I have a decidedly low budget system. A Yamaha RX-somethinorother Receiver provides the muscle, fed by a Pro-Ject turntable with Bellari VP 129 Phono-amp, and Marantz universal player. My speakers are DIY Morel units, and a DIY Dayton Titanic subwoofer, fed by a mighty 20 watt thrift store receiver. When the old Sony Carousel 200 disc player started behaving erratically, I picked up a pristine Marantz DV 7001 at Audio Consultants of Libertyville fro $400. So impressed was I with the sound and video from the Marantz that the 200 disc and 400 disc Sony's are now basically big containers for CD and DVD. Any listening or viewing is done through the Marantz, with the analog output to the receiver.
My humble Pro-Ject 1.2 has been seriously compromised over the years. A few years back while disconecting the cartridge leads to try to solve a grounding issue, I broke one of the wires. The wire was then too short to reach the cartridge, having been broken once before. I disassembled the tonearm to try different types of wire, but all reasonably priced replacement wire is way too stiff for a tonearm to function properly. I also damaged the outer gimbal ring of the tonearm in the process.
Not to fear however, for the local Goodwill store almost always has a cheap plastic turntable for sale. Three dollars later, I had a useless cheap plastic turntable with a tonearm full of useful wire. My tonearm now contains the Goodwill wire from the base up into the arm, and then individual wires from a telephone cable out to the cartridge. A small set screw with a concave head solved the damaged gimbal problem, and I was back in business.
Satisfied that the tonearm would now work, I attached the Sumiko Oyster that came wit the 1.2, and indeed it not only worked but the grounding worked much better. But since the Oyster was damaged while disconnecting the leads (one of the pins pulled out of the cartridge), I replaced it with an Ortofon Super OM 20. This change led to what I believe is the single greatest improvement ever in my system (since 1980 when I started making enough money to worry of such things).
The Super OM 20 served me well for several years, but it was time to replace the stylus. I considered another OM 20 stylus, or maybe the OM 30 that fits the same body. But again Audio Consultants offered a deal I could not pass up on a new Ortofon 2M Blue. Installing the blue led to discovering yet another area of compromise with te 'table. I discovered that the elasting mounting for the motor had long been snapped. A quick search of my junk drawer produced a rubber band of similar heft and stretch, so the motor was remounted with the improvised suspension system. I also discovered that my jury-rigged gimbal offered three positions of azimuth. The concave head of the set screw holding the outer gimbal does not necessarily hold the toneaarm in the same position. It sort of clicks from straight up and down to slightly left or right of vertical. As long as I make sure it is in the center position, ut will stay that way while playing.
From the first few seconds of my most frequently played record (Black Noise from the Canadian progressive trio F.M.) I knew the Blue was what I needed. The opening electric Mandolin was crystal clear with more high frequency extension than the OM 20, and when the bass kicked in it had the weight and definition that I desired but rarely heard. Indeed, as I played some of my favorite records, I would actually at times have to turn down the subwoofer, which I never have to do with CDs.
For years my record collection languished at the 90 or so discs that I accumulated before CD took over. But since I discovered the vast trove of treasure available at thrift stores, My record collection is now double what it once was. Numerous times I have been this close (thumb and index finger 1/4" apart) to purchasing a long sought after title on CD, only to find at Goodwill or Salvation Army stores for anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar. Playing some classic album on vinyl satisfies my every listening need, and as much as I would like to have a fine VPI turntable and expensive moving coil cart, I can not justify the cost, based on my thorough enjoyment of my Robo-1.2