Stay away from all-in-one record players
Those inexpensive turntables and all-in-one record players you see selling for under $200 don’t sound very good. They can also damage your records because they use ceramic phono cartridges with low-quality styli (stylus=needle.)
This system will sound good and preserve your records for future enjoyment, at a price you may have thought impossible!
Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable $119
This belt-drive turntable has automatic operation and a moving magnet cartridge that won’t hurt your records. The sound is clean, though it won’t show you how truly magical vinyl sound can be. It takes a lot more money to do that! At under $100 this turntable is a wonderful value and a great way to get started. It has a built-in phono preamp and all the cables you need to set it up. The list price is $199 but it can often be found for under $100.
Dayton Audio T-Amp and B652 speaker bundle $69
These are great little speakers for the money, and the T-Amp is surprisingly good. The amplifier has a miniplug input and is powered by a wall wart. It is so efficient it can even run on AA batteries.
Setting it up
The speakers come with wires. Connect them to the press connectors on the amp using the color-coding system, then connect the miniplug cable from the turntable to the amplifier. Make sure the phono preamp in the turntable is active. This is the “Line” setting.
Turn it on, put on a record, press “Start” on the turntable. Adjust the volume and enjoy. You will be surprised at how good it sounds for under $200! If you disconnect the cable from the turntable you can connect it to your tablet or phone to enjoy sound from your tablet or smartphone, too.
Prices accurate on December 12, 2015 and may vary.