Turntable advice?

I have a modest, entry-level system consisting of:
-Bel Canto s300iu
-Linn AV5140/Espek
-Rega P1
-Naim Stageline phono stage

The vast majority of my listening is via computer, but I like vinyl for those really special albums (the "desert island" picks, if you will). For a while, I've been considering upgrading the turntable (The rest of the system will also go through periodic upgrades, but the TT was my first consideration). A local dealer offered to let me audition a Michell TecnoDec, and I accepted.

I have a couple of issues:

1) The turntable itself literally does not fit into my cabinet, where the P1 currently resides. Everything but the motor goes into the spot, but, while I'm no expert, I'd wager that the motor plays a key role in how the music sounds.

2) I have a nagging fear that the TecnoDec, on my little system will highlight the fact that I do have a modest, entry-level system and will figuratively not fit in.

Is my nagging fear grounded? Would it, in essence, be like dropping a V-8 into a Fiero (No offense to any Fiero owners out there)?

Any advice from you seasoned turntable experts will be appreciated.

If you need to know, my vinyl listening habits tend mostly toward rock, but a lot of acoustic stuff: Elliott Smith, U2, Johnny Cash, Iron & Wine . . . . .
Well getting the motor into the spot with the turntable is kinds important...

That said, your source, especially in vinyl, is critical. You really can't spend to much, but need to make your source has the right balance between $$'s on the table, arm cartrdge, phonostage. (this is all the source in a vinyl set up)

If the Rega table works, the better Rega tables are better...why not step up in that line?
I agree with Jfrech - step up to a P2 or higher if you like the sound of your Rega already.
Over the years have heard a number of "British" systems that were very heavily ( at least in dollars/pounds spent) weighted in favor of the source - in a couple of cases around two thirds of the expenditure was on arm/table/cart - with the amp/speakers being nice - but not terribly expensive.Especially with LP based systems - these worked very,very well.They extracted a amazing amount of music from the LP's and let you hear it.American systems have tended to be biased towards getting the best speakers you could afford and then sorta hoping that what was feeding them was musically revealing.
Don't worry about overspending on vinyl playback equipment - the only problem with this is you'll find yourself in the poorhouse from buying records - 'cause everything else sounds sorta blah in comparison.
Yes, do not worry about the "V8 in the Fiero" scenario. A great source is really key in a great system. Instead of highlighting weaknesses, it will probably showcase the best qualities of the rest of your gear - which, by the way, is pretty nice stuff! The only thing "Fiero" about it, to me, is the P1.

I don't agree that moving up the Rega line is a great choice. I am, however, personally extremely curious about the TecnoDec. I imagine (and this is conjecture) that it will be a night-and-day difference from your P1.

I have a feeling you'll be looking for a new rack.
The Technodec is a pretty good choice (but not the only one). How important is the 'cabinet'? By cabinet, do you mean a proper cabinet or a shelf system?

As soon as you start upgrading, you might get bitten by the bug. A major decision has to be whether you want to trust in a dealer (and your ears) and buy new or trust yourself and buy second hand.

650 GBP (without cart) can buy you a pretty reasonable second hand TT. If you keep aside GBP150 for something like a Rega RB300, then you have GBP500 for second hand TT. For that money, you might find a reasonable vintage TT like a Garrard 401 or a Thorens TD124. Either of those will last you a lifetime. You might have to learn a bit about TT set-up, but that's not really that difficult (especially on a non-sprung TT).

Oh and don't worry about the quality of the TT in your setup. You'll really start enjoying vinyl and you'll spend more time like me in second hand record stores.

Good luck!

As long as you're willing to consider a Tecnodeck, why not get out the tape measure and consider some of these similarly-priced turntables:

o Marantz TT-15S1 (comes with $800 MM Clearaudio cartridge)
o Rega P5 (by the time you get a P3/24 plus the power supply, you're almost there, and the P5 has an RB700 tonearm)
o Funk Turntable with the Incognito option. Looks pretty compact to me.
o SOTA Comet (review here)
o Fully tricked out KAB-modded Technics SL1200, with external power supply, threaded clamp, tonearm rewire, fluid damper, and Isonoe feet with sorbothane booties ($1419 total). The Technics is pretty space-efficient and is capable of surprising performance with some or all of these mods. The two most important are the tonearm rewire and fluid damper. That brings the 'table in at a very competitive $800.
You know, I'd agree with the recommendation of the Technics - it'll definitely be an upgrade from the p1, but for the money you can do better used. A systemdek or even a Linn will be compact and excellent.

In my experience, though, you have to listen to turntables before you buy them. Despite similarities in price, most turntables vary widely in music-making ability. I have been largely unimpressed with most "affordable" tables, which is unfortunate since i'm usually impecunious.

But we were originally talking about the TecnoDec, weren't we? Have you had a chance to listen?
I was able to get the TecnoDec running, and there is a tremendous difference between it and my P1. The TecnoDec is incredibly clear compared to the Rega.
It does, however sound a bit "stiff" compared to the P1's more "relaxed" sound, if that makes any sense.
I think I still have some auditioning to conduct.
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!
It does, however sound a bit "stiff" compared to the P1's more "relaxed" sound, if that makes any sense.
There's a downside to a too relaxed sound. I think it comes from the stretchiness of the belt allowing the platter to slow down slightly and then spring back to speed in response to stylus drag when encountering transients. A higher torque implementation will sound stiffer, but it will also have more drive and clarity. It will sound more real and less romanticized.

The P1 will definitely not give you what you're looking for. Yesterday I extensively auditioned a P2 (through a $10K+ all-Naim system) on behalf of a friend, and I couldn't WAIT to get back home to my tweaked and platformed Technics SL1210 M5G. The "relaxed" presentation of the P2 sounded seductive at first, but over time its deficiencies became clear--much less drive than other designs (partially compensated for by an intentionally fast rotational speed), and a recessed midrange that made it sound like the solo instrumentalist or vocalist was standing in a hole.

Maybe you should consider a wall-mounted turntable shelf to liberate your turntable choices from the limitations of your cabinet space. The turntable will sound better there anyway.
IMHO the "front end" of any system is the most significant part.Of course all the links in the chain are important, but the source of the signal;the origin of the gathering of music is the least common denominator of what you will hear in the end. I have heard good "budget" amps and preamps sound incredible with a great TT/arm/cartridge combo, and have heard all world amps sound ordinary with CDs and mediocre front ends. Don't worry about the whether it fits in a cabinet,you probably don't want it there anyway,mount it on a wall and sit back and enjoy.