Turntable sub $4k buy decisions too many.

Good day fellow enthusiasts.

I’m moving away (sold) from my VPI Prime 21/ Koetsu Black combo to down size as my Aurender A10 is doing 90% of the music duties in my place now. I’ve been looking at tables in the sub $4k range and wow so many choices.

I’ve eliminated the Project, Technics, Rega and Thorns tables in this price range for various reasons. mostly due to looks if I was totally honest and yes looks has its thing in my house, it will sit in a prominent spot in my living area (open loft). similarly no black box’s.

If i was honest i wasn’t happy with the VPI table-Koetsu black gold line combo it was a little lack luster and frankly the quality of the VPI was not what I expected, tonearm lift didn’t work smoothly and stuck constantly, tonearm was not vertically straight with no way to adjust with out shims (gimbaled arm maybe i missed something in the set up) motor chatter every time you start if you forget to help it move etc. anyway its sold moving on. and no I don’t want a less $ one.

I’ve looked at many and had slipped upward some in my original $3k price bracket.

Tables i know i have access to through my dealers and are considering:

Clear Audio concept dark wood with Satisfy tonearm v2 cart package.

Oracle Paris with their reworked project 9 arm, in red :-). i like the hidden suspension system. ITS RED.

Acoustic Solid, Classic Wood with Rega made 330 arm. Or no arm. Canadian distributor now for this 10 year old German company.

Acoustic Solid, 113 Bubinga. ok this is just beautiful if not slightly over my budget but does it do the part as well.

Sota cosmos, maybe sapphire but that’s in the stretch area.

I may stretch for a few if compelled.

Transrotor entry tables have been recommended, maybe



Who have I missed to look into? Why would you not go with any of the above? Why would you go for something else?

If i get no arm option who’s arms are people recommending now in the sub $2k range?

there’s really not much on the used market right now but that’s an option as well.

Associated equipment:

McIntosh C2700 preamp, I’ll be using the internal tube phono stage. It bested my Gold Note PH10

McIntosh 275 Tube amp

Spendor D9.2 Speakers. very detail speakers....

I have a VDH MC10 MC cart and Sound Smith MI cart now but the VDH need a rebuild. so I'm open to a new cart or package. 


Thanks for your input and have a fine day my friends.


Glen N




Bang for buck - buy a refurbished Sota from Sota. They can also fit your arm of choice. Alternatives Rega P8, Feickert Volare are great TT's.

These are better sounding than the Clearaudio/Acoustic Solid/Oracle Paris options you mentioned in my experience.

PTP 9 would, with judicious arm purchase, hit your budget and comes in various colors...don't know if that look is your thing.


One of your problems was that the vpi tonearm was too light for the Koetsu Black cartridge

The Technics 1200G looks great and sounds great.  Its like fine wine.  it gets better and better with age.  Its the best table in that rnge you will ever find unless you find a great deal on a used Basis or SME.  

VPI user experiences seem to be all over the place here, on Agon.

 As a 10 year user, based on your description of what you had, I would have imagined it a fantastic performer.

Did you have it setup up professionally? If not, that may have contributed to your assessment that it's not for you.

The QC issues are unfortunate. My experience has been to reach out to them directly for issues, and they handle it. Perhaps these last couple of years things may not be a example of what I speak of? 

"One of your problems was that the Vpi tonearm was too light for the Koetsu Black cartridge"

testpilot- perhaps it is "on paper", but I've read HW  and countless users with Koetsu on their rigs over the years, with no issues. 

This is on both older and 3D arms(unipivot/gimbal)

I’ve been searching for used TT’s that allow Two Arms, found a few, some include a lot, some not, read the details

Groovemaster DC



I wrote to Peter, designer/owner of PBN who made the Groovemaster. He said they will be at a show near the seller very soon, seller could simply drop it off with him, they check it, box it, ship it to you. make new arm board if wanted.




IF you up your budget a bit, Clearaudio's INNOVATION has 3 variations, all take two arms: low to high:: basic; compact; Innovation (variation Innovation Wood)

basic, dealer open box, probably get full  warranty




Single Arm: Many choices. Here in NJ, VPI, you could have seller ship directly to VPI or VAS (Steve used to work/partner with them), they check it for you, you pick up from them


Clearaudio Master takes 2 arms

Complete LP system, incl ,,,,,, quite a lot, perhaps you could have seller leave some things out, reduce price, he could sell things separately


Garrard 301 reconditioned in unique 2 arm Ferrari Red Deck. CAD 5500 is $4,350 usd, make offer, get lucky?


Video, playing



Wow, I sure never heard of problems like that with a VPI. I owned one for well over 20 years. There are a lot of TT in the price category you are looking.

Personally, I don’t fiddle with turntables… micro adjusting tiny components that make big differences in sound, not for me. My audio dealer loves adjusting tts, he is good at it (he is a master trained Linn technician as well). You want to buy a turntable from someone like him. Hopefully you get a good correlation between what you hear here and what your dealer tells you. If you can trust him, that is going to be your best bet. Fortunately I am friends with my dealer and he completely understand the kind of sound I like (the same as he does)… so he and I jointly picked out my equipment. Nailed the sound I wanted perfectly.

You may poo poo the suggestion, considering you have mentioned you rule out pro-ject, but the Music Hall MMF-7.3 in Walnut Is a very good looking table. It is way under your 4k budget and sounds terrific. It already comes with the Ortofon 2M Bronze mounted. In my opinion, competes with turntables up to the 4k mark. I don’t think spending twice the money will significantly improve upon the 7.3. It has everything really, good isolation, a good tonearm, electronic speed control, motor seperated from plinth, a great and proven cartridge, a great clamp with threaded spindle, even a very nice looking dust cover. I love mine and saved money to buy more records. The Walnut version looks way better than the dust magnet black version. Stereophile recommended component. Considering you are using digital 90 percent of the time, i cannot see a reason to spend 4k on a turntable. It also takes well to far more expensive cartridges as shown in the Stereophile review. Although I do disagree with the reviewer that the 2m Bronze is not up to the task with this table. I think the 2m Bronze sounds terrific.

Personally, I would go with the first recommendation. The refurbished Sota Sapphire. I have one and I believe you would be hard pressed to find something better in the Sota's price range. Best tt I ever owned.

Thanks everyone,

I've made an error in my budget. I mistakenly put up Canadian budget prices  So in reality I'm sitting at somewhere around $3200us$ max. Like I said I can stretch a bit if necessary but the reason most of the tables your recommending are not already on my list is they are a big stretch.

- I have reached out to Sota already their refurbished Sapphires are $3200usd with out an arm. so that puts me well above $4000usd with a basic arm. I've not discounted it but its a little more then i originally wanted to re-spend on a table. 

- Have not looked at Avid thank you.

- i've looked at the MMF tables interesting in the wood finishes. 

- i sold my Garrard 301 set up for the VPI prime 21, the one you mentioned is $5500 Canadian FYI. 

reality is I'd like to keep it around $3000USD so many of the tables your recommending are well above that. My mistake for miss posting. 


Really you should have another look at a Rega P8 retail $4k readily available for about $3.5k including free freight - plug and play. Brand new, even with a MM Exact or Ania, very musical. Much better built than your old VPI. If you don't like the look get a Hermes or Louis Voutton silk scarf to throw over it when not in use.

Have a read of the review here -

There are also options to keep a Sota around $4k all up - Rega arms are fine, just fiddly to deal with VTA, but if you don't change your cartridge all the time, its a 1 off proposition.

I was in the market before the price went up and was considering the following. I got the MoFi when a good deal came up. Both should be within your budget.

MoFi UltraDeck with Master Tracker and Super Heavy Weight.

Marantz TT-15S1, make by Clear Audio and comes with the Clear Audio Virtuoso MM cartridge.

Good Luck!


Thanks Everyone, I'm ordering an Acoustic Solid Classic Wood. I think for the money its a fine looking. made and performing table from what a few German gentleman have said in our private conversations. Well below my budget at $3500 Canadian ($2700 usd). I'll upgrade the Rega arm eventually that seems to be the week link. 


Thank you all, most of the tables suggested where over my budget but that was my mistake for inputting the incorrect budget in USD. 

Love the Kuzma Stabi S/Stogi arm suggestion, but it's definitely well over $4K. In the $2k price range, the above suggested Marantz and Mo-Fi suggestion would be where I would go first. If you read the Marantz thread here, I'm on that very path. I may be off base, but it seems like there are a fair number of good $2k choices, but then not as much in the $4K price range. I think the GEM Dandy might fit the bill in that bracket. Perhaps the Luxman PD 151 as well. 

@glennewdick, Your problem if you have a VPI unipivot tonearm is the arm and Koetsu has to be the worst cartridge you could put on it. The Koetsu is very stiff.

If the table has a problem it is the outboard motor and little if any isolation. @dover is right. A used Sota Sapphire would be a much better sounding table. A new one is $3975 but that is without an arm. An inexpensive Rega arm can be mounted for the time being. You can upgrade down the line. Not everyone digs the looks. Thorens makes the TD 1600 for $3999.00 and it comes with a very decent arm. You can also change it down the line if you want. The two tables are very similar. The Sota has a better bearing, platter and tonearm board. 

I had a VPI HW MK II with an original 1st generation Koetsu Black.

I upgraded to a VPI HW MK IV with a SAM and a Koetsu Onyx.

The arm is the Sumiko MMT.

I have had the VPI/Koetsu setup for 37 years. I couldn’t be happier.

To see my complete system, go to


Good luck with your search.

unreceivedogma: Why do i want to see your set up? I sold my VPI set up to down size. 


mijostyn; I had the JMW gimbaled arm. 


Again thank everyone. 

I have since ordered the Acoustic Solid 113 Bubinga table with a Sorane TA-1 tonearm.  upgraded from the rega 330 arm. at half the cost of the VPI set up.  little more then i wanted to spend but I have to admit i got hooked on the Bubinga over the lower cost classic wood table. yes I'm a sucker for looks as well as sound. 

Solid 113 Bubinga – Acoustic Solid (acoustic-solid.com)





I really love Bubinga. Really beautiful wood. I will be really interested in hearing your impressions of the sound. 

That's a sweet looking table. About how much was the setup with the Sorane arm. Nice choice...that arm should allow so many great cartridge options. Congrats on the purchase. 


1,517 posts


That's a sweet looking table. About how much was the setup with the Sorane arm. Nice choice...that arm should allow so many great cartridge options. Congrats on the purchase. 


I think the total with tax(13%) in Canadian money was $5200. so about $3400 usd before tax. 

The acoustic solid bubinga arrived today. Have to say very nicely made. Very easy to set up every perimeter. Spindle to pivot has a very nice adjustment system supper easy to set up for different tonearms.  Looks stunning as well. The Sorane TA-1 arm is very nicely made as well. I’d say better then the Jelco 750 series I’ve had in the past. Actually easier to adjust then the VPI gimbal arm. 

over all seems to work well, sounds detailed fast and stable. Using a sound smith MI cart for now but I’m going to upgrade soon. 

Congradulations! Look forward to hearing more after you have some serious time on the unit.

Can you let me know wher you bought your AS deck? Seems like a great price with that arm. Im in Canada. 


I got it from my local dealer here in Victoria, Acoustic Solid has a distributor here in Canada. I would imagine your dealer can access the distributor. I do not remember who the distributor is off the top of my head but its listed on AC's web site. 




Former VPI owner.  I had enough of the VPI and vinyl in general.  I sold everything, but I missed it.  I purchased a vintage DD Pioneer and was blown away.  I eventually ended up with a Technics 1200GR and I absolutely love it.  I wish that I had never bought the VPI.  

Mark Levinson. I think Clearaudio makes it but for some reason It's cooler than their tables in my opinion.