RCA output on a turntable?

So I'm wondering what contributes most to the high quality sound of going analog with a turn table. Is it the phono connection, or is it the vinyl record, or both?

The reason I ask is because I would love to get a turntable, but my preamp (AES-3) doesn't have a phono input, so my only 2 options are replace my preamp (which I am strongly opposed to since I've only had it a few months) or find a turntable with RCA outputs. Are there any decent turntables that use RCA, or is this not a feasible option?
Keep your preamp and use a phono preamp for the TT; it then plugs into your AES-3 via RCA cable. I think you need to research the Agon archives regarding analogue and what is required for a decent setup.
This topic has been widely discussed and the sound of a vinyl record is something special.
I'm not sure i'm following you... 2 preamps in series? I'll keep researching, but I havent so far found anything to really address what I'm asking...

Thanks for the input!
Not two preamps, but what you need is an outboard phono section. Your turntable output goes into the phono section, that unit's output goes into your pre-amp as a line input to your preamp. The phono section correctly equilizes the signal and boosts the gain to a line-level input. There are MANY choices these days, in all price ranges.
It can be confusing. The phono preamp is a special device used ONLY for the phono gain.
A phono cartridge has a very tiny signal. A special gain stage is REQURED to boost the signal strength, and add in the RIAA correction also REQUIRED.
that special booster is called a phono preamp.
It is NOT just another preamp in series.

Some confusion exists due to the fact all preamps used to contain this phono stage. But with the advent of digital, most pramps dropped the phono stage from their design.

So if the op wants to add a turntable he MUST add a phono stage. He can either buy one of the few turntables with a phonostage built into the turntable.. or buy any turntable and a separate phono stage. no way to get around having that phono stage built in or feestanding, it is totally required.
That is correct, but if you search the Agon classifieds you will find them listed as "phono preamp" or phono stage. I suggest look for recommendations in the archives or google.
Excellent answers by Elizabeth and the others above. I would add that "RCA" refers to a type of connector (plug and jack), not to the characteristics of the signal that is being sent through the connector. Most turntables in fact connect via RCA connectors, at the far end of a detachable or permanently connected cable. But those RCA connectors must be connected to an external phono stage if one is not included in the preamp (or in the turntable itself in a few cases).

The kinds of signals you are referring to as "RCA" are more properly referred to as "line level," as opposed to "phono level."

Also, it is important that the characteristics of the phono stage be compatible with the kind of cartridge that is being used. Most notably, moving magnet cartridges and low output moving coil cartridges have very different phono stage requirements, although some phono stages provide a choice of settings that allows them to handle either type.

-- Al
So now you know you need a phono preamp aka phono stage. Check needledoctor.com for a wide variety of phono preamps. Like any other component, they will range from below $100 to five figures.

To answer your questions about turntables using RCA, they all use RCA outputs - some are hard wired and some have RCA output jacks so can use interconnects of your choosing. A decent entry level table having RCA jacks would be the Pro-ject Carbon. Stepping up to above $1000, would be the VPI Traveler. There are many, many others. Happy hunting.
I once had a Bang & Olufsen Beogram 3300 turntable with a built in phono section. All that was required was plugging in the captive RCA cable to a preamp input. Very convenient and surprisingly good sounding. However, while that was a feasible option, you will find very few options that offer this type of combination. On the other hand if you like your AES preamp you might want to match it up with an AES phono stage. Then add a turntable, tone arm, and cartridge to the mix.

To really address your question though, there are a combination of things that contribute to outstanding vinyl playback. The good news is you do not have to break the bank to achieve it. What type of budget would you have to pursue this project? That would be the first place to start.
Thank you everyone for all the advice. My budget is pretty tight, so if I could keep it below $700 that would be great. If anyone has any specific recommendations that would be very helpful, and thanks again!!
Assume $700 is the budget for both table and phono stage, right? If so, no problem - Pro-ject Carbon/Ortofon 2M Red at $400 and take you pick of these readily available phono stages:
Pro-ject phono Box DC- $150
Cambridge Audio 551P - $150
NAD PP2i - $170
There are probably a host of others. Either way you are under $600.
Here is a link to a review of the Carbon:

Good luck.
NeedleDoctor (online) is a good place for researching the different tables on the market today. If you have a local HiFi shop, they would be able to put together a package deal for u. Table, cart, and phono stage.