I was asked by my father to help him select a turntable and pair of stereo speakers so that he can listen to his classical music from the Franklin Mint collection. I don't have a clue what separates a great sounding entry level audiophile turntable from an average sounding (and featured) record player, other than price. I have never owned a turntable but my parents used to own a Dual I think many years ago. That turntable was automatic I believe.
I asked my father about the budget range and he's OK if the turntable costs around $1,500 or less. In the past my parents have spent lots on audio gear, but they are at an age now where sound quality from very high end gear wouldn't swing their decisions. I think the sounds to their ears would be pretty much the same.
This is what I am thinking regarding turntable, not in any ranked order of importance:
1. Nice to have a USB port to record the music in digital format (more on that below)
2. Turntable cover with hinges that bring the cover down slowly
3. A light that helps guide the placement of phono needle on the record medium if manual
4. Manual vs auto vs semi-auto turntable. My father was thinking about a full automatic, but I told him that most (all?) high end turntables within his budget are full manual. He's OK with that.
5. Pre-amp: built-in would be best I think. If not built-in, what external pre-amp would you recommend?
Regarding USB on turntables. Is it worth having this feature? How do you digitally record your prized record collections? Or do you? What software works with Mac and or Windows computers? I personally prefer Mac.
So far, I plan to recommend perhaps the Audioengine HD6 powered speakers for my parents. It has wireless bluetooth, includes a remote, and some nice input options. I might reconsider for a smaller footprint. They have limited space to place a turntable, possibly an external pre-amp, and stereo speakers. I think my father will play his records somewhat loudly.
Where I am there's no place I know of locally to demo a nice turntable or listen to audiophile powered bookshelf speakers. We would have to drive out of state for that.
Thanks in advance for your inputs,