Dipping my toe into analog

All guidance will be appreciated. Now that I am happy with my redbook based system, I am thinking of trying analog. I just want to start simple and then if it grabs me I will invest over time.
I have hundreds of old albums most in great shape. I have a not-working Thorens TD 180 Turntable with a Stanton 500MkIII cartridge. My questions: Is the Thorens worth repairing - I think I paid about $800-$1,000 for it many years ago? Can anyone recommend a cheap used or new phono amp for my test run - perhaps one available now on Audiogon? Any other suggestions to help enter the inner sanctum sucessfully?
turntables are pretty simple creatures; even replacing the motor is usually pretty cheap. I'd get the Thorens fixed up, get a decent entry level cartridge (benz glider for example) - if your cartridge is old the rubber around the base of the needle is likely to be brittle - and upgrade later if you get hooked. And don't forget to wet clean your records; HUGE difference in surface noise. Some audio shops will rent you a machine so you can clean your favorite 50 or 100 before shelling out big $ for your own machine.
The Lehman black cube is usually available used for ca. $300. It's a very good sounding device and an awfully good value.
The Thorens TD 180 is one of the the newer models and would be worth fixing as long as cost would stay below around $300. Otherwise, the older Thorens TD 125, 150 and 160 would be preferrable as they were more solidly built and seem the be still good value for the money. (I own a TD150 as a second table which is really nice).

Also, dependent on the wear on your cartridge it might be worth considering a new cartridge, e.g. the Shure M97XE for about $70-90.

The Creek OBH 8 units are decent for around $120 and there are many new phono amps out there at good prices: Bellari tube stage, Hagerman Bugle, Jolida JD9 to name some of the current favorites on Vinyl Asylum. The Black cube is well reviewed too.

Good luck and enjoy,


Better use your ears too.
Keep the Stanton!!!
If you can find a store with a TT or TT's set-up and actually running, I would do some listening before investing any money in what you have. In spite of what one of the answers would have you believe, TT's are quite complex when it comes to real enjoyment. I'm not talking $$ spent as much as I am correct set-up. This includes cartridge type, correct cartridge set-up, cartridge matching for gain with a phono preamp, the quality of the Phono-Preamp, and what the TT sits on - the proper isolation. Oh, did I mention a record cleaning machine? I guess I just did. I would also say that any modestly priced TT built in the last 3 or 4 years is vastly superior to your old Thorens. TT design has taken a huge leap forward in inexpensive to moderately priced units. Try to find a shop carrying Music Hall TT's. Something like a Music Hall 5 which has an integrated arm and already includes a cartridge chosen by the Company for optimum sound really simplifies things. The dealer should be able to offer advice on what Phono-Preamp is a good match for the cartridge. If you think I'm being picky, well I am, but getting it right from soup to nuts will open a whole new world of music reproduction to you and may even keep you from spinning aluminum discs.
I thank each of you for your responses. They will help me along my way. Right now the Thorens is in the shop to see what it needs.
Only took $35 to fix the Thorens - loose diode. Can anyone tell me what has improved in turntable design in recent years. Is it less wow and flutter, improved dynamic range or what? Interested in what I might expect to hear.
I would suggest getting your Thorens hooked up,learn how to properly setup the cartridge and play some vinyl. Give it a month or 2 and see what you like and dislike about it. Then you will be able to ask more precise questions on what you like (want more of) and dislike about what you currently have. It will also give you a reference point.

At this point I suggest you just focus on proper setup and vinyl hygiene. Analog has a HUGE learning curve and after several years, I consider myself knowing just enough to be armed and dangerous.

Welcome to the fold!
Can anyone tell me what has improved in turntable design in recent years.