How To Get Into Vinyl: A Music-Lover's Guide
Wondering about getting into vinyl the right way? If you're a music lover, you want to know exactly what to need to make your music sound good.
We're going to talk a little bit about how to get into vinyl. Now this is a topic that's of a lot of interest to people now - it's become popular again. That makes me really happy - I've been collecting for over 30 years. I'm not one of those people that abandoned all my records when the CD came out. That's a great thing because now I have a huge collection and some of these records are now getting very expensive. One of the reasons it has become popular I think is that a lot of people are trying to go back: there's a nostalgia component to it. They want to get that box of records that they might have had in the basement or in a spare room and listen to them again. Frankly - they're cool! There's lots of good graphics and artwork; and sometimes liner notes.
If you pay attention to setting things up properly, they can sound extremely good. I'm not going to get into the debate here about whether they sound better or worse than the compact disc: really a lot of that's up to personal opinion. So what do you need to get into vinyl? First thing you need is a turntable. There are three main parts to a turntable: the turntable itself, that spins the record. The arm, which holds cartridge which has the needle on it. And then the cartridge itself, which is actually what pulls the information from the wiggles in the groove and converts that mechanical energy into sound or electrical energy. Now turntables - again, because they've all of a sudden become popular over the last couple of years - are available very inexpensively. What I will warn against, though, is if you want to get into this and you are really expecting good performance, don't buy the cheapest turntable you can find. Save your money and spend a little bit more than you were thinking of and you will get big rewards. Why? This is fully analog technology. All of the parts - the build quality, how precisely the record is being spun, how good a job the needle does at picking up the signals - all of these components are very very important. So you don't want to buy some very cheap plastic turntable for $100 - you're going to get sound out of them, but it's not going to be great. Now, there are a lot of manufacturers that have been around making turntables for over 20 or 30 years. You can buy a very good turntable set up for $300 with all of the components. That's a great starting point. Companies like Rega or companies like Project make some great products in those lower price points. Now, another option is to get a turntable that's used - a vintage table. This one's about 25 years old or so. I would caution, though, unless you know what you're doing and how to set a turntable up, not to buy one from a flea market or Craig's List or Kijiji or whatnot, because you may end up with real big problems. There are a lot of independent dealers and retailers still out there that are selling used turntables: they refurbish them, they set them up properly - and that's a great way to not spend too much money to get into the hobby of listening to records. If you decide to go the new route, the other thing that I would suggest is that many of these turntables will come as a package with individual components. So the turntable and arm might be together, but the cartridge might be separate. Have the company or retailer or dealer you're buying from set the whole table up for you. It might cost you a few extra dollars but unless you have the tools and you know what you're doing it's actually a difficult process the first time. You're going to have much better success and less chance of damaging the new or old records you're going to listen to if you have it set up by somebody that knows what they are doing. Once you have a turntable, one of the other things is to get a good quality record brush. These are very inexpensive - $10 or $20 - and make sure you keep the records clean, because one thing that a lot of people don't understand is that unlike a CD which either plays or it doesn't if it is badly damaged - if a record has ticks or pops or other noises - it's directly related to how clean you keep that surface. Remember it's a purely analog mechanical transfer. So everything from having the turntable on a surface that is nice and level, to keeping everything clean are very important. Now, you can have a lot of fun with this hobby. Almost every group is now releasing their brand new albums on vinyl. You can go to Amazon which has a tens of thousands of them. There are also a lot of independent record dealers that sold CDs when they got out of records years ago, but now are getting back into selling both used and new records. These are great, fun opportunities to go and discover new music. That's about all I'm going to cover today: it's a huge topic. There are all kinds of details about how to set up the table, and so on, and if you're interested, and you'd like to know more, comment down below about this video and ask some questions. And maybe we'll do some follow-up videos with more details about how to get into playing vinyl. Thank you for watching.
| By: Andrew Welker