Help: ISO Beginner full setup for excellent sound on $2000 max budget

Overview: Brand new at this, looking for help purchasing beginner full setup of TT, Tube Amp, Speakers, Preamp that is aesthetically pleasing (i.e. minimalist, blends in as piece of furniture with plants), that sounds fantastic, and will stand up over the next 5-7 years, for $2000 max. I'm in search of the best sound, most aesthetically pleasing, and holds up longest overtime. If you could put together a beginner set of quality products for somebody about to enter their 30’s for xmas with a $2000 max budget, what would you include?

Hey y’all, I’m brand new to this and don’t want to jump down a huge rabbit hole, or spend countless hours contemplating decisions about these, not because I don’t have time, it’s just not good for me: I’m so bad at making decisions and I want somebody’s advice that I can trust. So, figured I’d start a dialogue:

I am looking for a simple setup with the following components for a small to midsized room:
- Turn Table (I like Rega, UTurn, and Pro-ject easthetics);
- Preamp (whatever pairs best with the entire setup);
- Speakers (what I think I should invest most in? - I like Omega Super 3 XRS Speakers); and
- Tube Amp (whatever pairs best with the entire setup - I like the Almarro a205a).

The most important aspects of these products are all:
- Durable (wanting to last a while and feel a little modern classic 6-7 years from now);
- Best sound for the price; and
- Aesthetically pleasing (this is important, it will be the center of my living room for the foreseeable future).

My music style: is mostly slower independent stuff: Sun Kil Moon, John Prine, Iron and Wine sounding stuff. Other than that I’ll mostly listen to Hip Hop, like J Dilla, or Rock, like Pearl Jam).

I’d love for it to be something that’s not jumping head first into this as a hobby, but something I can be proud of owning that I can play every day.

If you have any specifics please ask, I apologize for the length of this post, just figured I ’d try to be general enough so y’all could get an idea.
I get the idea. You’d like a system that could be featured in both Architectural Digest and Stereophile, for $2k. No problem. Saddle up the unicorn and lets go shopping!

Seriously, a great system can be done even at this price level, but not spending $1600 of the $2k budget on speakers and amp. Not that they aren't nice speakers and amp. They just don't leave anything for a turntable, speaker cables, interconnect, power cord, etc. Things that make a real difference you can hear. Things that will make your budget system shine like nothing you ever heard before.

So what you do, divide your budget, $2k or whatever it is, by 5. Because that's the 5 things you need:
Speakers, amp, source, wire, accessories. The last two are just as important as the first two. Wire is speaker cables, power cords, and interconnects. That's $400 per. 

This narrows it down and focuses your search. If you really want those speakers and amp go ahead and get them but realize you either increase your budget considerably or sacrifice a whole lot of sound for the sake of the bling. Because without quality wire connecting them that's what they'll be, bling.
Alright millercarbon, I’ll admit it...that was damn funny! Sadly, I agree. This is a tough one, but there may be someone out there who can help. Tube integrated, very modest ’table and a small pair of monitors and some lamp cord?
Yeah hilarious but I'm trying not to be so mean. And yet not fall into insipid like so many others. So check it with the edit.
What's really funny is if anyone cares to read through all my many entertaining and illuminating posts they will find buried in there somewhere the stories of the budget systems I have done for people. The most impressive of which the one that really stands out and that I miss being a full system for $1200 all-in.

The main reason it was so impressive is it was a complete system. Not just bookshelf speakers, integrated amp and CD, but also speaker cables, IC, PC and Cones under everything. 

Also did another one for $2500 all-in, including my $500 fee. So coincidentally the same $2k system budget. It was a birthday present and sounded so good the guy was convinced his wife had spent at least $5k. 

It really is that mathematically simple. Why nobody gets it I don't know. But I've done it several times now. It totally works. Its not flashy. It just sounds like way more than anyone would ever think. Same as mine. Tried and true.
Total BS you need to spend 400 bucks per on speakers cables interconnects etc for a system that price. Even a more expensive system I would argue. Buy some good purity copper cables like Mogami and be done with it. 
That said an entire system with a tube amp/preamp for 2k and speakers is not gonna be easy. Go used for sure. 
Okay so the OP got me curious with his eclectic choice of amp and speakers, which at 93 dB actually are sensitive enough to be used with this amp. So maybe not quite as decision averse as he let on.

Plus its a tube integrated which is totally the way to go. Even though these leave precious little for a turntable. But that is also totally the way to go. So here’s what I’ll do.

You spend all the rest (roughly $500) on the best table/phono stage you can find, and increase the budget by $300, and we’ll skip the Cones and wire and I’ll tell you how to get better than you ever heard performance out of this budget system. Satisfaction guaranteed. No BS.
This is perfect, tbh. I mean, I know you were being cheeky earlier, but that’s exactly the kind of information I want to be told. This is not my wheelhouse, I don’t know anything about this, and so even what I want is skewed with the limited information that I have, and it sounds like I’m way out of my depth. But this is perfect, cause you have a ton of knowledge about this that I wish I knew myself in this moment, but I don’t.

So, we’ve established that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and that’s great. Here’s the context: Speakers and amp was suggested from a friend’s set up, turn tables are what I have been suggested as well. I’m not looking to make this my full-time hobby, but I’d love a steady beginner rig for $2000, which I think can be done. It won’t be ideal, but it’ll get the job done.

Do you have any suggestions for what you’d spend $ on, what you think might sound good if you went over to a friend’s house who had some cash to spend that wants to become a low-level audiophile?
@millercarbon, f*** yeah, that's exactly what I want you to hear. Sorry, read the first posts, then responded. Just now reading your second post
Maybe call,Klaus at Odyssey audio.

  Call phone # on,website.
between 9-11 pm.

 Talk and see what may be done,

 he is a good man. 
 Tell him I sent you.
Used pair of Vandeersteen 1 or 2 speakers, used integrated amp with phono pre built in at this price level. For now use phone analogue out into Integrated amp. Upgrade source later. At this price level dividing costs evenly across components will yield worse sound.
If you buy the Omega you will have very limited bass. Do you have any idea how lacking it is in low end extension? More like hearing fancy boom box than what I would call prodigious speakers. 

Have I heard them? No, don't need to, only have to see specs and cabinet dimensions, driver size, etc. 
Do you have any suggestions for what you’d spend $ on, what you think might sound good if you went over to a friend’s house who had some cash to spend that wants to become a low-level audiophile?

Best advice I can give, quality beats quantity. Across the board. I’ll use the tube amp and speakers you like for example so you understand just how deep this goes.
Those speakers use one full range driver. Too many inexperienced audiophiles look at that and say no bass. I look at that and say one driver. One driver means all the driver budget went into that one driver. They only had to cut one hole. There’s no crossover network. Without knowing anything else I can tell you that speaker probably sounds pretty damn good for the money. It probably won’t play real loud, or go real deep. But what it does do it will do mesmerizingly good. You will sit and sink into the music and forget all about what it doesn’t do because it does what it does do so well.

Same goes for that amp. Look at the Six Moons review. Look at what’s inside that amp. You don’t know this stuff but I do. Its enough for you to know there’s hardly any parts. Very few parts means more money per part. This goes right down to the inputs. At this price range every dollar spent on an RCA is a dollar not spent where it will impact the sound, which is caps and resistors and transformers. There’s even better reasons to favor a nice little integrated like this and I will let you in on it but not yet too soon.

Normally I say what I said at first, divide the budget evenly. That was from years of experience. Recently some new developments have changed things a bit. Its still super important to attend to every detail. In the past that meant buying quality power cord, interconnect and speaker cables. Now though there is another way to get that same performance from cheap budget wire. It has the advantage of making your whole system sound embarrassingly good. Your friend will be envious, and guaranteed never figure out what you did unless you tell him. You will be surprised to find your modest system sounds better than systems that cost many times what you paid.

Not kidding. Don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Look at my system.
Let me know if you’re still interested.
@millercarbon, I saw your system and read some comments folks have left about you. You seem like the exact person I want to talk to about this. I'm in your world. Budget sucks, but I'm transitioning into a new career and have to go back to school again so I'm wanting something that I can listen to when I'm studying in my living room, or studying in my bedroom. I'm wanting the warmest, most inviting sound in my living room with that budget. I understand the importance of investing in quality, and I want to do that as best I can within the parameters I'm bound by. I'll post some of my favorite songs below to give you a sense of the music style I listen to on a regular basis.

Maybe that speaker and amp might be what I should invest in. The buddy who has this setup listens to very similar music to me.

In an ideal world, I would like a set up that can pull out depth in songs like these:

Given the music you like and the sound you’re looking for, I’d get the Unison Research Unico Hybrid integrated available here for $900, a nice pair of Nola Boxers on US AudioMart for $700, and an Audio Technica Carbon VTA turntable available at Massdrop for $350. For wires I’d get them through Acoustic BBQ made by member @grannyring.  For speaker stands I’d get the 24” Glass Floor Speaker Stands ($62) or the Monolith stands ($55) from Monoprice depending on your taste — both are sand fillable (and you should), and I’d guess the Monolith would yield marginally better sound if you’re on the fence.  The turntable is initially the biggest bottleneck of this system, but it’s still decent enough to get you going and has the advantages of coming with a cartridge and built-in phono preamp. Plus the ‘table has a good enough foundation and potential that it can be upgraded later as budget allows to significantly increase performance with a better cartridge and external phono pre. And it looks great too, as do the speakers and amp. I think you’d be thrilled with this system given your stated tastes and requirements.

BTW, ditch the notion of a separate amp and preamp at this budget level — an integrated is absolutely the way to go. And I’d also avoid a tube amp if as you say you don’t want to jump in head first and want something simple that you can play every day. The Unico has a couple small tubes in the input section so they won’t need to be changed very often and shouldn’t be very expensive, yet you’ll still get a good dose of that inviting “tube magic” I think you’re looking for — and the Nolas thrive on tubes as well. This whole shebang may end up costing a little more than $2k considering shipping, cables, and stands (depending somewhat on your negotiating skills), but I think you’ll be happy to stretch a little once the music starts playing. Hope this helps, and best of luck in your quest!
@millercarbon, I saw your system and read some comments folks have left about you. You seem like the exact person I want to talk to about this. I’m in your world. Budget sucks, but I’m transitioning into a new career and have to go back to school again so I’m wanting something that I can listen to when I’m studying in my living room, or studying in my bedroom. I’m wanting the warmest, most inviting sound in my living room with that budget. I understand the importance of investing in quality, and I want to do that as best I can within the parameters I’m bound by. I’ll post some of my favorite songs below to give you a sense of the music style I listen to on a regular basis.

Maybe that speaker and amp might be what I should invest in. The buddy who has this setup listens to very similar music to me.

All good details to know. What I would advise for "one and done" is quite a bit different than in your case, which seems to me more like "get me started and then..."

I listened to that music, which I never heard before, and between that and the fact your buddy has this (and I presume you’ve heard it and like it as well) then that argues pretty strong in my book for, basically, going with what works. No need to reinvent the wheel.

We can however make it a whole lot better. You will in the process leapfrog from learning from your friend to teaching him something new.

That amp and those speakers will be wonderful with that kind of music. You will just have to figure out whatever turntable/cartridge/phono stage you can get with the remaining budget. But those are the two choices. Behind Door #1 you stretch and spend more on the amp and speakers. Behind Door #2 you stretch and spend more on the source. Either way will get you good sound.

The tie breaker, two really, are cartridges wear out but speakers last almost forever and amps nearly as long. The other tie breaker is you know what you like. Could be really hard if ever you can find a turntable/phono stage you can say the same about.

Also turntables are a whole subject unto themselves. What you would get now compared to what you will want after living with one a while and learning a lot are two completely different things. This amp and speakers are plenty good enough for you to be able to have your next big move be to a foundation type table. Kind of like what I did. If you saw my system 15 years ago when that table was built, completely different. So make the right choice it can bring smiles and pride and joy for many years to come.

I will PM to give you some valuable info that is not for the time being able to be shared on-line.

You might be better served skipping tubes and vinyl and just going with an all in one solution like the Kef LS50 Wireless. Great looks and sonics. Built in amps tailored to their drivers. No preamp needed or turntable just stream right to the speakers.
Cheap tube amps tend to suck and I don’t think the one you chose is even in production anymore. Plus, you’ll need additional funds for good tubes.

Another option if you really want tubes is to again skip the vinyl and go digital with something like a Schiit saga pre, vidar power amp, and modi dac. That will leave you some dough for nice speakers and all the cabling you need. Don’t forget, if you go standmounts you’ll need stands too. Though not beautiful, Tekton speakers are high value as are Elacs. The new Elac Debut Reference are pretty slick looking and sound great too. Good luck!
I think that you could put together a very good system for well under $2K, but it probably won't be tubes and it may not be the gear brands you specified.

You might look at a kit from Edwards Audio. They are a UK company that makes turntables, integrated amps and speakers. All their stuff is made in the UK and is quite good for the money. Their turntables are based on Rega design and use most use Rega tonearms but they tend to offer more/better features than Rega at the same price point. Edwards Audio is also a primary subcontractor for Rega.

@prighelloYou might be better served skipping tubes and vinyl and just going with an all in one solution like the Kef LS50 Wireless. Great looks and sonics. Built in amps tailored to their drivers. No preamp needed or turntable just stream right to the speakers.

+1 That was going to be my suggestion as well. Great sound and aesthetics. Could you add a turntable later on to the Kef's?

Tekton M Lore $599
Project Debut Carbon table $399
YAQIN MC-13S EL34 tube int. $700
Emotiva XPS 1 phono preamp. $199
Mogami interconnects >$100
There are some excellent suggestions here with speakers that will vastly outperform the Omega. This is the last attempt at trying to save you from making what I feel is a major mistake in selection of a system. 

It seems that the desire for aesthetics may be driving the speaker choice for whyistherenopie. That's ok, as long as you realize what you are sacrificing to get that pretty speaker. Here is what you will sacrifice, and if it hasn't been clearly pointed out to you, then you're not getting good advice. 

You will experience a lot of cabinet coloration, and the sound will be smallish, constrained compared to the speaker I recommended, a Vandersteen 1 or 2 series (older models for sale in open market). The tonality will be skewed toward the upper end simply because there is no appreciable low end to the speaker. A 5.5" driver in that sized cabinet cannot do serious bass. I suspect the specifications of 40Hz (loose specs) are very generous, i.e. weak. The tight specs will be closer to 55Hz +/-3dB. Do you have any idea what that means? It means NO low end! It means exactly as I said previously, that it will operate more like a boom box than floor standing speaker! 

In addition, the speaker will not be able to handle higher listening levels with aplomb. It will quite possibly begin to distort when you try to drive it to even reasonable higher levels to play your Pearl Jam, etc. Do you really want a speaker that will potentially distort when played at higher levels? Do you want a speaker that because of it's inherent design will struggle to give you a warm and inviting sound? 

Further, it will be quite dynamically limited. The nature of the bass will be VERY weak compared to speakers such as I suggested. You will get ZERO presence from the speaker in terms of feeling the music in a tactile way, unless you crank it up - and then experience the strain of the driver to attempt to play bass when it is a puny 5.5" driver and can't do anything much below 50Hz! 

Now, if a pretty cabinet appeals to you and that's your higher priority, I give that to you. You'll get your pretty cabinet. And as for the amp, frankly, 5wpc is not terrific with a 94dB speaker. That will NOT get you outstanding performance in whatever little bass the thing generates. So, the selection of the amp will not help much. 

Now, what can the combo of the speakers and amp do in its favor? It will most likely have superb coherence, and a clean center image. It may - notice "may", because NO ONE can tell you whether it will be more preferable unless heard - be more detailed, but that is not assured. The quality of the driver is unknown; I would not accept anyone but the manufacturer's word on that. Certainly armchair guesses as to the quality of the driver, cabinet, etc. are hack, not good advice. 

Proper assessment of a speaker and system entails many aspects of consideration, and a thorough discussion of the speaker and amp, in this case. I do not have an analogue source, so I recuse myself on that. Digital, I can give guidance, and I started you with a very affordable solution to get better speakers and amp going. 

The bottom line is that the Omega speaker you are considering is horribly limited compared to the field of available speakers. It is a niche product which would call for abdication of several parameters of fine performance. I have heard many of such speakers with smallish full range drivers and small volume cabinets. They all seem really impressive when heard alone, but not impressive at all when heard compared to other fine speakers. Imo it will not handle well the harder music you wish to play at times. If you are willing to accept a speaker and amp combo that is more like a boom box, and can't be played at higher volumes because it sounds strained, then forge ahead!  

millercarbon is trying to be your guru, as though he alone knows how to get the best sound. He said, "Without knowing anything else I can tell you that speaker probably sounds pretty damn good for the money. It probably won’t play real loud, or go real deep. But what it does do it will do mesmerizingly good. You will sit and sink into the music and forget all about what it doesn’t do because it does what it does do so well." 

Here are the facts; he has NO clue how good the speaker sounds, and whether it is a good value for the money. An good assessment admits that. How can I say what the speaker will sound like? Because I have built hundreds of systems of all sorts with all sorts of speakers. I have heard dozens of similar speakers and they all carry absolute characteristics due to physical constraints and construction. Ask people who know speaker design and they will agree with my general assessment of the sound. 

"It probably won't play real loud, or go real deep." That is understatement, and if you don't comprehend the consequences of the design, you could be vastly disappointed. I explained what the design does and what you should expect. i.e. Do not expect to be impressed when playing anything like Pearl Jam. 

"... you will forget about what it doesn't do because it does what it does so well." That's an opinion, and you may have different concerns, goals. IF a nice looking speaker with a beautiful midrange (albeit more strained sounding than with a Vandersteen most likely) and cleanness, but without much dynamic capacity, without much bass, without ability to play loud without potential distortion, without a boxy cabinet coloration is appealing to you, then go for it. 

Personally, I think it's a poor decision if you really want great sound for all kinds of music. I have spent way too much time on this already. I believe I am finished with this thread. 

I have no further interest in debating/explaining my recommendations. :)
Correction, third last paragraph should read, "... with a boxy cabinet coloration" 
@douglas_shroeder, You’ve explained a lot, and I appreciate your advice, I think is incredibly important to take into consideration, alongside other suggestions. I’m not sold on those speakers or that amp, as stated previously. Again, I know nothing about this subject, but there are millions of products out there that I could get within a 2k budget that could be fantastic for the lay person who is interested in getting better sound. This isn’t my wheelhouse, if you need any niche information about philosophy, IT Auditing, or bartending you can let me know, but I dont think many folks need to know the ins and outs to enjoy a good cocktail, or to understand the concepts or interlocutors in entry-level Kierkegaard.

If possible, though, can you or anyone else reading this help guide me, in layman’s terms, toward a system that could work. I’m not trying to be a 3 michelin star restaurant, I’m simply trying to make the Bib Gormond. Or, if you were taking a philosophy intro course, I’m looking for the survey data, I’m not looking to write a PhD thesis on the connection between sexuality, body politics, and their relation to finance-dominated capitalism.

If you could choose a nice-looking set up for somebody who looking to gain some knowledge but not dive into this headfirst, what’s respectable and what makes sense together based on the previous posts.

Also, I’m going back through everyone’s posts rn and looking at products and trying to understand them and why they would work together, just taking some time, I have some other projects I’m working on .
So if I read Doug's post correctly, it seems that he is not fond of Omega speakers. But I'm not quite sure as Doug's critique was quite subtle...

Although I recommended something different I would like to take a few seconds to rebut: it's true that Omega speakers, like almost every high-efficiency speaker, are not to everyone's taste just as low powered SET amps are not everyone's cup of tea. But I take exception to some of Doug's specific remarks that seem to imply that you are naive, clueless or just plain stupid if you don't accept what Doug considers to be good sound and proper audio design parameters.

1- pretty speaker. Where's the problem here?
2- cabinet coloration. Yes, it's intentional and part of the design. There are many speakers that use resonant cabinets (Snell/Audio Note, Klipsch Heritage, virtually every Altec Lansing design, to name a few)
3- can't play at higher listening levels (repeated as don't play real loud). Well, my Omega Alnico 6s played plenty loud (92dB+) with my 5W SE EL34 amp in my 17x26 living room.
4- dynamically limited/bass very weak.Well, I guess that will depend on your needs and perspective. My Omegas 6s have taut, well-defined bass down to about 46 Hz. I didn't want more for years but when I did I paired small REL subwoofers. This worked very well for me.

My point is not that Omega is the best speaker. It's not. There is no best speaker for all ears, all music, all gear or all rooms. You need to decide what's best for you by listening, not magazine reviews or Audiogon opinions (even mine!). Yes, you have a challenge based on your price limit but it's doable. My suggestion is to look, then LISTEN and have fun while doing it.

I will second soix system. You’d be happy with the simplicity and sound. Easily last more than a couple years.
If a Blue Circle NSCS or FiTh ever comes up at the proper price point... grab it.
If possible, though, can you or anyone else reading this help guide me, in layman’s terms, toward a system that could work.

If you could choose a nice-looking set up for somebody who looking to gain some knowledge but not dive into this headfirst, what’s respectable and what makes sense together based on the previous posts.
Have you even really read any of the helpful advice being given to you here? You make it sound like nobody as of yet has provided any helpful advice or information. I read your stated goals carefully and actually spent quite a bit of time putting together a coherent system to meet your specific requirements and budget (as have others). Read reviews of the products I (and others) recommended here and I think you’ll see why they were chosen and why they’re particularly well suited to meet your all your needs. You’ve already received some good advice and recommendations, so at this point YOU should be doing a little research into what’s already been given to you and either asking us specific questions on why this or that is a good choice for what you’re looking to achieve or start buying the components that you find are a good fit for you. Putting together a good system is going to require a little effort on your part at this point, and it will be well worth it.

@br3098 yeah I think that’s right. I’m still not sure what the critique is other than: take my advice because you obviously don’t know what you’re doing." Which, given that I’ve explicitly said I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m still not sure what the critique is.

I need a librarian, somebody with industry knowledge that can point me toward sources so I can do whatever layman’s research I can to try to make an informed decision about something I know nothing about.

A bartender isn't going to tell you the ins and outs of spirit production and town history when you get a cocktail you like. They’re going to invite you in to have a drink and then if they ask questions about what they're drinking you can help understand what you’re drinking and why it's important and interesting. I liked your suggestions about Edwards Audio, I'll get back to you with some further questions.

I also like the direction of @mofojo thats more my speed. Does anyone have any critiques about that setup or would you swap out any pieces for better sound?

A librarian? Ok. Go to Google and type the names of each of the above recommended components followed by the word “reviews.” That’s where you’ll find useful information on each of the products recommended specifically for you given your requirements out of the thousands of other audio products out there.

A bartender? Got it. You have all the ingredients you need to make the kind of system you say you’re looking for. All you need to do is read a little about each of the ingredients to see which brands fit best with your particular taste to get the best mix for you within your budget. There’s tons of info on the internet, or perhaps a librarian can help you find some helpful books or publications.

Peace out.

(p.s. maybe there’s no pie because someone needs to get off their butt and start making one)
@soix You post was actually super helpful earlier, just got busy and didn’t respond. 
Post removed 
whyistherenopie, you're being gracious and wise, so I'll add some more. :) 

Not trying to berate you, not trying to destroy Omega speakers. Trying to teach you - from someone who is an industry member, reviewer at - what to expect. 

Here is an exercise; open up two windows on computer and put the pics and specs of the Omega speaker on one page and the pic (sans grill cloth) of the Vandersteen 2 on the other. Analyze the differences, a crash course in speaker analysis. Gain familiarity with the numbers and seemingly not so great differences. Those differences are very important as to expectations oF what a speaker can/cannot do. Whatever speakers you become interested in, do a similar comparison and try to figure out what the specs will mean in real world performance. When I was just starting out about 30 years ago, I didn't pay much attention to specs, and that was a big mistake that would have guided me better if I had a light familiarity with them. 

Spend some time reading about higher efficiency speakers and lower powered amps, and conversely lower efficiency speakers and higher powered amps. Two very different setups with different characteristics in system sound. 

Look at genres of speakers; panel (i.e. Magnepan .7), hybrid (i.e. Eminent Technology LFT-8B), dynamic (i.e. Salk audio), etc. All these brands reviewed by myself for 

Two ways to go about it; you can have someone assemble it for you. That's easy and no mental work involved, but you have to be ready for anything in terms of results. Or, you have to invest time and effort to educate yourself. Most likely the results will be more gratifying than just copying someone else's system.  

Everyone is rooting for you! I wanted to make sure you really understood/appreciated how vastly different speakers perform. It's all good.  :)
@douglas_schroeder yeah I’ve been oscillating between looking up products that have been suggested, reading 6moon reviews and Audigon forums, talking to some friends who are doing this right now, reading through others posts of people who have responded to this forum to see if anything is insightful, looking at transaction reviews to see if folks responding are reputable sources or if their customers trusted them, and trying to get an introductory lessons, via wiki or youtube, about physics basics for how to approach best sound, best use of power, best room setup. I’m trying to ask a lot of questions to start piecing together an image of the creature I’m blindly touching and trying to draw with the limited information I have that kind of feels an elephant (speaking figuratively). All the information hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, but there’s only so much time in the day to get these things done.

I appreciate the patience, the patronizing from some folks is understandable, but not really a helpful approach if you’ve got somebody who wants to learn but can’t leave your house to ask a shop, and I don’t know of many shops in my area that would care much about this subject if they even were open. I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have been given. Just know your suggestions have been looked at and the information I wanted to gather is in a spreadsheet along with the other suggestions made my folks. It just seems a bit foolish to start making a pie when you’ve never opened a recipe book about pies before, don’t have a family recipe in your back pocket, and don't really know what a pie is yet. 

The way I have always discovered information was to ask a lot of questions, and I apologize if some of these questions are beneath folks, or silly, or wrong, or I don’t what i’m talking about. I’m well aware of that, I stated it in my first post. I want to build this on my own, I don’t want this just handed to me from a record shop, all my reading has led me here, to Audigon, which is the whole purpose behind coming here and asking you all questions: you keepers of sacred knowledge.

So, whoever is reading this, I appreciate your help, know that I’m going through everything that people suggested, including you @soix , your suggestion was one of the first I looked at. Y’all have pointed me in some great directions so I’ll come back when I have further questions. Or if anyone wants to PM me you can, a few have and have been super helpful so far.
There will always be no pie if ya spend all your $$$ on a fancy plate...

you got great advice on Vandersteen Model 1 ( there is a pair of 1c on the Oceanside C-list right now for $200 w Soundanchors stands. A NAD 3
series amp with streamer, add a nice Schitt phono stage $128, MoFi or Rega entry table, Ortofon Blue, Spin Clean for your records !!! and wire it all with Blue Jeans cable... as advised you might also get lucky by calling Klaus and scoring a Kahtargo amp - a sonic beast
I don’t charge $500 to help people, I would ride your A to finish whatever school you are attending...
Also what geographic market are you in when things reopen ?

you could also get an Elac/NAD/Rega system that would sound and look great, be under warranty and leave you money for a tweak or three.. 
Steve Guttenberg on Audiophiliac- $2500 or less many choices to play with. Then do your research. I like this guy.


I’m relatively new to audiophile level equipment myself but have a couple suggestions with links to Steve Gutenberg’s reviews. As mentioned above, he’s a pretty well known and regarded audiophile and reviews a lot of low-mid priced gear in addition to the higher end stuff

Speakers- Klipsch RP-600Ms are efficient and very highly rated Bookshelf speakers. A pair will cost ya about 500 Bucks.

For the Amp, definitely stay away from separates for now to get started. Reisong makes some decent cheap Tube Amps for a few hundred bucks if your heart is set on Tubes.

Here’s a 950 dollar amp/speaker set up

For the Turntable I use a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon still. For the money it’s decent and comes with a Cartridge. 400 bucks.

for your cables, check out this guy:
He has great quality, a big variety and you can get really nice cables for less than buying from many other companies. I particularly like the Interconnects made with vintage Western Electric Wire from the 40’s & 50’s, they provide a nice warm smooth sound.

just some thoughts, happy hunting!
A system similar to the one @mofojo recommended would be a good option. The Tekton M-Lore is a very high value speaker and quite forgiving. I had a pair years ago. With your budget, I'd still advise against vinyl and tubes. You will be spread too thin on budget. If you do go with M Lores or Lores or something Tekton. They absolutely sound better with real wattage behind them. More dynamic with tighter bass.