Back in the day I started out with an Ariston Q-Deck turntable. This then got upgraded with a Goldring cartridge. Then I was gifted a Thorens turntable with an expensive arm and cartridge and it sounded phenomenal.
Then vinyl began to die and I moved away from Hi-Fi.
I have a stack of vinyl and decided to resurrect my system. We don't live near a Hi-Fi store so I looked at reviews and ordered a Pro-Ject Essential II from Amazon.
After setting it all up, I thought, properly, I watched puzzled as the stylus simply skated across the vinyl. After checking and re-checking everything I checked the last possible thing - the stylus. No diamond perhaps. When putting it back on I felt the cartridge shift slightly to the right. Skating problem solved. For a few records, then back again. Basically, the cartridge was loose.
That went back to Amazon for a refund. This weekend, took a trip out to Southampton - store there doesn't sell those, but came home with a Rega 1 instead.
This has a loud buzzing humming noise. It has no earth connector. Have never had this with vinyl before. From what I read, this is a common design flaw and sometimes manufacturing fault. So that's going to have to go back as well.
I'm a bit fatigued with this now. I didn't have a budget in mind as such, but thought this level of spend would be adequate to at least get something that works.
Am I spending too little? Do I need to go to around £500, if so, fine, but what should I be looking at... not something made by Rega or Project - and yet, those are the ones that receive rave reviews. Have I just been terribly unlucky and I should try the Pro-Ject Debut one (will involve a long drive, ideally I want to hear it working before I take it home this time..)