What to do...

So, I have a vintage set up running a Garrard 40 mk ii through a McIntosh MA5100 amp to Klipsch Heresy speakers. Also have a Technics 5disc changer going through the same system. I inherited all of the components. The Garrard suffers from the typical mechanical issues of most old Garrards, but works fine manually. I replaced the cartridge/needle with a Shure M44-7. So, now I have the vinyl bug(also inherited about 100revords from the 1920s- the 60's. I have also purchased more of my own(love Dire Straits on vinyl). I have not listened to any higher level systems, so I don't know what I'm missing - so maybe ignorance is bliss? Or, I have been eyeing the Techincs SL-1200, and also saw some similarly prices MH mmf 5's on eBay. First, will the upgrade in table be significantly noticeable only moving up to that level, or should I wait until I have more funds(which could be a loooong time as the wife is not a fan!). And, out of the SL-1200 and MH mmf 5(not 5.1) which would be a better choice? Or do you go with the new MH 2.2 or low end Rega? I've read a lot, but just wondering in the context of my existing system what the best choice is?
Any thoughts? This is my first post. Any input is appreciated.
If you're like most of the other folks that are regulars here, you will upgrade to the Technics. Next you will wonder if a better cartridge will make a big difference, so you will get a more expensive MM or maybe skip right to a very good MC cartridge. You will then see that there is a marked difference and decide to get a fairly high priced MC cartridge and be WOWWED! Then comes the upgraded DC motor drive to the next higher priced turntable you get that will really drop your jaw, and then you wonder what do you try next, a new tonearm maybe.....will it ever end...???
If I were you, I'd give any one of the 'tables you listed a try if you can get one for a good price. You can always sell it if you don't like it. You'll never know until you try.
Nice amp and speakers! They are capable of better sound than you'll ever get from those vinyl rigs. Improving your vinyl front end is definitely a good move.

Having limited funds, you'll get more bang for your buck from a used rig than a new one. The challenges are to find a rig in good condition and a seller who understands how to pack it properly to avoid damage during shipping.

Finding a local seller would address both issues, as you could demo the rig before buying and transport it yourself. In addition to ebay, other possible sources are craigslist and - of course - Audiogon! The typical Audiogon seller will be more knowledgeable and careful than the typical ebay or CL seller, so start by checking the classifieds right here.

Will you hear a difference by upgrading from the Garrard? Absolutely... 100% guaranteed. Your present table is pretty near the bottom of the pile (sorry, just the truth). The higher up the ladder you go the more improvements you'll hear. In audio there are often diminishing returns as you go upscale, but from the lower rungs anything one does tends to be worthwhile.

FWIW, about 11 years ago I leapt from a late 70s Harmon-Kardon/Rabco rig (which was better than your Garrard) directly to a ~$4,500 table/arm/cartridge - my first high end rig. The improvements were staggering, breathtaking, blah, blah. Even if you don't have that sort of cash to spend at the moment, the principle is worth noting: when upgrading from fairly modest equipment, make the biggest move you can afford. This is a another argument for considering a used (but well loved) rig.

Happy hunting, and welcome to vinyl madness!

P.S. If you actually have records (as opposed to music) from the 1920s, they'd be 78's. Even if the table has a 78rpm speed, those discs require a different cartridge and phono stage than LPs.
Thanks for the great responses. When you are on a tight budget and don't know enough to ensure a good decision, the info on this community is invaluable!

How are the 80's direct drives? There is a Sanyo TP-1020 locally on CL for $50. Looks to be in good condition. Would this be a nice upgrade for me? My next table will have to last me a while or the wife may change the locks!

Low prices always scare me since I see the higher end rigs most of the people here use. But, with 4 kids(3 of which are 19mo old!) any $ spent on this are tough to justify. I just don't really know what vintage tables are steals and hitch I should stay away from.

Thanks again!

Buy the Sanyo, they are ok.Put the cheapest Grado cartrige on it , set it a 1.8 to 2 grams and go about your business.
Thanks Schubert. So, even with a bottom of the line cartridge, you think it will be a noticeable increase in sound quality over my garrard?
Thanks again!
I've never heard/seen the Sanyo, but at a minimum it should maintain constant and accurate speed better than a 40yo Garrard 40 Mkii that's been sitting idle. The rubber drive wheel in the Garrard will almost certainly have developed flat spots and/or be dried out and brittle.

Can't say more because I know nothing of the Sanyo's other qualities, except that it's unlikely to be as much fun (or fuss) as three 19 month olds!!!

Once you have a table running there are various tweaks you can try for virtually no money. Vibration absorbing materials in/around the plinth, different headshells and headshell weights, DIY footers or a wall shelf. Etc. One of the fun things about vinyl is the ability to tailor the sound in different directions. Its educational to try stuff. You learn even if you dislike the result, and many tweaks cost next to nothing.

Have fun (and try to get some sleep, lol).
Yes, it will, contrary to popular opinion, Sanyo was the most
bang for the buck stuff back in the day.
Just get some kind of paper cartridge set-up template , clean it up and put a LIGHT coat of oil on the spindle and track whatever cartridge you get at the highest force recomended force.