5 Easy Steps To Becoming A Vinyl Jedi
Today is Record Store Day in the UK; the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music.
Vinyl sales are set to top an amazing 2 million units this year and if you haven't yet checked out what all the fuss is about but fancy giving it a spin ('scuse pun), here is our quick 'n' easy '5 Step Guide' to get you up and running without breaking the bank... or robbing it.
1. Surprise! You'll need a record player. As with any electronic equipment, the options are endless, price range vast, and feature sets diverse. You really want something half decent and to save you rummaging around on Google, check out decks from Pro-Ject (Elemental) and Rega (RP-1). They'll set you back somewhere between £160 - £ 230, offer great sound for the price and allow you to upgrade individual components.
2. Next, you'll want to hook your shiny new record player up to an amp and speakers. What does an amp do? Nobel prize winner and inventor of the transistor, William Shockley put it like this: "If you take a bale of hay and tie it to the tail of a mule and then strike a match and set the bale of hay on fire, and if you then compare the energy expended shortly thereafter by the mule with the energy expended by yourself in the striking of the match, you will understand the concept of amplification." It boosts the inputted signal from the record player and outputs it through your speakers. Marantz have an excellent and relatively inexpensive solution, the PM6005. As for speakers, the Q Acoustics Concept 20s get an excellent review in What Hi-Fi You can buy both as a bundle (and save some cash) here
3. Okay, so you've now got the gear... where do you find these mysterious enterprises called 'record shops' that you've heard so much about? Luckily, the Record Store Day site has a postcode checker so you can find and support your local independent vinyl retailer:
4. To keep your lovely new vinyl in pristine condition and to revive 2nd hand purchases that you pick up in record shops or markets that might be caked in grime etc., you'll want to invest in a half decent record cleaner. Pops and crackles from dust and static can make some listening experiences excruciating; Spin Clean whilst not especially cheap, is quick and easy to use and your ears will thank you for dipping your hand in your pocket and your vinyl in its tank.
5. Go loud and proud! Having started your collection of new & classic records, you can't fail to have noticed that as well as being a wonderfully tactile experience (sleevenotes...? lyrics...? WTF!?), that 12" square of printed cardboard also looks pretty fantastic too. To show the world that you are now a dedicated New Vinyl Junkie and to add some cheap but stylish art to your walls, invest in a set of Art Vinyl Play & Display Flip Frames that allow you to quickly and easily swap out your favourite album cover.
And that's about it! For around £800 you should have a pretty decent set up. You could do it for a lot less of course but if you really want to experience vinyl properly, it's worth the outlay. And... with a bit of luck someone in the family will have stash of 12" nuggets in an attic or back room somewhere that can be raided with impunity.
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