A Turntable Set Up For Less Than $300
If you have been on the fence about getting back into vinyl, If you didn’t think you could afford the equipment, I think I can help you get started at a very affordable price.
What if you could get a quality plug and play turntable with USB LP to mp3 conversion capability for around $100? What if the turntable was a quality product like the pictured Audio Technica.
What about a good stereo receiver for around 100 bucks, and then add 2 bookshelf speakers to plug-in for around 50 dollars. Below I will show you the 3 affordable things you could get that will get you cheaply spinning vinyl again in no time.
I will also include a possible alternative below my main choice of each item, since prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit online. Understand though, at these bargain prices, you shouldn’t expect audiophile sound. If you are budget minded, and want the best cheap option, I think I have done a pretty good job with the choices below.
Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable
Don’t expect audiophile sound on this unit, but judging by most of the reviews, the Audio Technica is one of the best deals out there for the novice.
This AT LP60 does not need a separate phono amp purchase. This means the record player is plug and play, you can plug right into the auxiliary jack on the receiver, and in most cases you can plug into any other jack where you plug your DVD or CD player in.
YOU WILL NEED A RECEIVER THOUGH!
You can not plug directly into speakers, you must have a receiver of some sort. Depending on the number of jacks, you might end up having to unplug one of your devices to plug into the receiver.
A possible alternative for the Audio Technica turntable: A Sony Turntable
Sherwood Stereo Receiver (As low as 50 dollars!)
Is it possible to find a decent stereo receiver for less than a hundred dollars? I know first hand it is, and I am almost sorry I paid so much for another option earlier. The Sherwood is a decent option for the price.
When I moved several years ago, it was a hasty move and some things had to be put into storage, and well the temperature dropped to zero degrees, and the Onkyo receiver I suppose couldn’t handle it, even being wrapped in a blanket.
I had to lay out $700 dollars to a moving company, and did not have the extra cash lying around for a receiver. As a music lover, and a vinyl record collector at that, I needed something to serve as a fill in receiver until I could raise enough cash to get a better system.
I like the intimacy of focused listening, and even though I don’t consider myself an audiophile, meaning I know what I like fidelity wise, but I never went out into the deep-end with the philosophy.
A possible alternative to the Sherwood Receiver: The Pyle Receiver
For the money, and for a starter receiver, or even just for your kid’s room or game-room, the Sherwood is hard to beat. Just make sure you use the proper speakers, and this thing will do you right.
- The Sherwood 200 watt receiver did the trick for me. It’s not a surround sound unit, only stereo, but it did do what I wanted it to do as a temporary replacement.
- Plenty of power for a living room or child’s room. I think the best speaker use would be small to medium, as to not make the amp work too hard. With the book shelf speakers being used right now, the sound is pretty clear at low to medium levels, too far above medium volume, some distortion will be noted. You could even cause the unit to shut its self off if you use the wrong speakers.
The Speakers You Need
These Dayton Audio speakers are the best deal I could find for medium-sized bookshelf speakers. I use mine as back position surround sound speakers.
The Dayton speakers are fine for someone who just needs cheap decent quality speakers to plug right up without much fuss.
Most have been impressed with the clarity of sound and no distortion, keep in mind this however: If you have an audiophiles ear, you are probably going to find something wrong.
I have a pretty good set up now, and have graduated to better equipment, but even now I don’t have an ear so discerning to pick out every little nuance of sound, I doubt those who claim they have that ability. They have some super extra sensory hearing I presume? To much hassle for me.
At around 100 bucks a pair, these are a great affordable way to get quality speakers to use with the cheap Sherwood receiver reviewed above.
Thoughts on Record Player Sound Quality at This Price Point
Audiophiles, and you know who you are, have a very trained ear. Audiophiles can pick out noises and frequencies that most don’t notice. In some respects, the effort for the best possible sound is almost a spiritual experience.
Honestly, I think that is a pretty good way to look at it, audiophiles believe things and look for things most of us don’t see or have faith in. I have my little nuances of sound too, I don’t like a bright or brittle sound, especially when listening to jazz and progressive rock music. Tinny or compressed sound, drives me nuts.
Warmth of analog is a mystery to some, but to an acoustic jazz listener who has compared the CD remasters with vinyl, I can honestly say there is a difference in the sound. I only noticed this after comparing the two, I trained my ear to have more of an audiophile ear.
All of this being said, I am not one who champions the use of special gold-plated cables, and or obsesses over speaker placement and measurements for optimal sound. I care more about the performance and overall feel of listening than picking apart every last sonic detail.
This package would be a good place start your journey, you can always decide the level of upgrade you want later. Understand though, thousands of dollars can easily be spent on an audiophile set up.
*Note: While I am an Amazon.com and eBay.com affiliate and do receive commissions from both, I am never paid or given free stuff for a review. My reviews are written from my own personal experience as a long time eBay buyer and seller, and vinyl record collector and seller.*
Image Credit: Used with permission, via Amazon.com
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Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.