I have read where the SOTA tables work quite nicely with SME arms. The Nova Series V is in your budget. I own one and am considering the SME IV or V arm to replace my Kuzma Stogi.
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Owe it to yourself to look into the SOTA Nova vacuum table. Make certain that you balance the cart with the table and the arm and whatever phono stage you're using. I truly do not believe SOTA can be topped for performance at this price point for a new table. Splurge just a little more to get the Sota Cosmos armboard and you'll find you probably have a killer table for life.
You could try a "The Turntable" from Progressive, which should be in your budget. I have never tried a new SME on mine, but I believe the owner/builder (Mike P) used an SME 309 on his personal table.
I have not heard the 255 Teres but I am have heard an Aries and The Turntable is (in my opinion) a better sounding table.
Dear Opus88: I think that the Esoxhntr, Clio9 and Jfrech are very good alternatives and in all three your SME is very well " welcomed ".
If I have to take a choose between them maybe I will go for the Sota and that is because of the vaccum platter that for me makes an improvement on the quality sound reproduction on any TT.
Now, with that kind of analog rig and taking in count your SME tonearm you have to change your Grado cartridge and my advise is for the: Dynavector XV-1, mates very good with your tonearm.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Another vote for the SOTA, my friend has the NOVA with the SME V and it sounds amazing, for what it is worth he had commented at our last "Ears and Beers" party that he never heard any VPI that was as good as a SOTA.
For what it is worth I also have a SOTA but mine is not upgraded like his is so mine isnt really in the same league but it still is a very pleasing table, so you may try a cheaper model and perhaps upgrade it if desired, you may be suprised how good it is.