Hello all. I've read these forums for a little while. For the past couple of weeks I've been doing some research on what components to get to build my first hifi system. When I was a kid, I always loved listening to my grandparents' records. I've had a vast digital collection for a while now, but I've decided to get a decent system so I can enjoy vinyl again. In my research, I came across these forums a lot, and found a lot of these threads very useful; but ultimately, I realized that for my questions to be answered, I had to ask them myself, so here I am.
As for the turntable, I've all but decided on the Pro-Ject Debut III (unless anyone has a cogen argument to sway me elsewhere). It's the other components that are really stumping me.
For the receiver, the Onkyo TK-8050, the Harman Kardon HK 3490, and the Marantz PM5004 seem to be the front runners, from what I've read. The Marantz name, when it comes to analog, seems to be a premier. But, it appears to be lacking in features in comparison to the other two, and when I've seen it compared with the HK 3490, audiophiles seem to have preferred the latter. The Marantz is a little bit more money, but I'm not really concerned about that. I've budgeted for this for a while, and don't mind spending an extra $100 if the overall quality is superior. Are there any benefits to the Marantz? and if not, why is the HK better?
Then there's the Onkyo TK-8050. The obvious advantage to this one is that it'll allow me to easily play music from my digital library - which is nice. But, I value quality analog sound far above this convenience, and, as embarrassing as this is to admit, I'm very much a layman when it comes to audio, and I worry that such a digital machination will mean some sort of sacrifice when it comes to analog sound . Am I just being superstitious here? Is there anything at all to be concered about when it comes to this? I've also heard that Onkyo components in general have a hollower, less preferrable sound, but I'm kind of suspicious of that - can anyone attest to that, either in the positive or negative?
I want to make it clear that I have not limited myself to these receivers - I just keep seeing the Marantz and the HK mentioned most frequently, and the features of the Onkyo caught my eye. If there's some other great receiver under $600 that you think would be a better choice, please enlighten me.
Then there's speakers, which I haven't researched near as much. I'm hoping for more direct guidance on this one. My budget is around $300, but I could make a leap if there's a huge jump in quality to $400 or $500 sets. As for aesthetics, I'd like to get floor-standing speakers, so please keep that in mind (unless, of course, there's some reason I should go for bookshelf or other type of speakers allow for superior sound quality for some reason. I wouldn't imagine that makes any difference really, but I don't want to exclude any possibilities here).
If there's any other components or devices that you think would make for a good addition to my system, please share. I was just planning on a turntable, a receiver, and speakers, but let me know if there's anything else I need to get or should get.
Thanks so much for even reading this. I'm not sure if it's clear from my post, but I'm rather obsessive about making bigger purchases, and I like to be very knowledgeable about what to get, and why. Any and all input will be greatly appreciated and weighted heavily in my deliberation.