LOL! Yes, the RPM5 is tremendous, and a bargain over here in Australia in the mid $800s. It is living proof of how important the actual platform and tonearm is. The Goldring was recommended to me by Teresa Goodwin who runs the Analog Lovers
site. I had heaps of tracking problems with my previous Debut III - it just couldn't handle my beloved Mercury reissues in particular - it just hopelessly mistracked causing lots of audible distortion and sibilance, espcially on the last inch of the grooves where the distortion just made the whole vinyl experience a very painful one.
I tried about 3 different alignments (including a Stevenson) which barely made any difference at all. I even tried an Ortofon 2M Black which just made matters a whole lot worse - a first class demonstration that the turntable and tonearm come first, then the cartridge. I wasn't going to spend money to try umpteen different cartridges, so I just bought the one she recommended because she has the same tonearm, listens to the same stuff and didn't have the tracking problems I was having.
Anyway, to be honest I have to stick with this new combination. There are some 60 plus still-in-print LPs that I still wish to acquire...while they are still in print. And that does not count about 2 or 3 new releases I want every month. At this rate I wonder how I will ever keep up or even catch up.
As for the transcriptions, luckily I had barely got into them with the old turntable. I have spent probably 95% of the last 6 months learning the tricks of the transcription trade and trying to find the best hardware / software combinations and technique to get the desired result. So just about all the time was spent learning and doing "test" runs. I only ended up doing 2 LPs because of that and pretty soon I realised that the time I was going to have to invest in this warranted a much better front end.
Afterall, I reckon I probably expend something like 10 - 15 hours per LP because I am a near-perfectionist and by choice (for sonic reasons) do all the noise reduction manually via interpolation. So I want the best source files that I can possibly get.