstark -- looking at your system, just a thought. You don't specify your phono cartridge, but I think you would get considerable improvement from your current analog setup just by upgrading the phono stage. You might want to start there.
Thanks "D" !!!
I will check those out righ now.
Hagerman Cornet phonostage. Any owners. Opinions. It looks like a really nice piece. I LOVE TUBES - JUST CAN'T HELP IT.
Looks like I will go with LENCO 75. About to close the deal for NOS Lenco75 ( It supposed to be in brad new shape, never used. It should arrive in a week or two). I plan to build plinth my self add Denon 103R cartridge and Advanced Analog MG-1 Linear Arm Tonearm.

Thank to all who help me crystalize my decision.

Happy listening !!!
You may be in for a treat. I was just talking with a fellow whose Jean Natais-replinthed Lenco kicked a $5K Nottingham Hyperspace out of bed.
I sure hope so. Besides I love to work with my hands and building this table is definitely a refreshing experience. Surely I will come across some difficulties but reward will be well worth it. Right now my head is spinning with ideas that can be incorporate in my design. I still don't know what it is going to look like. One think for sure it is going to be a MONSTER. I continue my research and gather informations that can help me accomplish what I set to achieve. I set the bar very high for my self on this project and won't rest until accomplished. Only then I will be able to share my experience with my fellow music lovers and may be one day some lost wondering sheep like my self will find the way to a little bit of heaven by seeking a helpful hand and advice. If this happens ...... I'll be there to help not preach.
Ones again thanks everyone.
Will post pics. when completed.
Special Thanks to "Oregon" & "Dgarretson" .
Did you build your Lenco? was it difficult to build? How does it sound? Are you happy? Thanks!
Hi Dave,
LENCO isn't ready yet due to the fact that initial preparation/restoration and extensive search for useful ideas took longer then expected. Becoming a member of Lencolovers was the best thing I have done so far. Ton of information there. It's a highly regarded community of knuckleheads (in a good way) with dedication and knowledge that I was feeding on for the past month. Regarding progress on Lenco, it looks as follow:
* all parts were checked, re-lube and cleaned
* materials for plinth and general design were chosen.
Check the link below:

* Templates were made and ready for "shop work".
* Most of the necessary materials were ordered and are ready to go. Exceptions are custom platter and top plate.

Today, I worked on ext. plinth lines of the plinth and arm boards. Should have this done by Friday. When finished - all inside/outside and arm boards templates will be used for the actual fabrication. Hopefully this Saturday. Having quality templates are up most of importance for me. From there everything should fall in place with ease.

As you can clearly see, the most difficult for me was actual preparation and educating my self to get complete confidence with this project.

Plinth it self isn't complicated or difficult, however few aspects of the design had to be address to make it work.
Isolation/vibration control (two peace plinth & iso. platform ) and accommodation of two completely different arms ( uni-pivot and linear-tracking tonearm ). I also try to do some research on different approach in TT stand design and its benefits or shortcomings. At the end I chose to build the rack/stand with the combination of different techniques that I thing might work. Besides it will be a lot cheaper and more flexible the anything on the market right now.

Another TT got a makeover in the mid-time. This one - I want it to sell or trade but it did not work out. I was a little puzzled what to do with it. Knowing that Lenco proj.
will take some time, I decided to give it another chance.
MMF-7's weakest points are: vibrations and arm. Motor isn't perfect neither but it is what it is and had to be used to keep the expenses down. New bamboo plinth & stand weight at least 60 pounds. Cut out for motor and adj. arm board was made to reduce surface noise. It was pretty easy and it took about 8h (total) to make and another 1-2h for final adj.
It looks good and sound on par with any other TT up to 3G.
On top of the original price that I pay for MMF-7($950), $950-arm/cable, $70 bamboo BB, cart I got from a trade, $25-isol-blocks, spikes removed from the original MMF-7, $5 accessories.
Total $1050, minus price payed for MMF-7. Was it worth it?............For me.....YES.

But if someone was interested in TT like this one, it would cost a lot less.
Motor - $150
Plate - $80
Upgraded belt - $25 + arm and cart of your choice.
With Rega 300 and Denon 103-103R = $800, cable?- $100used,
other materials - $100
Total - about $1255
For the money of the original MMF-7 you gone have a KILLER TT.
See link below:

Happy listening
Put a Lyra Argo i in your MM7 and be prepared to smile.
I'm sure it is a great cart. but it would raise the total cost significantly. My goal with both TT was to keep it under $2000 (or very close to it).
Lenco was a great choice and I want to thank everyone who offered an advice. All of the above choices were of a great value to me and I appreciate it as well.
MMF-7 was a unexpected and spontaneous move to say the least. I think it workout O.K. Here is why?
MY 8 YEARS OLD DAUGHTER ask me if I am going to sell it. I asked - why? She said - I would really like to have something like that when I grow up. My jaws hit the floor. Few seconds letter , I asked her if she wants it. She said - YES,........DOES IT SOUND GOOD???? YEEEES.... CAN WE LISTEN TOGETHER? What can be of a greater value then your child's smile. Priceless!!!!