I'm a newbie entering the world of home theater & a/v set up. I'm on a budget (trying to stay around that $500 figure, or so...) and am going to build piece by piece. Most receivers I'm interested in have one problem -- a lack of a phone input. (This seems to come only on higher end models.) Is there a way to safely and properly hook up a record play to a receiver if it doesn't have a specific input? What kind of pre-amp unit would I need? Are there grounding issues? I welcome any advice...I may be off in the wrong direction and maybe I should invest more in a receiver?
There are some pretty good turntables out there that have an on-board preamp and riaa equalizer like the Pro-ject Debut II. There are cheaper alternative to the Pro-Ject table I don't know them off hand.
Sorry Jeff but those turntables with built-in phono stages such as the Project Debut are awful. They do solve th eproblem for Sean, but if Sean is looking for the magic of vinyl he'll be disappointed by this player.
The cheapest good separate phono stage I know is the Pro-ject Phono Box (£45 in the UK - and no relation to the Project turntables confusingly). This little item is musical and can be set for both MM and MC type cartridges so it's relatively future proofed. Then you'll need an interconnect to the receiver. As to earthing issues, that depends on the turntable you choose. On turntables, steer clear of the Debut if possible. It's cheap but it's not particularly well put together. If you like the look of the Projects then the Expression is where I would start (about £200). For a really musical event, the Rega turntables are the boys to beat with the P2 starting at £200 plus cartridge (e.g. Ortofon 510).