a year ago, i was looking at turntables (tts). my dealer showed me a rega p2 and a nottingham horizon se. i bought the rega for financial reasons (in my head, i could have gotten the nottingham then). i never could really love the rega although the glass platter seemed really cool. we demoed both units and the nottingham blew the rega away as it should have for the price. last week, the dealer had the nottingham marked way down with a nice microbenz mc already installed so i made the jump and he will resell my rega for me.
the horizon se is no longer made but there are a few about. the explanation was that the low end and very high end are selling, but the middle is not, at least in our market. it seems like a huge amount of technology for the price but is very basic as it does not even have an on/off switch, you start it by spinning the platter and stop it by stopping the platter manually. it has a very unusual suspension system and the motor is isolated in a separate housing. it has the rega rb250 arm, same as my P2. it is not as pretty to look at as the rega.
i got the tt home, adjusted and started playing LPs. the differnce is stunning. old records sound great, my newer 180 and 200 gram vinyls sound out of this world, lows are lower and cleaner, highs are smoother. i finally hear what sound stage means, both width and depth, a vintage recording of take 5 permits you to point to the instruments. the rega could sound as good as a CD with a great album, but like radio with an OK album. this tt blows away cd with a great album and sounds about as good with an average album. however, the stage is always larger and deeper except with a very few cds that i have.
if i have learned anything from this it is don't be penny wise and dollar foolish, although my rega will be sold, i will still lose money and i should have just bought the nottingham back then.
because they have the same arm, you can really see the difference in sound comes more from the solid chassis and motor isolation than from the arm or even cartridge. this tt weights much more than the rega.
at its price (about 500) the rega is hard to beat and i am a fan, but the difference in sound is huge.
i can highly recommend the nottingham product line and for under $2,000, i think it would be hard to beat a horizon if you can locate one before they are gone.