Building System with Record Player / Need Preamp?

Hello! I currently have an NAD C328 running Totem Acoustic Skylite Speakers. I love my system and I’m finally ready to jump to analog.

1. Do I really need a phono preamp? (The C328 does have a phono input.)

2. If so, what would you all recommend (under $500)? For aesthetic reasons, I’d like to stay in the NAD family if possible.

3. What’s the best first record player to get (under $1k)? The Skylites produce a very detailed sound, so I want to make sure I’m going to acquire a player that performs. 


Many thanks, as always!



Best record player under a grand is a used one. Just look around. Problem with a Tt under a grand is you will want something better after a while and think I’ll just upgrade the cartridge. Then you pay another grand for the cartridge and the Tt is majorly holding it back. 

Got my Marantz  tt15s1 for either 700 or 600 can’t remember. Low hours and soooo much better than the Project Carbon it replaced. Anyway I can reccomend the Marantz which is actually a Clearaudio branded Marantz. Not TOTL but good enough for me for the foreseeable future where I hardly listed to the Project. 

Pioneer PLX1000 ($699) + a Grado Prestige cartridge ($89 - $189). The C328 phono stage should be adequate. An upgrade would be the Schiit Mani ($150). I have the PLX1000 with a Denon  103R mc cartridge. Read Herb Reichert's review from several years back in the Stereophile archives.

Getting Started with Vinyl is one thing. Sticking with Vinyl is another.

I often recommend this Audio Technica AT-120 to start, then upgrade to a better cartridge, then upgrade TT after you have learned this and that.

"comes with a 0.3 mil x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus, but is also compatible with any VM95 Series replacement stylus"

I owned one for years, very happy with it.

It has a removable headshell, so it is easy to buy and mount alternate/better cartridge(s). The headshell(s) and cartridge(s) can simply move to a different tonearm when upgrading.


Info regarding stylus shapes