..and VPI is not in your consideration?
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If buying new - not on your list:
- DPS 3 - I regret not buying the original DPS - compact turntable - has the weight and aplomb of a big deck.
- Amazon Referenz ((I have the model one)
- Townshend Rock 7
- SME 20/2 - many think they actually sound better with a different arm to the SME V
- Funk Saffire http://www.thefunkfirm.co.uk/turntables/saffire_III.html - sounded superb
- the grand prix monaco
Of those on your list I have to say my favourite is the Avid Acutus
I have owned Nottingham Analogue for 19 years now. I bought one of the last Mentor tables, now replaced by the Dias. Same bearing. I recently upgraded the motor and power supply to top Dias standard. I also replaced the weak point, the plinth, with an aluminum/baltic birch / aluminum sandwich.
Results were spectacular - when I finally bought a higher end Koetsu, my dealer, upon visiting, said that my cartridge (Koetsu) was at long last the equal of the rest of my system.
Sound is smooth and quiet, with lush vocals, clean highs, and tight bass. Surface noise is very low. I was very satisfied with the NAS until my air bearing design came together last month - but that was an 18 month project and mucho dinero.
As noted, the NAS plinth is the weak point. I live far from heavy traffic, road or rail, and so do not need a sophisticated suspension. If you are not so lucky, then the Dias may not be for you.
But if your situation is similar, for $10-$15K in a finished product, I doubt that you could do better than a Dias with the optional power supply. I have rarely heard a TT that I liked better than my updated Mentor, and certainly not for $15K.
Consider a PTP Audio or Transfi Audio Salvation turntable. The former is a top notch Lenco rebuild by Peter Reinders. The latter is a British built direct drive turntable that is all new construction. It has been favorably reviewed on this forum. Also, his Terminator tonearm is well-discussed on this forum and Audio Asylum.
Both founders of their respective companies are members of Lenco Heaven.
Dear @dragon_vibe : Your thread stated:
""" Im looking for a very musical presentation, transparent, speed which has a nice midrange bloom but not over the top. """
These characteristics are not main part of a TT design but more in the " land " of cartridge/tonearm combination mounted in a " decent " TT it does not matters if idler drive/BD or DD.
As I said, almost any TT could works for you and any one with the right cartridge/tonearm/phonolinepreamp/IC cables and is here where you have to take care a little and not so " hard " in the TT. I'm not saying that the TT is not important, because it's but for what are your priorities the other analog links could be more important.
Regards and enjoy the music,
@dragon_vibe "Why Idler Drive over Belt Drive?" There are proponents of both and in your price range you will get a great turntable, regardless of the drive system. What you prefer will depend on your sonic priorities and the best advice is to listen to examples of each in your price range and decide what you like (preferably with your Triplanar fitted with your cart, through your downstream electronics, though that will probably be difficult if not impossible, as otherwise you can't isolate the sound contributed by the turntable). Idlers are known for steady timing (lack of pitch variation), good bass and "boogie factor", while a really good belt drive may do delicacy and nuance better. Many prefer direct drive over either, though I have found them a bit clinical sounding (cd-like if you prefer); some will say this is more "accurate" and, be that as it may, it is not my preference but it may be yours.