Turntable recommendation

I am getting back t analog after being out of it for 20 years. What would be a good turntable recommendation if I want to buy used and spend $1800 to $2500? The default choice seems like the VPI Classic but reviews of that table indicate its midrange may be "dry" compared to other units. My system right now with Magico V3s is nicely balanced but leans toward the transparent side, and I would not want to exacerbate that--but neither do I want overly warm. Would like to spend $1000 or less on a cartridge, and thinking initially a Denon DLS1 if it mates well with the table. Phono preamp will be Sim LP5.3. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Well Tempered Amadeus new for $2850 or Simplex new for around $2100. I've had the Classic and now have have the Amadeus, really no comparison sound wise. The WTA is a quirky design, but if you can handle that it's amazing.
Get a table rare enough to be cool.
A used Kuzma Stabi with Stogi S arm.
A used SOTA vacuum table would fit the bill nicely.
Does everyone now hate the regular old VPI Scout now that the Classics have been out for a while. I think the Scout is great and if you get the 20X Dynevector cartridge, which was sold as a package you have fabulous sound. You do know of course that you need a good phono pre-amp.
If you buy used of course you get more and if Elizabeth is correct more obscure and maybe better sounding. I don't know enough about rare tables to give you that advice. Again I still like my somewhat mundane VPI/Dynevector product.
If you want very forgiving not hyperdetailed get a 70s Japanese big market piece with a MM cartridge to match. I own one, it is very musical and every mote of dust doesn't sound like an explosion. The best part is I paid all of $20 for my near top of the line Hitachi with an Analog Masters Signet cart. That still doesn't make me feel any better about throwing out my 1976 YP 211s Yamaha table years ago for reasons I can not even begin to remember, being in graduate school, CDs came out, I don't know -it just kills me.
I would like to recommend that you take a look at the Clearaudio Concept with the Clearaudio Maestro wood MM cartridge. Second take a look at the Performance series.
The Classsic's mid-range "dry"? How do people come up with this nonsense? Certainly not by listening.
Keep I'm mind I am trying to figure out what to audition besides the classic. At least two reviews I read we're very favorable but noted that the midrange was not as rich as other more expensive tables
I am trying to figure out what to audition besides the classic
Well, try a Clearaudio package instead. It's more of the fast, nimble, & detailed school of sound.

Or, best of all, just purchase a top-level used TT as Elizabeth suggests... it's less fashionable but you'll most probably get better sound:)!
There are so many good tables available in that price range. And just as many opinions on what to get. My preference is for an original Aries (1). Its a beautiful table in both appearance and performance. An extended version of the Aries with a JMW-12 is a great performer. IMO, the later Aries don't measure up.

So may really good carts in that price range. My preference is the OC9ml but that might come off a bit thread-bare for you. I haven't heard it but the SoundSmith VPI Zephyr has a strong following and good reviews.
Used tables in that range include
Oracle Delphi V
Townshend Rock 3
VPI Scout and Classic
Basis 2001
Sota Star Vacuum
Kuama Stabi
Any of those will provide you with superior sound. You could also get on the idler drive bandwagon and pick up an Garrard 301 or 401, Lenco L75 or 78, thorens 124. Lots of people like those and they are not your usual fare.
I like the recommendation of the Basis 2100. I will check it out along with the Classic. Has anyone here had experience with the Pro-ject RM10.1? A dealer in my area has one...
Try to find the: Simon Yorke's "Zarathustra S4" or the "Denon DP80" and you will never look for an upgrade. Do not overpay for an arm. It is the most fetish material in this hobby and in my case I've routinely substituting for the better till I've met my holly grail (Pluto 9A Prestige). The e-bay findings for SAEC WE-308SX are not for the inexperienced user and prepare your shelf for headshell and wiring modifications and customised protractors if you lust about them. The DLS-1 is a no-no with your budget. It is very demanding on the matching Phonostage do not think about it. Worth finding at the used market is the Kuzma Stogi Ref. & the Dynavector Karat DV 17 D2mkII. Both are builded to last forever. I've had many used arms & carts and allways was a big risk that usually ends in tears. (especially tonearms!). My advice is to take the best machine you can afford and smoothly upgrade for an arm/cart combination as you will growing your appetite into vinyl.
agree on the clearaudio for $2k with cartridge (new, easy to setup, sounds great). you can get it with the cartridge installed.
+1 on the Amadeus or Simplex recommendation.

I also heartily endorse the Rock 7 which someone else mentioned, but that is $3200 without the arm, so a bit outside of your budget. I have only seen one Rock 7 for sale used, and I bought it (and it replaced the excellent Amadeus).
Yes, the Project 10.1 is not even close to the Classic/Basis that you were considering. Rock 7 is an excellent alternative to the Classic. You should get good discounts on anything bought new in todays environment but check demo gear if offered carefully before purchase.
Simon Yorke's "Zarathustra S4" or the "Denon DP80" and you will never look for an upgrade. Do not overpay for an arm. It is the most fetish material in this hobby and in my case I've routinely substituting for the better till I've met my holly grail (Pluto 9A Prestige).
I have lived with a S4 with the Pluto. Setting up the pluto is a pain, because the geometry is (how shall I put it gracefully?) "elusive". Respectfully, I suggest you try another arm. Morch, for example, or Yorke's own. Or any cheapo uni-pivot, like Clearaudio's something.
I tried S Yorke's own "7" arm, and it is immeasurably, amazingly, poetically, easier to use and frankly, a better performer.
Not as nice looking, however!
I got back into vinyl with an old Thorens liked vinyl so much that I quickly upgraded to a VPI Classic one and love the table. Don't know where you heard the comment about dry sounding mid range; ridiculous. VPI is a great company with great support. I would recommend a VPI either a Scout or a Classic.
+2 on the Amadeus or Simplex recommendation. Who wants to post the inevitable "+3" and beyond? ;->
You can get New Rega P7 just for $1800 (Music Direct)
And get New Ortofon 2m black $450 (EBay)
And you will be set.
Amadeus....this question has been asked so many times in the past.

Amadeus! Amadeus! Amadeus!

Yes, I have one. It amazes me every day.
Thanks for the responses. There is a Dynavector DV500 table available now which was designed by Well tempered' designer Bill Firebaugh. What would a combo of that table and a separate arm such as Origin Live or other arm around $1000 be like?
Teeshot - Although I cannot answer your exact question about the Dynavector DV500, I can share a related perspective from personal experience. I owned and very much enjoyed the original Amadeus for about 1 year. I then switched to the Dynavector DV500 with the current iteration of the Dynavector tonearm because I want to start using different cartridges in that system, and the Dynavector tonearm makes it relatively easy to swap out cartridges. I find the two tables to be very similar sonically and musically, with one exception. The original Amadeus has slightly better lower frequency response. The same cartridge was used on both tables - the Dynavector XX2 Mk2. I hope this info is of some help to you. Good hunting!
Thanks to all who made helpful suggestions. I tried to buy a Well Tempered/Dynavector DV-500 only to find out that mounting another arm to that table is problemmatic and the importer has no blank mounting brackets available. Instead I purchased a Basis 2500/Vector 4 arm combo from a nice Agoner who was able to help me get it in within the budget. Looking forward to its arrival in the next week. I just found out last night that a good friend kept all of his parents' records after they passed away. A haul of classical RCA's and Columbias from the late 50's through about 1968 in great condition.
Teeshot - Congrats on your Basis 2500/Vector 4 purchase! I have that table/arm combo in another system and it is very, very nice. Let us know what cartridge you choose and how it works out for you!
Can you get a Linn Sondek LP12 used for that amount of money? If so I say jump at it. Amazing sounding turntable.
Just got my 10.1 setup, what a totally awesome tt! After enjoying a Technics SL1200 MKII for 30 years with a couple or cartridge upgrades I finally decided to bite the bullet and get a flagship product to see what all the buzz was about. Boy have I been blown away. Everything I read about the 10.1 and the Blackbird is totally and completely true, no hype, just a fantastic sounding rig. Awesome bass, midrange, and highs all around. I am listening to my 30 year old Bowie collection after a good washing and am astounded at how wonderful my records really sound on a superior deck. I could not have made a better choice!!!
Rega-P9/RB1000-Compact and easy to set up. The RB1000 is good enough for many cartridge upgrades. Will hold it's resale value.