Here are a few suggestions on audio gear based on quality expectations and budget. I also have a more detailed description – part by part – in another section of the guide. Use this as a reference.
Be aware that if you buy a sound card (internal, external or inside a USB-player), you should check that there is a driver for your version of operating system (see secton about computer, operating system and drivers).
Serious amateur with a budget
Equipment that you either have or buy:
- A good record player. The price tag could be 300 – 600 USD.
- RIAA preamplifier at 100 – 200 USD.
- External sound card with “gain control”. The sound card should support 24 bit AD-conversion, and it is nice if it comes with “ASIO support”. Could cost between 150 and 300 USD.
- Cables for connecting record player, RIAA and sound card. From 30 USD and upwards.
If you want even better results you should buy the same things, but pay more. The most important part is the record player.
Portable player – iPod etc.
For portable players and listening on an average system:
- Decent record player at about 300 USD.
- Combined RIAA preamp and USB AD-converter at 200 USD.
Listening in the car
For the car, party and other casual listening:
- USB-player for 250 – 400 USD.
You don’t have to pay anything if you use the following:
- Your existing record player
- Your existing amplifier (use the tape output)
- The motherboard integrated sound card in your computer.
Test the programs I suggest for the free trial periods. Convert a few records and check what you think about the result.