Thanks for all of the advice. I feel more comfortable and at ease now. I also want to mention that the reason I did not provide figures for a budget is that I was not sure what was required to set up a TT system. Based on all of the responses, it appears that if I were to invest somewhere around $1500.00 I would have a respectable system. Here is what I have gathered so far from everyone.
There are plenty of choices for good quality TT's and there is no need for me to go broke in order to get high levels of performance.
It seems that the way to go is belt drive over direct drive.
Forget about the vacuum designs. Not for me.
Cartridge considerations will depend on my preamp. Is MM or MC better or does this depend on the arm chosen?
If I choose to go the analog route, I want to make sure that the turntable can be configured with an arm ,assuming it does not already come with one, that comes with the required adjustments.
I have already started checking out some of the recommendations from manufacturers such as Music Hall,SOTA, Michell engineering just to see what the differences are between different turntable designs. The Music Hall is wonderfully priced, but I am not sure if this is up to the quality and value of the slightly more expensive brands I listed above.
I was wondering if anyone has heard anything about Clear Audio. There lower end models tend to compete in price with Michell Procucts, but are more expensive than the Music Hall product line.
I really like the Michell product line. They have been in business for years and seem to build there products to high quality standards all the way through. They can be upgraded and they seem to have an aftermarket value should one decide to sell. The Music Hall that was recommended by someone in this forum and is far less money.
Someone mentioned having a technician set up the equipment so that I would not have to fool with it. In response to this comment I would have to say that if that is what is required in order to get a turntable to perform at it's fullest potential, then my decision will be to stick with CD's.
You see, I am not yet convinced that CD's sound worse that LP. Theoretically the LP should sound better because there is not sampling or conversion involved, but I do not think for me it would be worth it to have to depend on someone else to tune my TT. Besides, what would happen if it were to go out of alignment? What if I wanted to switch to a new cartrigde and needed to make different adjustments? This persons advice was influential in my decision to focus on TT's with belt drives.
I will continue my research as I am in no rush to make any decisions at this time.
Any new comments are welcome. They have helped me more than you can imagine.