Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers

Posted by: Hellcommute

Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/18/12 11:19 AM

Hi all,

I'm amassing a list of budget christmas ideas for vinyl lovers. Especially those with extended families who need great gift ideas on sensible budgets. Here are a few on my short list. Add or critique as necessary! smile

Prices quoted are ballpark and not the lowest I'm sure, just what I happened upon. wink

Ideas so far:

Crosley Record Cleaning Kit (AC20) ~20$
Mobile Fidelity Inner sleeves- pkg 50 ~20$
Music Hall Cork platter Mat ~50$
Audio Technica AT95E Phono Cartridge ~70$
Audio Technica AT120E Phono Cartridge ~120$
Shure M97xe Phono Cartridge ~90$
Spin-Clean Record Washer MKII ~90$
Tracking force guage - prices vary greatly. ~20-150$
Quality interconnects/cables- prices vary greatly. ~20-50$ (or much more if inclined)
Bannana Plugs- ~2-4$ each
Swiffer duster or similar (really mandatory for us all with gear)

And finally for the DIY people:

Led strip lighting with a pantry switch for your LP storage cabinet or accent lighting. Prices vary. ~50-200$

So far so good, but we can do better eh?

No socks this year! laugh
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/18/12 12:15 PM

Ironically the one thing missing from a gift list for vinyl lovers seems to be the records themselves.
smile
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/18/12 09:31 PM

The list given is actually pretty complete, but someone who still loves vinyl technology might also appreciate a gift of this technology .
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/18/12 09:49 PM

Damn, John.... I was expecting your link to go to a CD player..... laugh
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 08:08 AM

Snicker
Posted by: alan

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 09:43 AM

Hi,

No vinyl enthusiast's kit of record-care devices is complete without the Discwasher Zerostat anti-static gun. You can find used ones on ebay for $50 or so; new ones seem to be wildly overpriced, around $100. It uses a piezo-electric crystal which, when you squeeze the trigger, produces a static-canceling charge. No batteries are required.

I still have mine and it works well to eliminate the annoying ticks and pops due to static electicity that build up on vinyl records. Even withdrawing one from a sleeve imparts a static charge, especially in dry winter air.

Alan
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 10:00 AM

Couldn't you just hold the record, scuff your feet on the carpet, then sneak up and touch someone with it. Charge is trasnfered and you get some fun out of it.
Posted by: alan

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 10:21 AM

Ha! I think a certain amount of the appeal of vinyl playback (not for me anymore, thankfully) draws on an O/C component. I used to like the ritual of cleaning LPs with the Discwasher brush and fluid, then destaticizing with the Zerostat gun, then (finally!), placing the disc on the turntable for playback. Of course this was all before the appearance of digital recording and CD playback, when LPs were the only major source of recordings.

All of those rituals were lost with the CD player and CDs. Frankly, I found it liberating to be freed from those vinyl rituals, not to mention the painstaking calibration of tonearm tracking angles.

Regards,
Alan
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 11:01 AM

I had the same rituals and equipment, Alan.

Ninety-five percent of me doesn't miss all that, but five-percent does. There was a bit of a ritual to listen to good music then, and that preparation helped set that time aside as something special.
Posted by: alan

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 11:27 AM

Very true, Mark. Setting aside the time and going through the rituals meant you were going to sit down and enjoy the playback. And I admit I have a certain nostalgia for those times.
Posted by: Hellcommute

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 12:24 PM

100% agree.

It's definitely a lifestyle oriented way of enjoying your music. Vinyl for me is a treat that I use when I have time to relax and kick back for a while.

For younger enthusiasts like me I think the vinyl resurgence in popularity over the last few years is definitely due to a backlash against the organic part of music delivery being erroded away. There is something to be said for holding music in your hand, preparing it and then sharing it with friends over drinks and laughs.

Its kinda silly, but I enjoy that feeling of being the custodian of something delicate and fleeting. Especially since lots of used vinyl out there came from estate sales at some point; or at the very least someone's youth. There is reverance in appreciating something that was cared for and loved in someone's past. Geez, what a hippie eh?

Posted by: PTPlayers

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 01:42 PM

I have one of these and they work great .

http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/nagaoka_cleaner_e.html
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 02:03 PM

Originally Posted By: alan
Very true, Mark. Setting aside the time and going through the rituals meant you were going to sit down and enjoy the playback. And I admit I have a certain nostalgia for those times.


I still live in that world! Call it nostalgia or whatever, vinyl playback in my system with a good LP can still trounce my digital front end. But you CAN live in both worlds.
Most of the time, when I just want to play something for background, while cooking, or whatever, I stream from a music server to a Roku player connected to my system. It's fast, convenient, and sounds good. But when I want to listen for pure enjoyment, or to a particular rendition of a classical work, I always reach for an LP. It does help that my vinyl collection is seven times that of my CD collection.

A few items for the list:

A good quality spirit level. This is one of the most important, and many times overlooked, aspects of setting up a turntable. I'm not a fan of the cross-point or circular levels as they are not very accurate.

A good quality record and stylus brush. I'm a fan of the old Decca and Hunt brushes from the UK, but there are a number of excellent carbon bristle brushes on the market. Lyra makes an excellent stylus brush that comes with their cleaner.

The Disc Doctor cleaning system. Simply the best brushes and fluid I have ever used for really deep cleaning an LP.

Finally, if you have the scratch, the biggest improvement you can make to your record collection is a vacuum cleaning machine. They are expensive, starting at around $600, but they make a world of difference! I'm a fan of the smallest, auto rotating Nitty Gritty model (1.5?) which I've used for over 20 years with no issues, other than replacing the cleaning pads from time to time. The VPI 16.5 is also excellent and runs around the same price as the Nitty Gritty.

Enough! I could talk about this all day, but I have work to do! smile
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/19/12 08:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Andrew

Enough! I could talk about this all day, but I have work to do! smile


Just document the time as "customer service" well vouch for you. laugh
Posted by: alan

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 10:54 AM

Hey hellcommute,

Far out, man. Nice thoughts of yours on vinyl and the place it holds in one's life. Although I hardly ever play vinyl, I can't bring myself to get rid of the hundreds of LPs I own. I can pull one out and tell you where I got it, what age I was, etc. There is something organic about the big LP jackets and the graphic impact.

With rare exception, I hold no such affection for any of the many CDs I've acquired (except for the sound quality and freedom from distortion). The graphics are annoyingly tiny.
However, there is one CD I bought in Germany while on a press trip before CDs were released in Canada. It's a gorgeous performance of the Brahms Liebeslieder waltzes by an excellent German male & female chorus with piano accompaniment, still the best version I've found.

Alan
Posted by: Boltron

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 12:12 PM

Having grown up collecting and listening to vinyl, I don't miss it at all. I vividly remember all the scratches, warped records, feedback from bass, wow and flutter (having said that in a while), accidental bumps of the tone arm… I had hundreds of albums and got rid of them all except for 1 box of about 50 I still keep in storage for the kids who may be able to sell them for a tidy profit one day.

Sure brings back memories…
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 12:43 PM

Originally Posted By: dakkon
Originally Posted By: Andrew

Enough! I could talk about this all day, but I have work to do! smile


Just document the time as "customer service" well vouch for you. laugh


Noted!
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Boltron
Having grown up collecting and listening to vinyl, I don't miss it at all. I vividly remember all the scratches, warped records, feedback from bass, wow and flutter (having said that in a while), accidental bumps of the tone arm… I had hundreds of albums and got rid of them all except for 1 box of about 50 I still keep in storage for the kids who may be able to sell them for a tidy profit one day.

Sure brings back memories…


My biggest issue with vinyl, and you rightly point out a number of equally valid examples, is that there is a very high cost threshold that you need to cross to get at the best a good LP can offer. People that hear my system regularly ask how an LP can be so quiet, and "If I buy a turntable will it sound like this?". Unfortunately the answer is no unless you are willing to invest time and serious money into both the playback equipment AND the records and cleaning methods that go with it.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 01:41 PM

One funny story about vinyl is in the town I grew up in, there was a woman that ran a record shop, the only record shop in town, other than department stores. We always thought of her as a witch. I remember buying a Beach Boy's album from her. When I tried to play it on my cheap turntable, it was so warped that it kept knocking the needle out of the grooves. I took it back for an exchange. But she was trying to convince me that there was nothing wrong with it, by placing it on her turntable, which was much smaller in diameter and playing it. It played successfully on hers, but still warbled up and down. She almost got mad when I refused to go away without a refund or exchange. This is when I ended up with my first Vanilla Fudge album.

That was my first and last trip to her record shop.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 02:06 PM

Witch eh?
Did she float like tiny pebbles?
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 02:27 PM

She always wore black and reminded me of the wicked witch from OZ. "Buy my records, my little precious. I'll see that you get what you deserve. Oh, is that your little dog? I'll see that he gets what he deserves too. Ahh Haaa Haaa Haaa."
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 02:50 PM

As Uncle Ben once said....
"With disturbing avatars comes great disturbing stories."
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 03:01 PM

Then he said, "Peter, you look hungry. How about some instant rice?
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 11/20/12 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
As Uncle Ben once said....
"With disturbing avatars comes great disturbing stories."

What's really strange is that he started saying this in 1967!
Posted by: Nachosgrande

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 12/13/13 02:47 PM

I'm interested in an entry-level audiophile type setup (oxymoron, no?). Is there anything decent out there for $300-$400?

Also, are stereo tube amps recommended for vinyl playback?
Posted by: Nachosgrande

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 12/13/13 02:51 PM

I'm interested in an entry-level audiophile type setup (oxymoron, no?). Is there anything decent out there for $300-$400?

Also, are stereo tube amps recommended for vinyl playback?
Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 12/13/13 09:19 PM

I think you could have some fun in that price range. ProJect might have something and there is always used. I got my turntable for free when my friend moved houses.

Does your amp have a built in phono stage?

Some people would enjoy having a tune phono amp and a tube amp for their turn table. But that is only one way to enjoy records. There are lots. Have fun.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 12/14/13 09:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Nachosgrande
I'm interested in an entry-level audiophile type setup (oxymoron, no?). Is there anything decent out there for $300-$400?

Also, are stereo tube amps recommended for vinyl playback?


IMHO the best entry level options are the following:

U-Turn Audio Orbit Basic Turntable $179
http://uturnaudio.com/store

This was a Crowdfunded project that just launched and is getting some very good press. For the price, and the fact that it is American made, I think it's a bargain.

For me the next step would be a Rega RP1 ($445 complete with cartridge), although I have friends with some entry level Project models that are pretty good too.
Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 12/14/13 06:45 PM

Wow. That uturn player looks so cool.
Posted by: CV

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 12/14/13 07:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Lampshade
Wow. That uturn player looks so cool.


Yeah, I may have to get one at that price. Thanks for the heads-up, Andrew.
Posted by: MichaelTrottar

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 01/24/14 06:53 AM

This is one of the most essential, and many periods neglected, factors of creating turn table. I'm not a fan of the cross-point or round stages as they are not very precise.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 01/24/14 09:39 AM

For a year or so I've been using an old Technics turn table to play some old vinyl we dug up from Sharon's Mom's house and a few of my old ones I found. Nothing was well taken care of though so most are so scratchy that I haven't bothered to replace the old cartridge.

I have to say, I forgot how annoying the noise on vinyl can be. I should probably pick up a new LP or one in pristine condition just to experiment but so far, the experience has not inspired me to spend money on new media.

Not dissing the vinyl lovers. I haven't given it a fair shake. Just throwing in my nickel. Can't do 2 cents anymore.
Posted by: Socketman

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 01/24/14 05:00 PM

Hey Murph , I am one of them there vinyl lovers wink old habits die hard . Something I don't believe people consider when talking about vinyl playback is that in the days of analogue the equipment was everything. Playing a crappy record on a crappy TT is not going to give a wonderfull experience. I was lucky and grew up in a house where high fidelity was a passion of my dads. He bought good equipment (not the likes of NAD) but it was not Lloyds either. 35yrs ago I bought my first amp and TT ,speakers,equalizer etc bit by bit. Pioneer PL 630 TT, SA7800 amp all damn expensive stuff and I still own all of it to this day. About 90% of my records are pristine and other than a little noise on the lead in they are very quiet. I now have a Music Hall TT with ortofon cartridge and a Project phono preamp that I paid 750 bux for , and I would not trade it for anything. One thing I don't do when listening to an LP is skip songs , which I do a lot with digital. When I sit down and listen to an LP I play both sides . Playing an album is a tactile event, to lovingly cleaning the record and the stylus before each play,look at the album cover and read the liner notes, it is all part of the experience and its just not for everyone , but for me its how I like to unwind some days, just getting back to basics.

Richard
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 01/27/14 08:09 AM

Thanks for sharing Richard. I hear ya. I'm a bit the same with my woodworking. I'll spend wayyy to much time vs. practicality (and sometimes wasted wood) on trying to perfect more complicated joinery so I can avoid nails or screws. A bit old fashioned but I feel much more satisfied in the end. I spent about 2.5 hours Sunday making a jig to help me make rabbet joints on thinner stock and that's not even a tough one. (Before Mark criticizes, the stock was too thin for locking rabbet joints.)

Strangely though, I'm the opposite with most music. One of the greatest things I've come to love about a digitized music collection is the ability to put my entire library on random.

The exception would be some classical. Perhaps it's because I'm still learning a lot about the genre but experiencing a symphony seems best from start to finish. The same could be said for rock/pop 'concept' albums, of course, but also I would never complain if "Comfortably Numb" sneaks it's way into into my random playlist.
Posted by: BobKay

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 02/12/14 10:43 PM

Well, I see you've all got most vinyl covered, but if you need Xmas gift ideas for lovers of rubber or latex, jus' lemme know. There's a whole 'nother side to vinyl you may be overlooking.
Posted by: MichaelTrottar

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 02/27/14 03:58 AM

Couldn't you just keep the history, damage you on the rug, then put up and contact someone with it. Cost is transferred and you get some fun out of it.
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 07/10/14 05:58 PM

I just got back from the digital abyss... there was something I never liked about CDs, and after my good audio gear went away (long story) I found myself listening to music less and less, and hardly at all over the last couple of years.

Last night something snapped so I ripped a bunch of furniture out of the living room and cleared space for speakers and a decent listening area. Before that the stereo system had been in what was basically the dining room, with the acoustics you might expect.

Sound was much better in the larger space (I remember being really impressed with how good speakers sounded in jakeman's living room with the high cathedral ceiling) but still didn't sound right. Thought it might be time to get back into vinyl so looked around for decent used equipment like I had previously and found less than I expected. Maybe 30 years was too long to wait.

Anyways, went out today and picked up a Debut Carbon turntable and started digging through the 500-odd LPs I managed to hang onto.



Maybe it's the ritual, or placebo effect, or less compressed masters, or maybe I got used to a particular kind of sound, but I'm enjoying music from vinyl *much* more than from digital (at least from CDs, haven't experimented with anything higher res than CD if it exists).

The Christmas list and the recommendations that followed are going to be very handy, thanks !!!

EDIT - it is going to take a while to get used to having to turn the record over every 20 minutes or so wink
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 07/10/14 06:32 PM

Welcome back! One of us..... ONE OF US.......!

I always LIKED flipping the record over. It was the surface noise that gets to me!
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 07/10/14 07:09 PM

... and no matter what album you play, at the end it always sounds like Dark Side of the Moon.

Thump-bump.... thump-bump.... thump-bump...

Half of my CDs were LP rips so they had surface noise anyways.
Posted by: Socketman

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 07/10/14 07:52 PM

I had the same kind of snap a couple years ago. With digital music I jump from song to song and group to group. With the LP I listen to all songs on both sides, consiequently I am hearing a lot of song for the first time. Playing LP's for me is a sit down and listen activity so flippin the gooves is no biggy, but when I am doing something digital is more convenient.

Richard
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 07/12/14 03:21 AM

Originally Posted By: Andrew
...
Finally, if you have the scratch, the biggest improvement you can make to your record collection is a vacuum cleaning machine. They are expensive, starting at around $600, but they make a world of difference! I'm a fan of the smallest, auto rotating Nitty Gritty model (1.5?) which I've used for over 20 years with no issues, other than replacing the cleaning pads from time to time. The VPI 16.5 is also excellent and runs around the same price as the Nitty Gritty.

Huh. Until I read this post I had no idea that record cleaning machines even existed. Or that even the basic ones cost more than the money I had put aside for a nice cartridge upgrade. Or that they were something I probably really needed (at least for a while).

As far as I can see the generally accepted protocol seems to be :

1. Buy an RCM new or used

2. Go a few months without sleep and clean all your records really well

3. Sell the RCM to someone else and sleep for a week

So there's a VPI 16.5 for sale on Kijiji, let's see what happens. Worst case I'll make a big mess in the kitchen.
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 08/13/14 01:04 PM

OK, I broke down and ordered a VPI 16.5, so if anyone living in the Toronto area wants to come over and play with it let me know.

I've decided what every vinyl owner needs, but guessing I'll need to make it myself for now. Rather than having a solid audio rack with the turntable on top, I'm thinking about an audio rack with record bins on top (like the old record stores, where you look at the front of the LPs and flip them forward to find the one you want) and a separate stand/shelf for the turntable.

Has anyone seen something like this ? All the LP storage solutions seem to treat them like CDs or DVDs, where the spines face you rather than the fronts. I don't even like that solution for CDs/DVDs, let alone LPs.

BTW I just ordered a few LPs from Amazon. I was worried about whether they would survive the shipping process but when they arrived I was surprised how well packaged everything was. Each LP had its own cardboard box maybe 3/4" thick, and then the LPs were stacked in a larger box along with other junk I ordered. VERY nice.
Posted by: oakvillematt

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 08/13/14 07:09 PM

if it wasn't for the 120km distance between us, I would have gladly made you a custom cabinet to fit your needs. But I think that you are correct. An album is meant to be seen for it's artwork, not just a thin 2mm edge.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Christmas Ideas for Vinyl Lovers - 08/14/14 10:01 AM

Anyone have Jack White's new album "Lazaretto"? The version with the hidden tracks and the hologram when it spins? That seems to belong on a Christmas list for vinyl lovers.

Mine is on it's way. Although mores so because I'm a Jack White fan than a vinyl lover.