Vinyl was all the rage back in the day, even when cassette tapes and CD's became popular there was still a die-hard vinyl fan base. Sadly, as the digital age descending upon us, records became a dying breed with shops closing up and music no longer being recorded on vinyl.
However, in the "everything old is new again" era we currently live in, vinyl is making a serious comeback. It is a resurgence even the die-hard fans could never imagine would happen. If you are jumping on the vinyl bandwagon and want to start a collection, there are a few important tips you must learn.
Digital Trends recently shared there is a right way and a wrong way to dive into collecting vinyl. It may be a hobby, but it does take time and effort if you want to have a killer collection.
Dire Straits - Alchemy Live / Vinyl / 1984 pic.twitter.com/lMzGOqwvPs— Bobby Plavsic (@plavsic210) July 2, 2018
The first thing you will need to do is, of course, buy some records. It is the most logical step, right? You can't have a vinyl collection without any vinyl. However, you don't want to buy the first record you like. First, take the time to talk to who is working at the store about music. The person will likely have some solid advice for you regarding what sounds best on vinyl. Plus, the person might introduce you to a new band or type of music, which is never a bad thing.
There is an art to selecting a good quality record, and no, this is not about the title but the physical record. Take the record out of the label and visibly look at it for dust and scratches. Run your fingers across any grooves or long scratches to see how deep they go. You should always ask to listen to the record too— this is a good idea to ensure sound quality.
One thing to keep your eye out for is a bootleg copy of a record. There are some that are amazing, but a lot of them are crap. Signs a record is not the real deal is if it is thinner in weight than other records or priced cheaper. The simple rule of remembering “if the deal appears to good to be true it probably is,” will help you spot bootleg vinyl. However, you can also always ask. The record store workers will tell you.
guess what i own on vinyl now :’))) pic.twitter.com/qNQw4tTNNY— jasmini bobini || 105 (@siimplyjasminee) July 2, 2018
Vinyl can be purchased online with Amazon having a fantastic selection of good quality products. Discogs is a great online source for used records too. It is an online record selling, cataloging, and trading platform. Remember though, it is always best to buy vinyl in person if you can. Vinyl Hub is an excellent website to check for shops in your area.
Now you have purchased your vinyl. The next important step is to clean it. Since you are just starting your collection, you likely do not have a record-cleaning machine, so you will want to get some carbon-fiber brushes. No grime, dirt or dust should ever get on your turntable needle— it will affect the way the record sounds.
Once you are done listening to your vinyl, it is imperative you store them correctly. Otherwise, the record could get scratched or damaged. Milk crates may look cool, but they have sharp edges, which can damage your vinyl. They should only be used as a last resort for storing records. If you like the crate look though, you can buy wood crates that give you the same effect but are much safer to store your records. Another option is a nice shelving storage unit, these can be pricey, but if you are serious about maintaining your collection they are worth the price. Plus, most have a cool unique look to them.
We talked about starting your collection, but you can't have vinyl without something to play it on, so let's talk turntables. The guys at Digital Trends recommend staying away from the all-in-one style turntables with built-in amplification and speakers. They are OK in a pinch, or if you want something for a vacation home, but everyday use, there are better products on the market.
If you can spare the money, you can get a quality record player for $200 to $300. It is pricey, but remember you want a killer vinyl collection. Therefore you should want the best turntable to play it on. Audio Technica, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, and Stanton T62 are examples of good and affordable turntables on the market right now. Of course, if you buy a stand-alone turntable, you are going to want to add some speakers. Those who already have a sound system of their own will need to make sure whatever record player is compatible.
Starting a vinyl collection is simple, but it will require you to fork out some cash. However, once you listen to your first record, it will all be worth it. What do you think about vinyl coming back? Is it worth the investment?