Help me start listening to vinyl

I recently found a couple of independent music stores around town that carry used 45’s and LPs. My original reason for going to these stores was to buy CD’s, but after browsing the vinyl racks, I realized how cool the medium is. I decided I want to buy a record player and start a collection. The problem is that I don’t even know if they’re manufactured anymore.

This is where you come in.

Got any advice on buying records, setting up a record player, or anything related? I’m 100% clueless here, so literally ANY advice would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and one last thing: I’ve heard that vinyl can actually sound better than CD’s if used properly. Any truth to this statement? What measures should I take to get this sound?

Get yourself a shotgun and a clay pigeon launcher.

Load both. (Vinyl goes in the launcher.)


I got a record player last year for graduation from my grandparents. One of my favorite gifts ever. I will be following this thread because I too would like some ideas.

I have always liked old music, and it plays it so well. Plus, it’s a good converation starter with those older than you.

Some of my favorite are:

Marvin Gaye “Let’s get it on” (the ultimo in smooth)

An Elvis box set

The best of Johnny Horton

and Queen’s “A Night At The Opera”

I, too, thought I wouldn’t be able to find a decent, new record player.

I finally found one at Herberger’s…which kind of sucks, but, eh I got a turntable now (and a tape player and a cd player and it is wooden and kinda pretty–cuz that’s what matters).

Since I got the player, I have been absolutely addicted to buying vinyl. There is something about going to an indie record store and hunting for things that makes almost everything look somewhat inviting. When I am searching through used cds and I find something that I have been looking for forever–it’s mildly exciting. But the same thing–with vinyl–I have to keep myself from yelling like a jackass.

AND used records tend to be MUCH cheaper than used cds. I don’t make a lot of money, so I revel in being able to go through tons of albums and buy everything I want. Since I quit working at a record store, my general excitement about music and my collection had waned a bit…but now it is back big time. And there are so many cool little record stores in the Twin Cities, so I cannot wait to check every single one of them out.

Oh, by the way…the player I got was manufactured by Crosley…I am sure there is a website where you can order one.

There are so many vinyl albums that will never make it to CD. Go for it. Get the best turntable you can afford, buy some vinyl, put it in digital form, and cherish it forever.

I am a Music Enthusiast who has been Playing LP’s, EP’s & 45 RPM’s since the English Invasion of the mid-sixties
I believe the Music CD is superior to Vinyl.

Problems with Vinyl Records.
1. Needle Hiss
2. Skips and other surface damage.
3. Quality of Sound lessens with each Playing.
4. Easily attracts dust,dirt & particles
5. Warped
6. Limited Playing Time. (Average,5-songs to a side)
7. Predictable.

After you have listened to an album several times, there are no surprises (Like listening to a CD in the “Random Mode”) Not Knowing which song is going to play next is more exciting than knowing.

When I replaced my collection with CD’s, not knowing which order the songs were going to play was a new amazing demension.
The quality of Vinyl became less in the 70’s & 80’s. Brand New Albums skipped badly…I can Look at an album and know if it’s going to skip-this sucks!

Today, you can get some awesome deals on Albums…Go for it! There are still alot of great Albums not available on CD.

The thing that really impresses me about him is how he knows to put some restraint in his singing.

I’ve been wanting to check out some of the record stores here, but haven’t gotten around to it. What are some good ones?

My best find was a used LP of The Replacements’ Tim at a Half-Price Books. Sadly, I did not buy it and it wasn’t there the next time I looked.

But I did get my first record today. It was from a radio station because I donated money to them.

I love my record player. I like to listen to a lot of swing/early jazz-type stuff. A LOT of this material is only available on vinyl, so for me it’s essential. The only crappy part is having to change sides every half hour.

You can always find used vinyl on ebay, usually from people who have multiple listings and will combine on shipping. I’ve never bought a record off ebay that hasn’t been in excellent condition, and I’ve never paid more than $10 for any particular album (and I’ve gotten some GOOD ones!). They’re usually cheaper than that for the stuff I like though.

You could also try thrift stores, they always have a huge stash of old records. Definitely check the condition though. I find that they’re often scratched/really dusty or dirty. I’ve been meaning to invest in some sort of record cleaner myself (unfortunately I don’t know much about vinyl, so if anyone has any good recommendations, I’m all ears). You can find some really awesome stuff that way though (and CHEAP!). You just have to have the patience for it. I always discover new stuff this way. If an album looks like it might be good, and it only costs $1.50, then there’s no point in *not *checking it out.

This is the record player I have.

I love the sound of my vinyl. I had a guy tell me once: “all reproduced music is distorted; it’s just a matter of what kind of distortion you prefer.”

I play it through a tube amplifier, so basically I get a complete analog reproduction. Newer records, however, have been digitally recorded and/or mastered so I don’t think they sound as nice as some old stuff (but some DO). Bass is much nicer on my system coming off vinyl.

As you’ve discovered, there are places to get tons of old records, pretty cheap. Thrift stores are a good place to start, but a lot of cities have a lot of vinyl dealers, too. I found a great condition “Skynyrd’s Gold & PLatinum” at Salvation Army for like $.50 once.

There’s tons of old jazz records, some good 70’s rock out there.

It’s some guy’s hobby. Me? I just like to put records on from time to time and maybe pick up something cheap that I haven’t heard in a while.

My favorite record is Pink Floyd “Animals”. You can’t believe how sweet those opening bars of acooustic guitar sound on “Pigs on the Wing”.

How can I store my records to prevent warping?

This isn’t really a problem to me. I’ve always been sort of an “album” person. That is, I prefer to listen to full albums from beginning to end, in the order of the track listing. Makes me feel like I’m hearing the album as the artist intended…or something.

I have been spending way too much time at the Cheapo on Snelling–which is fairly close to my house. All of the others I have been hearing about are in Minneapolis and are endangered species (Aardvark, Roadrunner, Know Name, Treehouse) so I will probably be checking these out really soon.

No to turn this into a marketplace, but I have a crate full of old vinyl that’s not going to go with me in the move in late August. A used store probably wouldn’t want it because, well because I played the bejeebus out of this stuff in the 70’s-80’s. Any good ideas where I can lose this stuff without just putting it on the curb?

Financial gain isn’t the point, I just figure if it makes someone else happy to have it’s here. Any thoughts where I can get this to someone that’ll aprreciate it in the Chicago 'burbs?

I tried to e-mail you but you aren’t accepting. Just wanted to tell you that, if you have some I’m looking for, I’d gladly pay for shipping and handling costs. And some extra for your troubles.

Currently I’m looking for:

Billy Joel
Richie Valens
The Everly Brothers
Marty Robbins
Mel Carter
Buddy Holly
The Righteous Brothers
Barry Mann

or any in that vein.

Well, you could see if any dopers want them.
Thanks, captaindoesnotlikeyou.

Cheap CD players beat cheap record players.

Quality record players are WAAAAAAYYY better than the very best CD players, IMHO.

I’ll admit my turntable and LP’s are buried away in my garage these last two years ( since my last move ). I’m not quite an audiophile ( not obsessive enough :wink: ) and in my old age convenience has trumped “sonic purity.”

That said, back when my record player was set up it was a Music Hall 2.1, which I’d recommend. Quite a few of the audio cognoscenti consider(ed) it the cheapest, decent player out there. Or at least they did a few years ago, I’m not sure of the consensus now:

This is assuming you don’t have money up the ass, and are comfortable blowing $100,000 or more on a turntable and cartridge. There are apparently more than few wealthy lunatics that have :).

  • Tamerlane

There’s just something I love about that sound after the last song has played, waiting for the record to stop spinning.

There is one area in which vinyl is definitely superior to any other music format: Album art. The only problem is the circle that wears on it.

There are a few things inherent in vinyl recordings that you just can’t find in CDs. Probably the most obvious is what’s generally referred to as ‘pre-echo’. Due to the mastering process, especially with loud passages, you will generally hear the faint opening strains of a song in the empty portion of the groove immediately before the song starts. While the cutting stylus removes material, it also deforms the groove it creates. Prior to any input, the cutting sylus imparts no vibration to the groove it creates (the lead-in) and that portion of the groove should have nothing but silence. Once the stylus begins to transfer input however, the deformation also causes a slight deformation of the portions of the groove parallel to it. Thus, the ‘silent’ portion of the groove immediately preceding the song ends up containing a very slight, but nearly exact, copy of the portion of the groove parallel to it. Slip on a pair of headphones and you will notice this easily.

By the same token, because of the deformation of the groove by the stylus and the subsequent transfer of this signal to the parallel portion previously cut, all music on the disc, with the exception the last 360° portion of the groove at the end of a song will contain a certain amount of ‘pre-echo’. As far as i know, nobody has tried to duplicate this effect on CD, or other digital formats. And in some respects, the digital reproduction is more pure than vinyl because it is not tainted by the ‘contamination’ inherent in the transfer to vinyl. This is probably why some feel that vinyl is ‘richer’ than CD, but in reality, vinyl is actually ‘muddier’ than CD. The effect is noticable if you listen at a more than superficial level and for those that were raised on vinyl, CDs will never replace this unique experience.The only way to approximate this on CD would be to transfer to CD from vinyl. Although there will be a slight degradation of signal due to the transfer, you will be able to reproduce this effect and won’t wear out your records through constant play.

Another aspect of the mastering process to be considered is that the arm of the cutting sylus moves across the master such that it (and the stylus) is perpendicular to the master at all times. Most turntables have a pivoting arm which only allows the stylus to be truly perpendicular to the disc at one point on each side. The stylus therefore, is ‘cocked’ in the groove almost entirely through the playback and this accelerates wear. As far as i know, Bang & Olufsen and Gerard were the only turntable manufacturers that made ‘tangent’ turntables (although The Nakamichi ‘Dragon’ may also have been one such) and you can probably pick up an old Gerard on an auction site.

As to the warping of vinyl that is referred to above, there are actually 2 factors to consider: 1) in the 70s manufacturers began producing thinner discs, while they didn’t break as easily, they tended to warp. 2) Shrink-wrap. The wrap was so tight, when you slit the wrap, the jacket would pop open. While handy for removing the disc, the pressure wasn’t good for the record. Too, a lot of people left the shrink wrap on their albums to protect the jacket which exacerbated the problem.

Best thing to do would be to transfer to digital medium and save your vinyl for special occasions. Pick up a decent turntable and, if you can find it, a Discwasher® to clean your records before play. Remove any shrink wrap from the jackets and replace with oversized sleeves and store albums on edge out of sunlight and away from heat sources (go to one of the larger musical instrument chain stores and pick up enough LP cases to handle your library).

I had Savoy Brown’s Hellbound Train on vinyl. At the end of the title track, the groove was cut such that the tonearm quickly swung to the very inside edge of the record causing the turntable to pick up the arm with a click followed by absolute silence. I really miss that…

Remember when RCA came out with a super-flexible vinyl in the mid-70’s?

I forget what they called it, but you just about bend the album into a U-shape without breaking it.