Ah, the old budget allocation problem... When considering more expensive turntable/arm/cartridge combinations, I've recommended to friends that they spend about 50% of their budget on the turntable, and the remainder on the tonearm and cartridge. Given your budget, and assuming you are willing to buy used equipment, you might think about a VPI HW-19 Mark 3 or Mark 4 turntable, with a Rega RB-600 or Audioquest PT-6 tonearm, and a Shure V15VxMR cartridge or Grado cartridge that fits within your budget. There are some other very good turntables that might fit into your budget, such as the Basis, Oracle, Kuzma. A final option that may gather the wrath of the vinyl junkies is the top-end turntable made by Thorens. Thorens makes an excellent table which is combined with its own arm, but it has not garnered a following from the high-end audiophile community. It is, nevertheless, a fine buy and one worthy of serious consideration as a first step.
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