As your a beginner I suggest you get a beginner set rather than a professional one. Search for "jas musicals" on google and go on their site, you can find some tabla sets there. I personally buy mine from india :umm:
I wouldn't buy it of ebay or do something stupid like that, it's really hard to tell the quality of a tabla unless you play it for yourself. If you don't live near southall or in london then i'm sure there are other shops that sell tablas. Quality does vary from one tabla set to another so be put off if the sound quality of the beginner set isn't good enough, i'm sure your not going to play in a concert in front of thousands of people.
By the way, where do you live?
That's the wrong way to go about it, because you really do play as well as your instrument. If you have a set of $500 tabla that are expertly tuned and have a wide range of sound, then you will hear the difference and you'll feel the difference when playing. The down side to that, is that they're 500 bucks and if you wreck 'em, well, you don't wanna wreck 'em :umm: Try shooting for somewhere in the middle, and expect to pay around $200 for a good set.
If your a beginner, your a beginner. Even if you play zakir hussains tabla it won't make you any better. Not all cheap sets are crap quality, depends where you buy it.
If you get more practice and start having more and more lessons from your teacher then you can go and buy a batter one if you want.
Tabla player one can produce good sound in a bad quality tabla, tabla player two can also do it but in a really good quality tabla (concert/pro set). Obviously the first tabla player is better...
However, it's up to the topic starter what he/she wants to buy. Good luck.