@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.