Where is the significant point of diminishing returns on hi-end turntable?

For those that don’t know me I am newish to this game. Yes, I believe this chase for perfection in sound reproduction is a game. There are endless variables affecting the sound of every system and 100x that in opinions on each of these variables. I love cool $hit as much as the next guy but I am looking for an analog rig and I keep getting drawn into the seemingly endless "what about this option that costs tons more?". I started with a $6 to $10K budget and now I am considering a $25K setup (Table, cart and phono stage) after talking to a local retailer. I will be blunt, I want to be that guy in the Memorex ad from the 80’s that is getting blown away by his system (my impression is he is overwhelmed by the amazing sound coming from that speaker not the volume). Now that I have acquired some pretty descent stuff I am spending 15 plus hours each week listening and really enjoying this hobby. I don’t want to have any regrets and just be marginally satisfied with my setup but where do I draw the line? Back to my initial question; what is a reasonable amount to spend on an analog setup to achieve the best bang for the buck? I may be somewhat unique in that I don’t want to constantly be upgrading my equipment, I just want to buy great products the first time that are very satisfying and spend hours listening to great music. I don’t want to be the guy always chasing the next great thing.
I owned the innovation wood and had my benz LP-S on it (graham phantom II tonearm). It is a really well built, isolated table with a great heavy platter on a great bearing. Speed stability is best in class. Not a fussy turntable. The Benz LP-S is one one of the best cartridges out there - and I have a $15k goldfinger and MC Anna so it is in good company. The innovation is a wee bit Teutonic in character so the benz is the perfect cartridge. And if the dealer is willing to set it up and optimize everything that is worth a fee grand in "upgraded sound". 
If your also looking at phono preamps, you should consider the Perreaux Audiant VP3, it's even better than the Parasound JC3+.  I'm just saying in my opinion.
Hi mmporsche,

As several have noted above, auditioning and selecting an analog front end is probably the most difficult purchase in audio given the number of interdependent variables, and thus I wish you good luck in your search.  I think Inna puts forth some pretty good recommendations in his earlier post on price ranges, although I might allocate more budget to the cartridge on a percentage basis.  With that in mind, I offer some recommendations below at the price points that I find to represent the law of "significant diminishing returns," as referenced in your post, to provide some context on those proffered price ranges.  (Please note that if you consider used turntables / tonearms / phono stages, this would have a significant impact on the prices at which diminishing returns kick in). 

Starting with the turntable, the SME 20/3 is a good option - I have auditioned a few tables (and currently own one) costing 2-4x as much, but none of those tables were what I would call "significantly" better - the only tables I have heard that were that were so retail for $50k plus.  I definitely had my share of Memorex, "blown away" moments with the SME 20/2 (Solti Ring on Decca vinyl), and still remember it fondly.  And, it matches your requirement of a "set and forget" kind of table - the SMEs are no fuss and built to a high standard - I have referred to them in the past as the CD players of vinyl.  Finally, given the comparatively low value of the British pound, it presents a pretty good value right now.

Re: tonearms, the $4-5 range, where a number of long time stalwarts reside, seems to me to be the point of diminishing returns - e.g., the Graham Phantom, the Triplanar, and to a lesser extent, the SME V.   If you have a little more to spend on a tonearm, the Kuzma 4-point is a good option as well.

In my view, cartridges tend to be significantly dependent on one's personal preferences, and there are such a variety of options it is hard to propound recommendations without more of a sense of for what you are looking and what tonearm you would ultimately select.  For example, depending on what you value in an audio system and your tonearm, the diminutive Denon DL-103D may be all you need.   I note your dealer recommended a Benz Micro LPS, which is a pretty good cartridge, and I don't think you need to spend too much more to reach the point of diminishing returns.  Other options in that price range with which I have had good experiences include the Dynavector XV-1S and the Ortofon A95; the Clearaudio da Vinci v2 may also be a good option, but I have less experience with it.  If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Shelter 90X is the best comparative value in cartridges I have found.

For phono stages, it is a bit more challenging to make a recommendation in terms of "significant diminishing returns," as I have not found one clear price point where the level of improvement drops off as price increases.  Taking for example some of the phono stages referenced above, the Herron is a very good candidate at around $3600, but I found the Lamm and ASR Basis Exclusive to be notably better (at 2-2.5x the price).  However, I would note I don't have as much experience in that $5-8k "sweet spot," so there may be some lesser priced options that would work for you.  Ultimately, given the comparative ease of demoing phono stages as opposed to the rest of the analog front end, I would tend to agree with folks above that you stick with the Parasound for the moment, and once you have settled on the rest of the front end, explore your phono stage options. 

Overall, I think at the price point you referenced above ($25k), you can get a phono system that you gets you within shouting distance of the best that is out there, which you can enjoy for a lifetime without any thoughts of upgrading.  If you go used (for everything other than the cartridge, which I recommend you buy new from a dealer), you can get there for $15k or less.  Again, best of luck.
Yeah, SME 20 with one of those arms should do it. I would choose a dynamic cartridge to complement them to make it a great pace maker. You race cars and won't tolerate lazy vague thick 'overly musical' euphonic sound. Lyra, perhaps..? And maybe LAMM phono with Purist Neptune or Corvus tonearm cable. If LAMM matches your amp, of course. Cartridges come and go, great phono will last for decades. In this case I would match the cartridge both to the arm and to the phono, not phono to the cartridge. If I remember right, LAMM doesn't have many adjustments or highest gain, but you won't need them if you match well. I doubt that there is a better phono stage within this price range, only different. But you might want MM not MC cartridge, you didn't say it or I missed it.
Just to make it clear, this is most likely not the turntable that I myself would get but I would seriously consider it. But I would get the LAMM and Purist cable and probably Lyra too.
If you want the best sound, irrespective of price, then you should look into the rebuilt idler wheel drive units from Jean Nantais.

Price is meaningless when it comes to sound quality from this artisan.
His Lenco MKIII [ $10K] has beat out other TT at $40K thus far.

I use a Reference Lenco MKIII with a Dynavector DV507MKII arm and a Micro Benz Ebony TR cartridge in my $45K Wyetech Ruby amp system and it's phenomenal.

TT, arm & cartridge at around $20K
See > http://www.idler-wheel-drive.com/home/
Hi,  While I have great respect for Michael Fremer, I could not and likely would not follow his audiophile extravagance.  I am very limited,. Depending on disability benefits, but I do love records. So one person's "bargain" analog system is, for me, unattainable and not greatly missed.
My 3 tables are a Elac Miracles 50H, which is a greatly under appreciated gem of rim drive from Germany; an even more ignored table is the Santo TP 80S. It is a beautiful belt drive which is a pleasure to listen to via the mm input on my old Advent 300 receiver.  Finally the Dual table that while somewhat respected, is, I think, one of Dial's finest tables.  O
I'm talking about the CS 5000 with a Thicker German belt and original Stanton 681EEE cartridge and stylus. Awesome sound through a completely Upgraded Kenwood C2 preamp. I do realize that "superior" tables, cartridges, cables, preamps, etc.  But, at least for me, even if I had the resources, I would not ever consider a "Fremer Bargain System".  My priorities would always be elsewhere.  For audiophiles who take pleasure in their multi 5-figure systems then all I can say is enjoy the music.

The SME20 just listed today here for $6500 looks like a good value and safe bet. You could try it and sell it without losing a penny if you choose another direction. Excellent engineering from a company that's been a leader in analog for ages. There house sound has been characterized by some as a little dark & dead sounding...which others might call black quiet background and relaxed. So, preferences, blah blah, preferences. Cheers,
This won't be a popular comment, but the point of diminishing returns on a turntable is at the very first penny you spend on one. 

A turntable is a low-resolution, high-distortion source based on technology invented nearly a century ago. Skip it.

Spend your money on room treatments, great speakers, amplifier and preamp (yes, and in that order please).

Add to that a music server and a robust collection of 24/192 and 24/96 digital music from your favorite artists. For whatever isn't available in high resolution, that's what a premium Tidal subscription is for (so you can ditch your CDs).

High resolution music completely destroys anything that vinyl can ever dream of touching.

I hate to bust everybody's bubble, but it has been said that the truth shall set you free, and I come to this forum with a bit of truth, that contradicts a few other truths.

I was just listening to some music from a compilation of the 100 best jazz tunes of the 50's, and I discovered something; while I have most of these tunes on their original record albums, these CD's sound better. Now I'm not talking about any old rig, but a topflight high end "tweaked to the bone rig". These CD's sound better than the original records.

You be the judge as to what this pertains to the future. It has already been ascertained that R to R can sound better than the world's best record spinner. You can verify that information on the "Reel to Reel" thread.

Enjoy the music.
Remember Mr. Porsche.....its the whole system and how all those black boxes react to each other that will blow you away.  I've replaced one component with a more expensive - more highly regarded piece, and the result was less good than the original.  ....and so it goes.
If you want the best sound, irrespective of price, then you should look into the rebuilt idler wheel drive units from Jean Nantais.

my two Canadian cents.
In this small niche Analog world, I believe Jean Nantais is a Canadian icon and rightly so.
I mean C'mon....he took his portable Lenco to audio crazed Greece and challenged a local favorite called an EMT. Apparently it has a lot of fans.
Those in the room felt his Lenco defeated the EMT - as the story goes - for
those that were in the room.

So what does this prove to me, as someone who was not there.

that personal Setup was probably very important.

But..... how many of MMP's local experts even know about Jean Nantais or his products ? 

Dear @mmporsche : I think that you are refering to some posts as mine. Well, beleibe it or not I’m not against you but in favor of you trying to help what because your posts you are not aware yet in the high-end land ( no, it’s not rocket science. ).

Till now you decided not to give any single answer to my very precise questions to you and I’m not really questioning you but trying to help you. Whom am I to questioning you or any one else?

The only actuion I can read where you took in count my advice was the Galibier one.

My reference is always live music in real " day by day " venues. I listened music directly inside a recording studio/session for 3-4 times.

Till today I never bougth any single audio item through an audio shows like the RMAF or CES and other shows of that type other than LPs and I attende several times.

First than all I’m a music lover and second an audiophile.

"""" I enjoy all genres of music as long as it is quality music and most importantly was recorded well. I have a keen ear for quality growing up in the studio... """

I enjoy music that was not recorded very well but that is MUSIC that can " move " me in any way and if it’s well recorded the better.

I don’t have a keen ear trainend in the studio ( I don’t need it. ) but I can go to your place ( for the first time or any other single gentleman place. ) and tell you what’s wrong with your overall set up is any. Next, a simple question:

Do you know why can I do that and tell us?

Regards and enjoy the music,

Btw, many times my posts are not even close to what the thread OP or other gentlemans " like " to hear. Sometimes my posts akes " happy " to any one but in all cases I have only one attitude: help and share my experiences.

My opinion has the same " weigth " that any other person including yours and obviously that can be wrong.

This would have been a good question 20 years ago, but with the state of the art with CD players and DACs today, I personally think getting into vinyl playback in a big way today, without an extensive collection of vinyl in your possession, is a fool's errand.  I have an updated SOTA Sapphire vacuum TT, acrylic platter, high end tone arm and a Dynavector 20X10 MC cartridge and honestly I can't be bothered to play it hardly ever.  My Oppo 103D sounds pretty much the same and is a whole lot less hassle.   I have done a fair bit of A/B testing on my system and that of my friend's  $50K system, and I find no significant improvement of analogue over digital, none at all.   

I understand guys upgrading their TT's when they have 1000's of LP's, but starting from the get-go, I think you will incur lots of expense that will not be commensurate with your listening experience.  I am an old fellow and loved analogue 30 years, but I have moved on as the digital technology at even a modest price point will be better than sound of a pricey TT.  Mike Fremer of course disagrees, but I urge you to demo a pricey TT rig compared to a decent CD player and let your ears be your guide as to how expansively you want to open your wallet to get into the realm of analogue playback.  Good luck.  

Goodness people, pay attention. The OP has 5,000 LPs available to him, he grew up in audio, he's lived with a very nice system including analog. He posed a simple philosophical question in his original post and the commentary that has ensued has ranged from constructive on-point discussion of his original musings to telling him how to build an audio system to calling him an idiot and a child. Please READ the OP's comments and do both him and the rest of us the courtesy of trying to stay on topic.

Sorry. Rant over.

The question was "What's the point of diminishing returns"? And then he mentions 25K; well it's long before you get to 25K for people with the bucks, who can see down the road. If the question had been what's the ultimate rig, that would have been a horse of a different color.

I think there are a lot of good responses as far as a top flight simple rig is concerned; the SME-20 was a good example.

When the OP went from his original question to 25K, that changed everything, because that's way past "diminishing returns" and that is what everybody is telling him, but if he's got 25K to blow, let the good times roll.
Orpheus: When the OP went from his original question to 25K, that changed everything, because that’s way past "diminishing returns"

This is a fine point, orpheus. You presented your perspective on the question he raised. For you, $25k is already past the point of diminishing returns. Okay, that’s one experience and value proposition. It wouldn’t be mine; it’s clearly not the OP’s.

More importantly, though, is the BASIS on which we each evaluate and determine the point of diminishing return.

There clearly is no absolute monetary figure. As in so much of the investment we each make in our audio systems, we are dealing with: 1) what differences do we hear, 2) do we consider the differences material GIVEN OUR LISTENING PRIORITIES (which are different for each of us), 3) how much enjoyment do we anticipate from that difference we’ve identified, 4) what discretionary budget do we have available, and 5) to what alternate use would we put that discretionary budget and how do we value that alternate use?

To simply state a monetary figure just means that FOR US this is the figure at or beyond which we’ve answered items 1-5. In the OP’s situation, he answered these items with a pretty clear determination that he was okay with this discretionary budget figure at 25k - all 5 questions were answered to his satisfaction.

The implicit question was "Will I find a similar compelling rational to move to an even higher expenditure if I had the opportunity to hear something even better than I’ve heard thus far?" Seems to me that this answer is different for different people; there are only factors to be weighed not proscriptions.

Great posts and I missed the fact that he has 5K of LPs so shame on me for my post.  With this updated information, my best suggestion would be for him to contact my pal A. J. Conti at Basis and get his recommendations.  Whether he will need to sell one or more of his Porsches to acquire his ultimate analogue rig is a decision he will have to wrestle with as there is no set point when we are considering the law of diminishing returns.   On the other hand, the Orbit Basic TT might be all he needs.   Just my take as a guy who has moved on from vinyl.    

Whitestix, I regret to have to tell you but AJ Conti passed away recently. See:

Basis will continue but we have lost a terrific audio designer. I agree that he developed some excellent turntables and tonearms.
For me It's simple.
When the system disappears, And all your left with is a band playing 
You have arrived.

All you need is the right combination. The room itself needs to be soft. Clap and if you hear an echo it's not a good thing. I have an Audire Crescendo which which cost me $500 which I would recommend. They usually run around a grand.
   It's like owning a super car. If you buy a super car because you don't know what to do with all of your money. Then buy a super car. On the other hand if you take out a loan to buy a super car you are a fool.
   If I was to put a cap on it. I'd say you could reach the minimum requirements for a audiophile system for as little as $4000-$5000 bucks. But at that range it has to be a passion where your constantly buying and selling older used stuff to compare.

Happy listening
@mmporsche You seem to know what you are doing and how to do it.
To answer your original question, although I don't know why anyone else's opinion should even matter, I couldn't hold my head up if I couldn't complete the task with $15,000. Much less given time and the option of used equipment.
Your ears are the most important component. Developing them takes time and effort, no matter what your budget is. That's the hidden lie in that old Maxell commercial. You can't just buy connection. 

I think learning to hear is the great joy of audio, but that's just me. And anyway my Porsche is just a lowly 1980 Euro SC. Maybe I haven't gone fast enough...
@rushton @rauliruegas  I am proud to have you both as friends as you both regularly wake the conversation and set it back to where it will serve some good. 

Live music must be the reference if you focus on classical & acoustic jazz. If your music of choice is rock, "what's real" is always going to be subject to massive interpretation, so let's not even go there.

Listening to as much gear in as many real home type rooms is going to help you train your ears and learn what "takes you there" -- back to that reference where the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you feel the goosebumps. Get in a local audio club, people! When gear synergy & room setup work for you, take note and figure out why it's right FOR YOU. This experience will go a long way to defining each of our own definitions of the point of diminishing returns. That won't be a dollar figure! Cheers,

I have written extensively on the fraud of vinyl in today's modern audio world.

If 65 dB (1/2 that of say a snare drum) and that "warm sound" (meaning 2nd degree harmonic distortion) is good enough for you then vinyl is your choice. You get a low resolution, high distortion format that is dead.

Note: CD is dead too as its not enough digital material to make a truly "analogous" reproduction of music compared to a 24-bit 96 (or 192) kHz file which is in effect a direct copy of the master tape. YES PEOPLE - you can buy meaningful music in volume at master tape quality. HDTrack.com and elsewhere. 

You can buy all the cool gear in the world here on Audiogon.com thus essentially creating an audiophile Ferrari. The SECOND you spin one lame-ass, low resolution LP and you've fueled said Ferrari with 50 octane gas. I will take a pair of $600 Elacs, a small Elac integrated amp, a small subwoofer and some 24 bit files in a CHEAP system and blow one of these Ferrari's out of the water in term of performance while saving TENS upon TENS of thousands of dollars. Buck up for better gear and room acoustics - and the experience only gets better. A LOT better. I am just saying you can't fake master tape quality audio as a starting point people.

Most importantly, and I get punished for saying this by readers and even some advertisers, the audiophile hobby is literally and figuratively DYING. The people who design the gear, sell the gear and who buy the gear have made it a nerdy, one-person sitting in a dark room hobby and its not growing. The so-called and unfounded resurgence of vinyl is promoting the sales of music on a physically degrading media in the used domain. It speaks in NO WAY to the future of the format and its future audiences who listen to tons of music - but more streaming and on their phones. CD is a dead format but it sold 100x more volume according to SoundScan last year. New vinyl in its entirety is a "multi-platinum" format. That's right EVERY DISC SOLD sells about 3m units. EA Sports can sell more Madden Football in 30 minutes than all of vinyl in an entire year across all format. People want high resolution over retro tech snobbery.

I ask you to consider the way you look at your system and its future. Do you listen to music in its highest resolution? Do you stream every CD known to man for $20 per month (yes, Tidal is pretty cool and would only be the BEST if they went HD via MQA) or are you stuck in the past? If you are stuck - consider this post an invite to change. Its not too late and there a lot to gain including making ALL of the investments you've made in your system sound EVEN BETTER. 
I have to laugh when someone writes that a media is dead. I don't give a rat's a$$. I have over 100 LPs, 80 CDs, a few SACDs, DVD-As and HDCDs. I am not going to put them in the trash no matter what. I got a better TT and cartridge last year. I enjoy my LPs more now. I got a better CD player this year. I enjoy my CDs more now. 
Dear @sbank : You are rigth, LIVE MUSIC must or should be the REFERENCE and nothing else.
 For me that's means that we must to stay in " constant " touch with as each one time could permit it.

All other kind of music experiences can enrich each one audio system experiences and each one control over that audio system.

Every audio system ( " poor " one or extremely expensive ones. ) can make " sound " but only  a few can make MUSIC: can really put us nearest to the MUSIC and how all human beens are " involved " by that MUSIC. Digital and Analog can make MUSIC but that does not depends on the media each one we use but depends on each one of us knowledge level and skills.

You, @rushton , @mmporsche , me and any one else are where we are not because the audio system it self but because each one of us skills and knowledge levels to fullfil each one targets. I can say I'm almost " there " as many of you.
Many of our audio systems only makes sound not MUSIC and we need to learn how to achieve this last target.

@rushton did not arrives where he is with the today system, he learned and I'm sure that he still do it even today. I know I'm doing as you Spencer.

Normally is the audio system whom has the overall control over us and only when we start to change that fact to be we the ones that have the control is when the system start to make MUSIC.

Audio life is an audio life full of frustrations till we " arrive ".

I don't know what @mmporsche could think when through the time he suddenly listen other person home audio system where he takes in count it performs really better than his 80-90K+ home system but where those experiences came from a humble 30K system!!!

I already has experiences listening 200-350K systems where what I listened was only sound. Those audio systems are the ones that has the CONTROL not the owners of it.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Rushton, I was doing something unrelated to music or stereo, and it hit me, "Rushton said 25K was not the point of diminishing returns for him". What is the point where he feels comfortable, since 25K isn't even close.

could you give me an idea of what tone arm, cartridge, and TT you feel comfortable with?

I listened to a 100% top of the line ARC reference system that had been set up by the masters in a "High End Salon", and I heard things I had never heard before on a "Santana" CD. "Abraxas" was the name of the CD, and I wore out a few copies of the LP, so I was quite familiar with it; I'm wondering just how much more could I have heard on the LP?

Usually I end with "Enjoy the music", but if I had a megabuck analog rig, I would be so focused on the rig, that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the music. Do you focus on the rig, or the music?

I'm sure in selecting individual items for an analog rig, you don't say, "Give me dis dat and the other thing" (an attempt at humor) How do you select these world class components? Do you fly to Zurich to audition a tone arm or TT, or do they send you several for your inspection?

Enjoy the music.

@mmporsche As @rushton mentioned @slipknot1 selling his Walker table & most of his other gear due for his medical bills, I know he is a huge skier and he would be more than likely to deliver to Colorado during ski season & set it up for you.

I've heard that table at his home over a dozen times and can affirm that it is not only astounding, but it's astounding precisely because it draws you into the music so that you aren't thinking about the gear when you listen to it. It's all about the music! Cheers,

With all due respect, I'm unclear how the post from hometheaterreview is off point.

And I find your comment about telling someone to go watch a movie to be insulting. The forum is a place for everyone to practice freedom of speech and share their views. Equally importantly, the comment from hometheaterreview is exactly on point. In fact, the only thing off point is your comment because it provides no factual commentary or advice for mmporsche. 

The topic of this thread is about the "point of diminishing returns" on a turntable (which is another way of debating the point of diminishing return of vinyl). Hometheaterreview's comment is about how vinyl is an unwise investment because it is an inferior technology in almost every way to today's high-resolution music -- which by the way, is the ONLY format that can approach the dynamics and capture the details of the original master tape. It is an indisputable fact that an LP is a low-resolution, high-distortion format that degrades with each playing. Hometheaterreview is 100% correct:  that "warm" sound you hear is harmonic distortion.

The best advice for mmporsche may be to embrace modern technology and spend his money on a format which is far superior to any turntable at any price. I'm sorry but lambasting someone for voicing that view -- in a knowledgable way might I add -- adds zero value added to this discussion. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch a movie. Thanks.
Post removed 
Here is a good example of "Don't feed the trolls," folks. Two posters (or is it one?) with 4 posts and 3 posts to their names. The tone is abusive, the comments completely off-topic. I've reported the abuse. I hope others will do similarly so we can move back on topic or move on in general to discussions of more interest. Seems like we've worn this one out and @mmporsche may be wishing he never started the discussion.
Anyone else wonder whether hometheaterreview's (apparently the owner of hometheaterreview.com) opinion about digital vs. analog media is in any way influenced by the fact that home theater software is only available in digital formats? 
I believe, there is a big difference between freedom of expression and freedom of defecation. There are unfortunately a few low resolution brains working here.
I think, the OP will consider what we had to say and will make his choice soon. Whatever that will be should sound excellent or better.

@shydog17 - you state that "the forum is a place for free speech and sharing of views," to paraphrase. Then you proceed to do the opposite of "sharing" when you make blanket assertions that disparage other points of view, without any examples or evidence. Or you create straw-men, as when you assert that vinyl lovers supposedly like a "warm" sound, again with no evidence. that's why people lump you in with the shouter you're defending. 
@hometheaterreview I appreciate your comments about vinyl being dead and the convenience and quality of streaming. I have a very nice PS Audio DAC with a Bridge II and I stream Tidal regularly. I also have a respectable OPPO 105D player. I don’t dispute your facts although I have not verified any of them, doesn’t matter to me.

I do believe you are missing something about the "experience" of listening to vinyl. Am I paying more for a piece of vinyl that wears out? Yes. Does it pop once in a while? Yes. All the other "negative" things you said are true. However, for me it IS about the experience and some of the ritual. The flipping through physical albums at the local WaxTrax or Twist & Shout in Denver to find some cool artist I am not familiar with or track. The cleaning of the records through my ridiculously overpriced ultrasonic cleaner, carefully pulling them from their anti-static sleeves and clamping them. Is it inferior technology, maybe or definitely according to you but I don’t care.

I have a small collection of mechanical watches that have to remain on an expensive watch winder or they stop and lose time. Can I buy a $10 digital watch that is more accurate at telling time? Yes. Do I want to own that POS? NO!

I drive a 1998 manual transmission car that isn’t as fast as the more modern cars and you have to Interact with the car to match downshifts for example. I don’t care, it is more involving and enjoyable to me. I would also point out that my analog car is ever increasing in value as the new fancy cars are not.

I also grew up rolling my own film and shooting completely manual photography and developing my film and spending thousands of hours in the dark room printing. Can I do all of this digitally today and have technically better results? Yes. Is it as rewarding? Hell no! I do shoot digitally, however, my camera allows me to change the lenses and have full control over the aperture and shutter to create the images exactly as I want.

So, you may have lots of facts about why digital is better than analog that I cannot dispute you and don’t care to honestly. I just like the involvement of vinyl and how you have to work to make the sound maybe be as good as digital. Remember I have both and use both but when I sit down for a dedicated, focused listening session I like to play with the vinyl, read the liner notes and be involved in my music.

Hometheater, The best thing you wrote in your uncalled for diatribe was, "End of rant".  Promise?  Because I don't think you're through bitching.  You're over, but not through.

Let me see if I understand your twisted logic: By spending money on new LPs, turntables, tonearms, cartridges, and phono stages, vinylphiles are "ruining the business". Yes, it's probably a dying business, but those of us who enjoy vinyl are certainly not to blame for that.  Meantime, my advice is cut back on the coffee.
Hi mmporsche,

Just wondering whether, at this point, you feel that all this help is helping?

Sort the wheat from the chaff and pm the best.

Best to you mmporsche,

Rushton, you stated that 25K would not be your point of diminishing returns, and neither would it be for the OP.

Now I'm just sitting here with my buttered popcorn waiting for some examples of the kind of rig someone would chose, when 25K did not approach that point the OP spoke of.

Maybe if 25K did not approach that point of diminishing returns, then possibly one of these turntables would be suitable;



Although I'm in the little league, I've always wanted to see how those in the big league play the game.

Enjoy the music.

Hometheaterreview and shydog,

Out of necessity, it is considered common courtesy not to get on a vinyl thread and tell everyone that vinyl sucks and digital rules and the same applies to vinyl people posting on digital threads. This is necessary because telling people that their format of choice sucks doesn’t change anyone’s mind and leads to a lot of arguing and hostility, you know, flame wars.

Most people are really tired of flame wars, name calling and hostility, so please be courteous and if you want to write about the superiority of digital, start a "Digital Rules" thread in the Digital Forum. It really does work better that way.

My apologies to all for the troll feeding. This is an interesting thread and I did not mean to cause any trouble.
So, do you think, with the wide range of views about where the point of diminishing returns kicks in, it is fair to say that the answer varies-- depending on a number of factors (system, record collection and budget, among them)?

I’ll throw out one provocative thought regarding the "money issue" which seems to be an undercurrent here-- that obscenely expensive tonearm that a few reviewers, starting with Fremer, have raved about--the SAT? (i think that’s the brand name). Crazy money, right?
But, what if, by using it, you can use far more modest cartridges? Top tier phono cartridges are nutty money today, and are "consumables"- so the cost of several cartridges would offset the extravagant price of the arm.
One last thought--for now. I have a fairly big league table and arm. It isn’t the latest and greatest and that is, in some ways, the point--I haven’t found a need to upgrade, modify or replace it since I bought it circa 2006-7. (Replaced a few belts and the manufacturer supplied one replacement part at no cost since I’ve owned it). In the long run, cheaper than trading up or sideways periodically.
I think the reason that the question posed by Dr. Porsche has elicited so many disparate responses (and arguments with nattering nabobs of negativism) is that the question calls for subjective opinions; we all have one.  I have always had the "feeling" that there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to all or any type of audio gear, but I have no idea where that point lies.  I don't think any of us have an answer that is generalizable to everyone else.  This dilemma has made a cheapskate out of me, most of the time, and induced me to become a DIY tinkerer and builder.  I do know what capacitors and resistors I prefer, but I could not and would not dare tell anyone else where he or she should stop spending money on a turntable.  For me, the "answer" is either my SP10 Mk3 turntable, heavily tweaked in a custom 100-lb slate and cherrywood plinth, in which my net investment is around $8K or my Kenwood L07D, restored to OEM operating condition, at an investment of about $3800.  But others who prefer belt-drive turntables would scoff at those choices and those valuations, preferring instead some modern $50K piece.  I don't take issue with that.  This is a fun hobby. I've heard the Walker turntable in its earlier iterations, and it is indeed superb, best sounding belt-drive I ever heard, but I am happy with what I've got.
So, Porsche baby, perhaps you should re-phrase your question or else take the responses that appeal to you the most and go for it. (In my lifetime, I owned just about every model of 356 Porsche ever made, up to and including a Carrera GT Speedster, and then a 550RS Spyder.)

lewm- you had a real 550 Spyder? Did you own it a while ago, before these cars reached Van Gogh painting prices? One of my heroes is Ed Niles (not even sure if he is still around). He bought, imported, drove and then sold (to fund further acquisition of) some of the great sports cars of the '50s and '60s --bought them when they were just tired old oddball cars on a professional's income (Ed was a lawyer). 
It is a fun hobby. Nice post. 
@mmporsche  Let me make a proposition. I will gladly spend day after day auditioning TT/TA/pre/cartridge combinations until I find THE one that resonates with heaven. I will bring it to you and if you allow me, set it up. (I have such fun doing that). If you are not satisfied, I will go out on the road again. All I ask is that you cover expenses and a small token, perhaps an Ayre CX-5eMP. Oh, OK. I'll settle for the Oppo.

I live between Short Hills and Far Hills, NJ. I have about 6 high-end dealers on my turf and can easily expand your search to NYC.

BTW, I think I can score a Nakamichi Dragon CT. Very rare and very unique concept. More like a Lambo than a Porsche. So act fast!

Rushton, mmporsche, did not state that 25K would be the point of diminishing returns, he said he had a budget of 25K.

You stated that 25K would not be your point of diminishing returns, and included the OP. I have always wondered what would be suitable for someone who does not consider 25K as the point of diminishing returns, and I'm still waiting.

I realize you wouldn't want to announce to the world that you had a 150K turntable in your listening room, so I'm just asking what do you consider "suitable"?

Enjoy the music.
This thread has strayed far from its original usefulness into what is tantamount to BS-ing in the barbershop, which is fine but not really on topic. One last thought on points of diminishing returns. Unless you dedicate a lot of energy to the entire signal up and down the line (as Raul said way upthread), and to your room, and to your set up, you’ll reach that point long before $25K. So spend it if you have it and have fun, because then it’s more about the toys than the sound, that that’s cool, too, but for different reasons.