Turntable Upgrade for Classical Listening

Earlier this year I started this thread: Classical on Vinyl

I talked about how the noise floor was generally too high on records for me to enjoy classical music. Considering I use an entry level U-Turn Orbit Plus (Ortofon 2M Blue Cart.), wouldn’t this be what’s holding me back? How much of an improvement would, let’s say, a Rega P3 be? What about as I move up the line, maybe a P6? Would that be a pretty major game changer that might get me to listen to classical on vinyl?

All my classical listening is currently done digitally.

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I’m afraid I can’t speak to the Regas - but I will say that my system with a VPI Scout + Sumiko cartridge and a Stellar Phono Pre has a super quiet noise floor. With a clean record in between tracks I wouldn’t even know it was on


A very broad question.
What is the condition of the records you’re unhappy with?
How do you clean the records?

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Before replacing the turntable I would try a different caliber cartridge, for example a Dynavector, famous for being very silent.

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I have a Rega P3 2016, I specifically wanted this one as it’s the first model that you can really modify with some stellar components to elevate it higher.

In my journey, these are the things I’ve found have made the biggest impact:

Subplatter: Going from the standard P3 plastic sub platter up to a GrooveTracer Reference subplatter with sapphire bearing was a major improvement.

Isolation feet: swapped out the standard rubber feet for some ISOAcoustics Orea Bronze, had problems with footfall on the floor, and this just eradicated that.

Cartridge: stepping up to an MC cart had a major impact, less surface noise, beautiful mids, punchier bass. Better separation

Phono stage: often gets overlooked, but incredibly important to the sound you’ll get out of your table.

Neo PSU: not certain I can discern an audible change here, but for generral ease of use switching from 45s to 33s, it’s an absolute must imho.

And as a side note, I had a custom lid made as I didn’t like having the included lid attached and open, preferred it with the lid off, felt there was some vibrations with the lid attached.

Out of all that what did I learn:

I’m really happy with my system, and it was fun making each upgrade, but if I did it all over again, I would plump straight for a P8. With all the mods, I probably doubled the cost of the turntable, most of the components are included in the higher end tables.

And yes, as @RonP says, condition is all important, and discogs can be a minefield. NM is the lowest I’ll go and I’ll spend months hunting for the right record. Somewhere like EIL where you know they will only supply NM condition unless otherwise stated, and their reputation preceeds them. Not sure if you’re UK based or across the pond.



I think one of the things that drove digital playback was the lack of noise.
In my experience even with extensive record cleaning regimens (manual RCMs with vacuum combined with ultrasonic machines) there are can be a fair amount of pops due to debris, static charges, etc…
Scratches of course can’t easily, if ever be eliminated.
That being said, an improved analog playback system has its own rewards notwithstanding the noise from records.

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There’s a VPI Prime Scout near me on craigslist that I’m looking at.


I’d put the records in the VG category. My cleaner is a Pro-Ject VC-E.

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Paulo, if your VG matches the Goldmine definition, then these records would be expected to have audible surface noise, mostly between tracks but even during play - although the surface noise during play “will not overpower the music”. That sounds like it might be a big factor right there. If your concern is mostly with noise coming off the record, then better quality copies and (as others have mentioned) a cart that is known for quiet playback will help the most. All the other stuff (feet, isolation, platters, clamps, etc) will help in other ways (and to a lesser degree with surface noise), but surface noise is primarily record quality and cartridge choice… and cartridge alignment.

Before you do anything, check your alignment and then try a record that is noted for being quiet. That’s not as easy as it might appear, given that different pressings of the same record can have different amounts of surface noise. Since you like classical, I’d suggest buying something from the DG The Original Source series of recordings. So far I have found them to be universally quiet and very very nice sounding. DG just announced they will be doing a re-release of the first series that sold early in 2023. Those will not be numbered, so my guess is they’d be from different (later) stampers. Try to get something that’s numbered. The numbered first series is pretty much sold out everywhere, but you should be able to find selections from the second series.


As has been stated, I would start with a new “audiophile” record from Acoustic Sounds.
This would be the least expensive way to go. If the record is quiet, then leave the rest of the chain alone.


That is a very common sense way to go about it.

Another thing I’m gonna take a look at is my cartridge alignment. Thought I did a pretty good job, but who knows, maybe it’s a little off.

What tool(s) do you use for this?

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I use the protractor tool that U-Turn gave me. Now I’m learning about “azimuth” which is something I never looked at before.

My Rega RP10 is a very quiet turntable in terms of silent backgrounds and minimizing surface noise. I have found better turntable cartridge combinations go a long way towards reducing and largely eliminating vinyl noise. And a Degritter helps immensely as well. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed with the Rega RP8 in comparison. Its motor controller is very noisy. In comparison.


For Azimuth adjustment I’ve read great things about the Fozgometer V2. I just bought one, which I’ll be using to adjust my Dynavector XX2MK2 on my Acustic Signature Double X w/TA1000 arm. The Fozgometer is supposed to be next best thing to an O-scope.

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Okay. Sounds like you’ve got a few more things to check out. Not sure which tool they gave you, but if needed there are others out there, including ones you can make yourself.

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This is what I use:

Okay. It looks like a two point alignment protractor. Similar to a dB Systems. Should work well enough, but yes you will have to deal with proper VTA and azimuth alignment - and zenith! For some reason most everyone ignored zenith alignment for years. It turns out IME to be a factor that has a lot to do with distortion, depending on the stylus shape. The 2M Blue is elliptical so it shouldn’t be too much of a factor, as long as the cantilever is lined up properly.

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That’s the problem in a nutshell, VG records may be holding you back. Regas are fine turntables. Knowing your budget would be most helpful for those offering suggestions. I’d skip the VPI Prime Scout and consider the VPI Prime as an alternative. Phono cartridge selection will be important as weel as phono stage IME. Having the VPI Prime as well as a Rega Planar 8 eiher line is a solid choice. Current Linn turntables are fine, but the Rega Naia comes to mind as an option at a significantly lower price than the new Linn turntable(s).