Turntable upgrade recommendations: SME vs AMG vs Technics vs other

I've recently upgraded most of my system, but I still have a Rega P8, with Linn Krystal cartridge, which I like, but I've heard that there may be better options.

I have Sound Lab electrostatic speakers, Ypsilon Hyperior amplifiers, an Ypsilon PST-100 Mk2 pre-amplifier, and am thinking about an Ypsilon phono stage to match with my system, and a turntable/cartridge.  I listen to almost entirely classical, acoustic music. 

Based on my very limited knowledge, and simple research, I've been looking at three brands, each of which is a different type of turntable: SME (suspension), AMG (mass), and Technics (direct drive).  
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of turntables, and of those in particular?



Turntables are not better for any type of music. Turntables are supposed to be "dead" and let the cartridge do the work along with the phono stage. Same as the tonearm. It should be properly isolated if the table doesn't provide sufficient isolation (as the SME clearly does) by itself.

If someone says they can tell the sound of a turntable, then that turntable is not doing its job. 

My familiarity with the SME 20/12 > SME V is now quite distant and I can't quite recollect where I found it most attractive.

The owner of the above set up moved onto a Garrard 401 Idler Drive mounted into a bespoke produced compressed Bamboo Board Plinth > Origin Live Illustrious > Sumiko Pearwood.  I am very familiar with this TT and when used mounted on a Support Structure using Densified Wood Sub Plinths and Pneumatic Isolation Footers, it was in my assessment the best I have heard from a Idler Drive.

The same owner, returned to Belt Drive and purchased a Schue TT (modified to use a Origin Live Motor) and used with the above Tonearm > Cart'. They soon formed the view this was the set up that was equal if not better? than the SME set up. This set up has also been used in a Bake Off between a few other TT > Tonearm > Cart' configurations where on TT set up has cost substantially more. The assessment has been that the Schue added a different flavour to the replay, but was not a bettered TT by the others. 

Most recently I have been demonstrated the Schue with a OL Conqueror Mk IV Tonearm > Sumiko Pearwood. The owner has felt the set up was worthy of this additional investment. This as a set up has maintained the very good impression it can make and is in my assessment recommendable.

An individual has to be sat in front of the Speakers to be able to assess what is happening, reading and conjuring up ideas is fantastical and not with any accuracy, even the aesthetic can be quite different on how it appeals when seen in the flesh in place of a Photo.

Interestingly the TT's owner has a indelible memory of the impact the use of a Densified Wood has had when utilised, and is keen to have the Schue Chassis produced from this material. I am an advocate of such concepts, it would be great if a A/B comparison could be achieved, but the time constraints between setting up both Chassis will potentially be too disruptive.   

SME (suspension), AMG (mass), and Technics (direct drive).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of turntables, and of those in particular?

Aside from listening, which is most important, Paul Miller’s lab results from HiFi News & Record Review’s summary of SME’s newest Model 60 say a lot.

It comes up Aces in terms of pitch stability (“the most pitch-stable belt-driven deck we have tested”) with bearing performance from platter and tonearm that push the limits of measurement along with a new tonearm tube that is the subject of another thread of “What Does It Take To Surpass A SME V?” that PM describes as, “The freedom from more complex resonances, and general clutter, is quite remarkable”


It’s an amazing achievement.

says someone above, and I quote, "Technics, not even close!" REALLY?? NOT EVEN CLOSE?? Do you have some kind of bionic ears?

How much ya wanna bet this guy, ALL-IN, has less than $10k invested in his entire system. No one who is ’audiophile proficient’ would ever make such a glaringly superfluous statement, except maybe a stoner whose primary measure of a great system is 1) volume knob going to 11 and 2) bloated bass, in the quality (and quantity) of a Saturday night in downtown Detroit.

@jymc I guess you're a Technics owner?

And I wouldn't make any bets on the amounts any poster here has invested over the years in their systems. It's probably a case of "think of a number and then increase by an order of magnitude"!