A used Rega P3/24 with TTPSU. Add a Dynavector 10x5 cartridge and you will be good to go. Will you require a phono stage (preamp)?
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I recommend the Bang & Olufsen turntables, from about the mid-1980s on, as a great starting point. No, they're not the last word in performance, but they are suprisingly good, and setup is extremely easy. Soundsmith has a variety of good cartridges available for them, and all you need to do is plug in a cartridge, and set the vertical tracking force. No VTA, anti-skate, damping, azimuth, overhang, cartridge-tonearm matching, etc. etc. to worry about . . . and you can set them on just about anything, and they don't have feedback problems, and they don't skip.
If you go to Beoworld.com, they have a complete breakdown of models, eras, etc. You could pick up a used Beogram RX2 or TX2, a new Soundsmith SMMC4 cartridge, a Creek OBH-18 phono preamp, and a few good bottles of wine all well within your budget . . . and when you outgrow it, it's perfect for a second system.
Beo's are easy but limited with cartridge choices from what I'm told. For a newbie, I'd suggest something simple and clean like a music hall or if buying used, get it locally. Many great used tables like Thorens and Sota are out there but setting them up can be a chore.
Lastly, don't skimp too much on the phono pre. If it's built in to your current receiver, odds are it's crap. For $200, there are some great little choices out there.
Yes I agree, you have many fewer cartridge options with B&O tables. But the B&O cartridges and the Soundsmith replacements are of very high quality, argubly at least as good as anything in the same price class. They're also a good value for the money, and will last a very long time if cared for.
So if playing around with the turntable itself, and trying out different cartridges, etc. is important to you, then maybe something else . . . a Music Hall MMF-5 is a great recommendation, and a nice-sounding turntable. But I've personally compared the MMF-5, MMF-7, and a B&O Beogram 7000/MMC2, and the B&O walks all over the Music Halls . . . and it's automatic, to boot.
I second the Rega recommendation - as close as it gets to "set it and forget it," so it is great for newbies. Much better than Music Hall or Project in that price range - better soundstage and imaging in particular. If you buy from a Rega dealer and also put a Rega cartridge on it, you will get a discount on the whole package, or at least the vast majority will do this. Enjoy!
IMO given your stated budget and the need for a phono pre I would start low (but not cheap) by buying used and working your way up as your ear dictates. If you don't have one, a good record cleaning system is a must. I have the VPI 16.5 a good solid system if you don't mind something less than full auto. Those things said you can't go wrong with a Rega setup as some have already said. However if you have to have a pre-amp also then looking at a Music Hall or Project table/carridge deal will cut some cost. As far as phono pre-amps I had an NAD pp-2 very good entry level that you can get new for not too much same for the Cambridge Audio 640p. Used I like the Acurus p10. They seem to still be very popular despite their age as every time one comes up on Audiogon or Ebay it is gone quickly. On the tube side I have heard and read good things about the Jolida phono pre-amp which can be upgraded with new tubes and other upgrades if you chose.
Your start up budget is fine for new or used vinyl play back components.
However you say your ready to step into analogue play back after reading all the hype.
I don't know what you read about it, all I can say for many us that have been listening too and collecting vinyl for decades, the thrill of it has never waned at least not for me.
Before you dive in be aware of the potential cost of building any meaningful Lp collection from scratch not to mention the time and effort that is required for good vinyl play back, it's not plug in and play.
If you have not listened to recorded music on vinyl my suggestion off the bat is hear it first.
Be it a local audio store or a friendly local Audiogon member if that's possible, start a thread and ask.
If you like what you hear, then move on it.
A Couple of year's ago my niece showed a strong interest towards music on vinyl.
Her father found a used Rega 3 turntable with the Rega 300 tonearm including a few boxes of Lps, all for a asking price of $250.00.
All was clean and in very good condition.
Check your local Buy and Sell paper or equivalent.
I donated a re-capped vintage vacuum tube receiver with built in phono stage, including some Lps of her choice, early Beatles.
Her interest is still going strong and having a used record store close by is a tremendous bonus for her.
Who know's, she could very well be a contributing member here on Audiogon including other on line audio sites some day.
Used or new?
For new, rega P3 may fit your budget.
For used, P5/P7 may fall into the price range.
As somebody said, Thorens 14x/16x would be a good choice to start with at under $400. I am still yet to notice a significant difference between my TD145MKii with Grado Gold and Clearaudio bluemotion with classics cartridge.
Now, Clearaudio emotion can be purchased at $999.99 with cartridge at elusivedisc dot com, probably a best choice at under $1000.
I just got back into vinyl - literally today - and purchased the Clearaudio Emotion package that Ihcho mentioned above from Elusivedisc ; had to get a phono preamp as well as my integrated doesn't have one - picked up a Clearaudio Smart Phono - Have to say WOW! Listening to a 30 year old album - John Williams Close Encounters - wonderful soundstage, dymanics, clarity, etc. Plus , and I am not affliated with Elusive other than now as a customer -patient and expert service
Charly, I'm on Long Island, NY. If you're local, you can pick up my Dual CS5000. (sorry but can't ship). Has the Dual tone arm, no cartridge. It has always worked great. (I have upgraded a few times since so it has been dormant for years).
It would be a great start into the incredible sound of vinyl. Merry Christmas.
If you can find a decent one used, buy a Lenco. Add a used Rega 300 tonearm and a denon 103 or a lost cost Benz cartridge.
You should be able to find a used Lenco idler wheel table stock for about $300 to $400. If it comes with or without an arm does not matter, since you will want to install a used Rega tonearm. If you are handy, in time you could build a new plinth (the wood box in which it comes) for it. Or, buy a wood plinth for it. If you google Lenco you will find site(s) dedicated to it. If you go this route, you will want to make sure the motor is wired for US power and not for european power.
In any event, good luck and welcome back to vinyl. Jeff