Best turntable for the buck

I now amazingly find that my analog system has fallen behind my digital system in  SQ and I want to investigate how to improve it. 
Currently I have a heavily modified Rega RP3 turntable, with two power supplies, a new platter, sub-platter and other internal enhancements. My cartridge is the Clearaudio Virtuoso.
Not that it’s bad, but I want to look for  something that will significantly improve the sound of my current setup. 
Will about a 4K investment do that?


@rvpiano You’ll like that! Congratulations!

Ron Sutherland really knows his stuff. I had an Insight for a few years and stepped up to the Duo.

The people at MD are pretty awesome too- it sounds like they listened to you and actually brought you in way under budget.

@rvpiano it's tough to spend on a phono preamp but it is essential. Good move. What you have will change and /or improve and you will learn from that. 


While not always considered the sexiest component the phono preamp might have the biggest ask in high end audio…

Agreed, a Technics 1200 is very affordable and a pleasure to use. If you get an old one, extract the power supply and put it in an external box. Mine’s a Mk5 and it holds its own against my Well Tempered Amadeus, Garrard 301s and Linn Sondek. I recommend upgrading the arm though.

it’s apparent that $4000 is not going to bring my analog side to the level that I’m hoping for.

I don’t believe that, but you will have to be very careful not to waste it. It’s possible to spend tens of thousands on analog snake oil. In my experience once you have a low wow turntable (i.e. not a typical belt-drive, with the exception of Well Tempered) I would suggest that the biggest bottleneck is the arm. Even expensive arms take their toll on the signal and most of the loss happens at the bearing.

For example, a Linn Ekos 2 is better than a Well Tempered arm, but make sure you have a very good look around because you can do better still.

Phono stages matter a lot. I recommend spending much more on a phono stage than on a cartridge. Cartridges are consumables and $200 can get you a cartridge which will not hold back your $4000 turntable rig. For example, I play an AT VM540ML through a $3K phono stage and it’s electrifying. I’m also currently using a borrowed retipped My Sonic Lab Eminent on another deck, but I have no preference. It’s finesse versus drama and I enjoy both equally.

I think several of the suggestions on this thread may not get you to the point where you prefer your vinyl source over your digital.

Well, I got the Sutherland 20/20  installed on my system.  The good news is that it sounds fantastic right out of the box!  Night and day difference. Probably a much better choice than getting a new turntable,  

‘The bad news is that somehow, by shutting off one of my two power conditioners in preparation,  I can’t  get it to restart!  I’m going through the jungle of wires behind my set to find the plugs. It may take days.