I could not resist. The Thorens TD203 is now on sale with Ortofon 2M Blue for $699. That's about half off. Lots of places still list it for $1100-$1,200 with cheaper cart. Amazon has a few at sale price. I bought one from Needle Doctor (they were a great help). My first spin was a Pablo Live LP from Montreux '77 featuring one of my favorite trumpet players Roy Eldridge. This is one of my favorite jazz albums. Roy is on fire and Niels Pedersen on bass is just amazing. Side 2 is my favorite, especially "Joie De Roi". The Thornens sounded great. No motor noise (DC motor with ground wire) and speakers are dead silent between tracks. Very quiet. The MDF plinth seems to hold vibrations to a minimum. This TT has adjustable belt tension AND adjustable motor speed. I have not used either, but nice knowing these features are there. I was worried about the platter. But it is better than I expected. A 1.7 pound solid ABS disk. I called Rutherford and they said I could add several more pounds, so I may add a weight/clamp. The uni-pivot design TP 82 tonearm is very sophisticated. It’s a marvel at this price-point. But, the anti-skate is always tricky for me - I have 62 year old fingers and eyes. Thorens advertises this TT sets up out of box in 5 minutes. That was true for everything but anti-skate. That took me another hour. Tweezers helped. It's set at 2 to match arm weight tracking force, which is recommended at just under 2g for this cart. More spinning: Second track, "Lazy Afternoon", on Wynton Marsalis vinyl HOT HOUSE FLOWERS is a good test for any audio system. The ending the last few minutes with crescendo and cymbal. The Thorens reproduced it well. Coltrane's "BLUE TRAIN" (Blue Note Records, catalogue BLP 1577) was also rendered well by the Thorens. Both of these albums sounded vibrant and alive. They were well balanced. They sparkled. The treble areas were well balanced with bass. The bass wasn't overwhelming. I will say if you like bass you'll love this TT. Especially the middle-upper bass range like trombone or low trumpet. I think this TT shines in mid-level as much as it shines in bass department. And treble is never out of proportion or harsh. It's balanced. The musical sound is what a well-orchestrated and executed piece should sound like. In music when learning to play with an ensemble the bass instruments and mid-range is always allowed to be louder. The trumpets and soprano sax and such have to play at lower volumes to allow the "basement" the foundation to come through. The higher instruments have to blend into mix with lower dynamics. The build quality of this TT is excellent. Nothing cheap. It is built like a $1,000 turntable should be. Especially the arm. I can't get over that arm! A lot of the quality I am hearing is probably that Ortofon 2M Blue cart, too. A nice thing about this TT is the ease of using another cart. It's easier than fitting carts on a new Rega arm. I did run into a few vinyl albums that I was not pleased with: several Chet Baker albums. "SHE WAS TOO GOOD TO ME" was very disappointing. It sounded much better on my larger speakers and an inexpensive Yamaha YP-211 TT I recently had restored. The album sounded very flat. It had no sizzle. Muddy. It certainly does not exist in upper treble high C area of trumpet as this is after Chet got his teeth knocked out, so he doesn't go all that high. It just sounded flat. I was using a rubber mat on top of the ABS platter. I took it off and used a thin cork mat. Bam. Instantly Chet came alive. Of my Chet Baker albums, WP-1241 from World Pacific sounded the best. THE GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET REUNION WITH CHET BAKER. It was cookin’ with oil, man, after I switched from rubber to cork. Now, that's a Chet with teeth album, so he does go a bit higher (although never like Eldridge) than his denture period. I have now ordered a thin 3mm acrylic platter mat. It weighs about 8 ounces so it will add a bit of weight to the rather light Thorens platter, which comes in at only 1.75 pounds. Worst feature: the dust cover. Who the heck designed this thing? It covers tonearm and platter. That's it. And the tonearm is open on both ends. The rest of TT is left to collect tons of dust. It's horrible. If you use any kind of pad on top of platter then platter can move slightly because that raises cover up and then cover edge doesn't rest on the right side of TT anymore; the platter mat raises it up. I have ordered a vinyl dust cover. Where this TT is manufactured is a mystery I have not been able to divine. I did read someplace that the TD203 is manufactured in Germany. But the motor? Arm? I don't know. Are they assembled in Germany from offshore par sources? The box my TT came in has no distinguishing markings or labels as to where manufactured. It's mostly German writing. Which might be an indication they are not manufactured in China or Asia. The other thing is the TD203 is much different, from what I can tell, than other competitive products. The motor and mount are different than Rega/Pro-ject/Music. etc. The arm is completely different. If you were to compare a Rega Planar 3 up along the TD203 and the comparable ProJect and Music Hall and hide the labels I think the two that would stand out as best made highest quality are the Pro-Ject Classic and the Thorens. You'd then have to move up to the $1,600 ClearAudio for something superior. But now the Thorens is only $699 so that would be a $1,000 jump. And, the Thorens is $300 less than the Rega Planar 3 and $500 less than the Pro-Ject Classic right now. With that Thorens arm and a Ortofon 2M Blue on the end of it, that is an easy choice! Next spin was the Pablo label 2310-786 BASIE JAM #2. The first side has some very difficult trombone (Al Grey) parts to reproduce. The Thorens handled it with authority and subtly. You can hear his lip articulation very clearly. It's followed by a guitar solo (Joe Pass) and I heard no wavering. That's followed by Clark Terry, and his trumpet was spot-on. He was sitting in my downstairs office blowing his horn!!! The anti-skate on my Thorens isn't working as well as I'd like. The little loop that goes over the grooved bias shaft the loop is too big. It works fine when playing a record but when you move arm back to resting position the loop slides over. I'm keeping loop on the #2 position (2g) and it slides over to #3 or #4. Then when you play a record you have to slide it back to #2. My solution is tying a piece of thin dental floss to the fishing line between the loop and the bias shaft. That makes loop smaller and it stays in your selected notch (2g for the Ortofon 2M Blue). Final spin was Fantasy label #6003: Jazz at Massey Hall featuring "Charlie Chan" (pseudonym for Charlie Parker). Yes!!! What a value this Thorens TT is at $699 with a very special arm that may, in time, become a classic. --"Rattlin' Bones"