What's killing our shared hobby/obsession is the lack of introductory products - folks who bought a AR XA with a Dynaco SCA-80 or 35 -added a set of Dynaco A-25's or AR-4x's -were not buyin the best available back then. Certainly not the most expensive. Lots of folks stopped right there and used that equipment for decades and really enjoyed the music it brought into their lives. And for some of them - it was the introduction to a life long ( and maybe checkbook draining) obsession. I really appreciate products like the classic Dynaco or NAD 3020 (ART DJ pre-II today)- that were just a small audible step up from good 'nuff -but could wet their users appetite for better.
Todays h$end audio is mostly un-interesting to me - the limited production runs and concentration on cosmetic design elements create products that simply don't seem worth the price to me as a consumer.
Well put. I am in agreement with all of that. The first 'real hi fi' I heard consisted of a low-end Dual TT with low end Shure cart (the ubiquitous M91E), low end Nikko amp, and a pair low-end AR4-somethings. I can still remember the goosebumps I got listening to Abraxas the first time. I started saving my allowance and cutting lawns etc, and about a year later I had the SCA-80 (kit) and A-25's you mention along with my own Dual TT. That system cost me 330 1971 dollars and gave me almost a decade of musical satisfaction, until I got the soldering itch again. According to an internet inflation calculator, that is right around $2K in today's money.
By contrast, the equipment at the last show I did the math for averaged $58K, not including a few thou to plug it in and connect the various pieces to each other.
It is possible to get satisfying reproduction of music in the home for a lot less than that.
Also, I take Toocool4's point. But I also think I'd go with the Pro-Ject or MusicHall nominated by Elizabeth (or the Orbit), because a) These companies have track records and b) Something about 'This-is-good-because-Bob-Marley's-name-is-on-it' makes me feel like I'm being snookered. I'll take the TT without the music star name on it.