Spend my $1000 on a turntable


I gaze at at about 60 dirty records, a Cambridge Audio 540P mm phono pre amp and a slightly broken Technics SL-1210 MK2 (1 channel is bad). I rewired the arm and replaced the inter connects, it might be the ortofon pro s cartridge. I’m faced with buying a cleaning system (cheap) and inner sleeves and fixing the technics and selling it (+-$600). Add about $400 brings me to $1000.

My girlfriend (read wife) wants a Red turntable and so here I am. I am leaning toward the new Rega P3 with Ortofon Red or should I get Rega P2, Ortofon Blue and maybe a new phono pre amp? Project makes Red tables but I’ve only heard mixed things.

What would you do with $1000? 

Typically Tidal high res streams to a bluesound vault 2 Out via coax into Dynaudio Focus 30 XD. It 
In my opinion....

You would be much better off finding a used VPI HM-19 MK III with a decent arm and painting it gloss red. Replace the springs with some rubber or sorbothane blocks / pucks. Whole package could come in for under $1000. It will better anything Rega EVER produced.
yes a VPI HW-19 mk iii or iv is the bomb  easy to work on solid great prices
Buy a red turntable unless you really know how to get a great high gloss paint finish and like DIY projects. Your GF/wife (hopefully they are the same person) will not be happy with a crappy looking paint job.

You can get a red TT from Rega, Pro-Ject, or Music Hall. Spend your money on the TT cartridge combination and buy a phono preamp later.
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I paid $1100 for a used VPi Scout with acrylic platter! To heck with red, you can’t hear red. Although, Clearaudio makes acrylic ‘tables in red, white, blue and black. They may run you more than a grand new, but if you can find a used one a grand might do it.  Roxan makes a red ‘table, also more than a grand. 
I recently got a chance to handle the latest U-Turn Orbit (just happened to be a red one) at my local dealer. I have to say I was surprised by its build quality - seems much nicer than the Pro-Jects, Regas and Music Halls <$1K. It was very quiet and had less platter runout than what I've encountered in the competition. The tonearm also felt a cut above that found on the likes of the Debut Carbon and RP-1. The only notable deficiency - considering its price - was some orange peel effect in the paint finish, which wasn't obvious from a few feet away. Based on all the tables I've owned and handled under $1K, I'd be very tempted to go with an Orbit and invest the balance in a good cartridge and decent preamp. 

It might go something like this: 

U-Turn Orbit with acrylic platter and Grado Black 1: $350


Lounge Audio LCR mk III preamp with silver upgrade: ~ $400


 U-Turn with standard cart (they don't allow ordering without): $300 + Shure M97xe w/ Jico SAS stylus: ~$300
I am loving this thread folks, thank you.... the DIY red would be tricky, not enough time and mileage may vary on spray, sand, spray, sand etc... the GF and ‘wife’ are the same ;) I’m hoping it’s a table I have for a long time but for the amount it will get used 20% of the time. There is a process of listening to vinyl I want to be realistic..... as I tip toe lightly in the analog forum. 
The VPI HW-19 Mk.2 is identical to the Mk.3 with the exception that the metal subchassis is steel in the Mk.2, stainless steel in the Mk.3 (and 4). I have one of each, no big deal imo.
You are on the right track.

Get a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit or Rega Planar 3 with an Ortofon Red or Blue cartridge. You should also buy a Spin Clean record cleaner ($80) and a brush (Pro-Ject makes a nice inexpensive one for $15)

This should all fit in your budget. If you can buy the TT locally the dealer should set it up for you (no additional charge) and you will be ready to go.

Good luck and have fun.
VPI used to make a red plinth Scout as well as Traveler. Perhaps you can find a used one.
@kenscott - If you want red and want to spend under $1000, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB is a pretty good choice. I own one and I really like it. I upgraded the phono cable with a nice cryo treated cable from Audio Sensibility. A year after getting the table, which came with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, I upgraded to an Ortofon 2M Blue by buying just the blue stylus. I also use a Spin Clean for record cleaning. If you buy all of the above, you'll still have money left over in your $1000 budget.

BTW, I've got nothing against your Rega suggestion. Since buying the Pro-Ject, I've change my CD player/Transport/DAC to the Rega Saturn R and I've changed my amplification to a Rega Elicit R. Love the Rega stuff. Would have been happy to have an all Rega system if the timing had worked out differently.
Color should be the last thing on your list of priorities, and sound quality should be first. But, it is your investment and I respect your right to reprioritize. The existing Technics SL-1210mk2 is a good starting point of it hasn’t been thrashed by some idiot rapper. You could rewire the tonearm (tedious but inexpensive to do) and install a new Audio Technica VM540ML cartridge and KAB fluid damper. This way you would still have $500 left over to add sorbathane or other vibration isolation system and still be far ahead of the game. If refinishing the plinth red is still a priority, there are some vendors who do that, and my be able to work out an exchange for your existing plinth. I don’t know how much that would set you back, but wouldn’t expect more than a couple hundred dollars. 
Why do you want to sell Direct Drive turntable to buy more expensive Belt Drive turntable?

I understand an upgrade from one Direct Drive to another Direct Drive, but to a belt drive .... ???

All you need is to replace the stock tonearm on your Technics SL1210 mkII if you want to upgrade the sound. The cheapest new option is Jelco, the armboard for Technics available on ebay. It can be a decent vintage tonearm too, something like the Luxman TA-1 if you gonna use high compliance MM cartridges. If you don’t want to upgrade tonearm you can, indeed, buy a KAB fluid damper and re-wire the arm with Cardas or Discovery wires internally. Then find Zu Audio Mission Phono cable on ebay, cut and solder it directly. If you want a silver wire then you can buy Signal Cable Silver Resolution. I use both cables with my gear.

You can also buy brand new Technics SL1200 GR for about $1700 and it does not require upgrade, except for the mat. Saec SS-300 mat is reasonable priced, Micro Seiki CU-180 copper mat is more expensive.  

If you’re a user of Direct Drive then moving to a Belt Drive is not good.

Technics metal plate can be painted in any color, they are also for sale separately.

You need a much better cartridge for any turntables, those cheap belt drives does not come with a good cartridge. Cartridge is the most important! Ortofon M20FL Super with FineLine nude diamond is superb vintage MM for very reasonable price (under $300).
+1 bpoletti & grinnell! A VPI HW19 painted gloss red with a good arm (Jelco) and cartridge (Grado) would be "da bomb"! Maybe I should paint my HW19 red too!
This Rega Planar 3 in red for $750! Then get the Ortofon 2m Blue. There is nothing wrong with them except for literally a scratched box. I bought the same one very recently. Cheers!

There is nothing wrong with them except ... 

.. that they are cheap belt drive turntables and can not compete with decent Direct Drives in terms of speed stability. These Regas looks like a toy and act like a toy, a mediocre turntable for those who's trying to save on everything. These turntables must be avoided like any cheap modern belt drives, especially when brand new SL1200GR is just $1700 (and that plastic Rega toy is $750). 

As a drive Technics SL1210mkII is superb and the OP already have it, just add new arm with decent cartridge. Technics can be upgraded anytime, the Rega can not be upgraded, it's a junk, sorry. 
My opinion....

I tend to agree with @chakster in that it would seem a good idea to repair the SL1200 (and maybe the phono stage) and mount a good cart. Maybe a Jelco SA-750 of a new Jelco 850 arm could be a significant upgrade, everything else being equal.

I also agree with his assessment of (IMO, all) Rega tables, but disagree with chak’s generalization related to belt drive tables. Off-center holes and the process from mastering to final pressing is the cause of pitch instability. Actual speed stability is fine in just about every non-toy modern turntable. (As I have opined in other threads,) What seems more important is drive voltage in AC synchronous motors. Dropping the voltage (such as using a cheap Variostat) significantly reduces any noise making its way down the drive belt(s) from the jerky A/C drive motors. This method just won’t fix the problems with Rega tables, though.

Just my opinion. YMMV, YRMV.
Gents, I’m assuming we are all gents. The table is old, it was a DJ table but it’s in decent shape. The dust cover is trashed, someone tried to take off the DJ’s name with a scotch bright pad. I can polish it off with headlight restore. I have a bad channel, so I did the KAB Cardas tone arm rewire, still a bad channel. The interconnects were replaced a few years ago when I was trying to sort out that bad channel. I need to figure out did I rewire it correctly? Could it be a bad cartridge? Is a pin bad at the end of the tone arm? If anyone has a link to a diagram of the technics wiring at the head shell area and the board is apprecieate it. Our living room is now nice and the GF/Wife feels like its old, the trashes dust cover doesn’t help. I live in Los Angeles so moving this “DJ” table should be ‘easy’. But maybe I look at sorting out the wiring, I need to anyway before selling it as well as the dust cover. I just didn’t want to get a new cart + head shell then sell the whole thing at a near loss. 
Try the cart in a different table.  

There are a lot of possible irreparable or expensive to repair problems with that table and / or arm.  If the table is truly trashed, then maybe a different table is in order as suggested above.  My opinions on a "new" table stand on their own +/- merits. 

You should carefully consider the comments on this tread, listen carefully to tables and arms, and make up your own mind as to what is the best option for you.
In my experience, there are so called “entry level turntables”, and then there are high end turntables. All the Pro-Ject Debut, less expensive Rega, And Orbit record players are nice. I had a Debut that I outfitted with an acrylic platter, and Grado Gold cart, and it was great! But, I soon outgrew this entry level outfit. And when I moved into the more affordable high end tables, the Scout, I was floored by the difference. A real step up! My son in law wanted to get into vinyl, so I gave him the Project. He loved it! But, it wasn’t a year and he had upgraded to a Music Hall Ikura. If you jump up to the $1600 to $2000 range, you are moving into some really nice record players that you will be sure not to outgrow any time soon. Of course, if you are shopping used, you can aquire something in this price range for much less, hopefully around $1000. In my personal experience, once again, I have never regretted spending money on something nice, and I tend to shop towards the top of my price range, to ward off the need to upgrade for as long as possible. But, that’s just me. And it also depends on your anchillary equipment, if your stereo is quite modest, perhaps the less expensive ‘tables are a better match?  Just my 2 cents. 
If you were happy w'technics buy a denon vj12 which is a well built OEM tt and from reviews I've read spanks VPI Traveler's and that ilk for sound quality and has a ring around the platter that changes colors with the flick of a knob.
why not just keep what you have and get a better cartridge or maybe upgrade the arm.  I am not sure how the older technics arms perform with newer carts.  I had one when I was younger and I loved it.
I’ve had Pro-Ject/Music Hall (Pro-Ject made Music Hall tables for Roy Hall and now Pro-Ject owns Music Hall) for years...I’ve had pleasing results with them. The Music Hall MMF2.1 should be avoided (some cartridges pick up motor noise) but farther up the line the value is quite good.

At your price point, I think a (used) Pro-Ject RPM 5 carbon in red would be amazing...I say used because new they are ~$1500 but perhaps you can find one on AudioGon or locally.

For new at your price point, the Pro-Ject RPM 3 Carbon is a nice choice: https://www.abt.com/product/95962/Pro-Ject-RPM-3-Carbon-Red-Turntable-RPM3CARBONRED.html?utm_source=...

If you can find one new...a killer table at your price point is a Pro-Ject RM5.1SE setup (It came in a gray color)...it came with a Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 cartridge...I have seen them go new as low as $699 which is a killer deal on that table: http://www.pro-jectusa.com/en-us/products/pro-ject-analog/legacy-products/rm-5-1-se

One last comment:  Don't underestimate how much better a moving-coil cartridge will sound on any turntable vs. a moving magnet.  I'd rather have a nice cart on an OK table than a lousy cart on a great table.  A good value is an Ortofon MC Quintet Blue when you get ready for an upgrade.  I also have a Benz Micro Gold high output MC and a Goldring Eroica Low output MC and they smoke all the MM cartridges I've heard.  The downfall to Low Output MC carts is that you need a phono stage that can handle them or a step-up transformer.  I once had my Benz Micro Gold on a Music Hall MMF2.1 into a Hagerman Bugle phone stage and it sounded quite amazing for the amount of money I had invested in it.

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I brought the Mrs with me and my turntable in to a nice dealer in Los Angeles I think that I might sell the technics and get a Project Classic with an upgraded cartridge. She is ok with NOT a red table which opens up a lot of options. Fixing the technics + a nice cart is about $300 or getting a new table. 

The Project Classic with an Ortofon Bronze, about $1400 or the 

The Classic SB featuring a Sumiko Blue Point No.2 cartridge.

I will put some feelers out on the technics. It might be nice to have some thing new with dealer support and a table that the GF likes in the living room.