Looking for a Nice, Relatively Inexpensive Turntable+PreAmp
October 5, 2008 12:12 PM   Subscribe

VinylFilter: Looking for a quality Turntable and PreAmp to fill the needs of a poor audiophile ($500-650 Budget)

I've been easing into the world of audiophilia for quite a while now; I've spent my time combing through countless issues of Stereophile, practically live on the Head-Fi forums, and have replaced all of my digital music library with tasty, tasty FLAC. However, after living next to someone with a turntable, and hearing the warm, buttery sound emanating from his turntable rig, I want one. I plan on listening mostly through a pair of DT770 Pro Headphones [80 Ω] (and to a lesser extent a pair of Grados) but will likely purchase a proper Power Amplifier and set of monitors at some point in the future. Just looking for something that will last me awhile and make the vinyl I've had my eye on sound fantastic through my cans.

I've heard fantastic things about the Rega P3, but I feel it might be a touch pricey when you factor in a preamp...

500-650$ Total Budget
posted by robdon to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rega P1 or Music Hall mmf 2.2, with a Bellari VP130 tube preamp (Bellari also makes a good solid-state for $80). A sweet cheap setup that fits your budget.
posted by rhizome at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2008

Whoops, forgot about cartridges, in which case you'd probably want to go with a solid-state preamp.
posted by rhizome at 12:51 PM on October 5, 2008

posted by Substrata at 1:13 PM on October 5, 2008

after reading this article comparing the Rega P1 (slightly lower end than the P3) and the Pro-ject Debut III, I went with the latter, and couldn't be happier.

I'm using it with an Onkyo A-9555 which new, while inexpensive in the audiophile world, would comprise most of your outlined budget.

Sounds wonderful through my Grado SR-60s, and even better though the monitors I chose.

If you live in an area with an active craigslist, I'd look there for huge savings on this type of equipment - perhaps you could locate an older, hi-end turntable and replace the cartridge?
posted by namewithoutwords at 1:26 PM on October 5, 2008

I can't make any turntable recommendations, but the Harman Kardon 3480 and its successor the 3490 (nice because it has digital inputs) are well regarded, inexpensive integrated amps/receivers with good turntable pickups.

You can often find the 3480 or its little sister the 3380 on eBay for cheap.

I've had a 3480 for about five years now and love it...
posted by wfrgms at 2:16 PM on October 5, 2008

Response by poster: Any recommendations on cartridges and a preamp other than the bellari?
posted by robdon at 6:59 PM on October 5, 2008

I have a music hall mmf 2.2 and i LOVE it. not only stylish but great sound.
posted by spicynuts at 6:58 AM on October 6, 2008

This debate won't be complete without the controversial subject of the Technics SL-1200.

I'm not particularly qualified as an "audiophile", having not spent huge amounts of money on gear in my time, but I've owned a Rega turntable (Planar 2) and liked it well enough.

Simultaneously I've spent a lot of time using direct-drive turntables in live venues and believe strongly in the audio quality of the Technics SL-1200 series. On top of that, they are convenient to use and the build quality is better than the Rega Planar 2 and Planar 3 by a long way.

There is a lot of material on the internet regarding the Technics deck as a strong contender in the budget audiophile market. Worth a look. Next time I buy a turntable for home use it will almost certainly be one of these.
posted by galaksit at 10:08 AM on October 6, 2008

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