I love turntables and have loved them since the 1970s, when I got my first Dual. I can’t remember where that one ended up, but the one that replaced it, my Dutch-made Philips 212 is also over 30 years old and it is still around. It is sitting right on my desk, plugged into the soundcard of my computer so I can digitize vinyl records directly into iP0d-ready MP3s with no fuss. If you don’t have a turntable and like new things, you can pick up a Pioneer PL-990 for under $120. There are a lot of turntables in that price range; you can look for one that you like. The Pioneer has two useful features: it has built-in RIAA equalization, so you don’t need a separate pre-amp, and it plays 45s as well as regular 33 1/3 rpm records. You can plug it in, and record the discs to a program like Audacity for Windows and save as MP3s. You only need to play the discs once. Or hook the turntable up to a receiver and play them directly. It’s up to you.
Affordability: 8 Luxury: 7
Available from Amazon
Want more luxury? As with most audio, the sky’s the limit. If you want to forget about the affordable part, take a look at these.