I had put together some information on turntables and phono preamps for a fellow poster so I thought I'd share the info here in case anyone finds it useful:
1) entry-level @ $350
- $350 - http://www.audiophileboutique.com/Goldring.html
Comes with a Goldring Elektra cartridge which puts it above most of the other TT’s here, the table, tonearm, plinth and platter are all made by Rega and are no longer made as they were too much value and stealing business.
- $395 - http://www.musicdirect.com/product/74202
Music Hall MMF 2.1
- $350 - http://www.lptunes.com/product-p/mmf21.htm
Pro-Ject Debut III
- $349 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject...2&category=352
The Pro-Ject and Rega both come with the Ortofon 5e cartridge, a good cartridge, but not quite as good as the Goldring. Most people would upgrade to the Ortofon Red cartridge which is around $99.
2) Intermediate level @ $700~$1000
– US$600 – http://www.audiophileboutique.com/Goldring.html
The Goldring GR-2 comes with the awesome Goldring 1012GX cartridge which sells separately for around US$300. Truly the stylus is what makes this turntable special, it’s the one I own. The rest of the table is similar to the Rega P2 and made by Rega.
Rega P3 Mk24
- $1,024 - http://www.musicdirect.com/product/72034
Comes with the Rega Elys cartridge, sells for $895 sans cartridge. Cartridge = $295. The new Rega P3-24 has some really nice upgrades over previous years including a wider bearing for lower rumble and an improved motor and platter.
- $999 - http://www.musicdirect.com/product/80839
Comes with the very nice Sumiko Blue Point cartridge, sweet table and sounds as good as it looks. Pro-Ject are fairly new to the TT game compared to some others listed here, but they’ve definitely produced some fantastic products and have quickly become one of the top sellers.
Music Hall MMF5
- $629 - http://www.lptunes.com/product-p/mmf50.htm
I don’t know how it’s priced so low, but including the same Goldring 1012GX cartridge and a glass platter this is hard to beat within this price range.
Music Hall MMF5.1
- $875 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Music-Ha...2&category=351
Includes the Goldring GL-2200 cartridge and upgrades to bearings, tonearm, etc., over the MMF5.
3) Advanced level @ $1,000~$2,000
Music Hall MMF 7.1
– US$1,500 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Music-Ha...2&category=351
Comes with the Goldring GL-2400 MM cartridge.
- $1,400 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Rega-P5-...2&category=353
With the Rega RB700 tonearm, 12mm glass platter
- $2,000 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Clearaud...2&category=347
Comes with the $1,000 Clearaudio Maestro cartridge – Clearaudio are in the top names in the TT business, this is pretty much their entry-level table.
- $1,800 - http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo....mber=HW-SCOUT9
Another big player, the VPI Scout is VPI’s most successful turntable.
- $1,949 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject...2&category=352
Comes with the Sumiko Blue Point #2 at this price, upgrade to Blue Point Special for $100 more
Phono Preamp –
1) entry-level sub$200
Parasound Zphono - $150 - http://store.acousticsounds.com/brow...Title_ID=14948
Rega Mini Fono - $145 - http://www.needledoctor.com/Rega-Fon...2&category=401
Music Hall PA1.2 - $150 - http://www.musicdirect.com/product/84099
Pro-Ject Phono Box MKii - $159 - http://store.acousticsounds.com/brow...Title_ID=13112
Cambridge Audio 640p - $179 - http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CA640P
Goldring PA1 - $199 - http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MHGRPA1
2) Intermediate Level $200~$450
Pro-Ject Phono Box SE - $329 - http://store.acousticsounds.com/brow...Title_ID=41773
Rega Fono - $350 - http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo...umber=REFONOMM
Clearaudio Nano - $349 - http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CLEANANO
Graham Slee Gram Amp 2SE - $410 - http://www.lptunes.com/Graham-Slee-G...mp-p/ga2pp.htm
The Graham is probably the best one at this level
Creek OBH-15 - $449 - http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=OBH-15
3) Advanced Level $500~$1000
Clearaudio Basic Plus - $900 - http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CLEABASS
PS Audio GCPH - $1,000 - http://www.musicdirect.com/product/74122
Pro-Ject Tube Box SEII - $700 - http://store.acousticsounds.com/brow...Title_ID=41770
Grado PH1 - $500 - http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=GRPH1
Of course there are more levels than this and I don't just mean the ridiculous $300,000 turntables, but if anyone was looking for turntables in the $3,000~$5,000 or more I'd be happy to recommend some of those too, but I imagine most of our members here would be somewhere in this range.