Nice vintage $2k Turntable, cartridge, and phono stage

I currently have a current version Rega P3, I am looking to make a change. I have   been drawn recently to vintage turntables especially with wooden plinths. The looks of the turntable are important (maybe more than they should be).  I would like a good looking TT with a modern phono stage, used is fine, and a good quality cartridge. I’d be happy with a “good” not necessarily great sounding setup to go with my Simaudio integrated and KEF R5 speakers.

Anyone have any experience they can share? 


Technics SP-10 MK2 is good start. 

 Denon DP75 is an eye turner as well. 

iF you look at my system photos find Denon DP-75 tables both stock factory and custom plinth. While my reference table is a Brinkman the 75’s acquit themselves well. be aware most of the vintage DD tables out of Japan REQUIRE isolation.

Finally Peter at PBN audio in Alpine, California is an expert at service / upgrades to the Denon 75/80… Lyra use several of his DP-80 based TT… they ARE that good

best wishes on your quest

I think you are asking for a combo TT/Plinth/Arm/Cartridge/Phono Stage that is very unlikely to be found.

Here is a interesting Denon package, read the detailed description.  DP80 is highly respected, real veneer, not vinyl wrap. Extra arm boards ...

Nothing prettier than the Empire tables. Gorgeous.Check out the Troubadour 598.

it can be done: in my photos / experience:

DP-75 w Infinity Black Widow $309 ( Ebay )

Black widow cleanup / rewire $200

PBN rebuild of DP-75 Split Platter $75

Grace F9E body $200

Soundsmith Ruby OCL stylus $400 ( usam low hour demo )

leaves u $ for a nice Phono and decent phono cable

The DP-80 is a very trustworthy TT.

From the ones imported by myself I am yet to have one that has any speed issues, or discovered one that has a excess of play in the Platter Spindle Bearing Interface.

The prices can also be found that are quite attractive, and from other contributors, it also looks like there is additional support available if further work is desired to be undertaken.

As a strong suggestion, I would have a Plinth produced using either Panzerholz or Permali, either of these Board Materials can be veneered if the aesthetic is wanted to be quite attractive. 

As an additional strong suggestion, I would look to have the Platter Spindle Bearing Serviced.  

You should take a look at Micro-Seiki tables. I always liked the way they looked. BTW, I have owned a few Denons and on some of the early ones the plinths were made by HW VPI fame!

You don't say if you are MM or MC.

I would go with a nice used Thorens, a Darlington Labs MP-7, and whatever MM cart you can afford with what's left.

Also what yogiboy said and maybe check out Micro-Seiki.

$2K is not going to pay for a PBN refurbished DP80. And most DP 80s are now 40+ years old, so they’ll need at least some TLC unless the previous owner has seen to it. So far as I can determine, DP75 is so close to the DP80 as to be indistinguishable. And yes, these are fantastic TTs for their current market values. You’ll need to spend a bit extra on isolation, as well.

Tomic, Did you really pay only $309 for a DP80 with a Black Widow tonearm? If so, and if the DP80 was in good working condition, that is a real steal, not a deal that one could hope to duplicate in the present market. About 10-15 years ago, I paid $600 for my DP80 in its original plinth and with a Victor 9-inch tonearm, but my DP80 needed a fix, which was easily accomplished but required an additional expense. (I do believe that the previous owner was running it on 120V in the US, despite the fact that it is a 100V machine.) Which is another thing to bring up for a prospective buyer like the OP, he will need a step down transformer (120V to 100V) for most any DP75 or DP80. They’re available cheap on eBay.

Mirco Seiki with Pioneer Arm from Vlad. 1,600 cad is $1,160. usd

(I bought my JVC TT/Plinth from Vlad, I highly recommend him)

10 lb Platter.

Vlad has many many listings, you could write him about a Phono Stage or Cartridge or both.



btw, 'wood look'. be careful:

some are hardwood (not many)

some are real wood veneer ( quite a few)

some are 'wood' wrap, photographed wood on vinyl wrap (too many)

Sounds like my system.  With some luck and patience you can find a solid 80's Sota turntable. Pair with a Darlington Labs phono and maybe a Audio Technica VM540ML cart and you're set.

@lewm as stated a DP-75 ( new zeeland but with export transformer / internal switch for voltage / freq , plinth, black widow and an Ortofon OM-30 for $309 on ebay last December…. i did drive to Portland…. yes, it was a steal.

Peter charges $750 ish to go thru motor platter but this TT only needed the platter. i did send the other DP75 to him for both.


most SOTA from the 80’s will require a motor, sapphire thrust plate and likely all new springs ( ask me how i know )… but when refurbishment are an amazing TT if your not super pitch sensitive….

Donna at SOTA also sells refurbished units w or without upgrades

Tomic, your experience buying your Denon is why I don't sell mine.  It is simply too good for the amount of money it could fetch.  I'd stack it against most $5K TTs bought new, once I had replaced the OEM plinth with a slate plinth and mounted my Triplanar on it. I preferred it to my SP10 Mk2 (also in a slate plinth) in a side by side comparison driving the same downstream components in each case. Which is why I did sell the Mk2.

Your comment on an older SOTA, "if you're not pitch sensitive" is spot on. (I also owned a Star Sapphire Series III with vacuum, for about 10 years.) Presumably pitch stability is no longer an issue with the Eclipse upgrade on a SOTA.

I appreciate the responses. There are several brands I had not considered. I was a little surprised a couple of brands didn’t come up- Pioneer and Linn come to mind. Any thoughts on those?


Luxman PD-121 Table, ADC LMF-1 Arm, Rega Exact 2 Cart , Lounge Audio LCR Gold Phono Pre - this is exactly what I use and was all purchased pre-owned in extraordinary condition for just under $2K. Its a VERY great playing/sounding rig and on looks alone is second to none. Just sayin...


You mentioned wood, I presume natural (not painted) wood.

Are you sticking to that? Many of the TTs mentioned are NOT wood.

Aside from the solid/veneer/wrap issue I mentioned above, Wood Plinth Construction varies.

1. a frame to drop the TT into


A solid looking wood plinth, however the top is perhaps 1 layer of 3/4" thick MDF with veneer. This one is a frame and top board, many appear like thick slabs but are not

Next are thick slabs, some solid wood, some layers of wood, some, like JVC and Denon’s (not all) are their 70mm thick 7 layer construction: 4 layers of wood or manufactured wood like MDF medium density fiberboard, with 3 thin layers of special compounds

Note: some have removable arm boards, you pick an arm, drill a hole where needed. future replacement armboards can be found, refinished, or made.


A SYSTEMDEK IIX  is a wooden plinth turntable that can be readily upgraded with any number of tonearms and phono cartridges. The initial purchase price of a stock IIX in nice condition should be no more than $300 to $400, which leaves plenty of money left for a good tonearm and cartridge and possibly even a phono preamplifier. 

@lewm yes i have heard Eclipse in 3 systems now…. it would turn a Sapphire in good working order into a formidable table.

Agree on Denon or any vintage table pricing…my local shop here in San Diego has a DP-1250,  Grace 707 arm and almost new Ortofon Bronze for ask of $950

to the OP - i am not a super big Linn fan for those new to TT as they require some key adjustments to get the most out of them, once tuned they are capable of great sound ( footfall skipping on bad old house floors is an issue )…

You can't go wrong with a VPI HW-19 Mk 3 or 4. There's plenty out there that have been pretty tricked out with nice tonearms, etc.. Built like a tank and simple. I've had mine since 1989. Mine's gloss black, but they also came in solid wood you could refinish to your heart's content.

Have you read the Recommended Components lists published by Stereophile & The Absolute Sound? Lots of ideas there, all vetted by people who compare such gear all the time.

Another source is anything that Michael Fremer has published, such as his TrackingAngle & older AnalogPlanet reviews & YouTube videos. Mikey has never let me down.

And re: buying used gear, lists from past years are available on those magazines’ Web sites.

If one of the offers in the link is attractive and is purchased for close to the price seen at present, the overall cost will increase by approx’ $400 to cover the services handling and Packing for Shipping + Shipping. I am not familiar with US local import fees, but to the UK I calculate for 25% addition to a purchase price.

Looking at options there is the chance to have a DP-80 at the door for between $1000 - $1500.

A 100V Power Supply will be required to have the item put to use.

Or the DP-75

If you are in the Oregon area I have an original Xerxes table listed on US Audiomart that May interest you. 


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