Who LOVES their under $ 1000 table combination ?


Okay.....here's the deal. I'm cuerrently driving my Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amp and Vandersteen 1C speakers with an NAD 533 turntable/Rega RB-250 arm/Goldring Elektra cartridge set-up. I was originally toying with the idea of switching to a thick acrylic platter, upgrading the sub-platter, adding shims to change VTA, and replacing the cartridge. .....Then I thought...that's all crazy. I should just buy a whole new set-up. So...what are some recommendations for table/cartridge combo. that will keep me at around $1000.00, sound considerably better than what I have now, and match well with my amp and apeakers ?
adam18
I bought my TD 124 for $250. Granted that I spent $60 to recondition the bearing, $30 to make a plinth, $20 to replace the armboard, $400 for a pristine SME 3009, and $150 for a Denon 103 cartridge (So that is about $910).

I will compare it head to head to any $1000 plug and play table currently available here or overseas.

My point, explore vintage tables. Rek-O-Kut, Thorens, Lenco, etc. except the Garrard 301/401 because they now command stratospheric prices!

regards
Amandarae, you'll have to admit one has to be quite a DIY guy with knowledge and experience to proceed with your recommendation.
Meeeeeeeee! I looooooooooove my Technics SL 1210 M5G. I've tweaked it enough that it comes in just under $1K, but it's those tweaks that have made it so musically endearing.

Breakdown:
Turntable from Guitar Center: $500
Used Oracle Groove Isolator mat: $10
KAB fluid damper: $150
Parts Express threaded brass cones: $20
Ikea butcher block cutting board: $25
Vibrapods: $24
Sumiko headshell: $40
Denon DL-160 cartridge: $180

Tonally neutral, extended at both frequency extremes, fast, rhythmic, great transient slam, good midrange transparency. But most important of all, draws me deeply into the music. Music from extended playing sessions haunts my mind for days afterward, much like the experience after a live concert.

Now, I know there are a lot of much nicer, way more expensive rigs out there in this refined-taste, well-heeled crowd, and I've personally heard some tasty Rega, and knock-yer-sox-off Linn and SME rigs at the local high end stores, but my previous description accurately describes what this tweaked, mass-produced rig does for me on a daily basis. Of course YMMV.
SOTA STAR $650 Souther SL-3 $350
Any table without vacuum is worse on at least half the records.
Headsnappin,

It is not really that hard to do. My TD 124 MKI (I also have an MKII) is the first vintage table I work on. Just a little perseverance is all it takes.

regards
I love my Pioneer PL-518X/Goldring 1012GX combination. Bought the Pioneer for 70$, the Goldring for 100$, added a thick rubber mat (free), a Clearaudio Twister Clamp (70$) and changed the interlink for a homebrew one. So that cost me about 250$ And although it punches above it's (money)weight, it's not as good as my main TT. But I still love the Pioneer!
Great responses, so far, guys......Keep those creative juices flowing and those ideas coming in. Let's hear about more of your $1000 analog rigs.
Picked up a Technics SP15 in std plinth with AT-12T arm and AT96E cart for $500. I was blown away.

Regards
Paul
I found a Thorens TD-111 for $150, Modded broadcast tonearm $200, Denon DL103 /w Uwe body for $250, CineMag SUT for $150, Hagerman Bugle Pro for $150, and am now putting together the Hagerman Cornet2 total TBD.

I LOVE the stuff. Sounds great.
My deal was better than your deal.

VPI HW-19 MK IV with SAMA, TNT platter/bearing and SME III with damping trough, Grado Platinum - $1000

Sold the Grado for $150 so now it's $850.

Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood, new-sealed and a great technical match for the arm, $365.

Total excellence = $1215

The marque isn't the point, the point is checking here obsessively and patiently until you get what you want at the price you want to pay and not a $$$ more.
I purchased a Music Hall MMF-5 ($650-ish) on the strength of numerous reviews which characterized it as the "giant killer" turntable of the last few years and I must say it has delivered the goods! My CDs are collecting dust. The MMF-7 (or 7.1 now) is a step up and close to the $1000 figure give or take a couple of hundred...
I bought two nice Thorens td-165 and find them better than my rega p3 which is now sold. Also have a Systemdek & Ariston tables...all are suspended design & cost between $100 to $300 with carts so I think you can do better than your Nad. Like you I thought about tweaking my Rega with various upgrades but after hearing my first Systemdek I liked the adventure of different designs and looks in turntables. Several have interchangeable headshells and I have one set up with a mono cart. This offers me more flexibility than the Rega upgrade
Hi,

I use a Denon DP 500M TT with the Denon 103R cartridge total cost about $950.00. I love the combo.It tracks well, is very quiet with a black background and has great dynamic range. I fell no need to spend more time or money looking for something better.

I use this with a Project tube box II, Cary SLI80 amp and
Thiel 2.4 speakers. The speakers are especially revealing of any source or ampimperfections.

good listening

Larry
Just purchased an absolutely MINT Philips GA312 for $80.00. Vintage 1975; looks and performs as new. Fitted with New Grado Black (currently breaking in). Everyone who has heard it/seen it wants one, even my die-hard CD friends.
I probably shouldnt post here since I DONT love my under 1,000 set up! But maybe some one could help me get a better sound without thrashing the whole thing...

I have a Denon 1800 TT with original marble plinth, it has the original arm (I read somewhere it is pobably better than the ubiquos rega 250 or 300 modded?) I have a Grado Platinum cartridge and a Counterpoint SA 5.1 preamp. (I think the preamp has some mods since it has the smaller bypass caps all over). I have a DIY wall mount with a sand box and 2" solid spruce wood base for the TT. A friend with good TT knowledge mounted the cartridge for me...

My Forsell-EAD 7000 III combination cd player absolutely kills it, it is not subtle even with my better Lps.

I have several MM AT cartridges I have tried and the sound is diferent but not really better..

So, how should I upgrade, the tonearm seems to be the guitly one I guess, maybe tonearm wire is to blame?

Cheers...
Can you give more info on what the "Denon 1800" is? Drive type? Era? Any pix online you could find?
I guess its an 80s direct drive TT with a strobe light and pich control, looks pretty serious, I will take some pics tomorrow and post them...

I also have a late Oracle Alexandria TT one of the latest models all balck pretty good looking, I will need a maintenance kit and a new tonearm...SME has been recommended (not a 3009) so I am looking at a 309 or an SME IV at least 1.5- 2k more for really the same cartridge and preamp!!!! I am not sure how much of an upgrade it will be...Maybe a Dynavector 20X MC-High output for an extra $650 wil help.... Make that almost 3K.
I Love my Micro Seiki MR611. I bought it 20 years ago for $AU350 and have only replaced belts and cartridges since (even the little light still works with the original globe!). It came with a Supex 900Super cart which I will get checked out soon for a retip, and a Grace F8 which I want to have checked too as it is old but rarely used. I now run an Ortofon MC15SuperII on it ($AU300) and run this through a Lehmann Black Cube Phono Stage (second hand for $AU250).

So, $AU900 and I love it. Mind you, I have discussed this model Micro Seiki with a guy on the Vinyl Engine who got his for free. There is one for sale at a second hand shop here for $AU550 which is still less than $1,000.

DS
I've found happiness with refurbished and slightly modded vintage. My Thorens TD150 MkII was free a few yeas back. Cleaned it up and applied several coats of oil-varnish mixture, put it on a walnut sub-plinth (I had this stuff on hand). Adding the cost of Mogami mic cable and Eichmanns for new interconnects, diy PC, new belt, modest dampening of the plinth, spikes, Hebie's mat, custom counterweight and outrigger for the TP13A arm, and a SoundSmith rebuilt Denon DL103 totals about $650. So far I've compared it to a handful of new plug 'n play rigs up to about the 2K range, and so far it's been no contest.

Jim
Since they were first introduced. It's arm that was supplied with it (a Sonograph LMT) can handle almost any cartridge. And, unlike most turnatbles, ALL adjustments can be made from the top of the plinth. You almost never see them up for sale used. Right now I have a Benz in it but I have used ortophons, Sumiko Blue Points (various incarnations) and others. When the Benz wears out I'm going to try a Denon 103 that I've been reading good things about.
Dear Adam18: Try to find a Technics SP10MK2 ( 400-600dls )or the one of Pauly ( SP15 ), a Lustre Acos tonearm ( 200.00 or similar. ) and any of the MM cartridges that I named here:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1200430667&read&3&4&

Jsadurni please make me a phone call to talk about your Denon poor performance.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Raul.
In my answer of 2/6/08 I was referring to a Conrad Johnson Sonograph SG-3.
How about the Project RM-5 with a Grado Prestige Gold ? Any thoughts ?
About a year and a half ago, I purchased a Goldring GR 1.2 turntable from Audio Advisor for $299.95 delivered to my door. This table is nothing more or less than a Rega P 2 on a different plinth. Came with the Rega RB 250 tonearm and included a Goldring Electra phono cartridge. Only upgrade to this has been the Rega glass platter that I had from years gone by, as well as a Herbie mat from sometime ago. So no additional cost there.

This has been my daily driver and averages about 30 hours per week in use. Zero problems with it. It replaced a Rega P 3 which was tweaked out with most all of the aftermarket accessories such as acrylic platter,deep groove sub platter, Michell tonearm counter weight, etc.

This was to be an interim unit as I decided what table next. Well some 18 months later I continue to use the Goldring and have found out for its paltry price is a stellar performer at its price/performance ratio. I know of nothing at the $299.95 delivered price that can compete with it.

At the very least now I can move up to another table and transfer the Rega arm to the next table. Such as a VPI Scout without tonearm. The Rega RB 250 tone arm will accomodate a wide variety of phono cartridges, so whatever I choose compatability will not be a issue.

Like the Rega P2 the Goldring GR 1.2 beauty is in its simplicity, low maintenace and arguably one of the finest tone arms ever produced. Value and performance does not have to break the bank.

4-02-08: Ferrari
About a year and a half ago, I purchased a Goldring GR 1.2 turntable from Audio Advisor for $299.95 delivered to my door. This table is nothing more or less than a Rega P 2 on a different plinth. Came with the Rega RB 250 tonearm and included a Goldring Electra phono cartridge. Only upgrade to this has been the Rega glass platter that I had from years gone by, as well as a Herbie mat from sometime ago.
So it's a real RB250, and therefore upgradeable via the Michell or Origin Live routes? Have you thought about getting the metal stub and denser counterweight for the tonearm--either the Michell or Origin Live?

I ask because a a friend bought one of these on my recommendation and I'd like to recommend cost-effective tweaks to this 'table as he gets the urge to extract more music from the grooves.
No the GR 1.2 is factory stock, with exeption of the glass platter and the Herbie mat.

Think I will order the Pete Riggle counter weight for the arm. Have heard good things about that upgrade.
Somone has a Sota Star Saphire in the listings for about $800. Stick a Jelco arm on that for under $300 and you'd have a decent combo for bit over a grand.
04-02-08: Ferrari
No the GR 1.2 is factory stock, with exeption of the glass platter and the Herbie mat.
Yes, I understand, but I wanted to verify that the GR1.2 tonearm is an RB250 and therefore a candidate for the tonearm upgrades offered by Origin Live, Michell, and others, so I can recommend that upgrade path to my newbie friend. Also, did the Herbie's mat noticeably improve things?

Think I will order the Pete Riggle counter weight for the arm. Have heard good things about that upgrade.
The only product Pete currently has on his website is his VTAF (vertical tracking angle on-the-fly) adapter for Rega-compatible tonearm, which is also enthusiastically reviewed. Of course, there are a zillion other aftermarket counterweights available.

The Origin Live and Michell counterweights lower the center of gravity, and the Michell weight arrangement functions as an outrigger besides. This no doubt helps settle down the otherwise twitchy behavior of a unipivot bearing. It's also what's behind the fishing weight tweak.
Yes the arm on the Goldring GR1.2 is a Rega RB 250, and will accept any and all upgrades for a Rega RB 250 arm. I spoke with Pete Riggle last night and indeed the counter weight is available, at $75.00 plus $6.00 for shipping. The Herbie mat offered some further damping to the glass platter, although I would not consider this an absolute must have. My opinion the Rega felt mat was near as good, with the Rega glass platter.
04-03-08: Ferrari
Yes the arm on the Goldring GR1.2 is a Rega RB 250, and will accept any and all upgrades for a Rega RB 250 arm. I spoke with Pete Riggle last night and indeed the counter weight is available, at $75.00 plus $6.00 for shipping.
That's great! All the other aftermarket counterweights are $100 more at least. I venture that Riggle's counterweight plus VTAF would bring great improvements for little more than just the counterweight from other vendors.
One more question for Ferrari:

The Michell and Origin Live counterweights include both the counterweight and a stainless steel stub to replace the plastic one on the stock RB250. Do you know if Riggle's counterweight includes a replacement stub to thread it on?