Dirt cheap set-up

Short story:

Found a $10 Pioneer PL600 (black, not silver) on facebook marketplace. Discovered after I bought it that it needed a serious cleaning and new belt and cartridge. Took it apart, replaced the belt ($8.99); cleaned all contacts; slapped a Stereophile-recommended AT-VM95E MM cartridge ($49) on the arm; Feickert measured the overhang; set up the VTF and adjusted the VTA. Bam! After a thorough cleaning/detoxing and adjusting/installing, placed an  original pressing of Getz/Gilberto "Girl from Ipanema" and pressed "play".

Yes, compared to my VPI HW-19 MK4/Hana SL/Jelco 850, the sound was thin and the depth was much more 2D; more crackles and such. But for a $70 (total) turntable, it wasn't bad at all. It'll be in the family room system where my boys ( 9 and 7) can use to learn the joys of handling and listening to vinyl.
Happy happy joy joy.
@fuzztone.  Trying to detect irony. Or, at least, signs at hopefully you are not miserable with life too much
Sound should fill out when the cartridge is run in.
@noromance That's a good call. I'm thinking 50 to 100 hours of running, at least according to stereo file.
@simao  - Great find! I hope you and the boys enjoy it. Have they bought any records yet? Will be interesting to see what they choose to buy as their first albums. My son is a bit older. His first 2 LPs were AJR - "The Click" when he was 15 and Neutral Milk Hotel - "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" when he was 16. His musical taste improved tremendously over the course of a year......
@reubent that's a great suggestion! After the new year, will bring my boys to our local record store to pick their own music, no matter what it is. 

"But for a $70 (total) turntable, it wasn’t bad at all. It’ll be in the family room system where my boys ( 9 and 7) can use to learn the joys of handling and listening to vinyl."

No, it’s not bad at all. Vinyl memories tend to remain the strongest as you grow up. The whole experience borders on sensory overload - and it usually begins with the sleeve artwork.

Manual cueing is an art in itself. As a left hander I was quite nervous about using my right to cue up manually, esp with a suspended deck, but you develop the touch soon enough.

In fact almost everything about vinyl, from taking out and replacing LPs from their sleeves to cleaning the stylus is an acquired skill regardless of whether you approach it as a professional archivist or an enthusiast audiophile.

Just be sure your boys have got some disposable records to practice on. We used to have some cheap Music for Pleasure discs lying around featuring cover versions of 70s chart hits.

They served as excellent training discs.

You must not have tried hard enough.

No sarcasm to be found.

If it makes you happy I’m happy. How could you possibly infer otherwise?

Understood. I'm a mite too sensitive to possible irony on message boards. But thanks for your sincerity!