Help Picking a turntable

Hi Everyone,

Rod at my local store here where I buy my gear (unless I buy here at Audiogon) was at my house doing a master set for my speakers (they sound much better) and he suggested I consider getting a turntable and switching to records from cds to get better sound.  I am considering his suggestion but my biggest problem is that I don't know anything about turntables.  Rod recommended a turntable package from EAT that includes the arm, cartridge etc. for about $6,500, which is more than I want to spend.  He said he would look into turntables that are a bit less that would still sound good but I thought I would also check with everyone here to see if anyone had ideas also that I could discuss with Rod when I meet with him.  I'd like to stay under $3000 for the turntable package (turntable, arm, cartridge etc.). 

My current system is: Thiel 3.7 speakers; ARC REF 75 SE amp; ARC LS-17 SE pre-amp (I will also need a phono stage which I know will be in addition to the $3,000 I am willing to spend on the turntable package); analysis plus solo crystal oval speaker wire and interconnects.  Lastly, all of my music now is played through my Simaudio 280d DSD DAC (my cd player, computer etc are all hooked into the dac directly -- no wi fi). 

I'd appreciate any advice and suggestions to help educate me before I go down to Rod's store again and listen and meet with him.  As I said, I know nothing about turntables so any advice, suggestions etc. are very welcome.  Thank you all again in advance for your responses.     
Ag insider logo xs@2xgasherbaum
Hello Everyone,

so I finally got my system all set up and at the house.  I found a good boulder phono stage used here on Audiogon, so I got the same system I heard at Rod's store.  It sounds fantastic.  It sounds so much better than the cd/digital on my system.  Thanks again everyone for all the help and advice. 
I want to thank @gasherbaum for posting the final outcome. So many OPs do not. If anyone stumbles across this while researching their own journey, I have a few suggestions.

First, a real good set of headphones helps when your schlepping around for demos. They at least take different speakers out of the equation.

Second, I wouldn't let a high cost phonostage compromise my budget on the TT/TA/cartridge/cables. I got a used Musical Surroundings Phonomena II for $295 until I find something that will best it at a reasonable cost. It is quite capable of revealing subtle differences between cartridges and the way they are set up. I am still looking for something I am willing to spend more on, and I have the best turntable and arm I will ever need. Cartridges are another story. I can't seem to stop collecting them.


Interesting reading your saga, sound like everything turned out great.  I am not familiar with the turntable you bought but I have heard your Thiel 3.7 speakers and I think they sound great.  Have heard the ARC Ref 75 se and Arc LS-17 se, they sound good but just my cup of tea.  As far as the phono stage goes I went the Tom Tutay building me a tube phono stage to match my system that sounds terrific and does not cost an arm and a leg, about $2,500 to $3,000.  I think if you ever wanted to upgrade this would be a good start.

Enjoy what you have as I know from experience setting up an analog system is very expensive, as there is so many items to buy.

Hello Everyone,

2channel8 your idea on a good set of headphones when doing demos is great -- i never thought of that -- great way not to have to worry about different speakers.  Thanks for pointing that out to me and everyone.  

A few updates -- I still love my Feickert turntable and boulder phono stage.  I bought an Ayre QA9, which is an analogue to digital converter, so I could try recording my records to digital.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of learning, but I find my recordings sound great, and way better than cds and even better than high res digital I had bought at HDtracks.  I still love the turntable, and listen to LP's when I'm sitting down to listen, but I got the QA9 and record the Lps to digital so when I'm not just sitting and listening (such as cooking dinner or something) I can have similar to analogue sound through digital. 

MDS, I have always loved Thiel speakers, and the 3.7's are fantastic (my favorites still are the 5.0's - the huge ones from back in the 90's).  But I upgraded my speakers to Rockport Avior speakers, which I love. 

MDS, I know many people that don't love Audio Research, and I can definitely understand why, but I do seem to like their gear and the sound a lot.  I upgraded to an ARC REF 10 preamp and love it.  I still have the Ref 75SE, but trying to find something better for the big Rockport speakers.  I bought a used Boulder 2060, and its up at the Boulder factory being inspected (I got to tour the factory when I dropped it off -- super cool place and wonderful people), so I will see if I like it better in my system and my room.  the boulder seemed to be in perfect working condition, but Boulder has a pretty good inspection process and it wasn't too much, so I figured why not.  The boulder 2060 is a big change from the ARC, but I've heard it on the Rockports at a store and it sounded great, so we'll see. 

My LP collection has gotten huge:  the Colorado Audio Society had a member that passed away and he was an audiophile with about 3000 original pressings and another couple hundred MOFI pressings and his wife was selling his records for $1 to $10 a piece and I bought a ton of them, and most are in almost perfect shape.  Of course I've been buying some from MOFI and also from Discogs and my local store.  I got up at 4:30 and stood in the snow and cold waiting in line for Record Store Day -- got some good records, but a bit of a madhouse.   

For all of you who helped me on my turntable journey, thank you so much, I never thought I'd get back into LP's, but I love it.  Even recording them has become a labor of love for me.