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


@baylinor +1 I too have a Pioneer PLX1000/Denon 103R ($1040 total) and it does sound excellent! Of course one can spend multiples of that but diminishing returns set in quickly!


i had your exact budget and split it into 3 more or less. 

table, technics sl200gr

herbies 4mm mat

cartridge lyra delos

phono pre sutherland 20 20 with linear power supply. 

the sound does everything my best digital sources do- fast, detailed, deep thunderous bass, sweet midrange, big big soundstage and dynamics with burst. 

all with a more smoothing burnish of a vinyl system.  


It would be nice to know your digital setup, since that is the competition. I think you need to spend more money on a vinyl setup to beat a good digital setup. And I'm a vinyl lover. 

While reading up on your speakers and amp, the words "understated", "smooth", and "balanced" show up. Maybe what you need to is make sure more of the same is not coming from your vinyl set up. You don't mention what cartridge and phono stage you currently have but perhaps adding a cartridge that not known to be warm sounding (like an AT 540 or 740ML which won't break the bank either).