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best turntable ~$1000? $1500?

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May be upgrading my turntable this year and looking around, it seems like the consensus is that the Rega RP3 is the top turntable for around $1,000.  Any other contenders I should be considering?

 

And then if I up the budget to ~$1500, does the situation change substantially?  Marantz 15s1? VPI?

 

Not looking to go vintage.

 

Current setup:

 

Pro-ject Debut Carbon with 2m red and acryllic platter

Marantz PM8004 integrated

Monitor Audio RX1s

 

If I do go ahead with a turntable upgrade, an external phono pre might be in order.  welcome any thoughts on the overall setup.

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I wanted to not agree with that list so I tried really hard and was actually able to come up with a different list :D

 

Clearaudio Concept

 

Music Hall MMF7.1

 

Rega RP3 and Marantz TT15

 

the rest...

 

Although the MMF7.1 comes with a better cart, the Concept wins out when it comes to tonearm and motor, arguably the plinth construction as well. Rega and Marantz are pretty equal to me when it comes to the price/performance factor, the Rega is more straightforward and less picky on where it sits, but sonically the Marantz wins if you have a good enough rack to isolate it properly. Overall I'd pick the Concept if I was deciding on performance alone, if it was performance + looks I'd probably pick the Marantz.

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I have no opinion as 1000$ tunrtables are not in my budget....

 

But if you end of getting rid of that acryllic platter, keep your friend Tyler in mind.

 

That's a pretty good possibility.  I actually listed the turntable on Craig's List a while ago as stock thinking that I might swap over to something like the Carbon DC (MF sent me a 20% off coupon) and keep the platter.   I got a hit on the listing this morning, if I wind up with a spare platter, I'll let you know.

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Mmf7.1 pros for me

Completely isolated motor.

9C tonearm.

Dual plinth with sorbothane separation

Acrylic platter

$500 cart that has a good rep

Dust covers are nice

Clamp is nice

Removable RCA cables (not on marantz)

Though I don't have enough experience with a Concept to rule it better than the Muisc Hall, I think the Muisc Hall is better than the Marantz. You're basically buying an expensive cartridge on a not so expensive table. I think there's much more value in the MH table over the Marantz.

But it is boring looking. You can find em demo price for about $1200.

But, the Concept could be better, I personally don't know. Slinch has more hands on with Clearaudio than I do. I will say, the Concept replaced the Emotion, which was rebranded as Marantz TT15... So in theory it should be better, right?

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Mmf7.1 pros for me

Completely isolated motor.

9C tonearm.

Dual plinth with sorbothane separation

Acrylic platter

$500 cart that has a good rep

Dust covers are nice

Clamp is nice

Removable RCA cables (not on marantz)

Though I don't have enough experience with a Concept to rule it better than the Muisc Hall, I think the Muisc Hall is better than the Marantz. You're basically buying an expensive cartridge on a not so expensive table. I think there's much more value in the MH table over the Marantz.

But it is boring looking. You can find em demo price for about $1200.

But, the Concept could be better, I personally don't know. Slinch has more hands on with Clearaudio than I do. I will say, the Concept replaced the Emotion, which was rebranded as Marantz TT15... So in theory it should be better, right?

 

The TT15 is actually a rebranded upgraded version of the Emotion, closer to the $2.5k Emotion SE. It sports better isolation/feet, 30mm vs. the 28mm platter, better motor, the only real difference is that the Emotion SE came with the ceramic magnetic bearing, the marantz has the standard one.
 
The Pro-Ject 9cc tonearm is the weakest of the three, the Satisfy on the Marantz is slightly better and the Verify on the Concept kills them both (eventhough price-wise it's in the middle: $500 vs $1600 vs $1000 respectively)
 
The cart on the Concept is a pretty basic one, but performs quite well, the Goldring on the MMF is superb, though the Virtuoso on the Marantz just takes the edge.
 
MMF7.1 and TT15 both sport an acrylic platter, but the Clearaudio manufacturing process outshines the Pro-Ject one. The Concept uses a platter made out of Delrin, which many argue is an even better solution than acrylic ones.
 
But then both the Concept and TT15 come without a dust cover, which is a must to me and immediately another $150-$200 expense. The TT15 does include the Clearaudio Clever Clamp, but it's hardly a "looker".
 
As for the plinth, the Concept again outshines both, but the MMF7.1 is a close second, with TT15 comin in third. The TT15s feet make up for it quite a bit though, but cannot really say if it bumps the MMF7.1. That's why the placement is extremely important and makes the MMF the better choice in my opinion if you don't have the sturdiest rack to put it on.
 
The motor is completely isolated both on the MMF and the TT15, but the Clearaudio one on the TT15 is again the better one. The motor on the Concept should be its weakest link by all rational expectations, but for some rerason it holds up incredibly well.

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Clearaudio Concept and then RP3 get my vote.

 

I'd save up more money and buy a Funk Firm Little Super Deck though. To my ears there is very little to beat that even when spending a lot more money

 

Those things run about $2500 in the states.  Might be a better buy in the UK though.

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