Vinyl’s popularity shot up when the 2020 lockdown began, with vinyl sales outpacing CDs for the first time since the 80s. If you’re new to the hobby (or a veteran realizing you haven’t treated your collection right) then this list of record collector essentials will keep your albums sounding great for years to come.
1. Record Cleaner
A good record cleaner can increase the longevity of your collection better than any other accessory. Wiping down your records before and after play is basic vinyl upkeep, but a really good cleaner will get rid of fingerprints, settled dust, and gunk that the record’s grooves collect.
Plus, you’ll be amazed by the vinyl you can save. Used record stores have tons of albums that look like they’re in bad shape, but with a solid cleaning, sound almost as good as new.
2. Record Storage
Leaving a record collection on the floor is begging for the vinyl to get scratched. But there are tons of record storage solutions that will keep your collection organized and safe.
Go to your local grocery store, get a produce crate, and records will usually fit just fine in there. Buy a deep bookcase, and that can hold your entire collection, probably along with several other things as well. Or get a media unit with a glass door so you can see what you have while protecting your collection from dust.
Keeping your records stored properly will keep them looking and sounding good, and increase the ambiance of your home as well!
3. A 45 Adapter
As a record collector, a 45 RPM adapter will drastically increase the number of albums you can collect. They’re cheap, there are tons of classics and hidden gems among them, and they can easily be played on your turntable with the right adapter.
There is a valid argument in the common observation you don’t need an adapter, that you just have to center the record properly on your turntable. The album will play that way, but if you do it wrong, you could severely scratch the vinyl. Why take the chance when the solution is so simple and affordable?
4. Quality Speakers And/Or Headphones
You can have the coolest records in the world and keep them in top condition but it won’t matter if you can’t hear them. There are “all in one” turntables come with speakers built in, but they’re not always high quality. If you want to listen to vinyl the way it’s meant to be heard, you need good headphones or speakers so the sound isn’t quiet or “tinny.”
5. A Turntable Mat
Many people think only of slipmats, the accessories that disc jockeys use to cue certain parts of the record. We recommend some kind of turntable mat to grip your vinyl. It dampens induced vibrations so the stylus doesn’t pick them up from the platter while the album plays.
Most modern turntables come with basic rubber mats. It’s worth double-checking, especially if you got yours cheap or second hand. There are also a variety of aesthetic turntable mats on the market, so you can personalize your setup with them!
6. The Right Resources For Research
They aren’t accessories, per se, but knowing where to turn and what guides to trust when you’re a record collecting beginner is invaluable. Plus, one of the most fun parts of collecting is talking to other vinyl lovers about it, so having a place to ask questions and learn more information about collecting and the albums themselves is a must for any hobbyist.
7. A Turntable
This one seems obvious for any record collector as usually, the point of records is to play them. Don’t get a turntable that will have to be replaced in a year or two. Opt for one that can stay with you for years to come.
A high quality turntable doesn’t have to break the bank. Instead, its longevity will save you money on repairs or replacements, make your collection sound better, and turn listening into a true pleasure as you take this hobby into the rest of your life.
Record collecting can be one of the most fun and rewarding pastimes out there. No music will ever sound quite the same as it does on vinyl. With these basic record essentials, you can keep your albums lasting for as long as your love for them.