TT+tonearm under $5k


I'm trying to get into Vinyl, I need your opinions. Assuming a budget of $5k for TT + tonarm, what's the best bang for the buck combo out there(pound for pound, feature for feature)?

I don't want to buy used because I am aware of the fact that TT does not ship well.

Thanks for helping.
At your price point it'll be hard to beat a Galibier Serac.

Anvil..............300 (optional)
Artisan arm.....795


Or you could forgo the Anvil in favor of a less costly clamp and put more toward the tonearm.
The heart of any TT consists of:
- the bearing
- the power source/controller
- the motor
- the motor's torque connection to the platter

If any of these four elements is sub-par you won't maintain speed accuracy through stylus drag transients. In each of these four areas the Serac is ahead of mainstream competitors, including many that sell for 2-3X the price.

No connection/affiliation. I don't even own a Galibier. But I know roughly how good the Serac is based on experience with higher priced models from Galibier and similar brands like Teres. If you want top class build quality and performance on a mid class budget, this is a great way to go.
Dougdeacon, thanks for the suggestion! I'm looking into this brand seriously. I recently audition a VPI Super Scoutmaster, it's out of my price range, but at least I can use it as a reference point. I wonder sonic-wise how does the Serac differs from the SuperScoutmaster?

Pretty much can't go wrong with the galibier. Forget the anvil and put the remaining $300 into the tonearm.

Good Luck
Check out the Raven One also
Buy a used table/tonearm. Shipping is generally safe but if you're dead set against it, consider a road trip and pick up. Even if you must drive 4-8 hours, the savings will be sufficient enough to pay dozens, perhaps hundreds, of albums.

However, buy a new cartridge. Unless you know the seller, the used cartridge market is a minefield. I sincerely doubt every cartridge for sale has "less than 100 hours of careful use" as seems to be the case.

Good luck.
Absolutely buy used, especially since you are getting into vinyl. If you don't like it, then you won't take such a big hit if you want to sell your equipment.

Shipping an old TT is always a problem since usually there isn't a box and the owner hasn't a clue about shipping. However, the types of TTs on sale nowadays are simple and rugged, and the people on AudiogoN (generally) know about TTs and shipping, and lots of us keep the boxes.

Buy a used TT here on A'goN...the only way to go. Hell, just today I saw a used Basis 2001 that fits your bill...mighty tempting!
I often suggest buying used as the best way to go. But with the budget of Viper_z and the availability of the Serac this becomes a no brainer. Disclaimer, I'm a very satisfied Gavia owner. Your getting the same bearing and motor as the higher priced Galibiers and tape drive to boot. Absolutely no speed stability issues with this drive system and it is battery powered giving very quiet operation. The PVC platter is very much like a Basis 2500 I once owned, only not damped with brass. This is much better than an acrylic platter, which a Basis 2100 has (I owned one of those as well). I would think that it is possible to upgrade the Serac platter in the future. The extra weight and TPI surface of the Gavia and Stelvio platters will drop the noise floor and increase bass response, among other things.

The Raven could also be a good choice based on the reviews it is getting. I have no experience with that table.
Buying used is generally best bang for buck, Buying a Serac may negate that. Buying a used TT or tonearm involves substantially less 'relative risk' than buying a used cartridge because the wear factors are different.
I haven't heard the Galibier or the Raven, but I will mention the Acoustic Solid Wood (large platter variant of the AS wood tables). Last time I looked it was about $2500, including electonic motor controller, an RB300 and a HOMC from Ortofon. The quality of this mass loaded table is way out of line with its price. The mounting system limits you to Rega and variants, unless you want to get deeply involved with set-up. Which brings me to my point:

This table is very easy to set up. If you use some of your budget for a Rega cart (admittedly- not everyone's cup of tea) the 3 point mount removes one more variable from the equation. The trade with this table is limited upgradeability/flexibility for easy, predictable, high quality sound.

I currently run an Oracle V, Graham 2.2/Nightingale and the Acoustic Solid through my Aesthetix Rhea. Therefore, side by side comparisons are easy. The "dryish" sound of the Rega Exact cart is easily the biggest distinction between the current alternatives - but the AS sounds awfully good, even next to the much pricier alternative.

If you're a "set it/forget" type (in analogue?) the AS is IMHO a great value.

Good Luck.

I can second the Galibier Serac - It would be a very good start to get into analog. I personally visited Thom in Denver last spring. At the time I was able to compare the Serac platter and Stelvio platter on the Gavia table (the Serac table was still in development at the time). The Serac with platter is good but the Gavia and Stelvio are in a different league altogether. The Serac platter looses a little of the dynamics that makes the Galibier Gavia and Stelvio so special in the high mass category. I would seriously consider the platter upgrade next if you get the Serac.

After thinking about my last turntable upgrade for 1-2 years (and of course listening to many many tables) I ended up with the DPS turntable table last summer. It may be a little out your price range and but for me it offered much of the solid sonic foundation of the high mass designs in a much more compact format. In addition, I felt that DPS was very close to the Galibier Gavia and Stelvio in terms of dynamics, rhythm and timing with excellent layering of the soundstage and separation between instruments.I heard many of the top end VPI table and in my experience and for my taste the aboveDPS and Galibier tables are a full step up altogether.
Buying used, mint condition turntables is very easy on Audiogon, and the good ones do ship perfectly. You can also drive to pick one up yourself as mentioned above.

My suggestion -(and also exactly what I did)

Buy a mint Nottingham Spacedeck with the newer AceSpace arm for about 2K. (I drove about 3 hours and picked mine up myself.)

Then get a brand new Zyx Airy 3 from Mehran at Sorasound.

For less than 4500. you will have a beautiful combo with absolutely superb sound. IMHO you would need to pay near 10K to do better.

Good luck on your purchase.