best entry phono stage under 150 new or used

My buddy is starting from worse than zero. Everything he owns is crap. He wants to build a simple vinyl based system. Where to start? NAD, ROTEL, SUMIKO?
from what I've read here radio shack sells a pretty good MM phono stage for $25
others here can tell you more about it..
Im thinking of getting one to play around with.
anyone know of any mods or tweaks for this 'little rat"?
David: My tweak is that I use two of the Radio Shack units as dual mono's. This requires twice as many rechargable batteries but is a simple way of beefing up the power supply (by asking it to do less work). I also use shorted RCA plugs and ones crossed with 100 ohm resistors in the unused inputs/outputs, but this may not be needed (I just did this to block any stray RFI and the parts were only $6). When I have the energy I will replace the internal hookup wire (including the battery leads) with something better, but for now they sound very good and are "dead" quiet due to the battery power supplies. The dual mono configuration is a step up, though a single unit will suprise you. As with anything, plan on running it in for 50+ hours, or so, for it to open up. I like them so much that I purchased a pair of backups. The model # is 42-2111 and though these are probably still out of stock @ RS they are available on Ebay and from other online sources.
You can find a used parasound for under $100.00 I had one of these and it compared more closely to my $1900.00 Naim phono section than any of the Creeks, NAD, or sumiko,
Good luck,
Thanks Jrook. I tried to find the Radio Shack battery powered unit and I found that it was no longer available. This is the first I've heard that the Parasound units have that kind of quality in their phono sections.