I think you need to look at the Rega p25 with rb600 arm. Can still do the orgin live mod. Good step up from the P3. Can get them new for $1000, less on here. I had a Linn, it's a great table, but you have to spend time tweeking it to much for my taste. The Rega hits your preferred sound ... set it and forget.
I just purchased a VPI Jr with the AQ6 arm but have not set it up yet. Hopefully I'll get back to you next week. Like you I am getting back into vinyl again. I've been listening with an old Dual and brand x cartridge so I'm anticipating a much better sound.
I was in the same spot once and settled on the Rega P25. I haven't been disappointed. If you need to move up from there, you can always spend the $$$ on the cartridge. It's a fabulous no hassle table.
A Linn LP12 Valhalla power supply,Cirkus and Rega RB-250 fully modified from Express Machining I have this combo this is a very nice and I think better than the other tables/ arm combos you mention. Jeffs Sound Values has 2 of these LP12's with Valhalla in the $800 range. Check them out.
I had the Vpi, It is a very good turntable and you can upgrade it to mark IV. It can handle a better arm than most people give it credit. They are not the pretiest turntables, but they are ok. Get the tall dust cover, you are going to need it when you upgrade the platter to mark IV. Since the heavy platter is also much thicker.
If you buy it upgraded it, you will save money over upgrading it latter.
The other tables like the REGA are also good, but I like the VPI better. If you want to spend a little more go for the VPI Aries with the JMW memeorial arm as long as you have a very stable table base, (NO ISOLATION ON THE ARIES)
For detailed tight sound, you could also consider the small Clearaudio decks, and Morch arms. A Pro-ject P with a Benz Glider I heard offered great tunes. A latest version Linn/Ittok (or better) no longer requires the nerve-raking tweaking Jfrech mentions -- but is expensive.
Based on your stated preference, I would go with the VPI and AQ arm combo. Listening sessions with these combinations leads me to believe this would produce the sound closest to what you describe.
The Linn and Basis combos you list are fairly warm sounding in the mid and mid bass, so probably not as lean was you might like.
The Rega is very smooth in the extremes, and therefore will probably not produce the "sharp highs" you seem to be seeking.
The cartridge you choose will play an equal or greater role in this tonal balance game, but since you ask only about the TT arm combo, this is my best guess. If I were making this choice from the listed products, I would buy the Basis with RB300, or even better, a Basis with a Graham arm (even a very old one).
Oracle Delphi IV or V. From there, pick an arm and cartridge you can afford. My preference is a SME 5 arm, cartridges vary a fair bit according to musical tastes and your budget; a Grado Reference may be a good choice. Do your best to make the right investment in vinyl, God knows it's worth it.
Thanks, folks! Judging from what I've read in your responses, either the VPI or a Rega 25 get the vote. The Linns seem to require to much tweeking for my taste.
I didn't mention a cartridge specifically because I wanted to reduce the variables early in the discussion. One of several drawbacks with a B&O table is that you are stuck with their cartridges. A more "standard" table/arm combination affords the opportunity to try different cartridges, which is fairly easy to do, while trying different tables is not. So, given either the VPI or the Rega, any cartridge suggestions out there?
Jfrech - Can you point me towards a Rega 25 at less than $1300? Most of them I have seen retail at around $1295. What do you gain with a P25 over the P3/2000?
Albertporter - Please read "detailed highs" for "sharp highs". I must have been vocabularily(?) challenged this morning.
Well Tempered Turntable. Part of the fun in vinyl is having a great sounding table that can work with every cartridge. This table allows you to adjust everything. VTA (hieght} Cartridge angle, overhang, etc etc. This table will give you a very open sound and good bass. You'll also learn quite a bit about the differences in sound quality based on the way you set up the table (more fun than set and forget)
You need to get the "black damped platter" so it might be a little hard to find but thier relatively inexpensive.
The Blue point Special cartridge works excellent with this table ' and again cheap'
I would have to agree with Albert. The Basis 1400 with the Rega arm is a great combo. This table is also a great match for the Graham arm or the Morch arm, which is what I am thinking of upgrading too. Also the Dynavector 10x4 is a great cartridge in the $350 range, I would highly recommend it with that combo. When I upgrade to the Morch arm I will most likely go with a cartride in the Benz line. Any recommendations out there would be most welcomed. Best-Gary
Geezer, I bought a new p25 from music direct for $1000. It was 6-8 months ago. The salesperson pretty much offered that price with out any negotiation on my part. The p25 get's you a better arm rb-600 which has better cables, counterweight and better bearings (or maybe tolerance-not exactly sure which one. The turntable has a little different plinth and motor than the p25. Hope this helps...
PS, I've also found putting the table on DH cones and sq's helps a bunch...
Jfrech, thanks for the advice. I've just finished reading Todd Warnke's review of the P25, (http://www.audioweb.com/Review/), which seems to agree with your and Revdog's comments.
BTW-The Origin Live site gives some good information on the differences between the various Rega arms, (all within the context of their mods, of course). See http://www.tonearm.co.uk/rb900.htm#physicaldifferences.
As I dig more, the VPI tables seem to need to be at the Mk III or IV level or better to approach the performance that I was looking for. But, until I get a chance to audition one, who really knows?
Albertporter and Gmele - Based on your comments, I am now also looking more closely at the Basis 1400 with Rega arm. Thanks!
I went back into vinyl for the past year. I shopped around and ended up with a Project Perspective with a Blue Point Special cartridge. It has a suspended chassis that deals with my hardwood floors. I also invested in a Nitty Gritty 1.5 Si record cleaner which works great. This turntable is really easy to setup and mess with and try different configs on it. But I think that I still don't have the "vinyl" sound. I am at the point where I need to improve my phono preamp and maybe move to a Grado Platinum cartridge. But it has been fun. I received the new turn table with cartridge for $825 out the door. Dale
LP12 the older version may have needed a lot of tweaking that's why I mentioned the Cirkus upgrade because if you can find a cheap Linn/Valhalla combo and then put the Cirkus on it the table become more neutral, but still has that basic Linn sound and as far as the Cirkus upgrade you get a bigger bearing & platter,current revision armboard,thicker sub-chassis with the newer heavey duty spings and some other stuff. The reason I know this is I bought my LP12 back in 94 and it was the basic (no Valhalla) I liked the sound at first but then I notice that infamous mid bass character and decided to upgrade to the Cirkus last year and WOW what a difference first thing I notice was the back ground became very quiet and bass increased,midrange became more musical & lifelike, then I got the Valhalla and this made a big defference too then I took off the bottom cover of the LP12 a PRESTO! that mid-bass hump was gone and the table became more clear in the midrange and the bass seem to extend lower than before also had more 3D quilty to it. Sorry for going on so much but to put it plan and simply the LP12 with the Cirkus upgrade is now a more set it and forget it tpye of turntable and dosen't need to be messed with for years. Believe me nothing will come close to it for the price or maybe even double the price.
I like the OriginLive modified RB250 arm. Now if I can only find an affordable MC cartridge that doesm't hum!
Rfj - I'm not sure what you consider "affordable," but moreso out of curiosity I purchased a new Denon DL-103 from a shop in Germany delivered for $120. At the price the performance of this low-output MC is extraordinary. I paid over 12 times as much for my main cartridge, and I find myself in no big hurry to switch back. Also, although this is not the most sought-after 103, I believe that Van den Hul will re-tip the Denon for a nominal fee, thus improving an already time-proven design. Just food for thought.
geezer, lotsa good adwice here, & i don't see how ya could go wrong w/*any* of the recommendations. my only ting to ad is, whatever ya finally choose, go *used*. yule definitely maximize the bang-fer-buck. for ~$1800, i have an oracle 'table, updated to mk-v specs w/exception of motor/power-supply, but that's ok, cuz i got the origin-live motor/power-supply instead! also have a fully-tweeked o-l rb-250 arm. all for $1800, delivered, purchased in increments - i couldn't be happier! and, unless i win a lottery & have to have someting *really* cool-looking, i'm done w/turntable upgrades! :>)
rfj, my $225 ortofon mc25-fl is great, at its price-point. no hum in my system, fwiw... there's a guy on a-gon selling a kontrapunkt (sp?) for $369, sounds like a good deal to me...
I have a ST-7 and the speeds are incorrect, I tried the adjustment but that does not work. What are your feeling?
Rfj, If you have been reading the recent threads you will see I suggest for the best low budget cartridges Audio Technica -440ml if you need a moving magnet(MM) cartridge. If your pre amp will accept moving coils (MC) then the Audio Technica atc OC9 or the Dennon 103R. These 2 models are low output moving coils and you need to have a phono section with a lot of gain to drive them.
Rfj if $800 (new list price) is afforable, then its a no brainer, The Shelter 501mkII. Another low output moiving coil.
BillWill, when you discuss the ST-7, do you mean the Harman Kardon Rabco turntable?
Speed off, speed of the platter or the arm fails to run at the speed to track properly?