Getting started with vinyl

Hands picking through a collection of vinyl records

Think back to when you were a teenager. Do you remember the feeling of excitement when your favourite band was just about to release their new record?  You probably had only heard the first single on the radio and couldn’t wait to hear the rest.

Kids would count down the days to the release date and when the day finally arrive, scores of them would descend on record stores to get a copy. Then they would go home and play the record over and over again on their record players.

In today’s digital age, that just doesn’t happen anymore. With the advent of music streaming, iTunes and YouTube, their isn’t as much excitement generated. Even before the album is released, most of it can be heard online.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the joys of vinyl though. It’s making a huge comeback!  Maybe you need a little brush up on some important aspects of collecting vinyl before you start to buy again.

1. The Turntable

Obviously the turntable is the most important thing to consider when starting in vinyl. You’ll want to take a good look at the different features on offer and decide which ones are important to you. We’ve gone into this in great detail in our buyers guide but as a brief recap you’ll want to consider the following:

  • How many speeds do you need? Will you be playing 33s, 45s and 78s? If so, make sure you get a turntable that can play all three speeds.
  • Do you want a portable machine? If you plan on taking your turntable on the go then consider purchasing a player with a battery option. This means you can switch to battery and play your records away from a power socket. The GPO Attache Go, GPO Ambassador and Crosley Cruiser II’s can all do this.
  • Do you want built-in speakers or will you be connecting up to an external speaker?
  • Do you want to record viny to digital? If so, there are plenty of LP players currently on the market that do this. The GPO Attache records direct to USB while turntables like the Crosley Executive will rip them directly to your computer using provided software.

2. The Sound System

Many record player comes with built-in speakers so you can play your vinyl straight out of the box. However, due to the size restrictions of the machine, the speakers are rarely more than 5 watts. If you’re looking to blast your vinyl through the house then 5 watts just ain’t gonna cut it.

We recommend using an external speaker to compliment your record player. Most people already have a stereo system at home and you simply need an RCA audio cable to connect your turntable into your speakers. Once you’ve done this, the sound will bypass the internal speakers and play through the stereo system giving your vinyl collection a massive bump.

3. Vinyl Storage and Care

A few top tips… Never store your records horizontally on top of each other, even if they are in their sleeves. This can cause them to warp. Records should be stored vertically, much in the same way as you would keep a book on a shelf.

Cleaning your records is just as important, otherwise over time, their sound quality will decrease significantly. The easiest way to care for your records is to pack them away when not in use. Records left lying around are a perfect target for toddlers and pets!  Clean them on a weekly basis with a record cleaning kit.