My preference is towards vinyl, although good digital these days has its attractions--I can now listen to CDs and LPs in the same listening session, where I had trouble with that for many years. I wonder if some of the problem stems from your old records. When I first purchased a good turntable (an old Well-Tempered, in about 1988), I remember my disappointment when listening to a lot of the albums I enjoyed in my pre-CD days with a cheap Technics turntable, although some of the albums (some Chesky re-releases, Reference Recordings, Harmonia Mundis) sounded infinitely better than CD. Apart from the care taken in the mastering, it turns out that the albums that didn't sound so good were ones I'd gotten through record clubs, which didn't use the greatest vinyl and probably were cut from dubs (who knows what generation) of the master tapes. Plus I hadn't taken the best of care with those albums. This manifested itself in a lot of surface noise and inferior resolution, muddy sound, etc. If you're truly bothered by surface noise, you'd have to spend more than you have done so far to get a turntable which will make you not notice the noise, but even then it won't make up for a cheap or worn out pressing and it may still wind up bothering you. Have you tried any of the recent re-issues on your set-up? If they don't sound better to you than their CD counterparts, then I'm not sure it's worth throwing additional money into hardware, because you seem to have a good analog rig. If they do, then you would be well advised learning about which pressings are best and how to spot them so you can pick them up for cheap at the garage sales (or else invest money in the reissues). I'm not familiar enough with pop and rock records to know which versions are the best or which publications which would help you identify them--there are some books in the classical arena.