Finding someone to show you how it all works is the best idea I've heard Ideally, that person would be a friend. I grew up as a teenager playing vinyl, but then abandoned it when CDs came out. I completely forgot about the whole process for about 15 years. About ten years ago, a "vinyl knowledgeable" friend loaned me an old 1970s Thorens (a good brand) turntable and a 1970s garage sale Sony receiver with a built in phono stage. I bought a fresh $70 Sumiko Pearl cartridge. This system would not damage any records, and actually sounded pretty nice--to my ears, truckloads better than the usual CD equipment. My friend spent an afternoon showing me how to work the turntable, and I was ready to go--been hooked ever since. I eventually went on to buy my own used Linn turntable, which has been very satisfactory. I just keep upgrading and learning a bit more each year. Good luck!