Find a used Rega Planar 3 with a nice cartridge. It should fit easily within your price range and is as good or better than any of the tables you've listed there.
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I would go with the NAD turntable, which is built by Rega and comes with a cartridge. The Rega tonearm puts it a cut above the Music Hall. The Creek preamp is the way to go by far, much better than the other two. A friend has the NAD 533 and it always sounds great in his more expensive system with Jazz and Classical.
If you are really on a budget look for a used REK-O-KUT. a "No Brainer". For the money you can have one in every room! Out performs table upwards of 1K. Worth the money just to buy one and try it. It made my LINN ,P25 ( and myself) look stupid. Definitely the last table I'll own. If you find one let me know.
Start with the battery operated Radio Shack RAT if you are in a budget (www.radioshack.com). It is reputed to outperform everything under $200 USD. Run a search on the Audio Asylum posts if interesed.
As for a TT, yes, get a belt drive! Anyone, as long as a reviewer liked it...you'll sleep calmly at night.
For the phono preamp, save some money and pick up the battery powered model that Radio Shack was selling for $25. Rechargable batteries and a charger should run another $25. Much better sounding than any of the budget preamps you are considering, though it only works with high output cartridges. If it is out of stock, there is a guy on Ebay selling them with a $20 buy it now. The model # is 42-2111 (in Canada) and I forget the US designation. It only has around 38 dB of gain, but being so quiet (DC operated) this should not be a problem as long as you run it through an active preamp line stage (not a passive one), just turn the volume a bit higher. It is called the "little rat" in the Audio Asylum forum and you will find a number of comparisons there. Far from SOTA but very musical and again as good as any $200 phono preamp that I have heard. This way you can put more money into the TT.
There is a great deal on ebay right now. Slightly used Sumiko Pro-ject Wood Classic. Lists for $750, with Grado Gold cartridge, list $180. Bid, last check, is at $301, with a "Buy It Now" at $450. Bidding ends in 4 days. I was going to buy it, but I bought the VPI jr that avguygeorge touted. Thanks avguygeorge!
On a budget I'm a fan of the SystemDek 'tables (Scottish) and sometimes you come across realtively inexpensive Oracle 'tables as well. I picked up a real nice Oracle Alexandria for $300 at a local dealer. I'd avoid the NAD, low end Regas, and the Music Hall tables, they're flimsy and strike me as unreliable in the long haul.
I actually disagree with the comment that Jeffloistarca made on 2/18/02. I only wish I had read this thread then.
Some people hate suspensions and love non suspension. I personally like suspensions. This is why. At the monent I have a MMF-5 Music Hall tt. It sounds very good, but I have tried in every way go get rid of the rumble when you touch your stand. I have owned 1 MMF-5, 1 Systemdek IV, 3 Systemdek II's and 1 Systemdek IIe. In addition to this I have owned 3 Sotas all non vaccum, 3 AR EB101's and 2 ES1 tables. Regardless of sound the Sota was the most detailed and semi reliable to date. Finally, the speed control on a couple of the Sotas gave me trouble. Next,Systemdek electronic circurity gave me trouble. I never had any trouble from the AR's or Systemdek without the speed control. The Music Halls are fantastic buys. However, I would buy the Music Hall before the Systemdek. Simply because Systemdek is not in business anymore. Parts are nonexistant.
i have a rotel rp955 turntable, which i think listed for $800, and i got a great closeout deal on it. although the cue does not work which is a bummer, it sounds far better than anything else i've heard in it's class.
the bad news is that since i've had mine for about 8 months now, i have not seen another one new or used on the market.
pair it with a reasonably priced mc cartridge like the sumiko blue point, and say the rotel 995 preamp (400 used) which has a great phono section, and you basically can't beat it.
you will have the set-up to realize why vinyl is far better than cd.
Well I just put a SME 3009 arm on a thorens 160 and with a parasound preamp it sounds as good if not better than my rega 25, I am surprised to say after some side by side testing. Not only is the sound good, but it looks cool and with a ortofon super 10 you are within budget. Jazz and classical sound great.