Entry-level Turntable

Any suggestions? My price point is less than $500.

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I would go with a used table. Rega P2 or 3 , or Linn Axis should be obtainable in your budget. They are all good.
How about a spin to the question, can a moving coil setup be had for a budget price? Of course this is without consideration of a possible MC processor required. Though nonetheless, any suggestions?
>>without consideration of a possible **MC processor**<<
You are a digital-man aren't you? 'MC processor', I say! :-)

You can get some Hi-MC so you won't need this *MC processor* thingy, since it would allow you to use a 40dB phono-pre usually only good with an MM cart's output voltage of ~ 5mV.
If you have the patience and find a GOOD (mostly NOS) MM, I guess you'd be better of.
In my setup Hi-MC's never really 'cut the mustard' i.e. a good MM for hopefully less $$$ will bring the preferred result, YMMV.

If we look at Lo-MC's the game changes and can drive the fear of God into you. That stuff tops out at some $20k and below 2k it gets a bit iffy for sure.
With cheap-MC vs top-MC the more $$$ and you do get what you pay for (mostly anyway).
B U T, no use hanging even a 2k MC on some budget arm and a budget phono-stage - it will be like putting racing tyres on a budget car, in fact it might sound worse than some more $$$ friendly MM match.

The problem with most ~ MC 'budget gear' is that your bass performance will be not that great either.
Lastly, in my experience most MC's to my ears still sounded the best with tube pre's or at least a tube phono-pre.
That once again is a ~ budget decision. As soon as you start looking at tube gear performance improvement by tube rolling -- $$$$ so beware.

A lot of folk would rather go SS (sold state) for the maintenance issue alone. If you do, I'd like to think to stick with a GOOD MM rather then get into the hot $$$ water of MC's.
I've been there and run an MM right now --- and I keep on asking why exactly I'd have to spend 3-4-5k$ to play my mostly 2nd hand vinyl in the first place. Playing new clean vinyl sounds REALLY good also.
Ask Raul, visit his thread: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1200430667&&&&&st400
It will give you some more perspective on the subject also.
07-15-09: Eddiebo
How about a spin to the question, can a moving coil setup be had for a
budget price? Of course this is without consideration of a possible MC
processor required. Though nonetheless, any suggestions?
Yes. You can start with one of the Denon high
output MCs, the DL-110 at $140 or DL-160 at $180. Their output is usually
high enough to be able to use an MM phono stage. Other HOMC carts include
the various Sumiko Blue Points and the Blackbird, ranging from about $300 to

You can get some good lower cost low output MCs that would require either
a transformer or an MC phono stage. Examples include the Denon DL-103,
DL-301 II, and Audio Technica OC-9. All come in at around $300 or less. In
many cases, an outboard phono stage with MC channel (e.g., Cambridge
640P, Parasound ZPhono, Music Hall PA 1.2, Musical Fidelity V-LPS, or NAD
PP2) will get you satisfactory results without spending too much money.

After considering many of those options about a year ago, I instead went for
the Audio Technica AT150MLX moving magnet cartridge with 4mV output,
and couldn't be more pleased. After over a year of playing it a lot, I have no
inclination to swap it out. It's fast, neurtral, extended, dynamic, and lets the
music shine through without noticeable coloration. In fact, it supplanted a
Denon DL-160, and nice though that was, the AT150MLX performs at a much
higher level in every significant way.
Hi Eddiebo
looks like another vote for a GOOD MM rather than going budget MC incl. the extra cost of a half decent MC able phono-stage.

MMs have become (I think unjustly) considered 2nd rate to MCs. Again, if you are more 'sanely' budget oriented I think it is the preferred way to go. I have a 3.5k$ Windfeld MC (Top of the Ortofon line) 'on ice' and using a NOS (new old stock) Audio Technica AT140LC and have no inclination to change it right now, similar case it seems to Johnnyb53.
Technics SL1200 MKII. Would certainly fit the bill. The Rega P3 is good as well, though I do not like the non-height adjust. An old thorens would also be nice and is within the price range.
Thanks for the profound answers ! I appreciate and understand the time and cost in gaining the experience in being able to answer this question.

At this stage given the $ involved MM sounds like the ticket. Given my current setup, purchasing a primo gusto phono setup would comparable to putting a ferrari engine into a plymouth valiant.

Thanks again.
Nothing wrong with MM. Have a look at the Grace f9 Ruby, if your lucky enough to get your hands on one you will not be sorry. It beats the pants off of most other modern MMs and can sound as nice as a MC. What is the budget for a MM/MC?