Would like to share old import albums with my kids (actually, I like to listen to them again!). Haven't used turntable in years. Worked well when last used (likely not to the standards of those in this forum) but tracking messed up now, perhaps full of dust. Followed set-up instructions to no avail......Do I bother to fix JVC Ll-A40 direct drive (if even possible) or obtain an entry level turntable that would allow kids to appreciate difference between vinyl and their mp3 degradations. Only automatic features necessary would be what the JVC has: automatic return and automatic tonearm "drop"
Maybe the turntable (TT) needs a lube and cleaning. Don't know where you live; there may be service centers that can do the work, or at least look at it and quote a job.
You can get used TT on the web. I still have an old Dual 1218 that plays three speeds, and has both automatic and manual play. It needs lube and cleaning before it works again.
If you go new, there are very inexpensive ones that are a start, e.g. the Ion for around $100 I think, but I personally would start a higher than that in the above $300 range; you'd get more out of it in the long run. Those include the ProJect brand for example. You can chack out the Rega, VPI, to see what they have to offer. Make sure you get a good cartridge with it and that your preamp will handle the output of the cartridge.
If you haven't already looked, Stereophile has a list of recommended components in the April 2007 issue. Online audio reviews may be of help to you. See what others in this forum can recommend, probably better than my very short answer.
There are several entry level turntables (cartridge included) which will meet your goal of exposing the kids to the superiority of vinyl recordings over MP3 for less than $1,000. Rega, Music Hall, Project and NAD have very nice offerings beginning at about $350. These fine sounding tt/cart combinations have a common characteristic, however, they lack the automatic set-down and return which you've listed as a requirement. The only entry level TT/cart package I know of with those automatic features is the Thorens TD190 which Acoustic Sounds is advertising for $599. I've had no experience with that particular table, nor any of the recent offerings from Thorens, but they have had a good reputation over the years. Perhaps someone else here can offer other suggestions. I point first to good entry level turntables because my guess is that the cost of getting your old TT up and running might be close enough to that of a new set-up to make the new purchase more attractive.
Good luck, I like your goal.
Good luck, I like your goal.
The Rega P3 (opps! I mean the P1), IIRC, has gotten V good reviews, and for what you may pay to have your old TT R&R'd, you might end up far ahead in the game with that strategy.
I have seen them for less than $400 w/cartridge at places like AudioAdvisor and Needle Dr.