Turntables from 1-10: Personality 8.5 Beauty 12

This thread could be interesting for any components, but I write as I am thinking of adding a turntable to my system.

In the end, I might not use it very often, but I love the beauty of turntables, if only as a conversation piece for my missionary work with non audiophiles.

Obviously, I want it to sound very good too but I might get more pleasure per dollar per hour of usage with an unusually gorgeous turntable. I need to keep the budget to < $10,000 retail.

Could anyone recommend a particular VPI model? The HRX is obviously gorgeous, but I imagine the less expensive ones look great too and much of the same performance as their top of the line?

How about the Michell Gyrodec SE? Is it as gorgeous as it looks in pictures? Oracle?

Obviously the dowdy LP12 is out, as are the mdf Regas and others.....

Thanks for any ideas.
Well I don't mean to contradict you but, I went from an Aries to an HRX and there is no comparison. The HRX out performs the Aries hands down. I do happen to think the Avid Acutus is gorgeous. I hear it is quite a performer too. After I win the lottery, the Walker Procenium Gold will make my short list.
I love the looks of my VPI Aires 2 extended TT with the JMW 12.5 arm. The table is very sleek looking and the arm, although not much longer than the 10.5 I used to have, looks like it is a mile long!
Have you looked at any of the Clearaudio Master series?
Teres. A real conversation piece and quite beautiful (if you like well finished hardwoods) ;~)
Get the best turntable, Nottingham Dais,much better than any VPI, I had all the VPI's and the Nott is much better.
I second the Teres, it is a work of art. Sonically, I'm quite happy with my Basis 2500 Diamond Signature now, and it is also easy on the eyes.

When you don't want to use it much, only for Show, how about Micro Seiki?
Hi Cwlondon, I think the VPI HR-X i quite good looking and the new Aries is close behind it in looks as well. Great TT besides.
However, take a look at the TW Raven AC.....it truly is drop dead gorgeous. I just ordered mine...not on looks only however.

i'm a sucker for a beautiful 'vintage' turntable, and have several. i prefer the newer models that emulate the older ones. i do not really care for the 'veg-o-matic' cosmetic trends that many of todays designs have. mass for the sake of mass. the oracle paris is my favorite looker...
Hands down Oracle Delphi V. Design basically unchanged for mre than 25 years. Sounds great, easy to set up and compatible with many tonearms.
I recently added a Kuzma StabiS/StoigiS to my system and was shocked at how many people commented on it (favorably) at the company holiday party. It's quite eye-catching.
Dear Cwlondon: I think that you have to put on your list the Galibier ones: beautiful!!!! and very good performance.

Regards and enjoy the music.
If it's eye candy you want to talk here and nothing else it has to be a Teres, IMO. Very hard to beat the beauty of wood. However, I also get a great deal of visual satisfaction looking at my Gavia. I like the contrast of the black anodized aluminum and graphite platter surface with the polished aluminum arm boards. The mounted TriPlanar just adds to the same black on polished look. This arm also appeals to the mechanical side of my brain because of the engineering and machining that went into making it. The silver mylar belt is the icing on the cake. Not surprising that the race car I owned back in the 80's was painted all black laquer with polished aluminum wheels and air dams.
I'm using the new Grand Prix Audio Monaco table. I've owned many tables over the years, and this is the best I ever owned. Don't know if you will like the looks and the price is over your budget ($19,500 for the table only). My previous table was the SME20/2. Beautifully engineered, fantastic fit and finish and geat sounding. Surpassed my Basis Debut Gold table.
Save $9600 and buy a beautifully restored mint AR XA. You cannot beat their Zen-like simplicty, and I still can't believe how good that can sound given that clunky-looking arm.

No, they will never compete with these other tables for sonics, but I think you will be surprised how good they truly sound when restored and running properly. The venerable XA has started many down the audiophile path....

I'm pretty blown away by Peter Clark's blue Redpoint that he showed at CES this year.
I have to agree with Dan And Raul on this one. Thom's Galibier tables are great to look at but more important they also have amazing sound.
Many excellent suggestions. In any case I will throw out the SOTA Nova or Cosmos TTs as new production options not yet mentioned. However, some vintage tables that I have seen of late sure look great. The Merrill Heirloom is really nice from a simplistic perspective, and some of the higher end Micro Seiki tables (wood plinth and RX series) are real lookers.
For sheer beauty it has to be the La Luce line from Judy Spotheim. Apparently they sound great too. I also think the Acoustic Solid in polished aluminum finish is quite visually appealing. Definitely not retro looking but neither is the HRX.
I reluctantly bought a Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4002 from a client and after replacing the cartridge with a Soundsmith SMMC20EN and repairs I have a beautiful and sleek automatic linear tracking turntable that I'm quite pleased with. I know a lot of audiophiles thumb their noses at automatic and linear trackers but I believe the advantages should be considered. They include ease of set up, great tracking with 1 gram VTF, and the convenience approaching a CDP.
I have had the 4002 for almost a year and appreciate it more and more. It's prominently perched on a wall shelf in the living room, has a high WAF factor, and a low profile that I appreciate more after seeing so many massive platter turntable where the platter has a comparitively high profile. Living in California has exposed me to the principles of fung shei and I have developed an appreciation for low profile designs.
The 4002, cartridge, and repairs cost about $600 which was a lot less than I was ready to spend.
SOTA COSMOS,with Black Gloss fountainhead plinth,and the red platter top.A giant killer if there ever was one!!
La Luce By SPJ will surpass your scale both in Beauty (12) and personality (performance-10). I also like the Clearaudio Master Ref series with Everest stand look. Higher end range of Transrotor TTs will also reach your target ratings.
For understated elegance you can't beat the Clearaudio Ambient. http://www.musicalsurroundings.com/ca_ambient.html
Slap a Rega on it and you're good to go for around 4K.
I currently own a michell gyrodec se with a zxy airy 3 cartridge. It is a very good table (though i am not very experienced with the high end tables) and always garners comments when anyone sees it. The weights on the bottom of the platter add a little "unique" factor but some people may find it distracting. I am going to try a maplenoll and pass my gyro to my daughter. She is already calling her friend to come see it when i deliver it to her. (she is a 19 yr old vinyl addict). I would rate the table as a 7 out of 10
Oracle Delphi V, Avid Acutus, Micro Seiki 5000 or above, JC Verdier, Clearaudio Master Solution AMG or above, Transrotor, Thorens Reference (if you can find one), and many more.

I own a VPI. Like any American products, it's more form follows function and not much beauty to speak of.
IMHO, the best looking turntable ever produced is the Gale GT2101. Second best looker is the Transcriptors Skeleton. The IMF and the Micro Seiki 1000 are both gorgeous, as well as the Oracle Delphi permutations. The Michells are close runners up.
Yes, the Transcriptors are extremely cool.

Even better that one was featured in a Clockwork Orange?

Not so sure they are readily available on Ebay, however.
Spend $30-$60 on the most beautiful, framed pic of your favorite turntable. Send me the rest.

Another vote for Teres. Their 320 and 340 offer high value for the dollar (a combination of truth and beauty) relative to what you'd pay for models passing through a distributor and dealer.

I like to look at my turntable - the real meaning behind "home theater". LOL!

!How come nobody mentions Simon Yorke turntables!....
Although I,ve never heard one just looking through pictures for me are piece of art.
BTW I think the guy also does sculpture on the side ....no wonder.
Anything under $10K is basically a close and play phonograph.

You want something nice, be prepared to shell out the big bucks.

Walker - maybe nice sound but ugly as hell.

for looks I suggest the Basis work of art - cheap at around $25K


Goldmund reference II - now your talking, and slightly less than a nice Rolls.

.... okay I'm kidding.......
Hi cw,
How about a PX-2...? Slightly retro, somewhat cool-looking, and... well... you have a history there...
I have a Avid Acutus that I think sounds great and looks beautiful. Highly recommended. Used to have a Michell Orbe SE, not in the same league at all.


This thread caught my eye--I like tables for the looks too as well as the sound :)

Last year I bought a Transcriptors Hydrolic Ref for the looks. It came equipped with an SME 2 arm and a Shure III cartridge. The sound is amazing---every bit as good and detailed and holographic as the $34,000 ref table I had. I've almost finished reviewing it and need to pop on an original arm to make it a wrap.

One of my hobbies within this hobby is finding "sleeper" gear. This is one of them! Also, you can't beat the ergonomics of Lux tables--I love their touch points-so Lexus like.

And don't discount the Ariston tables--I rebuilt a RD-40 and its wonderful, bigger staging than the old Linns and it looks so cool. Its got pace and rythmn galore.

Dear friends: I forgot, the new Goldmund Reference II:
http://www.goldmund.com/products/reference/ ,great!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
I must say that I have always loved the look and price(comparatively)of the Oracle.Especially in the black granite base model.Not too expensive,and killer sound.