I advise starting ’good enough’, and seeing if you get into Vinyl, then upgrade part by part (not bit by bit).
this TT is plenty good to start with, I used it for many years. later, when hooked you will know more and upgrade. $230. https://smile.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-AT-LP120XUSB-Direct-Drive-Hi-Fidelity-Anti-Skate/dp/B07N3S4X3P/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=Z3NL7E6OU6CL&keywords=audio+technica+turntable&qid=1582119610&sprefix=audio%2Caps%2C147&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyWFJJTEswWURFS0w2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDUwNTIyUFMyVjRMQVoyUzhYJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4OTk5MjYxOTVVSlc0OUo4NkJWJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
It has an internal phono preamp, so you can use any line level input in your system. Later, when hooked, you will buy a separate phono eq.
so, $230.00 you are playing Vinyl with ’good enough’ to test the waters. You will get hooked (or not) even at this level of equipment.
2. CARTRIDGE UPGRADE (high output MM moving magnet
Change the cartridge, (provided cartridge tracks too heavily). I believe this is a darn good start, $100.00 https://smile.amazon.com/Ortofon-Red-Moving-Magnet-Cartridge/dp/B000WMCEKK/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=shure+cartridge&qid=1582119856&sr=8-3
3. CARTRIDGE ALIGNMENT
FUNDAMENTAL to ANY TT Success: you will need to learn all the steps to mount and properly align a cartridge. (if not right, a $50k TT won’t sound good). IMO, most people have never heard a properly aligned cartridge. After you are hooked, this is imperative, or, pay someone to do it for you.
4. LP NOISE
tics, pops, mud on the stylus
like I finally did, learn how to properly clean used records (and clean stylus).
To avoid noise, I was only playing new or my excellently clean used LPs, then, due to a thread here, I decided to acquire a method to enjoy my 2,000 used LP’s that were annoyingly noisy. Now I’m loving how quiet my dirty old lp’s sound.
lots of comments about used LP’s in this thread https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/frustrated-with-vinly?page=3
my method (lots of words for clarity, actually easy and not much time needed).
CLEAN, QUIET LP’s (inexpensive manual method)
I’m loving how quiet my dirty old lp’s sound.
Your problem helped me out, I now have a very successful inexpensive manual cleaning method. I am getting essentially no noise out of old dirty static filled lps. I just cleaned a few NEW lp’s, to check, no noise, so goodbye mold compounds, ..
If you get noise after this, something else is wrong!
Listen to some music while doing this of course.
Wear thin plastic gloves to protect your hands and block finger oil
1. plastic sheet to protect the table below. smooth white, so you can see any/every speck. kitchen garbage bag, or, thin plastic table cloths from the party store, something.
2. lay lp flat
3. cover lp paper label with plastic lid diameter of label, i.e. chinese soup take-out lid.
4. spray cleaning fluid on lp (my home-made mix below)
5. CRITICAL: scrub fairly aggressively: circular, back and forth a few times, with soft multi bristle brush (pre-wet with cleaning fluid for 1st lp) try an lp you don’t care about, you will find you can be more aggressive than you think. this is what really cleans deep into the grooves.
6. flip, clean other side: place carefully so paper label goes down onto dry area of plastic
7. rinse in distilled water in the record cleaning kit. CRITICAL: Distilled Water ONLY!!! spin 2x each direction, it has fine brushes for final cleaning while rinsing.
8. use the two included cloths to handle/pre-dry the lp, and put in the included drying rack.
note: dry the center area of the plastic sheet where the paper label goes frequently with a separate cloth. dump distilled water after each batch of ten. rinse everything and dry between batches.
1. record cleaning kit with drying rack for 10 lps, $58.https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GSSQ1MN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
2. distilled water, $1.00 per gallon (check online for stock before going to the store)https://grocery.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Distilled-Water-1-Gallon/10315382?wmlspartner=wlpa&se...
3. alcohol, 91%, $3.00https://www.target.com/p/isopropyl-alcohol-91-32oz-up-up-8482/-/A-13970972?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&...
4. wetting agent. $4.00 I use Finish, Jet Dry (dishwasher stuff)https://www.amazon.com/Finish-Jet-Dry-8-45oz-Dishwasher-Drying/dp/B0014E82II/ref=asc_df_B0014E82II/?...
5. soft multi-bristle brush, I found one in a drawer, but here’s a 3 pack, $9.00https://smile.amazon.com/Scalp-Scrubbie-Sterile-Cradle-Sponge/dp/B005EJ7YH4/ref=sr_1_154_sspa?ascsub...
my mix, nothing scientific, a small 6 oz spray bottle (8oz, 10, doesn’t matter)
1. a few drops of wetting agent
2. 1 cap of condensed cleaning fluid that came with the kit
3. fill with alcohol.
you may think it’s a pretty strong alcohol mix, but you will be rinsing right away, and, you will find, even that strong, finger oil spots will be very reduced but not fully disappear.
I’m loving how quiet my dirty old lp’s sound.
CLEAN STYLUS! Leave a small mirror on TT under your headshell, so you can see if the stylus is clean. Clean the stylus during if needed, and always after every listening session.https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DI8I2JM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
my friend uses gel stuff, loves ithttps://coloredvinylrecords.com/blog/best-gel-type-stylus-cleaners/
Still use Anti-Static brush before each play, DRY, just a light touch needed to get any paper sleeve dust, airborne dust.
5. TUBE PREAMP, TUBE AMP.
After being thoroughly hooked, you will probably want to try Tubes. My one-liner summation, after a lot of years, is that Analog gets the Fundamentals, AND the Overtones right.