Used TT, Arm and Cartridge

I'm just getting back into vinyl. I've looked a Linn, Thorens, VPI, Oracle, Pro-Ject, etc., etc., etc. Stereo reviews and marketing have my head spinning so I want some advice recomendation from people who actually own and use these items. Budget is an issue as I want to keep the cost to around $2000 but there is some leeway in the budget. I also want a belt drive table as opposed to a direct drive. I prefer a classic style but the more contemporary will fit the media room decor. My media room (20' x 24') is on the second floor of my home above the garage so a suspended table is probably the best bet. Also, the system is on the exterior wall for whatever difference that may make.

Whatever I purchase is going to be coupled with the following:

VTL TL-2.5 preamp with retrofit phono stage
VTL MB250s

Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
A used Sota paired with a good arm and cart will be very pleasing and easy on your budget.
Michell Gyrodec w/ Tecno arm and a Van Den Hul Frog! Works great for me. It might stretch your budget a little but is well worth every penny .......
Chadnliz says a Sota--sure, or any of the other makes you mention. They are all good, and they each have different sound qualities. Myself, I have a Linn, which is noted for its rhythm and drive. There are folks here who use all of them. If you can't actually listen and choose by ear, you will have to do it based on something other than sound: repairability, upgradability, resale value or price, for example, or even looks, since all the makes you list are pretty much available and within your budget depending on the arm and cartridge you choose. If I were starting out I might go for a Linn LP12 Lingo with a Rega RB300 arm and a Dynavector moving-coil cart, but that's me. I don't know what you like, and I would be choosing based on sonic preference and value for money.
I've got to go with the LP12 recommendation but then again I like TTs that make my toes tap. I prefer idlers but if you have to have a belt drive this one can make your blood pump and bring some excitement into your life. The rega RB300 is good as is the RB250 IF you have the upgrades - counterweight and rewire.
You may want to check out the Acoustic Solid Classic Wood. At $2100 (new) w/stock OEM RB300 and Ortofon Vigor HOMC it includes a massive base and platter, a heavy duty motor and microprocessor speed control. My guess is that you'd be hard pressed to find a used 'table/arm/cart combo that "out contents" this unit at the price.

As far as real world performance goes, mine's been up and running for app 2 months and I've been very pleased. Bass response is impressively extended though not as tight as my main system (Oracle/Graham/Graham) possibly due to the unmodded RB. From the mid bass on up, performance is outstanding, though there is less sparkle and bloom in the highs and mids - probably cartridge related. In all, this thing feels like an out of market value to me IMHO.

Hi Rem1954,

I have listened to most of the turntables on your list, and have owned a Linn LP12 for 25 years, which I bought new. I would like to disclose that I am trying to sell a 2nd Linn currently.

Under $2000, I would recommend the VPI or Linn. The next best value in my opinion is a Rega.

The Linn's suspension will not help you with floor bounce concerns. If you chose the Linn, I would recommend that you buy a wall mount shelf (one is for sale now) to prevent the needle skipping. You would probably want this with a VPI as well, but to provide better sound.

Friends of mine bought the VPI Scout. It has a very good sound quality, perhaps a little more dynamic than the Linn. It also pops more loudly on record imperfections than the Linn. Both provide a very pleasant, musical playback. I can't say that I have a preference for one over the other.

With a Linn, I would rank the tonearms this way: (1) Ekos, (2) Ittok, (3) Akito. The Akito is very much underrated. Disclaimer - I am also trying to sell this Akito on the turntable I have for sale. I think the Akito will play as well as the Rega 300/250 or VPI JWM 9 arm. All are good.

I don't know what you are looking at in cartridges, but I owned a Sumiko Blackbird that was very good. I think on your $2000 (or slightly less) that you should be prepared to spend $600-$800 for a cartridge. I would also recommend that you buy good interconnect cables. I personally like Purist Audio Design. The Museas are very good at a relatively low price, or the Venustas is better; which is what I prefer.

Best of luck in your adventure, and I hope you have many pleasurable hours listening.

You can find Bix at DIYhifi
No recommendations on TT's, you've got enuf already. However, I did note you were selecting your TT design based on the fact that it was going to be in a second story room. I assume you think the the floors might flex and that the suspended design might best absorb the flexing. Just a warning, that ain't necessarily so. In fact it can be quite the opposite, some suspended tables don't deal well with vertical movement at all and unsuspended tables can work well. (I have both - and that was my personal experience. And it makes some sense if you think about what happens with a spring which is not damped, like a car spring when the shock has worn out, you hit a bump and the care bounces continually for a few seconds. One bump, multiple bounce.) Both are going to need some form of coupling/isolation so its best to include those considerations in you decisions.

FWIW, some dealer, I think its Hollywood in Fla, has had a Mission TT, Arm, and Grace cartridge. I wouldn't pay much for the cartridge - it's old. It was great in its day but by now the elastomers in the stylus should be shot and you can't get a replacement. This is a great unsuspended TT and I highly recommend it, especially if you can get him off his price. Its been on the 'gon for a few months. He might move. Used to own one - made the mistake of selling it. I've been tempted but I just don't need another TT.

Good luck.
Do you know anything about the construction of the garage? I'm assuming that it is a 2 car. Does it have posts in the center between the bays to support a center beam? Can you see the joists? If so, what are the dimensions of these?

I agree with Newbee that a suspended table may not necessarily be the best. If it is a heavy, well damped suspension like on Basis tables then it may work fine. Tables with lighter suspensions could just turn into springy nightmares. Of course you could do a wall mount on a load bearing wall. Then it may not matter which type you go with.