Best turntable under $4000

I am looking to take the next step in my analog journey. I currently am using a Fluance RT85 with ortofon 2m blue. I have a Rogue Audio cronus magnum iii. I am running them with Kef 104/2 's. Fluance seems to get alot of hate on here. I was considering a cartridge upgrade but I am hesitant to upgrade more then the cost of the table. I don't hear much background noise and like the sound. I guess I am wondering if I don't know I hear noise because I have not heard a turntable that eliminates that noise? When I went from my Onkyo to my Rogue Sphinx iii I realized I had been missing a whole lot of sound. Then I ditched my rebuilt EPI M150's and heard hidden instruments in tracks I have listened to for years. I am looking for that in a turntable upgrade.  Apperance is important. I have interest in the following:

Clear Audio Concept Wood w/ maestro v2

Mofi fender precisiondeck w/ mastertracker

Stretching my budget is:

Dr. Feikert Volare no cartridge

Gold Note Pianosa no cartridge

These take me out of my budget once I get a cartridge

Any other reccomendations 

I will miss the autostart function for those buzzed listening nights. I would like the 4k to include a cartridge. Any opinions are welcome. Anyone think I should say screw the "rules" and get an Ortofon black?


Thank you in advance


I would look at a cartridge upgrade first.  I have the Blue and it is good but not the best of the four cartridges I own.  Denon 103, ADC VM760, Grado Sonata, and the Blue.  The others definitely beat the Blue in all parameters.  

You asked for the best TT in the $4000 price range.  Frankly, I don't think there is such a thing as "best" in the upper price ranges.  What you do have are differences that will influence your decision on one over another.  I would look at all of your choices carefully, find one that fires your rockets, and put your money into a better cartridge.  Do make sure the compliance is suitable for the arm you have or will buy before you send that backhoe into your wallet.

I agree the term ‘best’ is vague. And I think you should consider the analog chain - table (including tone arm), cartridge and phono stage. 

I believe you have an internal phone stage with your Rogue so I’ll focus on turntable and cartridge. First of all - I recommend only buying what you have listened too or can audition. Second I have been happy with Rega and most recently P8 with Ania cartridge which is just under $4k. I appreciate the set it and forget it nature. There are other options from manufacturers such as VPI that allow more adjustments and tweaking. 

i don’t know what is best, been through many over the years, though certainly haven’t tried them all, and i streaming more these days

but my favorite two tt’s are the oracle delphi (i have a nicely restored v2 with a brilliant origin live arm) and then the well tempered labs amadeus

I had the RT85 and found it very good, for the money. But I was willing to spend a few hundreds more and get a Rega.

If I had 4K, I would look at

  • Rega P8
  • Clear Audio Concept Wood
  • Dr. Feikert Volare 
  • and Thorens

I had the RT85 and personally found it unlistenable.  I felt the sound was brash, excessively contrasty and very unnatural. I bought a used Rega P6 with the Ania cartridge and have been really enjoying it.  It is an enormous upgrade from the RT85 and has actually made me a believer in vinyl.  I have the Hegal V10 and PS Audio Stellar phono preamps.  Both are good but the PS Audio is probably better.  Downside of the Rega P6 is the tonearm isn't fully adjustable so you won't be able to use a lot of great cartridges by other manufacturers.  I think Rega is probably great at integrating the table, tonearm and cartridge so if you want a no fuss solution then a used P8 with the Apheta cartridge (with low hours) is probably as good as you can do for $4k but if I ever buy a higher end table it will be something that permits me to try a wide variety of cartridges easily.  

Save yourself 2 grand . My friend has the Technics SL-1210GR and it is real nice. With the savings you can get a real nice cartridge to go with it!




(In best Yoda voice). “yes, yes, to yogiboy you listen.”

will last you 40: years 


I own 3. No issues, no breaks, no belts,perfect rotation, no slowing down, no speeding up, always flawless play.

bought first 2 in mid late 80’s, bought. Third, black version in very early,2000’s I think.

no issues at,all. Start &:stop on a schilling!

I would get the Dr. Feikert Volare and use your current cartridge.

Cartridges wear our and you can upgrade when you can afford it or need to replace the cartridge.

The Technics is also a good suggestion


you have generally picked wood, rounded corners, low height, slim horizontal look. can you give other examples of alternate desired appearance regardless of price?

belt or direct drive. you have picked mostly belt drive. coincidence or definite preference? is quartz lock direct drive acceptable? compromise, or equally acceptable?

is used a consideration? not only to save money, access to models no longer made.

semi-automatic, optional manual/auto is a nice way to have that. I suspect used models are more likely to offer that, just an example:





1. I consider a removable headshell as fundamental.

a great many turntables today have fixed cartridges, pre-aligned, nice but very limiting regarding alternate cartridges, i,e, a mono cartridge, a MM, a MC, listen to a friend's cartridge. eventually the supplied cartridge will wear, a new cartridge will  need to be aligned, so that pre-aligned advange is fleeting.

2. tt with no arm. flexible mounting system. buy an affordable arm now, perhaps a better arm later, or best, buy most desired/affordable arm now.

3. two tonearms. if you listen to a lot of jazz, many greats made great music/albums prior to stereo era. 2nd arm: having mono cartridge pre-mounted, aligned, ready to go to switch instantly between stereo arm and mono arm in a listening session is wonderful.




example of used, allows 2 tonearms: luxman PD444DD, rear can be  long arm, side 9".

start with 1 arm. add or never add 2nd arm as things develop.

more metal than wood, but very low/sleek design. needs wider area, advantage, many two arm tables are deeper than normal.

this example has problems, you would need to wait for a good one to show up.


I helped a friend buy and install this with 2 micro seiki arms, there is some great engineering that is not apparent.

used, Mitsubishi linear tracking: single arm, optional auto/manual, removable headshell:

horizontal version is Quartz DD, vertical version is belt drive

I helped a friend buy/install a very lightly used horizontal model. don’t let low price put you off, it is a great performer.

again, this one has problems, just to see it:


note: wood look, not real wood, other versions exist without the wood.

vertical belt drive version



My vertical LT-5V belt drive version is shown here, in office system photos.



many people love VPI, especially older production

notice, the dust covers for this type are not included, and when made, are quire large

these, the unipivot arm wand simply lifts off, you switch to another arm-wand with other cartridge pre-mounted. I have seen/listened to these at VAS, Steve Leung's shop. Start with one arm-wand, never or add a second arm-wand as things develop

Get a Thorens TD1600 and the 2M Black. Because it has a proper isolation suspension and a beautifully designed tonearm it will out perform the other turntables you mentioned. It is handly the best value in a less expensive table. The next step up would cost you $10K.

Technics 1200 G. nothing else comes close.

you have to break down the functions of a table and form becomes low on the priority list (although the G is not bad IMHO, certainly not a deal breaker).

1) Immunity from vibration -CHECK-. No wall mounts or aftermarket isolation devices needed) 

2) Speed stability and accuracy.  -CHECK-  People underrate the effects of truly accurate speed accuracy and stability.  The G's accuracy and stability give you peace of mind and a more energetic, dynamic sound. 

3) Cartridge support and adjustment- CHECK- The G magnesium tonearm can support the best cartridges money can buy.  

4) Reliability. - CHECK- Technics decks are bullet proof and last a lifetime.  

5) Ergonomics.  - CHECK- Operation controls, cartridge installation, cartridge and tonearm adjustments are simple and straightforward.  

Thorens TD1600. @mijostyn is dead nuts on with this one, and I rarely agree with anything he posts.  

I appreciate all of the feedback. I realize that "best" is subjective to opinion. I will re-frame my question. Do any of these tables have red flags? Is one mechanically superior to the others? I am very attracted to the Mofi, but am I paying for the fender logo and it is actually an inferior turntable? I am looking for opinions so I can get my choices down to two tables to demo.

Thank you all.

I think your safest bet is Clearaudio - as in no red flags. I like the Gold Note's killer looks.  If you are looking for upgradability and reliability, Linn is a great brand too.


Ralph Karsten (@atmasphere), one of the world's leading amplifier designers, posted this recently:



The Technics SL1200G is a surprisingly good performer for the money.

It is one of the most speed-stable turntables made at any price. Its also mechanically dead, something vital to any high performance turntable to be competitive.

Its main weakness is the platter pad which is rubber. The function of the platter pad is to absorb resonance in the vinyl which can talk back to the cartridge in real time. If you can turn down the volume all the way in your system and easily hear the cartridge as it tracks the LP, then you know you have a problem with the platter pad. It will be a lot harder to hear the cartridge tracking if the platter pad is doing its job. The best I've run into is made by Oracle which is about $300.00. To use it properly it has to be bonded to the platter (using its permanent sticky backing), which means the three mounting screws that fix the platter to the motor cannot be installed, but this will not affect performance.

The second weakness of the SL1200G is perhaps the tonearm, but it more than keeps up with many high end tonearms (IMO certainly better than any Rega)! Its also a good match for the Hana cartridges FWIW. Setup, of course, is everything! Because the arm is properly wired with the right interconnect cable it can be run balanced 😃

The strength of this machine is the various damping systems it uses. The plinth and its subchassis form a very rigid mount for the motor and arm, and resonate at different frequencies and thus rob energy from each other thru mechanical coupling (they are bolted together). Rigid and dead are paramount to any good plinth. In addition, the platter is damped and there are two additional damping systems that form the base of the machine. Its well thought out and not a revamp of the older SL1200s you can find on craigslist. Its a new design from the ground up.

I designed and built a turntable 25 years ago (Atma-Sphere model 208) and it has performed well against machines well above its pay grade. Its more expensive than the Technics but I think the Technics is a better machine.

It is possible to install an improved arm on the Technics. I have a Triplanar which should be mounted on mine soon.

Enjoy the journey,


@brskie : the Atma-Sphere 208 is a modded Empire 208. I have a stock one and even in original form is still a top-notch performer! Empire made excellent belt-drive TT’s - now sadly forgotten!

Technics is like BMW in Eastern Europe. Mostly gangsters drive it so it's associated with them. Technics is a DJ equipment so it seems foreign to a lot of audiophiles

what if you don't like the looks of the DJish Technics?

then recommend what???



@jasonbourne52 , and they were massive and good looking. I remember lusting after one when I was a kid. 

Systemdek IIX with a Jelco SA-370H tonearm.  It may be vintage gear from the mid 1980's but you'd have to spend a lot more money to exceed its performance.  Especially when considering the law of diminishing returns in this hobby.   You can purchase a nice IIX for under $500,  a NOS SA-370H for under $400 (eBay has a few at the moment),  If you're handy and can install the arm yourself your investment is under a grand.  Lots of good cartridge choices for under $500 these days.

Just some food for thought, since your total expenditure would be around $1500, and the other $2500 can go towards albums.  


@elliottbnewcombjr It's not about liking it. I can like it all I want it's still DJ equipment. If DJs used Linn, it would be Linn. Looks, quality, performance aside.

Let me get this straight, grisly, you can’t bring yourself to use a Technics TT because DJs use or once used their bottom of the line SL1200, never mind that the 1200G series are better in every way and not to mention that probably hundreds of thousands of audiophiles have happily  used and do use the old SL1200 in home systems, not to mention also the SP10 mk2 and mk3 or the SP10R that each rivaled the best TTs available in their day and at present?


I could. I would be very pleased to have one.

It’s just not in my top 3. Looks matter to me, I am shallow.

my point is that the OP mentioned appearance as part of his considerations. They certainly are for me, and I would never buy a Technics based on not liking it's look.

It's easy to say "... can't go wrong with, ... nothing better than ... technics ..."

Knowing OP likes wood, rounded corners appeal (not features found in Technics models) what other TT's are also great choices???

and, OP mentioned semi-auto controls, I find and post used ideas

what new TT have semi-auto options?

good question. I think DJs have different requirements than introvert audiophiles.

I think Linn would pass most of those (DJs').

here’s the thorens 1601 gemoody mentioned, open box, $3,100. free shipping

leaves some money for cartridge!

dealer says "Free Lifetime Technical Assistance". Anybody have any experience with seller?


if, like cameras, open box gets maker’s full warranty, check with the seller if tempted.

JVC QL-Y66F with a good cartridge sounds great and will still allow for safe buzzed listening.  


I’m a big fan of vintage, my TT is JVC TT81 in 7 layer plinth. Quartz DD. The electronic controls of that QL-Y66F would scare/deter me.

I wonder what construction the plinth is? And, one I saw said ’rosewood veneer’. Many were fake wood wraps, nice appearance, but the distinction should be noted. Anyone know if these were real wood veneer or wood look wraps?


If OP or anyone is considering assembling a solid vintage TT setup, mine, 3 arms, ended up costing 5K total: CP-p2 seven layer plinth, wood veneer (figured walnut I think, stained to appear rosewood); TT81; 100/120 transformer; 3 arms and 2 cartridges (3rd arm using existing cartridge). No auto functions. 

just having fun looking

a bit over budget, and a different look, manual


similar style




many VPI lovers


heavy looking black on wood base


includes marble base


 had one, a beast, awesome bass, but, very sensitive to vertical vibration


back to visible works look




some wood


ok, lunch time

Three thoughts

1.) Direct answer to your inquiry IMO is the Direct Drive Technics 1200G

2.) Your Fluance 85 has better DC motor control (optical sensor servo) than any Clearaudio offering up to the Ovation (not including the AC motor Emotion or Marantz equivalent)

3.) A Grado high output would really speak to the most linear performance of your Rogue internal phono stage.

Happy hunting 🎶


a few spins of the Technics G with a kick ass cartridge and you will quickly forget how it looks because the sound quality is amazing and a perfect match to your rogue amplifier.  

a few spins of the mofi fender and you will quickly forget how cool it looks because the sound is dull and lifeless and a very poor match with your system.  

A few spins of the Kuzma Stabi S and you will wonder why the Technics fan bois have tin ears.

Technics insults not required Ace.

The Kuzma products are uniquely capable and excellent sounding.

A base model Stabi S with basic Stogi S CE Tonearm is easily over the limit without even mentioning the highly required isolation platform typically used.

Who is Ace? How did this "Ace" insult Technics fanbois? Is it not obvious that there are many many tts far better than Technics, yet you always get the same people pushing the DJ brand.Lets also get a little serious here. Is there anyone who would put an expensive MC cartridge on a Technics with the average arm? What happens if eventually the op wants to try one, say a Kiseki or Phasemation? Are you then suggesting he sell the Technics? I would have no hesitation in using one of these on a Kuzma.
The op has set aside $4000. The Stabi S and the basic Kuzma arm fall into that range. As far as an isolation platform is concerned, a thick cutting board works admirably if you think you need one. You don't really because it is a very stable platform.

Laoman, excuse me. You insult those who like “Technics” TTs, of one kind or another, first by referring to them as “fanbois “, second by referring to the brand as a “DJ” brand, third by stating the Technics advocates have “tin ears”, and finally by inferring that mounting a Kiseki or Phasemation cartridge on a Technics tonearm would be so gross a mismatch as to be improbable. You wrote all these things without ever specifying which Technics turntable adherents you intend to insult; or are you lumping all of their efforts, from the SL1200 to the SP10R in the same category? So it is no wonder that some take offense.

I lost track of turntables long ago, but do remember that the Technics Direct Drive tables were considered wonderful back in the day (SP-10?) Sorry, I forgot the details.

There is one for sale for $595 on one of the audio selling sites...sorry, can’t remember which one, but if I were looking, I would buy it. It needs an arm and cartridge, so you still get to choose them.

The funniest TT information I see today is Thornes tables for thousands of dollars. We sold them for $260.00, I believe, and they were BOUNCY and had some feedback issues back then. If customers are spending thousands for them today, I would guess they improved them greatly. Back then, even though they were highly rated--Linn-Sondek was considered better in those days--we never thought much of them.

(Also love that Shure is selling their tonearm for thousands these days. Back then, because they had a removable head shell, they were considered too heavy and clunky at $150.00) Straight-arms were thought to be the holy grail, but evidently no one has figured out how to do them in a way to vault them to the top of the list (yet).


A vote for Gold Note, love my Mediterraneo, built and weighs as much as a tank. 

Yamaha, Gigantic and Tremendous, listed today also. Anyone know about them?



I have the Mofi Ultradeck and have been very happy with it.  I pair it with Hana ML cartridge and Herron phono preamp.   It doesn't sound dull as commented by some member here.  It might look dull, but I don't find it sounding dull.  It is dead quiet and very musical.   I don't have a lot of experience with expensive turntables, so it's hard for me to compare, but I do think the Mofi is a great turntable at its price point.

The Mofi Ultradeck looks better in person than in pictures.  At first I wasn't attracted to it because it doesn't look 'exotic' like some of the other brands, but decided to give it a try after reading mostly positive reviews.   Now I really dig the all black look.  You can save yourself some money if you don't go for the Fender version.

Hope this helps.  Good luck!

My first turntable, bought from Sam Goody with wedding money, 1967. Along with Fisher 200T trans receiver and AR-2ax speakers. I just restored a pair of AR-2ax. Were for the basement, but sound so darn good I put them in my office, and bought a second pair to restore for the basement. Compact 3 way with two level controls which I am a big fan of.

Anyway, the TT