This got me thinking, what kind of system can a person get on Craigslist? I already had 2 turntables I bought from people advertising on Craigslist, and now I have a receiver as well. So I decided to see what I could find for speakers. After almost getting super lucky on a pair of Focal 806v bookshelf speakers I found a pair of near mint B&W DM601s for $200. I drove out to the burbs and met a wonderful older gentleman who, according to his wife, was accumulating too many stereo components so some had to go, and came home with the speakers. After getting a bunch of the appropriate cables from Monoprice, and a ground cable from The Needle Doctor to connect the turntable ground to the ground on the Marantz, I hooked it all up and gave it a listen.
To say I was a bit shocked would be an understatement. After futzing with speaker placement for a while I now have a nice, if small, soundstage, a very nice tonal balance, great gobs of detail, and nothing but musical enjoyment from this system. So nice in fact that I plugged my Cosecant into it and now have this system in my office, speakers on my desk in a near field set-up and sounding very, very nice.
So, what have I learned? Well, for one thing musical enjoyment does not need to cost a lot of money. Total cost of Craigslist components is $700.
Marantz 2230: $200
B&W DM601s: $200
Technics SL1200: $300
Cables were all from Monoprice, except the one highlighted above, and cost much less than $100. If someone did not want a turntable, that money could easily pay for a DAC. There is also no reason a Mac Mini or some other similar device can not be sourced from Craigslist. What other costs would there be? Well, first of all a computer and a DAC. Second, if a turntable was part of the deal a cartridge would be needed, also does not need to be expensive. The Marantz has a built in Phono Stage that sounds very nice, so an external one is not needed.
As a bonus, I get free over the air FM broadcasts, and they can be very nice to listen to.