Sorry, I meant Music Hall 2.2.
11 responses Add your response
I third the Rega (and the Music Hall would be my second choice, ahead of the Project). In addition to the better arm, as Mofimadness says, the Rega will have better soundstaging and imaging, if these are important to you, as well as better resolution of instrumental and vocal timbres. It is also a little more 'set-it-and-forget-it' than the other two, if you are not very technically inclined.
My first choice is Rega P1 because it has a better arm in my opinion than the Project or Music Hall. I also think the Rega has a little better acoustical dampening.
The Technics SL1200 is still a very good table. The arm was a perfect match for many MM cartridges back in the 70's, 80's to present. A Shure V15 Type 5 was a wonderful match for home listening. You most likely won't have any hum issues with the SL1200 but it will cost more than your Project or Rega. I also think the TEchics has better acoustical dampening than many tables in the price range you are seeking because it's built for rugged environments. Plus you get some great speed & pitch controls that you won't get on any of the tables mentioned other than this one. It is direct drive and some people have problems with that. You could do alot worse in turntables.
The SL1200 or especially the SL1210 M5G, while more money, is a much better investment. The P1 and Debut III are rather dead-end purchases. You can add a better mat and put it on an isolation platform, but I think you even need to get a heavier counterweight just to get a heavier cartridge.
The Technics, OTOH, has the speed consistency of a much more expensive "audiophile" 'table and there are a host of upgrades available from kabusa.com and other places. You can even get armboards to mount Rega-compatible, SME, or Jelco tonearms.
And it is particularly good at classic rock, disco, and '80s rock because of its accurate persistent drive and bass slam. The entry-level belt drive 'tables sound polite by comparison.
fwiw, I had a couple of Pro-jects including an Xpression 2 and a the nice Technics with the better wiring (forget the model number). None of these really did it for me. I heard a P1 at a dealer and now I have a Rega table on the way. You'll know if you're a Rega person or not when you hear it. At this price point, there are pros and cons of build quality for all the various mnf's so you can't really pick the best one for you based on that. If you can hear a P1, do so. If not, buy one from somewhere with a return policy. In short, another vote for Rega. Good luck.