Tips for Starting a Vinyl Collection: How to Buy Your First Record Player

Posted on September 04 2019

Crosley record player against white with macrame decor

Starting a vinyl collection is a fun hobby if you’re a music lover and want to experience the best way to listen to music. As vinyl has gotten even more popular in the digital age, it’s never been easier to get started. But how are you going to listen to your favorites?

Essential Tips for Buying Your First Record Player

If you’re starting a vinyl collection, follow these four tips before buying your first record player.

Consider Your Budget

This is probably going to be the biggest determinant in what you’re able to buy if you’re just starting a record collection. As with most consumer electronics, the more you’re able to spend, the more you’re likely to get from your record player. But don’t be swayed by price alone. Just search online for good deals on reputable turntables and record players. If you’re just starting a vinyl collection, you may be able to score a good record player for under $200. However, as you get more serious, consider investing in the right record cleaning accessories, storage, and electronic equipment that can make your records sound perfect.

Space

This will likely be the next most important factor in what you decide to buy. You can easily find a low-price record player, and specifically one that’s portable and space-saving. If your home or apartment is low on space, those may your best options. But if you have the luxury of space, consider turntables with built-in sound systems and additional storage.

Simple record player by a window with Wilco album next to it

Record Player Features

Depending on what you want to get out of your record player, you can easily find a turntable that matches your needs. And these days, lots of modern record players produced after the growth of digital music tend to be all-in-one home entertainment systems that include bluetooth technology, CD disc drives, AM/FM radio, and more features to appeal to contemporary music lovers. However, anyone starting a vinyl collection should generally consider how important those add-ons are in relation to overall sound quality. As we said with price, the more you invest will generally correlate with the quality and sound. However, you can still find affordable options that include easily upgradable parts (more on this in a bit) as well as USB ports for hooking up speakers and bluetooth audio systems, as well as headphone jacks if you want to enjoy those heavier albums without annoying your neighbors.

Record Sizes and Speeds

If you’re a lover of music produced after the mid 50s, you’ll likely be fine with most turntables and record players as they’ll play 33 and 45 RPM vinyl as a standard. However, if you love the older stuff, you’ll want to get a three-speed record player that plays older-style 78 RPMs as well.

Upgradable Parts

Most entry-priced record players are geared towards those who are just starting their vinyl collections. However, these turntables generally won’t give you a lot of options for upgrading factory-model parts in favor of components that’ll give you better sound quality.

If you invest in a more premium record player, you should look for one that lets you switch out these parts:

  • Tonearm: This is the component that swings across the record, letting the needle make direct contact with the disc.
  • Stylus: This is the needle attached to the tonearm, and it’s the easiest part to upgrade. The stylus maintains accuracy and the detail you’ll appreciate when it comes to sound reproduction. Generally, these should be replaced every 1,000 hours you listen to music.
  • Platter: This is the spinning plate on which records sit. Generally speaking, heavier platters reduce vibration.

Big Fudge: The Leading Resource for Vinyl Lovers

Whether you’re just starting a vinyl collection or you’ve been at it for decades, Big Fudge has everything you need to keep your records looking and sounding great.

Read our blog for the latest collector’s tips and contact us with any questions you have about record cleaning, storage, or maintenance.

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