Bang for buck turntable?

I am looking for a good turntable to transfer some vinyl to DVD, on stereo 24/96 PCM tracks. The equipment I intend to use for the recording are a Lynx sound card (not particularly sure which one) and an Aurora (from the same company) outboard mixer/ADC. (Lynx calls them "master quality" ADC's.

I will need an XLR output. But I want to avoid paying for snake oil grad equipment. This is something I'm liable to do once and then sell the equipment.
Do you have any budget in mind? That would help us assess your "snake oil" threshhold before suggesting specific rigs.

I'll offer this generic and obvious recommendation: buy something used. You should recoup most or all of your investment when you resell it.

You'll also need some kind of RIAA equalization. The Lynx cards don't have this AFAIK. Do you have a phono stage? If so, which one? If not, you'll need something to do that part of the job.

It would also help if you told us what level of playback you're after and how much vinyl experience you've got. Some entry level rigs are essentially plug-and-play, but everything above that requires some skill, knowledge and effort. If you don't have those things and don't want to acquire them, it might make sense to pay someone do the recordings for you - especially if the number of records is not large. (This is not an offer! Just a suggestion that might save you a lot of time and frustration, and possibly produce better results.)
I haven't played a record in 20 years. However, there are some things that are only on vinyl. And a few things I might try to buy to see if they sound better on vinyl.

I am thinking that a turntable over $3000 is getting into snake oil territory.

Is RIAA equalization related to volume level? It did occur to me that getting the volume level set properly is going to be an issue.

I do not have a phono stage. I recall reading about turntables with XLR outputs and I'm hoping that I can get one with the preamp built in.

I would gladly pay someone to do this. But the stuff is copyrighted; isn't that illegal? Even if it isn't unethical, I am skeptical that a professional media transfer would be willing to do it.
Hmmm. I'd be happier if you'd said $500-1,000.

A $3K rig is well above the plug 'n' play level and a used rig @ $3K would be even more so. Getting your money's worth from rigs at this level takes some hands-on experience and a climb up the learning curve.

I don't want to discourage anyone from trying (or re-trying) vinyl, but to buy a good rig, use it for a few months and then sell it may be unrealistic. I fear you'd soon be sucked into vinyl-mania and swilling snake oil like the rest of us! It's not a bad life, but it's not what you said you wanted to do either.

RIAA equalization is not related to volume level. It's related to frequency response. Unlike CDs and DVDs, music is not recorded on vinyl with flat frequency response. Before any record is cut, bass frequencies are attenuated and treble frequencies are boosted, typically on a curve defined long ago by the Recording Industry Assoc. of America. This helps the stylus track the grooves and allows longer side times. A phono stage includes the inverse of the RIAA's curve, to bring frequency response back to flat.

Volume level is another issue, which you were right to mention. The output of most phono cartridges is lower than the output of a CDP or other line level source, often much lower. Extra gain is required. Phono stages provide that too.

Many phono cables are or can be terminated with XLRs, but you won't find any decent TTs with internal phono stages. AFAIK that is available only on VERY entry level rigs. If a sub-$200 plastic toy will meet your sonic needs, by all means go for it. They're available from various mass-market e-tailers. Just don't expect much from the sound.

If you decide to proceed despite my annoying nay-saying, on a $3K budget I'd allocate roughly:
- $1,500 for table and arm (used)
- $300-500 for a cartridge (new, used is risky)
- $500-700 for a phono stage (used)
- $500 for a record cleaning machine, supplies and tools

Yes, records must be cleaned - especially for copying. If we'd all known this in 1985 CDs might never have taken off. The virtual elimination of background noise removes one of digital's two advantages. (Convenience is the other. As you can tell by now, the inconvenience of playing vinyl has yet to be reduced!)

Good advice above, here's another thought fwiw ........

Plug and play transcription deck with xlr preamp built in - sounds like an EMT 950 would fit the bill, although I don't know if 3K would buy it. Hiring could be an option.

Digital media is much more durable.

Do you know anyone I could hire?
I wasn't really thinking of a professional copying service. There may not be any, partly for the reasons you mentioned before.

I was thinking of some nearby audiophile with a decent rig, willing to make copies for a reasonable fee. You might ask on Vinyl Asylum. Copying to digital is something several members do there regularly. Search for posts by John Elison. He's the acknowledged expert. They may even have DIY solutions that would fit your needs and budget.
Dear Dnewhous: I can do it.

Regrads and enjoy the music.