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You would be better off getting something new . Why buy some 30 year old plus table from companies that are not in business anymore? Don’t forget to include a cartridge in your budget.
There are many choices within your $500 that would be just fine!
+1 noromance! I bought a PLX1000 after reading HR's review in Stereophile. I wanted to try a newly mfgd. TT - all the rest but one (Ariston RD11S) are second-hand. Herb is right! Undoubtedly the best budget TT/arm available! I have a Denon 103D on mine. If the PLX1000 cost twice the price (like the Technics) audiophiles would like it more! Snob appeal counts for a lot in the Audiophile World!
Just picked up a second Technics SL-1700mk2 that needs a little rehab and restoration for $250. I’ll have to put new interconnects on it, a headshell and cartridge, and do a full tear-down, clean, and lube. Should have somewhere near $700 into it then. The other one I have got the same treatment plus SL-1200mk2 feet and dustcover, and sounds wonderful.
@lohanimal, your nomination of the Townshend Rock Elite is interesting. It IS a brilliant design (I’ve owned one for a quarter century), but I don’t know that you can acquire one for under $500. They rarely become available (I include Townshend in my Hi-Fi Shark search "preset"), and when they do they sell for more than that. The last marketed version of the Rock---the Mk.7---goes for over $3000 used, so that’s no help ;-) .
I bought a Rock Elite for about £300 about 4 years ago in the UK - that equates to $500 USD. Trawl some British websites.
I have spoken to MAX a few times, and people who really know his TT's and I get the impression that from the Avalon to the reference there is a house sound. I modified mine with: a Berger lahrs motor from a DPS; a two phase power supply, and an acrylic platter. Love it so much that other projects have taken a back seat as I sit back and enjoy the music
If you can do the micro DD 40 for that budget that's a great table. I have one that came with and MA 505 arm that by itself goes for between 5 to 800 bucks. Much better than anything you could get new for anywhere's near that money. Also if you can get and SOTA those are also great tables.
Another one I'd be looking for in that budget is a technique's 1200.