• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Turntable advice

danbridle16

Novice Member
Hi Guys,

First time post. Bear with me!

I have a Cambridge CXA81 and LS50 system on order that I was able to pick up with a discount.

I figured it might be a popular set up but I have no experience at all with turntables.

I was hoping someone could give me some pointers with regards to a suitable turntable/preamp with a budget of approx £800 at the absolute maximum.

All help gratefully received.

Cheeers,

Dan
 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
I have the 81's baby-brother, the CXA61 and really love it.

I have a Rega P6/Ania and a CA Alva Duo phono with it, but that's above your budget.

I'd be looking at a Planar 3 (£579 w/o cartridge or £649 with the Elys 2). I think I'd look at buying w/o and then fitting a AT VM95E (c.£42). The beauty of that AT range is they're a direct swap to Rega cartridges so you don't have to worry about the height of the arm, and - when funds allow - you can but a better stylus and it's a straight swap. Also, the Planar 3 has the same arm as the P6, so it will take much higher-spec cartridges if you ever wish to upgrade further.

I'd also look to pair it with a Rega Fono MM (£199) (I would recommend the Schiit Mani (£149) but they're like rocking-horse poo in the UK at the moment - Schiit have no UK stock and used one are changing hands on eBay for up to double the RRP!!!)

Although I prefer the Alva because it does both MM & MC, it does cost a little more, but also has a very good built-in headphone amp (not a huge deal as a the CXAs have a headphone out, of course), but I prefer the sound straight from the Alva (but that's just me).

Keep an eye on place like Audio T - they often have open-box or ex-demo kit at a reduced price. I got my P6 from them as an ex-demo and with the Ania it was the same price as brand-new no cart, so saved me £400.
 
Last edited:

danbridle16

Novice Member
I have the 81's baby-brother, the CXA61 and really love it.

I have a Rega P6/Ania and a CA Alva Duo phono with it, but that's above your budget.

I'd be looking at a Planar 3 (£579 w/o cartridge or £649 with the Elys 2). I think I'd look at buying w/o and then fitting a AT VM95E (c.£42). The beauty of that AT range is they're a direct swap to Rega cartridges so you don't have to worry about the height of the arm, and - when funds allow - you can but a better stylus and it's a straight swap. Also, the Planar 3 has the same arm as the P6, so it will take much higher-spec cartridges if you ever wish to upgrade further.

I'd also look to pair it with a Rega Fono MM (£199) (I would recommend the Schiit Mani (£149) but they're like rocking-horse poo in the UK at the moment - Schiit have no UK stock and used one are changing hands on eBay for up to double the RRP!!!)

Although I prefer the Alva because it does both MM & MC, it does cost a little more, but also has a very good built-in headphone amp (not a huge deal as a the CXAs have a headphone out, of course), but I prefer the sound straight from the Alva (but that's just me).

Keep an eye on place like Audio T - they often have open-box or ex-demo kit at a reduced price. I got my P6 from them as an ex-demo and with the Ania it was the same price as brand-new no cart, so saved me £400.
Thanks Bob, that's brilliant!
 

oscroft

Well-known Member
I have to agree with BT Bob - you'd find it very hard to beat a Planar 3 with AT VM95E at those price levels. Upgrading to a microline stylus later should give you a significant improvement. And one thing I love about the P3 is that there's a whole load of 3rd party upgrades out there to help take care of your spare cash for years to come ;) (Mine started life as a 1979 original, but it's very different these days).
 

danbridle16

Novice Member
I have to agree with BT Bob - you'd find it very hard to beat a Planar 3 with AT VM95E at those price levels. Upgrading to a microline stylus later should give you a significant improvement. And one thing I love about the P3 is that there's a whole load of 3rd party upgrades out there to help take care of your spare cash for years to come ;) (Mine started life as a 1979 original, but it's very different these days).
Thanks Oscroft. Am I right in thinking it's relatively easy to maintain/change stylus etc? i.e. nothing a quick look on youtube won't solve?
 

oscroft

Well-known Member
Thanks Oscroft. Am I right in thinking it's relatively easy to maintain/change stylus etc? i.e. nothing a quick look on youtube won't solve?
Setting up the position of the cartridge in the first place can take a little effort, but there's plenty of instructional material out there on YT etc. (And if you can buy the cartridge from the same dealer as the turntable, they might even do it for you). After that, to upgrade you just slide the old stylus off and the new stylus on.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
I agree as far as the P3 w/o cartridge is the best choice at this price. Strongly disagree on the cart though. The 95 is a great cart at the price and has a good upgrade structure but why would you spend so little on a cart for what is to most people an expensive TT. An Audio Technica VM5xx (starts at £92 for a VM520EB but try for a VM530EN at £149, both Amazon) is a much better start, also with great upgrades if you want later. Know this screws the budget a little but it's worth the stretch.
 

oldfart

Active Member
Although I prefer the Alva because it does both MM & MC, it does cost a little more, but also has a very good built-in headphone amp (not a huge deal as a the CXAs have a headphone out, of course), but I prefer the sound straight from the Alva (but that's just me).

I would agree, have had one for a few months and is an excellent preamp, have it connected to a Thorens TD206 with an AT VM95ML cartridge and is a good combination. The headphone out is good but do not expect to drive high impedance phones, I use it with a pair of Sennheiser HD 599SE and it does sound good.
 

daddy999

Active Member
I’d go with the Rega P3 elys2 and fono MM set up in that price range. For the price point, I didn’t hear anything better.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Fidelity in Motion's David Mackenzie talks about his work on disc encoding & the future of Blu-ray
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom