I'm aiming to buy my first serious turntable this month (that plastic thing that came with the SONY midi system I bought when I was in high school doesn't even count as a TT I guess!). My budget is kinda limited to about 150 pounds for a deck with arm and, optionally, cartridge.
After some research I came to the conclusion that the best bang for the buck would be a Systemdek IIX900 (or IIX - not sure what their difference is though) or a Manticore Mantra, both fitted with an RB250 or RB300 (though the 300 is hard to come by at this price range). My second choice would be something like a Thorens TD150 or TD160 but I'm mainly focusing on the first two I mentioned. All of the above are said to outperform a new budget TT like the Goldring GR2 or a used, but newer, Rega Planar 3.
What I wanted to ask is how the systemdek and the mantra compare to each other. Did anyone have the chance to listen to them both? I've read a HiFi World article on the Linn Axis where it was stated that the Mantra was the best TT in that price range (thus better than the Linn Axis) but I'm not sure if the Systemdek IIX was in that same price range as well.
It all boils down to this: If you could buy a Systemdek with an RB250 arm and a Mantra with an RB250, which would you prefer?
Audio performance aside, I guess the main advantage of the Systemdek is the better supply of spare parts (since it was more popular than the Mantra and there are the Audio Notes around). Would you say this is true?
I'm a total newbie when it comes to turtables so any help would be greatly appreciated.