If the difference in cost is not an issue for you, then get the Classic 3. It's a GREAT TT and very competitive with TT's at twice the price.
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None of the above before you try the 'U-Turn Audio' machines. This is offered on line at their web site. The Orbit plus is a great value, cartridge and all. I have one. I've been at this hobby for over fifty years. My high end table, VPI Aries with all the bells and whistles and a $2K cartridge,is better then the Orbit, but not by much. Hey, if you do not like it they will take it back. Be bold, let your ears decide, not your bank balance.
Harry has answered this question on the VPI forums.He said he would recommend the prime before the stock classic 3, but would probably go the other way if the classic had the 3rd tone arm.
You can also order the classic 3 with the 12 inch 3d tone arm.I am also deciding between the 2 turn tables.One thing to keep in mind is that the classic 3 doesn't require the sds.
I heard the first one in Covina. I felt the system they had set up smaller but very nice Arial 6t's and Primare integrated. I was originally planning on a classic 3 with 3d arm but unfortunately way out of reach with a working man's budget. The Prime to me sounds very liquid like the Classic 3/3d combination but with not quite as much gut wrenching low end extension. I think because the table was set up with a very good mid priced Sumiko Blackbird cartridge, the soundstage was dead on, but the smaller speakers kind of got lost in the huge room they were playing in. The Primare electronics had the classic BBC sound(very good thing for me) I would have loved to hear this rig with the Wilson Sophia or upcoming Sabrina. Could be scary good. I would also love to hear a mid line Soundsmith cartridge on it too. I presently now enjoy a Classic 1 with Dynavector 20x2, it too is an awesome set up for me. I was lucky enough to pick it up used. If I didn't just buy the Classic 1, I'd have been all over buying this one. After having heard all three, I feel I could be very happy with any of the combinations for a VERY long time. Jury is still out on pulling the trigger, don't get me wrong, it is an awesome table in every aspect, true work of art, but still pondering total table with SDS too if I do. Seems kind of silly since IMO we already own a world class rig. To do better you better go the Classic 3/3d-SDS, Classic 4, or the 'Direct' route, all a hell of a lot more $$. If you do...you better have at least 20-50K upstream and a huge room to take advantage of all of that goodness. I think the Prime could be forgiving enough for state of the art rigs under 10k, but be good enough to grow into 50K rigs too.
Boconero117, are you serious? I looked at their website and there TT with mat, dust cover and cartridge retail for 179.00. I have an Aries table with a 1500.00 cartridge. It's hard to believe a 179.00 TT with cartridge could even come close to the Vpi. I have heard people say this same thing when it comes to different audio equipment. If this was actual the case people would never buy more expensive gear.