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jackfish
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Time for a new turntable...

I have around $600 to spend on a new turntable, and if possible including some kind of record cleaning unit.  Do I get a budget turntable and a Spin Clean now or get a better turntable and and wait to get a cleaning system later?

Music Hall MMF-2.2 improved by LP Gear and a Spin Clean Value Pack $574

ProJect RPM1.3 and a Spin Clean Value Pack $584, no dust cover but I could just use a 34.5 inches square silk scarf for a dust cover.

Project Xpression III $699, seems like a pretty junky cartridge (Sumiko Oyster) for a $700 turntable package.

Any other option in a turntable with cartridge for under $700?

I don't know, do you?

octaneTom
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Turntables

Here's a 2.2 demo at Audio Advisor:

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=1MHMMF2.2

At that price, you'd have enough left over for a nice cartridge upgrade and the Spin Clean.

Here's a good thread about that TT:

http://www.vinylengine.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=17518

I really love my Xpression III, but yeah the Oyster is complete shit — I didn't realize how bad it was until I upgraded it (to a Denon DL-110.) So it's more of a $700+ option...maybe less if you can score a demo or used model.

And I never use my dust cover except if I'm going to be gone for more than a few days.

octaneTom
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Cambridge Audio on Audiogon for $530

This is basically the Xpression III with a Denon 110. I think you'd be pretty happy with this combo:

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?anlgtabl&1316520336&/Pro-Ject-/-C...

jackfish
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Pro-Ject Xpression III

Well, the acrylic platter, carbon tonearm, and $599 sale price was too much to resist so I just got the Pro-Ject Xpression III.  I will replace the Sumiko Oyster with something in the $150 range.  Any suggestions?

octaneTom
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Denon DL-110

I'm partial to the Denon DL-110 since that's what I'm running. It's got what people describe as a "bigger than life" sound stage - it's really wide and deep, which I'm really enjoying. The vocals seem to now sit on top of and apart from the instruments and all the instruments are more defined in their own space. I'm getting a really solid amount of bass after experimenting with VTA/VTF and warm/smooth mids and really defined highs which weren't there with the Oyster. I really don't think you can beat this cartridge for under $200. I found one new from a seller on Audio Karma for $110.

There are tons of threads/recommendations online for under $200/cartridges. The usual suspects are typically these:

Ortofon 2M Red ($99) - MM
Ortofon 2M Blue ($199) - MM
Denon DL-110 ($110-$140) - HOMC
Denon DL-103R ($199) - this one's a LOMC so you'd need an MC stage
Audio Technica 440MLA ($150ish) - MM
Grado Red ($150) Grado Gold ($199) - MM

So I guess it's matter of reading reviews and picking one since I haven't found a place that will let me demo cartridges. I found the Denon had the most consistently positive reviews.

If you don't like what you get, resell it, and try another.

One thing to note is the standard counterweight on the Xpression III here in the US will only handle cartridges that are less than 7g. That Ortofon 2M Red/Blue are 7.2 or so, so you'd need the heavier counterweight or a heavy metal washer or two on the end of your tonearm to balance things out.

Good luck...

jackfish
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Audio Technica AT440MLa

I'm leaning this way, anyone have one who would like to comment?

jackfish
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Thank you to all who

Thank you to all who responded. I ultimately went with the Pro-Ject Xpression III, an Audio Technica AT440MLa, and a Spin Clean Value Pack.

octaneTom
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AT440MLa

That was my second choice - let me know how you like it/what the sound is like with the Xpression. 

commsysman
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SPAM HERE AGAIN

PLEASE REMOVE...LOL

bonhamcopeland
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Good Choice.

I dove into vinyl three+ years ago and the Xpression iii was my first table. Like you, I repalced the Oyster almost immediately (Benz Micro Silver) and that was a major step up. It's a good table and I was happy with it for the two years I had it.  

The other upgrade I really reccomend is the Speed Box. Even though it was very hyped on all the review sites, I ordered it not expecting much other than push button speed change. It eneded up having such a good impact on the sound, I'd say don't go long without it. 

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