Do I buy an upscale TT?

I recently heard a $50K TT at a friend’s and was floored by the performance.

It was a sound from a system I have never heard.

I have a very nice Woodsong Garrard 301, Tri-Planar arm and Grado Epoch 3 cartridge. Going into an Atma-Sphere MP-1 pre wt phono.

Discovered an affordable TT based on the Legendary Commonwealth idler drive TT (said to be among the best). One is $8500 and the other more elaborate one is $15K.

And there is another highly modified brass Garrard 401 for $10K. (said to be as good as the Commonwealth)

The big question is whether or not I am going to be pleased with the improvement in sound? There will certainly be a lot of hassle to change TTs!


"It was a sound from a system I have never heard."

To be clear, you are familiar with this system otherwise and the turntable has taken the SQ to a place you have never heard before?  

there are a number of people who have traveled down the road of simply buying improved levels of Garrard 301. they love the 301 sound and want better, but don’t really want a different sort of sound. and they get to a place where it’s an ultimate for them. done. and the 301 is that good to be an end spot. had one and loved it.

and others who want something different and more all around transparent and refined. is the Commonwealth a ’better’ Garrard? or is it something else that goes to a high level? don’t know. if it’s a better Garrard then make sure that’s the direction you want to go or it might not be worth the trouble.

maybe depends on your choice of music. will a different type sound take you someplace you really want to go? be of value to you?

the guy with the $50k tt sounds like trouble to me.


I just picked up the SOTA Escape with an Origin Live arm and it is quite good.  It has me loving vinyl again and it didn’t break the bank.  

There are world class turntables based on idler arm, sprung, and unsprung. Personally, unless one is strongly rewarded by nostalgia for a youthful experience or reproducing a “sound” from your history, it makes no sense to buy old tables. The formula has not been lost. But the available tooling and parts as well as designs have leaped forward over the last fifty years. Especially around the turn of the century there was a huge advancement in turntables.

I would recommend taking advantage of new technology. The Tri-Planar is a very well respected tone arm… I would recommend using it on a contemporary turntable. Go listen to some high end tables.