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[Poll] Best $1000–Class Turntable(s)? (pick up to three)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cyclone Ranger, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    Unless... you like Grado carts, which I do. So if it checks the other boxes, I imagine I'd be pretty happy to just slap on a fresh stylus every now and then. Music Direct had an open box at $720 a while back and it was tempting.

    Oh, to have a McMansion with ten systems throughout. (Yeah, I know, Sonos...:winkgrin:)
     
  2. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    Yeah, I perked up when I saw the new EAT, but the price tag and the Red were disappointing. The next model up is $400 more with a Blue. One would be silly to spend half the difference on a Blue stylus, given the other table upgrades.
     
  3. mike.

    mike. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tampa
    That's a good point and, frankly, one that I hadn't even considered lol. I did get a chance to audition the Cliffwood locally and it sounds insanely good. It would be a beast of 'table for someone just getting into vinyl. I just like to have the flexibility to make adjustments to the sound via VTA/SRA. It is cool that the table is ready to go right out of the box with very little adjustment needed.
     
    SpeedMorris likes this.
  4. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Perhaps not so surprisingly, Rega and Technics are now dominating the poll with a vengeance. :wantsome:

    Continue to feel a little bad for VPI... despite the company name, the cute lil' Cliffwood apparently does not have much mindshare/marketshare. Is it the marketing/lack thereof, or is it the product itself (no VTA, as noted elsewhere, or maybe just looks)?

    MoFi's StudioDeck is doing pretty well here, though that recent 20% price increase can't have been popular. :oops:

    On the plus side, no Rega vs VPI vs Technics flamewars have broken. Those are always annoying. :sigh:
    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
    Dan Steele and displayname like this.
  5. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It's just not that impressive. A dead in the water product from day one, including all its various iterations.
     
  6. Subagent

    Subagent All I know is What I Read in the Liner Notes

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    I think MoFi has a huge advantage being vertically integrated with a strong Internet retailer.
     
  7. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Pretentious Member

    Location:
    Pacific Beach, CA
    I'm curious to see where this poll goes as I'm considering upgrading my bedroom TT and would be willing to go up to the $1k range.
     
  8. Cal Cypher

    Cal Cypher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Aalst, Belgium
    About to upgrade my turntable as well. Would love to hear from someone who has experienced the Project the Classic (superpack) with an Ortofon Quintet Red and how that cartridge compares to the 2M range that is on the standard 'Classic.'
     
  9. mike.

    mike. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tampa
    I love VPI, truly, but I do agree. The problem is, newcomers with a $1k budget don't know who the hell VPI is...

    They don't do much marketing because the people that need to know about their stuff... know. Which doesn't really work when you have an entry level TT like this. Especially with its lack of features.

    I do understand why they're doing it, it's a good potential opportunity to get some new customers, but don't see it being viable.

    Whether they can afford to or not, I think they should probably stick with the $2k< market. That's what they're good at.

    I think the StudioDeck is probably the winner in the list.

    I also foresee Schiit's Sol being a very interesting entry into this price-range. Definitely not being aimed anywhere near the entry-level buyer. I think it's meant to be for the part-time audiophile with shallow pockets.
     
  10. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Yah... but I can't really blame VPI for going after the 'entry-level audiophile' market, aka what everyone else considers the rung above entry-level.

    For those keeping score at home:

    Utter crap/Crosley: sub-$99 USD
    'Everyman' Entry-level TTs: $99-299
    'Dangerous and Sad No-Man's Land where TT sound doesn't really get much better, but you still pay lots more than entry-level': $349-$649
    'Audiophile Entry-level, where some TTs finally do start sounding quite a bit better than entry-level': $699-1250

    I think they probably see it as an important market, what with many newcomers to vinyl thanks to the Vinyl Revival™, and many of those said newcomers eventually becoming curious about getting something better than the entry-level TT they came in on. Plus, something like the Cliffwood can be an effective 'gateway drug' to more expensive VPI products. Win-win.

    Or should be, since the Cliffwood's doesn't seem to wowing 'em down on the farm, far as I can tell. :(

    What gives? Maybe ultimately it's just perceived value, or lack thereof. Sonically, the Cliffwood should be quite good for the class... 7 lb. platter, decent Grado Green cart (instead of the ubiquitous-but-terrible Ortofon Red), and VPI's general rep for good mechanicals and build quality.

    But you LOOK at it, and you don't see the quality. It's just a fairly non-descript slab of brown-vinyl-wrapped MDF, like so:

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, the new Rega Planar 3 looks cool. The Technics SL1200Mk7 looks cool. The Mofi StudioDeck looks cool. The Schiit Sol, in it's own weird way, looks cool. The Pro-Ject Classic looks retro-cool. And so on and so forth.

    What can they do, IMO? Well, first off, drop the 'truffle brown' vinyl, and maybe the white too, stick to the black. Mat Weisfeld, VPI President, was on here insisting awhile back that the brown "looks better in person", and maybe it does, but Joe Average researching it is 90% likely to go by internet pics in creating his short list of TTs to look at... aka it doesn't much matter if it looks better in person, if it looks 'meh' in pics.

    Second, do something to increase the perceived value of Cliffwood. Buyers like to feel like they purchased a little something-something when they buy a component. Put the metal spiked feet and corner metal studs of, say, the old Scout 1.1 on it. Put a small metal nameplate on the front edge or the plinth top. Make it look substantial, like it's worth something.

    Third, 900 bucks really is not a 'magic price point' in the consumer's mind. Maybe offer it for $795 without cartridge, with an option to get it for $995 with say a 2M Blue or Naga mp150 or Grado Gold2 installed, aka something fairly good, something that'll reinforce the newcomer's perception that, "Whoa, okay, this definitely IS quite a step up".

    And, if I had my druthers, I'd change the name too, since 'Cliffwood' doesn't mean anything to anyone. But, considering how many different entry-level products they've cycled through in the past few years, yet another name change would just add unwanted confusion.

    And then finally, I'd advertise quite a bit more. This thing just doesn't have the mindshare it could/should.

    My 2.0 cents. And for the record, I'm not even particularly a VPI fan (didn't vote for 'em in the poll). It's just that this one looks so much like a missed opportunity, if you follow. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
    Big Blue and Robert C like this.
  11. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    It's gonna be totes fascinating if the Sol can do what ppl are hoping it will... totally bust up the traditional price-performance equation by offering the performance of say a $1500 TT for around half that. Albeit in what'll likely be a slightly finicky package with some teething pains.

    *fingers crossed*
    .
     
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The Cliffwood has been through a few different iterations and none of them were successful (sold off at reduced price). The problem is what you say, and the fact that newcomers don't care about a small company that has inefficient economies of scale.

    I used to visit a huge site with loads of vinyl trend newcomers. Hardly anyone expressed interest in the VPI entry level stuff (that goes for the discontinued Traveler as well).

    Most people with a tight budget that wanted new bought a U-Turn or LP120. It's pretty much still like that today, with maybe a few more options out there from Teac and Fluance.

    Those that had a little more bought a Pro-Ject or Rega sub-$500 model.

    If anyone had a bit more than that to spend they tended to move up the lines in the above brands.

    Beyond that, people want point and click on Amazon, especially newcomers that are relatively clueless and lazy and don't want to do much legwork. Point and click and plug and play are the name of the game. That is why powered speakers are so popular for these types of folks.
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  13. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    I believe you're thinking of the Traveler.....Cliffwood has not really changed much (any) in the almost 2 years it's been out.
     
  14. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    AFAIK the Cliffwood is the same thing as the Player which was previously called the Nomad, sans headphone amp. Nomad dates back to 2014.
     
    GoldprintAudio likes this.
  15. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    Player is an updated Nomad. Cliffwood drops the headphone amp and internal phono stage, and adds a Grado cart (versus the Ortofon cart on the others).

    The Cliffwood has been a decent seller for VPI actually (even had issues of backorders with them at one point).
     
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Decent for them? Maybe, but that could mean a lot of things. It's not setting the world on fire in terms of turntables at its price point though.
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  17. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    I don't believe VPI ever went in to this price range expecting to sell as many Cliffwoods as Rega does Rp3.

    The Cliffwood has been a successful table for VPI.
     
  18. mike.

    mike. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tampa
    EDIT:
    The Player has a different tonearm and does have VTA adjustment.
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  19. redchaser

    redchaser Member

    Location:
    Lafayette, La
    I'm a bit of a tinkerer so think I would actually enjoy having to really set up the Sol, so that won't in any way discourage me if it's able to live up to what people are saying and hoping it will do.
     
  20. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    So, no go on that link?

    Actually might be interested in a cheap GEM Dandy, if it exists..
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  21. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Yes, I erred, out of this price range. If you could find a demo, you might get one within your price point.
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  22. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Feels like the dust has settled at this point... and the Rega Planar 3 and Technics SL1200Mk7 have run away with it, and then some. :wtf:

    Not that those two are the only good choices...
    .
     
    Bananas&blow likes this.
  23. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    A few stores already started taking preorders for the MK7. Value Electronics (a Technics dealer) says they don't expect them until late June.
     
    Bananas&blow and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  24. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Yup. I think everyone's just assuming it'll sound a lot like earlier SL1200s. Which, probably it will...
    .
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  25. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I'm sure there will be a feeding frenzy for them. The tough part is whether or not people want to wait until June for one. That might open up more sales for the GR and used/refurb 1200s. I may be in this boat soon.
     

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