Originally Posted by bruck7
I'll be leaving the 2M Red that it comes with to start off for a while. Will that pair well with the preamps you suggested?
I've heard nothing but good things about the Red. I have a Sumiko pearl through a happy accident (my stock cart was broken when I got it, and Crutchfield didnt' have a replacement, so they gave me an upgraded cart - I didn't complain). The pearl is a big upgrade over the OM-5E that came with the Debut III, and I've heard the red is at least as good, if not better than the Pearl. Should pair well with any quality preamp.
Looking at the speed box as my first upgrade, since it seems like that is a good first step up for sound quality/accuracy. In your opinion, should I just get it with the TT, or wait a while and see? I'm not too keen on the whole thing being upwards of $600 at once...does it sound logical to wait until the cartridge is at least broken in?
I'd wait and see, but I've also heard nothing but good things. I like my Debut III fine without it, but it's first on my list of upgrades when the time comes. There are lots of others who think its essential, and think that the speed control on the TT is crap without it. You certainly wouldn't be wasting your money if you do decide you want it right away.
Lastly (I know I'm all over the place here), do I need to pick up a Sure weight gauge, or will everything it comes with be enough to balance the tone arm and setup?
Couldn't hurt, but it's not necessary. The weight gauge will be more accurate than the plastic ring that comes with the counterweight, but you'll still be able to dial in the counterweight fairly accurately without the weight gauge. Just get the tonearm balanced, dial the ring to 0.0, and turn the counterweight until it reads the correct setting for your cart. The instructions are pretty good and setup is about as easy as a belt drive TT can be.