These are really two different TT's. The VPI has a built-in phono stage and headphone amp, so in this regard it is far more portable but designed for a single user. It does have the capability though of beiong installed into a system using another amp & speakers so everyone can hear it.
The Pioneer, while having DJ roots, does not have a built-in phono stage so it must be installed into a system for anyone to hear it.
So do you already have a phono stage and system to allow the Pioneer to operate. Or do you require the "all in one" flexibility the VPI offers?
Summary of Stereophile review of the PLX-1000:
Pioneer PLX-1000: $699 including tonearm $$$
The PLX-1000 is $300 less than the Nomad. For that difference you can buy a $129 Schiit Mani phono stage, a nicer cartridge (e.g., 2M Blue), and probably find someone to help mount the cartridge. I'm not sure, but I suspect the Pioneer has a headshell jig for aligning the cartridge. I use such as jig with my Technics and I get a better alignment than any of the protractors I've tried.
Full review: http://www.stereophile.com/content/gramophone-dreams-4#GZbc8OGpgs1OGT4d.97
Follow-up review: http://www.stereophile.com/content/gramophone-dreams-3-follow#jqV8s3G1vMsB8Ph5.97
That sounds good JohnnyB53 ! I guess the Pioneer was my first choice, but I got an idea that the VPI Nomad would be a little more flexible in moving around. I could use headphones to listen to records in my room where my small audio studio is. I have some little JBL self powered reference monitors in there, so If I wanted to use those it would be really easy.
In the living room I just have a Marantz Receiver with the phone input and some bose speakers (less fancy than the JBLs).
I'm not looking for really high end, but I want something nice that I don't have to grow out of in a year.
So...... I am still on the fence. But if Classical and jazz sound great on the Pioneer I may go with that.
The PLX-1000 is pretty much a souped-up, improved Technics SL-12x0 turntable. It has twice the torque, better feet, an internally damped tonearm, and contstriained layer damping between the plinh and base.
My turntable has been the Technics SL1210 M5G for eight years. I listen extensively to classical and jazz, both small combo and big band, with or without vocals. A quartz-locked direct drive turntable has advantages here. For one, leaders such as Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, and Ray Brown have an uncanny sense of tempo. The speed accuracy of quartz-locked direct drive helps convey that magic. So does the high torque motor, which maintains speed even through stylus drag during heavy modulation. It also translates into better dynamics in classical records where massive crescendos don't slow down the tempo.
As for versatility, it has its own in that it has a removable headshell, which makes cartridge mounting *infinitely* easier than mounting on a fixed headshell. In fact, you can get multiple headshells and mount different cartridges on them (e.g. a mono cartridge) so cartridge swapping is as simple as it gets.
There are some phono preamps that have a built-in headphone amplifier, such as the Bellari VP 130.
There are also several other good turntables in the $1K range, many of which have pre-mounted and aligned cartridges, and some of them have nicer cartridges than the 2M Red on the Nomad (not that it's bad).
Pro-Ject offers the Carbon Expression for $999 including an Ortofon 2M Silver cartridge; it's like a 2M Red but with silver internal wiring.
Pro-Ject also offers the RPM 3 Carbon with mounted Sumiko Blue Point 2, a high output moving coil cartridge. That's a $450 cartridge.
And Music Hall offers the MMF5.1 LE, on sale at AudioAdvisor for $849, and includes a Music Hall Magic 3 cartridge with replaceable nude stylus. Cartridge is sourced from Ortofon.
Of course, if the idea of dropping the a turntable into various systems (such as plugging directly into powered speakers) appeals to you, then the Nomad's your answer.