A system for my college-bound daughter


UGHH!!! Usually, the thought of creating a new system would be fun, but it's my daughter, and this time it's not. 

Sources wanted: Turntable, CDs, Airplay Streaming

Cost: Would be nice to keep under $1K, certainly under $1,500 (true… that's less than the cost of a cartridge in my main turntable). Way less is fine and encouraged, but I don't want to buy her crap and have her go down the wrong road.

Why I'm finding this hard: WAF but at an even higher level (Teen Acceptance Factor!). She likes the way Crosley looks, but even she admits the sound is crap. Hmm, Peachtree might work. I used to have Peachtree Nova. It was overrated, but it would be a fine start for her. The only thing is that the one with integrated wireless would consume most of the cost, leaving little for speakers and a turntable (I'm sure I could get a cheap solution for playing CDs).  
 
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Go to a Best Buy and look around.
Research Denon mini systems (usually around $500 -w- speakers/cd) and add a TT/phono.

Easily doable for under $1K.

I would  purchase from a vendor with a good return/replacement policy in the event that you receive a dud.

DeKay
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I had a similar search a few years back. Two options that were at the top of my list were Vanatoo and Napa Acoustic. I saw and heard them both at a show and was impressed with the performance at such a low price point.

I ended up handing down gear instead, but would have been happy with a system based around either vendor.
I would just get Grado RS-1 headphones and Audioquest Black dac/headphone amp. That would be good enough sound with computer source. If she needs speakers too, Audioengine powered speakers should be enough, if not - Dynaudio powered speakers.
Honest question and no offense intended; been there.  Does she want those; or, do you want them for her?
I'm with Inna ...

A pair of Audioengine A2+ (powered) speakers, a little Audioengine DAC, all connected to her laptop computer would sound nice. I speak from experience here. Add a ten-dollar per month subscription to Spotify Premium and you're home free.  I also listen through my Grado RS-1 headphones too. 

Frank
MartinLogan Crescendo-x will be top of the list look wise and perhaps sound wise too...still have enough money left to add a CD and turntable.
https://www.martinlogan.com/en/product/crescendo-x
Audioholics just did a favorable review of the + Record Player all in one system.
Powered speakers would be my choice as well. Peachtree m25 is similar to the audioengine which are good as well but the m25’s have bluetooth, digital inputs and phono stage. Get some stands from monoprice and a turntable and your all set. 
I have to say the Audioengine is a good choice for a college dorm room. Add the sub and if she’s listening to hip-hop or anything that should do. I remember my college days everyone had killer systems and the volume coming from the rooms were crazy, even back then it was a competition 
That's my home computer listening set-up : Grado RS-1 and Burson Audio Conductor Virtuoso dac/headphone amp.

Frank, do you have vintage or classic Grado, or recent ?
Oh, and I use Wywires Silver digital cable and Wywires Silver power cord for the Burson.
Vanatoo active speakers. $600 tops. Great sound via Bluetooth even and just add a turntable if needed.

https://vanatoo.com

Slam dunk for top notch sound in a inexpensive compact package packed with good technology.  



inna ...

I’m not sure what "vintage" RS-1s would be. I bought mine direct from John Grado at the CES in 1999. Also, I’m using an Ocos speaker cable to hook up the A2+ speakers together. The speakers sit on PPT mats and the PC is covered with the PPT Alpha E-Cards. A little PPT Total Contact is in use too. Also in use is Audioengine's little DAC. Overall, it is a very good sounding computer system.

Here's some interesting history on the Grado company:

https://gradolabs.com/company/timeline?skipto=heritage

Frank
Frank, you either have classic Grado or even earlier vintage, not sure.
I have classic.
Yes, interesting story.
They may say whatever they want but Grado RS-1 have very engaging, emotional character, and do pace and rhythm just right.
I tried Audeze and Sehnheiser, not top of line, somewhere in the middle - no thank you.
A few ideas for you...
Fluance tt for ~$350 including an Ortofon cartridge is getting plenty of raves. Steve Guttenberg has reviews on youtube. They look pretty impressive and less costly than the vintage restored Thorens I bought for my daughter. 
Powered speakers that will accept bluetooth would be a good move lifestyle-wise. For my TV, I use powered Edifiers (bookshelfs + sub) that sound & look surprising great for ~$450. They have optical toslink input that could be fed by something like an SMSL or a similar dac that receives bluetooth as well as the usual inputs via computer, etc. 
Lots of the cheap stuff w/phono pre built-in isn't very good. A $129 Schiit Mani would be a big improvement if it fits the plan. Cheers,
Spencer
Wilson tune tots or Magico A1. Perfect little speakers for a cheap dorm room system. Perfect for casual listening. 

If you are a superior audiophile like me you would need a custom tuned speaker system made of concrete a few feet thick. No rattling. Only perfect sound. With vents to the outdoors so no internal vibrations. The only thing you hear is EXACTLY what the artist intended. 
She has no interest in headphones beyond her apple earbuds, I’ve tried for Christmas one year and that was a mistake. We touched base and she confirmed that a small stereo system was what she wanted although she doesn’t want it until she goes off to college in the fall so there is time. If I had my wishes, it would be a vintage system, but she won’t like the way that looks so I need to keep looking. She’s bought a few LPs and wants to play them, says she expects to buy more, so a turntable is a must. Thanks for all the suggestions, keep them coming.
@kenjit.... budget dude.... Tune Tots are not happening @1k...

to the OP-

Marantz M-CR610 or 612 (CD, airplay, BT etc...)
B&W 607’s
Rega P1 plus (has phono stage integrated)

done.
Wilson tune tots or Magico A1. Perfect little speakers for a cheap dorm room system. Perfect for casual listening.

If you are a superior audiophile like me you would need a custom tuned speaker system made of concrete a few feet thick. No rattling. Only perfect sound. With vents to the outdoors so no internal vibrations. The only thing you hear is EXACTLY what the artist intended.

One can only gape in awe at the dogged determination, single-minded obsession, and utter obliviousness of this most magnificent of suggestions. 
If she’s in a dorm, get her a Headphone amp with a DAC and some decent headphones, plus a cheap Bluetooth speaker for parties. Her IPhone or IPad will be fine as a source. 
How big will be that dorm room?

I would say Bluetooth speaker or, if she insists on more, a little (almost) all-in-one system a few above have mentioned (Denon, Marantz, Yamaha). That would include powered speakers as mapman and others suggested.

More than anything, ask her to wait until she moves into her room. She may decide to forgo a turntable, real system, etc. It is wonderful planning for life in college, but reality may send her wishes elsewhere.

Also...

"I’ve tried for Christmas one year and that was a mistake. "


That was a long time ago. She is a different person now and will be even more different come this fall. Which is not to say that Apple earphones will ever fall to be her second choice.
Cambridge Audio AX line - integrated amp with phono stage at $350, CD player at $350, a U-Turn tt at $180, and Kef Q150 speakers at $300 - all in under $1200.  Be great in a dorm.  Look at the accessories 4 less for that speaker pricing - or wait for a sale.
Might check into the PS Audio SProut. Small integrated amp with DAC and phonostage. Small bookshelf speakers. 
Sprout is a good suggestion. IIRC, they're discontinuing or updating so the older version may be available for a bargain price new. Cheers,
Spencer
Try Naim audio mu-so, but she will probably still need a turntable.
But the sound will be sweet.  Something she could use for years to come.

KEF LSX- there was a open box for $999.00 at Music Direct. Just add TT. Kids probably will stream anyway. Mine does.
Sean Fowler has his “Zero Fidelity” videos on YouTube. This one is his recommendation for affordable quality amp and speakers. Your daughter could stream through the system or add accessory equipment.   Worth a look:

https://youtu.be/6UcVCk27N8I
There is a new pair of Pioneer SP-21BS speakers that could be purchased for ~$110. A very good 4" bookshelf speaker. Would allow for most of your budget for amplification and turntable as keepers. Speakers could be updated later as she gets to know her preferences and/or leaves the dorm room. The pioneer speakers do respond to quality components.
I would start with the Vanatoo active speakers that @mapman recommended, and add whatever else you need from there. Would probably only need a TT (with built-in phono pre-amp) and you would be done.
Her first consideration, IMHO, is real estate.
My son is a freshman and, even if it was a priority, he would not have space for anything more than a laptop and some Audioengine A5+ speakers. Even then, the A2+ would be a better choice.
Considerations include: roomate(s), clothing, food, food prep devices, computers, furniture, books, sports equipment, LPs, CDs, etc.
However, if she is fortunate to have the space, why not: NAD D3020 (with phono pre), any number of Elac/PSB/Pioneer speakers, Music Hall/ProJect/U-turn turntable, and a CD transport (sorry, I got nothing here)

Queue, “Four Yorkshiremen”...

My freshman year, for three of us iirc, all non-essential electronics consisted of: 2 lamps, a kettle for water, NAD 7140, Nakamichi BX-125 cassette deck, Ariston Q-deck turntable, Yamaha NS-75(?) speakers, Macintosh 512k with internal floppy, and a Macintosh 1024k (Fat Mac) with TWO floppy drives.
Is the college nearby so you can check out the living arrangement, her personal space before making a purchase?

Are roommates involved?


The PS Audio Sprout looks awesome, thanks. I’m ordering one. 
Also ordered a red Pro-ject Essential III and Elac Unifi UBS speakers. Will be interesting to hear it when we set it up. As good as my Ayre stack, Vandersteen 5As, and Viella V12? Maybe! 
Does she have any say in this?
Congrats. You did well. I am sure she will enjoy.  
I enjoyed all the responses and it made me recall I my 1971 college dorm system, hand me downs from my dad mostly....
Sherwood S-8000 IV receiver (tubes)
Dual 1009, probably a Shure M44 cart
Electro-Voice bookshelves bought new on a close out for less than $100.
Tandberg 12 RTR with muddy audio on 1 channel.

i didn’t replace until 1974, speakers stayed with me until 1977.
Skipped the Project, had a better idea. Rega Planar 1, set up by Nick at Audio Connection. It’s a really nice turntable for the money. The PS Audio Sprout is very nice. I’m not 100% on the Elacs, they seem a bit bass heavy (no, it’s not the bass boost on the Sprout and *weirdly* I like it better when the bass boost is on) but I haven’t heard of many college students who complain about too much bass. I suggested she take a pair of my B&W P7s, which she thought might be ok after all. The system is hit with her, now we just have to figure out what to put it on in her (current) room.

Thanks for all your help!
The Vanatoo powered speakers would work great.  They have some B stock for $499.  I have the smaller desktop ones for my computer and they sound very good.

Best pickup line ever, "Wanna hear my new speakers?" Steely Dan or Michael Franks(back in the day) and it's all over. LOL. Cheers,
Spencer
Does your daughter already know where she is going for college?