TT upgrade

I currently have a Pro-ject Xpression TT with a Grado Gold. I'm looking to upgrade. I like a more laid back sound, listen to blues and folk mostly. My phono stage is a Bottlehead Seduction going into a Primaluna PL2. After much googling, searching the usual sites i have come down to these tables.

I would prefer to keep it under $900 but .....

1. VPI HW-19 jr or IV depends on whats out there and $$. Seen them from $500-1250

2. Thorens TD -125. $500-850

3. Sota again depends on price

4. VPI Scout a bit over my price range a few sold here for around $1200

I know buying used there are a number of variables like the arm, dustcover, etc.

I did buy a HW-19 jr but the guy wrapped it in bubble wrap and stuck it in a box with styrofoam peanuts and well you can imagine the shape it arrived in. I always take photos as i open boxes of audio gear. His loss not mine, but i really liked the solid feel of it and the look.

So at the risk of asking for opinions.........:)
My 1980's SOTA Sapphire still works like new. The suspended subchassis (platter + armboard) is so well isolated that I can literally pound my fist on the plinth while a record is playing, with moderate force, with no audible effects whatsoever. The table weighs 44 pounds, iirc, and seems to be built like the proverbial tank. Mine has a beautiful light oak finish.

The one negative I've sensed is that the servo-based design of its motor mechanism results in a very slightly perceptible wow and flutter on sustained piano notes (which doesn't seem particularly applicable to the kind of music you indicated that you listen to).

I have no experience with the other tables you mentioned.

Good luck in your search!

-- Al
Music Direct had some "B" stock Scouts for a reasonable price. Call them and see if they have any left.

Based on your list. I would look for a used Scout. One sold on eBay last week for $1025 w/ arm. Or a new/used Clearaudio Emotion - I think that ElusiveDisc still has blue units for $1,199.

One of my favorite vintage decks is the Oracle Alexandria. Sounds great and is relatively easy to setup. Depending on the tonearm, should be available for under $600.

I have had (and still do have) several vintage Thorens decks, and I would have to say that I just don't get the all the hype. Mechanically complex w/ (generally) horrible arms. The exception is the TD-126 - a great unit but they are still a bitch mechanically and electronically.

There are many great old decks out there: many of the 70s-80s Japanese decks can be had quite reasonably. A friend of mine has a Yamaha PF-800 and it sounds pretty good. Or just do the easy thing and buy a new or used Technics SL-1200/1210. Not a super high-end deck, but sounds great for the price and you can probably sell it for what you paid for it if you get a good deal.

Good luck
One can commonly find Linn Sondeks on Audiogon with Basik arms in this price range. The sound is very supple and rhythmically complex. A very nice alternative to the plastic plattered turntables that you mention.
My buddy has had his VPI 19 for years and though it's given hi some headaches (proably because of upgrade botch and his Audioquest arm).I am downsizing myself from a too big 12 Aries extended and thinking Scout,Scoutmaster,Super (nah to much $$$ might as well keep mine) or another Aries with 9" and better Cart.

But for you.Live a little.Scout is way to go.If you went up line with Project from about 6 on up-9.1 is a nice rig.Clearaudio ain't bad idea.Linn well they don't go out of whack as easily or often as they say (I won one as back up) but sprung tables are more finicky.Long run getting right table when you have no questions you went deep enough.Start with a Scout and Denon DL103 before you plonk down on better cart (I sold Grado Gold and it's good but for a $500 or less deck) and stage.Also you can put a TNT 6 platter with regular motor and upgrade the Scout all different kind of ways.Gingko ball VPI feet,etc etc.Ya get what you pay for.
I had a HW-19 MK III for the past 5 years. I just replaced it with a VPI Classic (great 'table). The 19 is a really great table and one that has a million tweaks available for it as well. Some you buy and some DIY, too.

I'll always charish the 19 as one of my best ever -- I've also had a Rega P2, Rega P25, Thorens 165c, Linn LP-12 and a Techniques SL1200-MK2. So, my love of the 19 isn't based on lack of experience.