Getting back into venal with a $2,000 budget.

Targeting $1,500 for TT and $500 for phono preamp. Current 2 channel set up is made up of all ARCAM FMJ, C31 preamp, 2 P1 power amps, CD36 CD player and Energy Veritas V2.4 floorstanding speakers.

Considering used Marantz TT 15S1 with Clearaudio Virtuoso Ebony Wood cartridge, Butcher Block Acoustics Audio Isolation Platform and dust cover all for $1,100. Or New Rega Planer 3 with Exact 2 cartridge for $1,395. The phono preamps I’m considering are Parasound Zphono XRM or Rega Fono MM Mk5.

Also open to other suggestions that would be in the $2,000 price range. 

Sorry about “Venal” should obviously be “Vinyl”. My iPad and stylus don’t always play nice and work against me sometimes.  Lol


I would like to thank everyone for all your input.  It’s been very enlightening.  When I originally considered getting back into vinyl and before I posted, I was considering only spending $500 on TT and $100 on phono preamp.  My current vinyl collection is only about 60 albums in very good condition that I purchased in the 70’s and 80’s before CD’s took over my music listening enjoyment.  Perhaps this only justifies a $500 investment in TT as a starting point.

However, after listening to a few TT’s around $500 I wondered if I would be happy or soon loose interest in vinyl.  So I set my sights on acquiring what I consider an entry level set up, $1500 for TT and $500 on phono preamp.  Full well knowing that spending on the hobby would definitely consume far more money than my initial $2000 investment if my interest in vinyl took off.  I’ve been down many rabbit holes over the years with a variety of hobbies but to me that’s what makes life fun.

I do plan on taking my time and listening to various TT’s and Phono Preamps before taking the jump.  Who knows, maybe in the end I’ll determine that a good Music Streamer and DAC will suit my music interest better than investing in vinyl.

Thanks again for all your input it is greatly appreciated.

@litespeedaudio I would not rule out a Streamer, over the past year-ish or so, I have been introduced to one a system I know very well.

The Streamer was a replaced model and then went through a a couple of Upgrades, to the point of the demonstration I received at a local HiFi Group Gathering on Saturday 10-12-22.

The Source Material was FLAC File CD Recordings from a PC. 

The routing of the Signal was not conventional, but from assessment of the demonstration, was totally acceptable and capable of delivering a memorable presentation for the better.

Eight Attendees were present at the Groups Gathering. One attendee has not heard a Streamer in use but does have a long time owned Lector CDP.

The System used is a SP10 R > Custom Built Phono Pre and Pre Amp > Wadia CDP > Linn Akurate Streamer > EAR Valve Power Amp >

The afternoon's digital session had a lot to live up to after the morning's delights. John's Akurate employing a different approach to connectivity this time around  did not disappoint, Next up, the PS Perfect Wave transport together with the custom valve DAC supplied by John G. offered  a bit more to the listener, I thought, with its  lovely open,expansive and tonally rich sound. The Lady Blackbird track sounded absolutely stunning through this combo. I was pleased to see that these characteristics were retained when we briefly swapped over to the Ear Acute Classic. Like the two Johns, I am curious to have a play with the TOSLINK input sometime, just to see whether the streaming  avenue is one worth travelling along.  

@rar1, I liked the idea of the Technics 1500c with its hard shell and built in phono preamp.  That would give me the opportunity to experience different cartridges and phono preamps.  However, I am concerned about the platter wobble issue I’ve read about.  Even if it didn’t affect sound quality it would still bother me.  Perhaps there is a platter lottery and not all units shipped have this issue.  YouTube influencer Andrew Robinson swears by his $500 Audio Technica 140 with a Ortofon Black cartridge.  Although I’m am a bit turned off by the DJ look.


@pindac, both the Rega 3 and Marantz I demoed sounded very good.  They did sound different but I couldn’t determine which one sounded better to me.  The Butcher Block Acoustics Audio Isolation Platform and dust cover were included in the $1100 price as the Marantz does not come with dust cover.  I was very impressed with the build quality of the Marantz.  Before putting the belt on it, I spun the platter ever so lightly and it spun forever.  The motor was also soundless.  Typically I don’t buy used equipment but the Marantz look new and unused, not even a scratch on the dust cover.  There is just something about German build quality that excites me.  Wow, 190 pages on Record Cleaning.  I never realized cleaning would be that detailed.  I may have to invest in record cleaning machine if this hobby takes off.


@chayro, that’s OK, I opened myself up for advice.  I’m interested in getting a set up that provides me with GVFM.  I have a friend that is into vinyl and his set up is all vintage that he spent next to nothing on.  I’m not into vintage audio buy he just loves his.  He is a good example that you don’t need to spend $15,000 to enjoy the hobby.  

Technics SL-1200 mk 7.

not quite as stiff as the older sl1200 mk2, but they sound a lot better,


had mine since mid late 80's, and bought another about 1995 i think.

all are flawless.  save some coin, drop a grand on a nice new sl1200 mk87, use the rest of the money towards a better amp, ore spoil your wife


take one home, set her up, as most places have a return policy.


@ litespeedaudio -

You could always ask your dealer to check for platter wobble, while he is prepping & installing your new cartridge.  Even though I live in NYC, I purchased my 1500C from an authorized, less known dealer, who I have dealt with over the years and would recommend highly.  He took care of everything for me.  Fwiw, no platter wobble with both my 1500C and 1210GR TTs.  


Best of luck & the holidays,