Table,cartridge,phono...where to put most of my money?

  Let me start by saying im a digital guy,to be specific a CD/SACD guy.Years ago I ventured back into vinyl only to be totally disappointed in my efforts.I wanted to hear the records I had been hauling around the country every time i relocated.I  bought a Linn LP12 and had  all the upgrades done.I never could get it sounding good,even paid to have it setup by a so called expert...Fast forward ,I tried again maybe 6 years ago.Bought a VPI super scout with a couple different phono stages(dont recall what they were)..About the same outcome,was ok but for all the fuss,time,cost I felt another unsuccessful attempt..A few weeks ago i bought at an auction a direct drive Pioneer table from the 70s for a couple hundred.It was paired with a decent cartridge.I bought a used phone amp off ebay and off and rolling i went.Its no where near my digital side across the board and i didnt expect it to be but its got me wanting more....Long story short,I have a budget of 5k/6k for everything..table,cartridge and phone amp..Yes i understand everything is important but where would you put the bulk of the budget...and what would you buy with the limited info given,,Thanks


OK, from your story, there is one thing that is certain. The problem was unlikely to be with the turntables you bought. Both are outstanding. So, I would look at your phonostage.

My rule of thumb is that each component should be carefully chosen and generally of equal investment… so Turntable = Phono stage = preamp = amp. Then what @theflattire said sounds reasonable… 1/3 each. But given your previous experience, I definitely do not think you should be considering choosing pieces. You should get a pre configured table like a Linn LP12 Majik, or VPI. VPI offers cartridges, you talk to them about the sound characteristics you seek and they will recommend the cartridge. I am not a big Rega fan… but also a good choice.


So, do you want to put out $10K? Or invest the $10K in getting better sound from your digital end?

I have equivalent sound quality from both my analog end and digital end. But, I am an old fart who has been collecting records since the late 1960’s. If you are drawn to it.. go for it.



Pass labs int60 as its power into Dynaudio confidence 20s w Rel S510 stereo pair

that's an awesome combination. I heard the same combo with a Rega P3 and I was blown away. It's not a lot to drive the Dynas but might just be right

The only advice you received that made any sense to your post was the Technics 1200G.  $3k for a used one is the right money, find a Herron MC phono stage (early model)1500ish and that leaves you $1500 for a cartridge and with that find a Audio Technica Art 9 and your done.  So around $5500 and you can enjoy your LP’s. I have owned the above items so can speak on it, my current vinyl setup up is a Maxxed out STS Thorens 124 with Jelco 850L, Ortofon TA110 tonearms, Herron VTPH-2A phono preamp.  

Koetsu Urishi Black, Haniwa HTCR-01 cartridges. 

Good Luck and max out your budget and there is a noticeable difference as you move up the food chain in vinyl.

What kind of distortion drives you buggy?

For some, it's frequency wow caused by off-centre records. For me, it's high frequency tizz - so I am vinyl only. Just something to consider.

I think learning more about the sonics of the OP current setup vs the two prior fails ( LP-12 / VPI ) might be more helpful…. just what is driving enjoyment currently ?