With the resurgence of vinyl’s popularity, many people are left wondering what all the noise is about. Pun intended. And if you’re like most people in the modern age, vinyl is scant more than a bunch of big square pouches which hold round discs your parents keep somewhere in storage.
We’re here to tell you that those square pouches and those discs can send you reeling down into Wonderland, just instead of the Mad Hatter, you’re getting the most wonderful music listening experience you’ve ever had.
If you’re starting a vinyl collection, look no further. The 7 tips below will prepare you for the real world of music.
#1 Buy A Turntable
You can’t listen to music without some type of speaker, right? The same applies to vinyl. Before you start record collecting, it’s time for you to purchase a turntable. Don’t panic about the cost, either. These aren’t antiques anymore, seeing as companies have heard the call of audiophiles and are producing high-quality and affordable machines. If you’re asking us, we’d recommend a Victrola turntable, seeing as not only are they the original record player producer, but they sell fantastic products in the $100-$300 range. For more information on record players history, or in need of some tips for choosing the right Victrola record player, read our related posts.
#2 Find A Place, Explore
Look, it’s totally reasonable that you type in “vinyl for sale” on Google and start shopping around online. But the allure of vinyl is the material itself; the texture, cover art, smell, the fact that you can hold the album in your hands. If you want the full experience, find a record store in your area—one we’re willing to bet is doing very well business-wise—and go peruse the isles. Check out the prices, find some obscure bands, and make a few purchases to ease your way in. Feeling unsure about pricing? Check out Victrola’s Vinyl Record Price Guide to answer all of your questions and clear any doubts you may have about vinyl pricing.
#3 Make A List of Your Favorite Albums
This is an exciting part of the experience. Think of your 10 favorite albums, whatever they may be. No matter what time in history the musician or band lived in, just write down the music that pulls at your heart and soul. Then, try and find those records! If it’s modern, you’ll probably find it somewhere online. If it’s not, you can find it online too but refer back to tip #2 and try and hunt for it. It’s all part of the fun.
#4 Clean Your New Vinyl
You need to clean the grooves of your vinyl every now and then. If it’s used, you’ll need to clean it before you play it. You can purchase some microfiber cleaning cloth and vinyl cleaner for cheap. Typically, you just spray on the cleaner and (lightly!) run the cloth along the grooves. These things tend to collect a decent amount of dirt and dust, which can change or inhibit the way they play. Let it be known: your albums will need upkeep! Do some research on how to perfect the cleaning process. Your record collection will thank you later in the tune of better audio.
#5 Think About A Professional Calibration
Yeah, sure, some people are going to roll their eyes at this, but if you’re serious about your vinyl record collection and listening to music via vinyl then follow along. There are professional audio engineers that will calibrate your turntable to ensure it’s producing the optimal output. This can be anything from calibrating the tonearm’s position or adjusting the vinyl record speed. Be warned, these calibrations aren’t cheap, but any audiophile will tell you the sound is unbeatable.
#6 Find A Mentor
Sounds a little odd, we know. But try and find someone with a vinyl collection before you start your own. Ask if they’ll show the ins and outs of their own collection and give you some pointers. If this someone is in your area, even better! They’ll probably know the right places to go and where the best deals are. And let us tell you something about vinyl collectors, they’re a proud lot that loves to showcase what they’ve built. As they should! Perhaps this person will even become one of your close friends and you can share vinyl (that’s a thing).
#7 Set Up A Place | Don’t Lay Your Records Flat (no stacking!)
One of the most attractive elements of a vinyl collection is how you stage it. Often there’s a piece of furniture meant specifically for the turntable, with all the beautiful records beneath it. Remember, people also love vinyl for the aesthetic. In which case, set up a place in your home for your turntable and records! Make it accessible so others can see what you’re up to and can enjoy the music when it starts to turn.
Lastly—and this is important—don’t stack your records. The weight can bend or misalign the discs, which you really don’t want to happen. Instead, set out to find the proper shelving and ensure that each vinyl is standing upright. If you want to lay down a soft surface for them to stand on, by all means, do it!
Starting Your Vinyl Collection
There’s no right or wrong way to start collecting records. We just encourage you to embrace the experience; go hunting in your local record store, calibrate your turntable, and try and find the albums dear to your heart! Thankfully, with the resources made available during this epic comeback of vinyl, this should be an easy and rewarding endeavor.
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