I'd go for one of the Rega tables. They are great-sounding, reliable and trouble-free. IMHO, the Pro-ject (and closely related Music Hall) tables are junk.
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While I wouldn't call Music Hall junk, and maybe not even Project, I do agree that the Rega is a far better choice than those. I had a P2 in my system for a couple of weeks and was very impressed with the soundstage in particular for that price range. I ended up buying a P5. I would go for the new P2 over the used P3, just for convenience and ease and warranty. Then you know where it has been, as well....
Thanks for your comments, I primarily see the Planar 2/3 listed for sale, I believe it's the older version of the P2 and P3. From what I have read the newer model comes with a MDF platter (vs. glass), better tonearm and upgraded motor.
Are these the only differences between the Planar 2/3 vs. P2/P3? Would I be advised to hold out and find the newer model?
I have the Music Hall MMF5 and I believe it to be very good TT. I also believe that when you are in the range of 500 bucks the general quality is going to be the same no matter what you buy. Rega, Project, Music Hall, etc. they all compete in this market and offer the same product with some differences BUT YOU need to make the decision which is diffcult when dealing with it for the first time and not knowing what you want.
Go with the least expensive one and a modest phono amp, get yourself back into it and see.
Thats what i did and the bug hit me hard, now i am just waiting for my bonus, so YES i can buy a VPI or Clearaudio, not sure yet.
oh and lets be fair people none of the companies mentioned above are JUNK. They all have there pros and cons!