Unless I already had a significant record collection and/or extremely deep pockets, I would think very carefully before "starting" an analog system these days.
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Pete, a general idea of your budget would be helpful...
After that, where are you going to place the turntable? Do you want an automatic turntable, semi-automatic, or manual? Who is going to use the turntable?
There are thousands and thousands of turntable, cartridge, phono pre combinations out there, you need to narrow down the field a bit...
I'm actually getting started in analog as well, and here are my reasons (not in any particular order):
1.) Everything physically associated with a record is cool. "Album art" used to actually be a phenomenon, whereas CD covers now are feeling more and more like glorified band logos.
2.) There is history in the process. It's fun to fuss over cleaning something and keeping it nice, and reaping an immediate audible benefit from doing so. I can't afford an analog system that will blow away my digital system, but it's not necessarily all about "absolute sonic clarity" when it comes to enjoying music. The whole thing is a process, and there is enjoyment in that as well.
3.) Even though my analog system isn't true "hi-fidelity," my friends would still be amazed at how much better a record can sound than they would imagine. Most people in my generation (I'm 24) consider records completely useless and without value. Even my moderate system can prove that wrong.
4.) I like some pops and scratches.
5.) Searching for records and getting bargains is a great pastime. Just yesterday I picked up an entire Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Van Morrison (among others)collection in pristine condition for $20. It's a great feeling.
Many people on this site have been in this hobby for over 20 years. I just started this past year. I figure even if I average only $400 in upgrades a year then by the time I'm in my 40's I should have a very decent system. It's a marathon.
Thanks all -
I had the experience of listening to a TT a few years ago and thought it was wonderful (but a CD may have also been great).
I guess it comes from an upgrade bug I caught. I do not want to go crazy that's why I'm asking. I would never want to spend over $1,000 so it may not be worth it in my case.
I'm also looking to upgrade my digital source as well.
Again, I'm just intriged but if I need to spend thousands then I can't do it.