I’d add another vote for Sota. I have a vacuum model Star Sapphire with an SME V arm and it is pretty incredible. One thing I didn’t realize when I bought it, I can put it anywhere without worrying about skipping from footfalls. I can literally hit the top of the deck with my fist without it causing the needle jump.
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ryskie, would you ever buy a turntable that was not suspended as well as the Sota? It is not just freedom from footfall headaches. There are a host of other noises occurring in your house and even around your house. People think that just because their turntable is on a rack on concrete they are isolated from low frequency rumble. This is not true and the link I posted above demonstrates this beautifully. It covers various aspects of turntable and tonearm design as applied to the AR-XA turntable. People just think about it as a cheap little table from the 60's but when you realize what it was competing with at the time, big Rec-O-Cuts and Empires. TD 124's and Garrards. It was truly a landmark table. It handily out performed all of them. People were using them even in the most expensive systems. It was quieter, footfalls did not bother it, and it did not feed back. It's only serious weakness was lack of anti skating but many of the high end tonearms of the day did not have antiskating. The SME 3009 changed all that. People would remove the base of the SME and mount them on the AR-XA.
There is a very well regarded new Pear Audio Kid Thomas/Cornet 2 & Ortofon Cadenza Black on USAudioMart priced below wholesale. The turntable/tonearm is just about in your price range.
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