Thanks for the comments, which are mainly supportive and useful.
I have tried the new Rega Planner 3 with its Elys 2, but unfortunately, it came no where close to the turntables I mention, nor my Naim streamer with Chord Hugo.
It would seem pointless to purchase the Rega ‘to get back into and try vinyl again’, on the basis that I would want something to exceed the performance level of my digital source - otherwise, why bother .... the vinyl simply wouldn’t get played and this defeats the object.
Having previously owned a Linn LP12 for many years, I was more than happy with the sound and wouldn’t want to invest in a new turntable, which did not match its performance.
If I did, I suspect that the turntable simply wouldn’t get played and it would be a wasted investment .... inevitably leading to wanting to check out the better performance decks - which was the whole point.
You may ask, why not simply go for the Linn again?
Well .... things have moved on in the last 20 years ... particularly at the price level I quoted originally. There may be better performance from other manufacturers (e.g. the highly acclaimed VPI Prime) compare to the Linn at that price point.
The Linn would previously have always been my first choice, but there are now other equally fine decks out there.
I am aware of the care required with vinyl and its inherent clicks and pops ... but that does not concern me. After all, I was playing records well before CDs came along
If I could audition the VPI against the Linn here in NZ, I wouldn’t have needed to post on the forum. I am simply seeking informed guidance from actual users of the decks, who may have had the opportunity to compare etc.
It’s a fine balance between the cost outlay and the performance level, which is why I am considering the decks I mentioned.
Unfortunately, I could not justify the cost of a full Klimax level LP12 - particularly since I have digital sourced too.
I simply want a turntable which matches the performance of my digital and not be disappointed, each time a play a record .... and regret not buying a better turntable in the first place.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I just wanted to explain the rationale for not wanting to buy an entry level deck to ‘dip my toe in the water’ ... I already know what sound performance level will or won’t satisfy.
So, I go back to my original question/post!
Thank you for those who took the time to add sound and valuable advice and I welcome other such comments.