I just returned my new-ish Pro-Ject Xpression III because of excessive distortion and faulty outputs, so I'm looking for something new. I really liked it, so I'm inclined to replace it with another Xpression III, but I'm looking at options.
I'm specifically interested in the Pro-Ject line, mainly because there is a dealer in my area, but also because they have several options in my price-range. I'm looking at the RPM1.3, the Xpression III and the RM5.1SE. Does anybody have a unique experience or viewpoint to share on any of these? I'm considering the RPM1.3, because it seems to come with a decent cart from the factory. The idea of spending $500 and being done with it (at least for awhile) is very appealing. Plus, they're interesting to look at.
I'm currently demoing a Rega RP3 at my house, on which the dealer says he'll give me a smoking deal to help make up for the broken Xpression III. I'm liking the sound, for the most part. The background is very black (in my experience), which I appreciate. I'm getting some sibilance, but that's most likely because the cart needs to break in. It also seems to lack some clarity in the high end, but that may also be fixed by breaking the stylus in. I really dislike the seemingly cheap build quality, and the lack of VTA adjustment. I almost turned down the demo, but it's starting to grow on me now.
I'm also open to other brands of turntables, but I don't know anybody who sells anything besides Rega, Pro-Ject and Music Hall in my area. I'm not opposed to buying online, but I need to be able to demo it in person first.
Anybody have any insight? I really don't want to spend more than I initially did on my Xpression III, but I will if it means I can get a superior product that I won't worry about upgrading for awhile.
I posted on this subject over at vinylengine.com, so I apologize if you've heard this story before. I'm fairly new to vinyl, and I'm still trying to figure out what I'm looking for. Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences with turntables in this class.