New to vinyl, which turntable, etc?

I am seriously wanting to get into vinyl, as it's been many years since I've listened at my parents on their old, giant console unit. I've heard a lot of good things about vinyl and feel it's about time I jump in.

But where does one start? I'm thinking of building up the bottlehead phono stage and wondering what tables/set ups are worthy. I've seen things from Rega and Music Hall in my price range. I'd like to stay under $500 for the platter/arm/cartidge to get things started ($400 if possible). What should someone look for in a set-up? Are there any great bargains out there?

Thanks much in advance!
the music hall tables are ok but have many limitations for down the road upgrading. I would start with a P3 and cheap cartridge or P2 and cheap cartridge and you you grow to appreciate the sonic reality that only vinyl can deliver. The upgrade the cartridge, wireing, etc.
Look for a good deal on a P25 here on AudioGon and step up a few extra bucks the table and arm are worth it.
Music Hall MMF-5 is within your price range. Comes ready to plug in and play. I have one and am enjoying it. Of course I had to buy a phono stage for another 300$, but you may not.
A Linn LP12 is also a great tt One with an Ittok arm and Valhala power supply can be found in the 600-750.00 rang. It's a magical piece of equiptment. Try the dollar bins and the 180 gram audiophile pressings.
Before you jump in, give some thought to the availablity of software (i.e. LP's) Do you already have a collection or were you planning on building one? I have recently re-entered the vinyl world starting with only about 50 albums I had frommy college and post college days in the 70's. I have since purchased a few 100 more but it hasn't been easy to find good Jazz material - which is what I like.
The garage sale stuff for 50 cents a record is worth about that much IMHO.I would rather have a new CD than someone's old brutalized vinyl. New vinyl is great but difficult to find. Somenew vinylis also "digitally remastered" so you might as well have the cd.
Check the following sites first to see how much there actually is that you want.
P.S. I have a Michell Gyro SE Mk2,Origen live silver arm and shelter 501 cartridge which cost me 2300 new shopping carefully and is out of your price range. I prevously had a Rega planar 3 with Grado gold cartridge for $700 which I got to see if still I liked vinyl. While it couldn't perform like my current setup, it was great for the price and I resold it at little loss.
In the audiogon classifieds, I see a dealer is selling brand new refurbished Rega p3s for 450$ w/ a full warranty. No cartridge, though. This seems like a really good deal and one worth investigating. Let us know what you decide to buy and how you like it. Good Luck.

***"The garage sale stuff for 50 cents a record is worth about that much IMHO.I would rather have a new CD than someone's old brutalized vinyl."***

Not if you know how to inspect/select the LP's. I have picked up well over 2000 desirable LP's in the past 3 years in which the discs (not the jackets) are near mint and play perfectly. I only pick up damaged LP's if they are rare (granted that I am interested in listening to the music).

I also often run into established vinyl dealers and/or their pickers @ our local thrifts.


In your price range check out the TT/arm listed with my system. They were a popular combo, when in production, and come up often enough on the used market. I suggest waiting for the 3009II/non-improved arm (this is the one I currently use) as it mates with a wider variety of cartridges than the later/lighter SME versions.

Setup is fairly simple and easy enough to learn. I had never set up any of my TT's in the past, but have since learned how to do so myself (last couple of years).

I agree that if you can find the good LP's they are great. Unfortunately, in my experience, most people had crummy systems that did serious harm to the LP's I have purchased many a used LP that looked pristine to the eye only to find upon playing that the peaks seam to be rounded out leading to a lack of good clean sound on the high end or in loud passages. This is probably the result of a record that was well cared for physically (i.e. not scratched and mauled like so many I see) but just played too often on an inferior system. I would rather just have the CD than this.
I have a rega planar 2 I bought used with a rb250 arm for about $250, with the adition of a super bias cart (also rega) it would be in your budget. Regarding the buying of used vinal- some of the records I have sound very clean, while others have some surface noise. All play through enjoyably, and the condition seems to have little to do with the price, so carful examination is probubly the best option

LA is a great place to purchase thrift shop vinyl. Many well cared for collections are still being donated on a regular basis. This said, I really don't purchase much anymore as I have not been able to properly clean and store what we already have (need to catch up).
It sounds from the posts on Audiogon that the West Coast is a better place than East to purchase used vinyl. I purchase most of mine through GEMM. They have dealers from all over the world but I have noticed that many of the things I have purchased have come from the West coast. My favorite used classic Jazz source on the East Coast is The Jazz Record Center in NY They have tons of great stuff but it ain't cheap. Where do you shop?