Recommend an Entry Level Turntable


My system consists of a pair of B&W 630's, an old Denon 50 watt reciever (DRA-550) from the mid 80's, and an old Sony Multi CD Changer from the early 90's.

I am very happy with the speakers, happy with the reciever, but would like to upgrade the source.

Now, I recently purchased an Oppo 105 Blueray due to raving reviews on Audiogon and elsewhere and while it is MUCH more detailed, I'm beginning to think that might not be a good thing.The unit sounds a bit thin and shrill to my ear(cymbals etc). I also demoed a $1000 Rotel (last year I forget the model # either the 1520 or the 1570) and I remember thinking the same thing - Much more detail, but a bit shrill (in particular the high end)and that it didn't sound 'natural'. It sort of makes me cring slightly. Some people claim that 'burn in' helps in this regard, but I'm a novice and am not sure if that's accurate.

Also, last year I also demoed a Marantz CD5004 ($350) and I think I might actually like the sound better than the Oppo and Rotel. Particularly with Rock Music.

I also, after reading a thread about an'all cd players sound the same' dispute, tried my cheap Samsung blue ray player (I bought the cheapest one I could find <200) and to be honest I was pretty amazed at the sound for the price. Not as detailed, but more natural sounding in my opinion.

All of the above cd/players blow my old Sony multichanger out of the water in terms of bass/detail and overall sound. I attribute this to a drastic improvement in technology in the mid 90's. But, oddly enough I think I might prefer the cheaper players and that they may actually sound more like true analog/vinyl to my ears.

Anyway, this all has me thinking about buying a turntable. I know true audiophiles seem to prefer vinyl and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good one at a reasonable price (< $500). I have a bang and olufsen from the mid 80's that I'm not at all happy with and was wondering if there was a similar improvement in technology in regard to turntables? What should I be looking for?

Also, does one need a more powerful and or higher quality amp/reciever to really make a turntable 'sing'?

Thanks and please forgive me for my long winded post.
A Pro-Ject Debut Carbon might be a good way to start. It has a good Ortofon 2M Red pre-installed and should work well with your B&Ws and Denon. It would definitely be a step up from your old B&O and there are lots of online reviews as well as opinions in the forums here.

Your comments on CD sound and power are well understood. I'd auditioned Rotel's best and thought it harsh and tinny. Can't speak to the Oppo as I couldn't find one in my area to audition. I ended up opening my wallet much wider to get something that I feel sounds musical (McIntosh MVP 881 BR), but everyone has their own opinions on what "musical" sounds like. I don't feel it sounds nearly as good as my analog rig, but I don't hate the output the way I did with everything else I listened to. Again, this is something you can easily research here.

I would suggest a substantial upgrade in your electronics. The Denon is underpowered by today's standards, and isn't helping your perception of a shrill high end. It's simply running out of steam trying to reproduce what your Oppo is sending out. Look for something in the 100+ watt range with lots of current. It should help quite a bit. Give consideration to going to separates, too. It makes a big difference in flexibility and if you get something with both MC and MM phono sections, you can have a lot of fun checking out different cartridges or setting up a second table.

Good luck and happy listening!
Check out Denon DP300F or Pro-ject Deput both under $500 with Ortofon 2m cartridge. Needledoctor sells both!
Maybe look for a used vintage one.
Thanks Yogiboy!

Anyone else have recommendations/suggestions?
I purchased the Rega RP1 for a good price from Audiogon. I upgraded the cartridge to the Elys 2, the belt, mat and added a quality record weight. I thought this was a good starting point.
I changed my mind after getting my son the Debut Carbon for Christmas last year. I think it is a better entry table for less money. The Rega has a cheap prewired phono cable. The Projet Debut allows you to use a higher quality cable. I thought the basic Debut sounded just as good as my upgraded set up in my system.
Technics SL-1200MK2 Turntable- find them on ebay. They are work horses. IF you want to go DD, best bang for the buck.
I like my Rega RP1. It's simple, requires no tinkering once set up, and sounds very balanced.
I would suggest the Pro-ject Debut CARBON at $399. It is a much improved and better table than the Pro-ject Debut. I think this may be the table that Yogiboy was actually suggesting as it comes with the very well reviewed and received Ortofon 2MM Red cartridge. See below link.

I really can't think of a single table out there that will offer better performance at your budget than this package. Comes in your choice of 7 different colors too. Good luck and have fun as you rediscover vinyl.
With those speakers, you might want to consider getting some beefier amplification. I used to have a Denon DRA-600 and it was a very good receiver. But it was no match for my Harman/Kardon Signature 2.1/2.0 combo or my NAD 3150/2150 bridged combo. A big (100 watts+/ch.) amp with lots of current (the H/Ks are famous for this) will really go a long ways towards giving you a "ballsier" sound that is in no way thin sounding...

I agree with Paraneer. A few years ago when I returned to vinyl, I purchased a Pro-Ject Debut. It arrived in a well designed shipping box with easy to follow set-up instructions. I had it up and running in just a few minutes.
I believe you would be happy with either the Pro-ject debut carbon or the Rega RP-1. Both highly regarded at the price point. After a couple years a new cartridge makes for an easy upgrade. Turntables last a long time, I have had mine near 30 years.

Regarding the CD player issue, most any single disk player will greatly out perform multi disk ones simply due to transport stability issues. The Marantz CD5004 is a good budget player and your system could be up graded if it were to be used as a transport with an external DAC at a later date. Same could be said for your Samsung, should it have a digital output.

Regarding your receiver:
Can't speak to receiver power limitation with your speakers as I am not familiar with either but I have come to respect RW's opinions.
With vinyl, the phono stage of a receiver or integrated amp becomes a most important aspect. Quite likely the your Denon has one. Not sure of its quality.
The value, sonic and economic, of amplification has greater longevity than that of digital components. Today there are many high quality integrated amplifiers on the market. New ones with built in phonostages are in the minority. Many good ones go on sale on AG.

Given the above considerations ( as in 'if it were me') I would encourage you to consider the purchase of a new turntable first, and see how you like the sound from your system keeping and using your receiver and the Samsung player. If the sound from the turnable satisfies, then upgrade the digital source to compliment. At a later date, purchase a new or used integrated amp having a good phonostage and and additional power as needed for your speakers. Do your homework here as this will likely be your most long lasting component (along with TT). I would consider a used unit.

I tend to spend considerable time building a system. Once I have one together I tend to keep it a long time. Greatest return on $$$ this way. Good luck in your audio endeavors. Please keep us posted on you path.
It appears most of your equipment is a little long in the tooth. I new cd player is probably revealing deficiency's in you down stream components.
Thanks everyone!

You've all been very helpful!