New MidFi Setup $2K Turntable Budget Suggestions

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tubby, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. Tubby

    Tubby Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sioux Falls SD
    TLDR: I have a budget of $2K to spend on a turntable, cartridge, phono stage, and cables for use with Kef LS50 Meta Wireless II's.

    Hi, I'm new here and generally new to MidFi and up audio in general. I've been using a Sonos Play 5 for several years now with an inexpensive Sony turntable and a cheap RadioShack phono stage.

    Earlier this year I bought myself a set of JH Audio Roxanne custom fitted IEM monitors for use on stage. I was blown away but the sound and immediately purchased an AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt and a subscription to Tidal. I've fallen in love with music listening all over again. This made the Sonos/Sony combo pretty disappointing. So I decided to upgrade and I purchased a set of Kef LS50 Meta Wireless II speakers and a KC62 subwoofer. I'm very pleased with the experience so far. Now I need to put together a turntable setup to marry to this rig. I looked at Pro-Ject but quickly moved on to Rega after reading some opinions on this board. I thought I wanted to go with a Planar 6 and stretch but budget a bit, but I'm drawing back from that. So, my question is obviously, how would you spend my $2K budget to marry with the above system?
     
  2. Pmds55889397

    Pmds55889397 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scandinavian
    Technics 1500C
     
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  3. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Like the other poster said, the Technics 1500c will already include a decent internal phono stage that works well with the Ortofon 2M Red also included. Cables included. $1,200 out the door.
    Later on you can look at a new phono stage if you think you need it. And you can also upgrade the 2M stylus for another couple hundred to the 2M Blue.
     
  4. Tubby

    Tubby Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sioux Falls SD
    The Technics SL-1500C in black was kind of my "If I can't sort this all out, this is my choice." pick. Seems like a good entry point that has everything sorted. I'm a little scared that I'll always be wondering if I need something better though. Just knowing my nature I feel like I'll always be looking over the fence at the SL-1210GR.
     
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  5. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    Get the GR and never look back.:)

    jeff
     
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  6. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    The GR ($1,700) is a fine choice too but going to break your budget if you still need a good phono section and cartridge. The latter two items determining the sound you will get.
     
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  7. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    Very true.
     
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  8. Tubby

    Tubby Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sioux Falls SD
    It will definitely send me over the same way the Planar 6 would as it has the same requirements. However, reading up on this site it seems like it would be a lifetime machine. What cart/phono stage makes a good pairing with the GR? That's the next big question and probably the harder one to sort out for me as a novice.
     
  9. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    If you get anything other than a Technics under your budget, I think you’ll always be looking over the fence at Technics.

    If you can stretch just a bit, I don’t see how the following could be bad:

    1200GR ($1700)
    AT-VM95ML ($170)
    Cambridge Audio Solo ($179)

    How are you connecting this to those speakers? I don’t see analog inputs, but maybe I’m not looking at the right gear?
     
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  10. Tubby

    Tubby Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sioux Falls SD
    There's a 3.5mm input on the back of the primary speaker. So I'll need an RCA to mini cable from the preamp.
     
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  11. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Because of your budget, I would start with an Audio-Technica AT-VM95ML. You can consider something more expensive when it’s time to replace the stylus, anyway, but the relatively low replacement stylus cost keeps this a good option for anyone who may have to keep the budget tight going forward, too.

    I use a VM95ML with my GR, and I stuck with it when it was replacement time, because I just haven’t been left unsatisfied with it.
     
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  12. 500Homeruns

    500Homeruns Peaceful Punk

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Marantz TT-15S1 ($1799), cables attached and quality cartridge included.
    ifi Zen Phono ($189)
     
  13. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    If this is "mid-fi", WTH is my stuff?
     
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  14. Tubby

    Tubby Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sioux Falls SD
    My dad is running a Cary CLI80 and some fancy Spendor floor standing speakers with a REL sub that cost more than my whole setup. I guess everything is relative.
     
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  15. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    If you're going for end game, get the GR. I love Rega, but the Planar 6 is not end game. The 6 series is good value, but it's more of a suped up Planar 3. I still have my P5 which was a stepped down P7. The RP6 and even the much improved Planar 6 doesn't do much for me. I bought a metal subplatter for the P5 and it's just fine for the time being. My end game is likely going to be the Planar 8. But I'm waiting for a deal on one. Until then, I'm good with what I have. The Planar 8 is more like my P5, it's a stepped down Planar 10. I like gear, but spend my money on music. When the Planar 8 costs $3000, I'd rather spend the extra $3000 in records than a Planar 10. If money wasn't a constraint, the Planar 10 would be something I'd be interested in. But if that was the case, I'd probably also contact Rega and inquire about the $30k Naiad and forgo the Planar 10 altogether.
     
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  16. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    In that price range I got a Vinyl Nirvana VN150 with an Ortofon 2m bronze and love the combination.
     
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  17. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Will a 1200GR sound better than the new 1200 MK7 with the same cart and phono section? That's $700 of splitting hairs I think. The MK7 would allow for a much better phono stage and cartridge with the $1k left over in your budget range. Just throwing that out there too.
     
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  18. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    In a previous post, I suggested a budget stretch to get the GR, since OP mentioned expecting to always wonder if he should have bought the GR. However, if budget cannot be stretched, I think the mk7 may be the way to go. I’d still go with the AT-VM95ML cartridge for now, but put the difference into a phono stage a couple tiers better than the Cambridge Audio I suggested (which I chose due to price and decent-looking specs, not any personal experience with it).
     
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  19. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Yeah I think the OP likes the 1200 design instead of the 1500. The MK7 is certainly a robust put together designed for a beating by DJ's. GR is too. Of course gotta replace the mat on the MK7. Slap a Herbies Mat on it for $60.
     
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  20. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.
    And if it matters, no hinged lid, less isolation in the chassis.
     
  21. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Comes with the same lid as the GR though. Just got to take it off when playing.
     
  22. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    If you insist on staying Mid-Fi then a Technics MK7, an AT VM750SH cartridge plus a SimAudio Moon 110LPV2 phono pre along with three foot and six foot Blue Jeans LC-1 cables will meet your budget.

    Now if you are a little nuts (like I am) you could soup up an even cheaper turntable and then you could afford to run with an LOMC cartridge and enter the high performance/high end stage at your budget of two grand.
    How?
    How to enter the High End for two grand?
    Well I did it and here's how:

    I took a cheap Fluance RT82 , got rid of the terrible feet that add mud and slipped some shrink wrap heat shrink tubing over the tonearm to make it shut up and stop howling.
    The feet were replaced with four silicone filled pads that isolate the table from shelf vibration and also quiet down the turntable body which seems to vibrate like crazy stock...
    Then I added a spacer ($30 from Ebay) to a Denon LOMC DL103r to get the ride height of the cartridge right as the Denon is a bit short for the stock headshell.
    Couple of Blue Jeans cables, the Moon phono pre and that's it!

    This setup uses the same SimAudio phono pre.
    It puts out 66 dB and sounds better than any other phono section I have tried in its price range.
    The Moon is relatively quiet, a tiny bit of hiss is all and great big tone for miles.
    Enter the High End.
    It can be done at your budget.
    You just have to do some work is all...not much.

    I also use the aforementioned "Mid-Fi" setup running the Audio Technica VM750SH cartridge as an alternative to LOMC.
    It sounds big, bold and strong---and brings you way up front to the performance.
    The VM750SH is a great cartridge---but the Denon LOMC "sings" in the treble, moves everybody BACK and puts them on a stage with a lot more holographic presentation---which is why LOMC is the bomb.

    Bear in mind, many tables will hum if you run LOMC because these carts are sensitive to magnetic and electrical interferance.
    The Fluance happily is DEAD QUIET with an LOMC.
    The motor is off to the side and the power pack is plugged in on the cord, not under the platter.
    So it is one way to "cheat" and use LOMC at a lower cost than normal.
    Just don't expect the Fluance to be end game.

    The Fluance is a great little "fixer-upper" but a better table will have stronger bottom and sound bigger.
    Frankly I enjoy the lighter presentation of mine and get a kick out of how cheap it is!
    But I use a Technics with another Denon DL103r and yes, it does sound bigger and fuller.
    But not by that much.
    Once you mod it---that is...

    Anyway, have fun!
    You can do a lot with two grand!
     
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  23. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    Correct, that's why I stated "hinged lid".
     
  24. Tubby

    Tubby Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sioux Falls SD
    I don’t need the extra features of the 1200 vs the 1500, in fact I’d prefer to not have things like the lights and pitch fader, but the build quality is higher on the 1200. Are the 1200’s still made in Japan? They are a lot harder to find than the 1500 that’s for sure.
     
  25. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    All are no longer made in Japan.
    GR is closer to end game.
    1500 is a fine table though.
     
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