VPI Player or ? for under 1500

I’m finding myself listening more and more to my records and I think its time to upgrade my analog rig. I bought a Technics SL-3300 (with a very modest cartridge) a few months back to get me going but I’d like something with a bit more extension on both ends of the spectrum. I think my GFP-750 is fairly decent for now so I’m thinking to start the overhaul from the TT. I considered upgrading the cartridge with something in the ~$200-$300 range and see how it goes but I’m afraid to end up with a mediocare TT/cartridge combo and ultimately be back to square one.
Looking at options under $1500 (TT+arm+cart) the VPI Player caught my eye and wanted to ask if that’s the best bang for the buck for my budget. The EAT B-sharp was another model that looked pretty decent. There’s of course the line up of Rega, Pro-Ject, Music Hall brands and each has a model in that price range. Depending on how much improvement I get, I might also consider adding a phono preamp in the future but not immediately, Just as another option, do you folks think I may be better off to split my budget between a lower end TT and a phono preamp or just go for a better TT and worry about the preamp later?
Sorry if this specific question has already been asked. I just wasn’t sure how to search for previous related topics.

P.S. Any idea how good is the phono stage in the VPI Player?