Beginner Turntable

I just become interested in turntable and totally confused about what I need to buy.

1.what is the price range for a beginner level turntable?

2.Do I need to buy a cartridge or it was included in turntable?

3.New or Used

4.Right now, I'm using the Denon RCD-M39s mini system. Could I combine this with the turntable? And what else do I need to buy ?

5.Any suggestion about brand and model ? It seems like japanese brand like denon and pioneer have some good chose.
I can answer some of your questions.
As far as using a TT with the Denon RCD-M39s, I see there is one analogue input for an external device.

But the output level of a TT is very low and cannot plug directly into the Denon. You would need a phono preamp which boosts the volume of the TT and then plugs into the Denon amp. Now you would have a signal from the TT that is high enough for the amp to play it. Without this preamp, you would not hear the TT thru the Denon amp.

I would suggest looking at a TT that has a built-in preamp.
Then you would save some money and be able to plug right into your Denon.

Many online stores sell turntables that include preamp and cartridge.
Here is one example...
New: Rega, Pro-ject or U-turn Orbit $200-500
Used: Technics, Denon, Pioneer or Yamaha $50-400

May have to skip the mini Denon system, probably has no phono preamp- get a used 70's vintage receiver with built-in phono amp. Better sound and power. $50-200

I built a nice used system for $90! - rotel receiver, technics TT and ESS speakers. Plan on spending a year stalking thrift shops for that kind of bargain. The audiophile snobs will say you need to spend $1000 on an entry level audiophile turntable - (cartridge not included) - but I'm talking true entry level/low budget/starving student.
Check out the Denon DP-29F,it comes with cartridge and a phono preamp. Needle Doctor sells it for $150.
You will need to buy a TT with a built in phono preamp to use with your Denon mini system.

These all come with a built in phono preamp and a pre-installed cart for easy set-up, plug and play capabilities:

$100.00 Audio Technica AT PL60
$150.00 Denon DP-29F
$240.00 Audio Technica AT LP120-USB
$250.00 Music Hall USB-1
$330.00 Denon DP-300F
$350.00 Marantz TT42P

Personally, I would start with the Music Hall USB-1 with a AT-95E cart for about $300.00. The AT-95E is a much better cart than the stock cart that comes pre-installed. Call Jerry at and he will advise you well.

Good luck and happy listening!
Thank you guys very much!
Currently, I have a budget of 500.

I have done some research about the TT, I'm thinking Technics AT-AP120, which is a reasonable price for a tt with phono preamp build in.
I'm also thinking about Pro-ject DEBUT CARBON or iii with a phono preamp, since I have a 500 budget :).

But I'm not sure whether the Pro-ject combination could fit with my mini system. Also, dont have a good tt and phono preamp setup yet.

Any way, I want to make the best value of 500, with 50 up and down(550 means I will have to give up meat and alcohol for next month).

Thank you again!
Use your money wisely,as for beginner plug & play is very smart move!
Pro-ject debut carbon is my choice and add ART djpre phono or TCC tc750 both about $60 with gain control as xtra feature is good for money.
And the rest $ left to get as much record you can.
Have fun listening .
IME the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon stands head'n'shoulders above the competition at $399. It's simply stupendous at that price. It comes with the best cartridge of the entry-level turntables as well. Pro-Ject also offers their Phono Box MM preamp for $99, bringing the total to $498, $2 under budget. You'd be hard-pressed to equal this combo at that price, let alone do better.

I have about $1100 in my turntable rig, and I'd say the Pro-ject Carbon tonearm easily bests mine.
I bought a Thorens TD 145 for $200.00. With a Herbies record mat and Grado cartridge, it sounds pretty good. I would think hard about whether I wanted a good modern table like a Rega or a good vintage table that could be modified like a Thorens.
Go with either the AT-AP120 or MH USB-1 with a better cart like the AT95E, save the money to buy lots of LPs, and enjoy!

That way you can also enjoy meat and alcohol, not only for the next month, but for years to come!

Your well reviewed Denon mini player is a 5 star What Hi-Fi winner so you're better off keeping it.

I believe that you will like the small footprint of the USB-1 plus the color will match perfectly with your mini system.

Don't overspend and start spinning!

Happy listening!
Thank you guys very much, I saw a lot of your ID in others' thread.

For Kiko65 and Johnnyb53:

First thank for your advice. Im thinking how much the sound will be different between AT-AP120 or MH USB-1 and Pro-ject. I have seen some threads said TT with a phono build in is not as good as the simple TT. I could not find a TT store and the only place I could try tt is a LP exchange store, where they use really old machine with receiver. So I could not try any of them

I have been play clarinet for nearly ten years and I will use my tt only for classic. I would like offer the best for my ear :).

Thank you guys again.
If your playing classical, a Grado cartridge is a safe choice for a cartridge and they make a number of budget cartridges for those who are just getting started.
I have a Grado mono cartridge as my records are classical mono platters from about 1954 to 1960. I collect Arkiv Produktion, RCA Red Seal, Westminster, London/Decca etc.. and the tone is very rich and even throughout the frequencies/registers.
My records offer a listening experience different from my digital player!
I believe the main thing is to enjoy and have fun.
Yes, grado carts match well with classical music.

Yes, Project Carbon will sound "better" than all others described with phono preamp built in.

That said, the difference in your mini system won't be audible or may be subtle at best. Don't overspend if you are going to keep your mini system.

Are you an analitical listener or just like to enjoy the music?

This is a dangerous hobby if you buy into all the hype of "better" sound reproduction. You may end up spending lots of money trying to get the "right" equipment. Believe me, I learned this the hard way a long time ago.

A few years back my entire gig was in the $25,000.00

Today its down to about $8,000.00 and, TO MY EARS, sounds MUCH better than before.

Do yourself a favor and read "The Entry Level #5 Page 3" from

There is nothing better that listening to your favorite music on vinyl. I make it a habit to sit down EVERY day to play at leat one lp.

Happy listening!
Hi,a sota will do just nicely.and it takes you straight into the high end.They can be required for 500,and sound awesome
Beginner Turntable: TW Raven AC3
Thank you for your advice!

About grado cartridge, do you have any model to recommend to me?

What do you mean by the Pro-ject may not " audible" with the mini system? Because I saw the phono preamp have RCA and usb output, which could connect with the system.
And you think the MH usb 1 with grado cartridge would be my best choice?

Thank you.
As far as the best Grado cartridge, it's really up to you to decide because price ranges will vary but if I were to suggest one outstanding Grado cartridge for the money, the Grado Reference Sonata 1 would be the cartridge to aim for. It retails however for $600.00 and my understanding is that this price would currently be out of your range. It doesn't mean however that it won't show up as a second hand cartridge for sale on one of these auction sites.
I'm not real sure about compliance factors as you haven't chosen a table or a phono stage but you'd probably be better off with a high output cartridge.
I suppose if I were looking to buy a cartridge on a budget, I'd pick up the first Grado that I could afford that's being sold as a pre owned high output cartridge but I'd suggest researching on the Grado website before doing anything.
By the way, you'll also need someone to install the cartridge and then you'll have to load the cartridge on to your chosen phono stage. The person selling you the turntable may be able to help you with this.
That said, the difference in your mini system won't be audible or may be subtle at best. Don't overspend if you are going to keep your mini system.

Meaning that since you have a budget sound system, it would not make sense to buy an expensive high-end TT and cart. You would not be able to fully appreciate the high quality sound and the benefits that come with it...such as more detail, better dynamics, less surface noise on the LP.
If you were to upgrade from the Denon mini to a more revealing system, then you could easily hear the difference in sound quality between TTs and carts.

So if you are planning to upgrade from the mini in the future, then you should buy the best TT you can afford.
Hi Lowrider, I have to agree with you that a better table than a USB or entry level modern table might be advantageous in the long run. A Linn or Thorens would provide the chance to make upgrades (i.e. a solid plinth and a better tonearm) along the way without breaking the bank up front for the initial purchase.
Also, turntables are the one piece of equipment that I'd have less hesitation about buying used because they're more mechanical than electrical.
I don't know how many of you have heard a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, but it sets a
new standard for what you get for $399. Add a phono stage and it's right in the
OP's budget w/no fiddling, upgrading, refurbishing, or whatever. You can even
upgrade w/o mounting a new cartridge just by replacing the stylus with the one
for the 2M Blue.

It's so good for the price that the next logical upgrade would be the downstream
Exactly what I meant, thanks you Lowrider57.
Thank you lowrider57

So, after all your threads above. I think if I will upgrade my speaker in the future then Pro-ject, if not a HM usb 1.

I think i may not upgrade it recently, BUT, i may purchase a beyerdynamic DT990. :)

So, maybe is time to save money......
After a second, I decide to buy a denon DP-300F or Tech AT-LP120 or AT-LP240-USB.

Any suggestion?

Many thanks.