What is your preamp? Reason I ask is to make sure that your preamp has a true phono input (not just a line level input labeled for a TT, as some do, which would mean you'd have to buy some more hardware) and to find out what type of phono input (MM or MC) it has, which would dictate the type of cartridge you could use on your turntable.
As far as books, I would imagine Robert Harley's book would discuss turntable basics, and Michael Fremer has a DVD out about turntable setup that might be helpful, though I haven't seen it.
A good entry level table that is a plug and play would be a Rega P3 with an Exacta cartridge. And make sure you have a true phono stage in your pre amp, as stated above.
Visit a trusted dealer and let them guide you.
This site is mainly about fairly sophisticated "record players" for people
with a sizable collection of choice records, and a fairly advanced level of
audio components to boot. A basic turntable (plug and play as you stated) can be bought from any number of electronic retailers. If you go in that direction a lot of details can be (thankfully) ignored and you can
still listen to most popular music and enjoy the experience. My 1st machine was a Garrard (cost about $75 with cartridge) and even though i wasn't that happy with the mediocre quality, I still played a thousand records on it with little regret until i was ready to get something better.
budget including cartridge? what is your amplifier?
I would get a Rega or Project which included the cartridge in my price range. If you can buy from a brick and mortar dealer so they can set it up and help you with any issues.
If you provide your location, you can get recommendations for a turntable dealer in your area. You should definitely buy from a hi-fi dealer who is competent at cartridge installation and alignment, and turntable/tonearm set-up and adjustment. If you’re in Southern California, visit Audio Elements in Pasadena. Owner Brian Berdan is amongst the best turntable guys in the world, trained by his dad Brooks, the best there has ever been.
It's fairly simple route if you choose trivial Technics 1200.
Base used model in great shape you can find $350...400
My preferred cartridge pick for this deck is audiotechnica at147.
You can than add $3...400 for KAB upgrades (check kabusa.com) to have performance of substantially higher priced units including higher end Regas
I would go to a local dealer. Mine sets up the TT and installs the cart for free. Also any problems or or upgrades. You can bring the TT into the dealer, Beats having to send it back.
I've had friends ask the same question so I used to go on for ages about all the options only to discover their budget is $79. So, what do you want to spend?
try a vintage store in your area and dip your feet into vinyl with a good vintage table set up buy the shop. save some money and get more for it. then when your ready you can upgrade.
Turntables are all over the board, from the USB 'plug 'n plays' to ones rivaling the $ of a new BMW (well, the 'entry level' ones, anyway...).
Budget first. Then, consider what you're going to be playing on it. Your old stash of LP's or some new acquires that you'd like to keep 'newish'.
What are you connecting it to? Something 'modest', or perhaps a bit more 'audiophile'? If you've perused these forums, I'll assume you've noted the nearly mind-numbing parade of variables in this regard...;)
'Vintage'... I found a mint Garrard Z100 with a decent Shure cartridge in a local thrift shop for 20$. You bet I gave it a new home, treated it to a new stylus, and viola'...I use it manually, although the 'auto' function still works.
As a tangential tracking fan, I couldn't resist. *G* Not strictly 'audiophile', but not bad for the $.
The suggestions above are all solid and quite apt....but, ultimately, think about where you'd like to re-enter the wonderful whirl'd of the licorice pizza. ;)
it's troll big time (like to respond like ebm sometimes)
Thanks for all the help! I bought Robert Harley's book. I will start there. Thanks Again!
RSA - I would recommend the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject-Debut-Carbon-Esprit-DC-Black_5?sc=2&category=352
For the money you get some advanced technology like the acrylic platter and the DC motor - the arm is also very good and there is a selection of colours (if tat's your thing)
Your pre-amp is probably best suited to moving magnet (mm) cartridges, but there are now some really good high output moving coil (mc) cartridges available - just make sure they compliant with the project arm.
You can contact Project for cartridges that are compatible with that arm.
Personally I like moving coil, but the more recent moving magnet carts are also great performers.
It’s a great TT to start out with and will last you many years
As for the terms - there is a wealth of info on audiogon and doing a search will reap a pile of information
- e.g. search for "Tone Arm Compliance" and the first result was this threadhttps://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/what-defines-a-high-compliance-cartridge-vs-low?highlight=ton...
As you will see you get much more information than what was in the simple search criteria
I've learned more from Audiogon than any book.
Regards - Steve
This is a great tool to check arm and cartridge compatibility!https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_resonance_evaluator.php
@rsa - I have a
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB and I think it's a very good table at the list price. The price includes an Ortofon 2M Red, so you're ready to go.
If I were going to try a different TT right now, I think I would try something completely different and get a Pioneer PLX-1000 and add an Ortofon 2M Bronze. However, this setup would cost about 40% more than the Pro-Ject.
Also, in addition to all the above recommendations, if you go to the big box electronic store, you may see new or open box Audio Technica and Denon models. Basically plug and play including internal phono built in to the table. Both will give you the opportunity to change cartridge or platter......something to consider also. My 2 cents :)