I am kicking the idea of trying out vinyl. It’s been a long time since I had a turntable and it took a lot of thought whether I can deal with what always seemed like the snap, crackle & pops of an album. Anyway, I’ve decided to take a plunge after all the buzz how awesome it is. Of course before I make any final decisions, I always turn to the Audiogon community for their expert thoughts, opinions and education. I’m also looking for suggestions for a nice affordable table with tone arm and cartridge. Being the fact this is new to me and I may hate it, I’m looking for suggestions on the best affordable set up I can do for a new or used in the price range of $1000/$1500. I’m sure I can get a better bang for the buck going used. I just don’t know anything about these animals. My system is older but I still enjoy it which consist of a Mark Levinson 23.5 amp, Proceed AVP 2+6 used for 2 channel audio, Audio Acoustics model 9 speakers, Ayre DAC for digital with Transparent Audio Ultra mm2 cables. Any input is greatly appreciated!

Hi folks, Im a little late chiming in here as the OP has already made his move, but I know this thread will read by others making similar decisions and I also just went through the same thing my self recently joining the vinyl club..

I was originally looking at a Rega RP6 with the neo PSU when I stumbled upon a refurbished MUSIC HALL MMF 7.3 with a Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge pre installed from Partsconnexion. Both TT’s were in the same price and quality range (priced new). Long story short after [A lot] of research I pulled trigger on the Music Hall , I could not resist the discount as I too was unsure whether or not this Vinyl stuff would be my cup of tea so to say..

Then it was the Phono pre, that was a MUCH BIGGER DECISION than the actual TT its self. I’m no newbie to audio and I also know pre amps are a very important part of the stereo be it Phono or not. I knew if I wanted good sound that I could not skimp out on the Phono pre. I read up on all the usual suspects, newest Blackbox, Grahm Slee, Rega, Dynavector which Im sure are all great but in the end I settled for another great deal which was a USED Sim Audio MOON LP5.3 - This pre amp is dead quiet and matched up very well with the Ortofon 2M Bronze cartidge..

I must admit I was surprised the sound is Very good , It rivals my digital setup… my digital setup is no slouch..

Tidal/Jriver/PC Laptop To Matrix Xspdif 2 (dig to dig Converter) Powered with Uptone audio Ultracap LPS1.2 feeding latest iteration if Schiit Yggdrasil DAC via AES/EBU cable in turn feeding Audio Research LS26 (bal conects) preamp to Bryston 7B3 mono blocks feeding ELAC FS209.2 speakers.

There are small differences for sure like the bass notes will come out lower on the digital setup but for $1600 bucks USD id like to think I built a nice Analog setup.. It also seems that I have a achieved a nice analog sounding digital setup which is what were all chasing with these high performance Dac’s and such.

I got the Music Hall MMF7.3 discounted at $1000 Usd, and the SIM Audio Moon LP5.3 for $600 usd.

Just some food for thought for any one else looking to jump into Vinyl.

Great responses here but no one has addressed the fact that unless you have a great source to buy clean, well cared for records... your records will still sound like crap no matter how much you spend.  You mention snap, crackle and pop in the first line of your post.  Having a good, used record store in your town is a must.  Just my opinion anyway.  Have never bought an LP online.  I need to be able to look at the record under some bright store lights to see if it's been properly cared for.  Have fun in your quest for the 'vinyl' sound anyway!
Technics SL1200 GR offers tremendous value for money. Fit and finish is AWESOME ! We feel it's really amazing. We sell these tables on a regular basis. We are offering a Free Ortofon MM Cartridge with them.
When you get a TT you are not just getting a TT.  You are getting a lot of baggage:  [i] Cartridges; [ii] Phonostages; [iii] Another cable or two (and you really do have to get a quality cable as the signal is about a 1000th of a line stage signal); Tricky setup including [iv] think minimising vibration, [v] getting a 100% level platform, [vi] setting azimuth, [vi] setting VTA, [vii] setting overhang, [viii] setting tracking force;  [ix] Expensive LPs, [x] Vinyl cleaning, [xi] Stylus cleaning. 

I know all about it I have 3 TTS.  But if you want to give it a go then a Technics 1200G (or that family) is the way to go.   In one shot you are getting a superlative TT, and your setup issues will be far less.  Another truly fabulous advantage is just dropping the needle.  Almost impossible to screw up.
I honestly recommend that you don’t get into vinyl. I started five years ago and if I had to do over, I probably wouldn’t. The money I have spent on vinyl is nuts.

I would take the $1500 and upgrade your DAC or CD player.

Not to mention the frustration with hit or miss reissues, poor pressings, weeding out what was mastered from digital, having to send records back when they have defects, paying the shipping back and forth, etc.

With many of my favorite albums becoming available in hiRes MQA on Tidal, I rarely buy new records. It has to be something really special any more to get my wallet open. Mostly the ultradisc sets from Mofi.

If you dont don’t have a streamer, I suggest getting one like a BlueSound Node 2 or one of the Auralic streamers. My choice is a PS Audio DirectStream Junior. This is an upgradable FPGA DAC with a built in bridge for streaming! I know a dealer that sells them at a heavy discount ( there is 50% markup on all this audio gear).