young and new to analog update

so i was with my girlfriend in el suprimo records in baltimore city, and saw a jvc turntable, its a jvc la (not sure the model number) series. semi-auto direct drive. asked the guy in the shop how much he wanted for it, and he said $40. snatched it up! unfortunately, theres the problem that the stylus was bent (tried to fix it, messed it up even worse haha) and the rubber mat was hardened in one section, and cracked when i handled it. so i need to determine what model the cart is (its a audio-technica atx and again, not sure the model number) and get a new stylus (or a different cart) and a new mat.

i did test it, the platter spins evenly, and at stable speed. so i think i did pretty good here! great place to start i would think. just need a phono preamp so i can hook it up to the big box home theatre system in the living room (really only until i find something a bit more suited to what im doing and a bit more high quality)

also, i had a chance to try out installing a cartridge (my girlfriends dad has an old technics sl-23) and i did it with no problems, and it's sounding great! although, only the 33 1/3 setting works, the 45 speed wont set right, maybe a lubrication issue?
You know that adage about getting what you pay for? For $40, and if you can get a cartridge that works for a while, and it will play, you're probably in good shape. I'd start saving for an upgrade now though. There are a couple of decent entry tables that come with cartridges in the $350-$500 range.
"so i was with my girlfriend in el suprimo records"

...but were you at the top of the stairs?

(couldn't resist) :-)
My guess is that it is a JVC LA100. A very popular, entry level turntable going back about 25 years ago. You can pick up a basic Audio Technica or Shure cartridge for about $40 and you should be good to go.


Get a new cartridge ASAP. Using a used, no history cart, might sound OK, but if it is defective, can damage your LPs.
Look in the phone book under "stereo", tell them what you need. Don't buy a DJ cart. Should be less than $50.
As to cheap, but decent phono pre look at Creek and ProJect here on Adgon.

Eventually, if the bug bites,start looking for a better table/arm cart- Rega, Music Hall are cheap and OK.
well, its an audio-technica cart, just couldnt read the model number since it was under the headhshell. and as far as the alignment, what should i use to allign the cart? (the headshell on the technics i did had fixed slots, where the jvc one does not)
but as far as an eventual upgrade, i think i'll go with the KAB technics 1210. (id go with the 1200, but looks are part of it for me, and the 1210 looks alot cooler to me) seems way more cost effective to me than messing around with the other names in turntables, and since alot of you guys had already recommended them to me, it seems like a good place to go, especially since if i wanted to i could drive 2 hours up to go see kevin personally and talk to him about it, which i do like.
actually, its a l-a31. after looking at it again, its in really great shape, aside from the dust cover being really scratched up. ill snap a shot of it here in a day or two and put it up.