For the TT, I would suggest doing a bit of research on what might be good on a used basis, then buying a TT at Goodwill, or off ebay. I would recommend asking on the Vinyl board at AudioAsylum.com for a list of good models which can be found at garage sales/thrift stores/Goodwill/ebay for $150 or less and then trolling. The easiest solution would be to find an old Dual TT. They are decent, sturdy, and ubiquitous.
For the speakers I will let someone else recommend.
Here's what I would buy:http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=1PBALB1
(these are demos in Black for 10% off)http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBALB1&variation=PSIE
(same speaker at full price in Sienna)http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/22366
These should work well with your NAD 3020 as they are reasonably sensitive and their impedance should present a relatively easy load to the amplifier.
(also demo at 15% off)
I was having a hard time fitting the turntable in within your budget but the usual entry level suspects are Rega P1 and Project Debut III as well as Music Hall 2.2
You should be able to find some used in your price range.
A mint NAD 3020 for $40 is a good find!
I recently picked up a pair of Polk Model 7s that I saw on CL. I have them paired with a NAD 3125 and I like the combination quite well, especially considering the price. In my opinion, the model 7s are sufficiently deep when playing music that I don't need a sub woofer. Then again, most of what I listen to is jazz and classical.
At $500 for TT and speakers, go with the PSB Alphas and for a turntable, THIS
I just got one for my 23-yr-old son for Christmas and it's unbelievably good as a turntable for the money, not even counting the switchable built-in phono stage and USB interface. It's a substantial 25 lbs, largely of cast and extruded aluminum and steel, and is easy to set up. It has adjustable VTA and the removable headshell makes cartridge mounting and alignment a breeze. I recommend replacing the felt DJ slipmat with rubber or something better (I just put a 12" circle of polypropylene mesh draw liner on top of it). The included cartridge is rather "DJ" and tracks at 3-5g, but it could get you through until you get a better cart. I've read reviews of this table that indicate it works very well with a Grado Reference Platinum or Ortofon 2M Blue. We mounted a Shure M97xE on my son's and that's a very happy combination--smooth and yet quick with transients, nice tonal balance and surprising bass and slam at that price. It was no slouch on inner detail too.
This would also be an ideal TT for a 78 enthusiast because not only does it offer that speed, you can vary it by as much as +/- 20%, plenty to cover the non-uniform speeds of early "78's".
Powersofi...if you decide to go with a tt like the Audiotechnica or similar with a built in phono stage, keep in mind that your NAD 3020 has an excellent onboard phono stage and you should bypass the table's phono stage and use the NAD's phono.
...if you decide to go with a tt like the Audio Technica or similar with a built in phono stage, keep in mind that your NAD 3020 has an excellent onboard phono stage and you should bypass the table's phono stage and use the NAD's phono.
Yep, that's what my son is doing too; we use the phono stage in his HK receiver. The two units (AT TT & HK rcvr) work well together.
This is what I would buy if I was in your shoes as far as spks. I checked the FS section here under "Monitors" and I saw a pair of Dahlquist M903's for the asking price of $125/BO. The seller (which I no not know) is located not far from you. Ask him a few questions. These would be great sounding spks. That would leave a good portion of the budget on a TT!
Here's a pair of the PSB Alphas on Agon that can save you $80 off list and shipping as the seller is local in the Bronx: http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1267236429&/Psb-alpha-b1-black-monitor-spe
Thanks to everyone's very thoughtful responses so far. I really appreciate the time and consideration you have taken for your suggestions. I have decided to go with Cmalak's suggested M-S Avant 902i. The discount was extremely good and it included free shipping and no tax in my state. I couldn't resist!
I understand these speakers are bi-wireable. I have been reading up online and I don't fully appreciate this concept yet, but I will read more. However, my more immediate concern is how to correctly wire this to the 3020. I have seen some diagrams but haven't fully grasped the concept. If anyone has suggestions on the most cost effective speaker wire to get for this setup and exactly how to wire to the 3020, or links explaining, I would be extremely grateful.
The speakers ended up being a late holiday gift so my TT budget is between $300 - $400 now. My main concern is trying to find something locally or from an extremely reputable eBay or Audiogon seller. I am very worried about having a used table shipped a long distance. I live in the New York City area, are there any decent hi-fi shops for used items? I know there is Stereo Exchange, but I believe they do only new. Any closeout deals for good value new items online would also be great.
Again, thanks to everyone for their speedy and very detailed response here. I really appreciate the time everyone took to voice their opinions and experience. I will keep this updated as the pieces fall into place and I inevitably have more questions. Please keep the feedback coming and thanks again!
NAD 3020 for 40 bucks nice!!! As for a table a Systemdek would be a good choice. I've seen them for under 300 here on Audiogon. I have one and it's a really well made and sounds great, even compared to my megabuck table it's not terrible. Though I think you should just keep hunting around on CL and maybe you find a steal on something like you did the NAD.
I'm considering a Linn Axis that has popped up on CL locally. Asking is $300, it sounds like the table is in decent shape but will need a replacement belt and the cartridge replaced. Any recommendations as to a cost-effective replacement cartridge for this table? Does this sound like a good deal? I of course have to verify the condition in person but this sounds like a good shot.
Now that your speakers have become a "gift," and your turntable budget has expanded, I would seriously consider the Rega P1/Ortofon package. Easy, great sound, and a wonderful way to enjoy your records with your NAD's phono stage. It's a good idea to start out in our hobby with analog that's as "stress-free" as possible, and a new pre-packaged TT is a good way to go. Good Luck, and Happy Listening !!
Just a follow up...I ended up with a Dual 505-2, recently serviced and refurbished in very good condition. This combined with the NAD and the speakers has resulted in a massive improvement and a great sounding turntable setup. Obviously the first upgrade would be the TT, but I am very happy with the Dual so far. A very big thank you to everyone who offered advice and guidance.
Congratulations !!!.....Now, sit back and enjoy the music.
Congratulations !!!.....Now, sit back and enjoy the music.