If you’re considering starting a vinyl record collection, you’re not alone. Over the past few years, vinyl has seen a resurgence in popularity, with sales reaching levels not seen since the 1980s.
Collecting vinyl records can be a rewarding hobby, but knowing where to start can be overwhelming. This beginner’s guide will walk you through the basics of starting your vinyl journey.
Why Collect Vinyl Records?
Collecting vinyl records isn’t just about the music; it’s an experience. From the tactile nature of placing the needle on the record to exploring album artwork and liner notes, vinyl collecting provides a deeper level of engagement than digital platforms. Vinyl can also offer superior sound quality, with many audiophiles asserting that it provides a warmer and more nuanced listening experience.
What You’ll Need
- Turntable: The turntable is your starting point, and there are many factors to consider when buying one. You can choose from manual, semi-automatic, and automatic turntables, each with its own pros and cons. Review this guide from notesonvinyl.com to find the best record player under $200.
- Amplifier and Speakers: Unless you buy a turntable with built-in speakers, you’ll need a separate amplifier and speakers. If your turntable doesn’t have a built-in preamp, you’ll also need an external one.
- Cleaning Equipment: Dust and debris can affect your records’ sound quality, so regular cleaning is essential. You’ll need a record brush to dust your vinyl before each play and a deeper cleaning solution for occasional thorough cleanings.
- Storage: Records should be stored vertically to prevent warping and kept in a cool, dry place.
Starting Your Collection
When beginning your collection, it can be tempting to buy everything you come across. Instead, focus on what you love. Start with your favorite albums, then explore from there. You can find records at local record stores, online marketplaces, estate sales, and thrift stores. Be sure to inspect used records for scratches or warps that can affect playability.
Understanding Record Grades
Record grading is a system used to describe a record’s physical and audible condition. The highest grade is Mint (M), meaning the record is flawless and likely unplayed. Near Mint (NM) is a record that has been handled and played but doesn’t have any noticeable flaws. The grades go down from there to Fair (F) and Poor (P), which indicate significant wear and tear.
The Joy of the Hunt
One of the most exciting parts of vinyl collecting is the hunt for that elusive album or rare pressing. While it’s easy to order new pressings online, finding a rare vintage record in the wild provides a thrill you won’t soon forget.
Joining the Vinyl Community
There’s a vibrant community of vinyl enthusiasts ready to welcome you. Look for record fairs in your area, join online communities, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Fellow collectors can provide valuable advice and share their favorite record digging spots.
Starting a vinyl collection is a journey. Enjoy the process of discovering new music, hunting for that next great find, and, above all else, the incredible sound that only vinyl can provide. Remember, collecting vinyl isn’t a race, so take your time, do your research, and most importantly, enjoy the music.
Welcome to the world of vinyl records. Your journey is just beginning.
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