Well, it will cost some money.....
I agree with Bob. Your budget isn't big enough to do vinyl right. I tried 3 times and never could get what I wanted without having to spend $3k or more. Once you factor in phono stage, record cleaning system, vinyl collection, fragility of cartridges, and the cost of a good TT and arm, my Audio Aero CD player was the obvious winner. So I sold the TTs and bought CDs instead. Been super happy even after hearing my neighbor's $12,000 vinyl rig many times.
They have Rega so I was thinking of starting with a p1.The P1 doesn't really bring much to the party. Everything is noticeably compromised and it doesn't upgrade gracefully. The P2 isn't much better, but the Rega P3-24 (which is just inside your budget) starts strong and offers ways to upgrade as your ears demand over time--outboard power supply, upgrade the platter, upgrade the tonearm. Another alternative: If you shop online and google for the best deal you can score a Technics SL1200 mkII for about $350, or the M5G version (better tonearm wire) for under $500.
If you go with a P3-24 you'll definitely hear a different presentation than digital. The P3-24 has good 3-D imaging right out of the box and a relaxed presentation that eludes most CD players until you get into the stratospheric price range. Even then, you're still making do with a 16-bit dynamic range (64K increments of amplitude).
To keep it under $1K NEW, I'd go with a Technics SL1210 M5G, Foculpods to replace the feet ($25), a Herbie's mat ($72) and record damper ($22), and Ortofon 2M Blue ($199) or Audio Technica AT150MLX ($299) cartridge.
The Rega P3-24 with Ortofon 2M Red ($99) or Blue ($199) cartridge to stay just within budget or a tiny bit over. The 2Ms are a good match with the P3-24.
Welcome to vinyl!
My advice going forward: All due respect to local retail dealers, I found that the folks on this forum provide me with very experienced advice without the inevitable dealer ulterior motivation of upselling me only the shop's limited products. I say this after many years and many dollars of high price/mediocre performance mainly due to mismatched components, local retail shop influence, and my own stubborness. If I had better followed the suggestions, hints, and gentle nudges in the right direction from this forum (as well as audio asylum), I would have saved quite a bit of time and money.
Ok so I tried posting another thread to update what I ended up with but that was "denied" for some reason??? Odd..... So I will bring this one back up.
I ended up with:
Rega P-3 24 , to be upgraded to p5 this weekend
Rega exact 2 cart.
Rega TT PSU
Clearaudio Basic plus phono
I also found a local shop that has a fairly decent selection of LPs. Lots of new
and used to select from.
Haven't turned the cd player on in a while :)