Re: Turntable shopping.. any help?
What a great question. My collogue, Steve Guttenberg, and I often discuss this issue. And what it really comes down to is: how much do you really want to spend for the whole analog side of this?
I like your choices - but TT are truly a combination of the various elements. Otherwise, I recommended a very basic Audio-Technica with built in phono preamp and even an on-board A/D and USB output - so you can also dub your LPs directly to your computer or music server. c. $459.00
Sure you can come up with a much better combination, but it will cost you more and require careful set-up and calibration to get better results.
But I must say it is worth it.
On the more expensive side - you might consider the ELP Laser Turntable, which I have owned since 2003. It works wonderfully, has an optional line level output, and even CD like remote control so you can skip, FF, RR, etc - but it's all ANALOG!