I’ve loved music all of my life and I’m a dedicated fan of vinyl. As a kid, I spent my allowance on 45’s and always had a lengthy Christmas wishlist of Barbies and the biggest hit records of that year. When it came to books (Scholastic Book Club in particular) and records, my parents always obliged. Being fans of music and books themselves, I assume they were excited to see their kids pick up similar interests.
I still have some of my LP’s from high school. Many records that I simply wore out from constant play, I have replaced with newer copies over the years. When I was twenty-one, I worked at a radio station and was fortunate to get my hands on a lot of promotional copies and new releases. Since that time, I’ve amassed my vinyl collection through the countless hours I’ve spent flipping through the bins at new and used record stores, vintage shops, yard sales, and eBay.
There’s been a vinyl revival in recent years and music lovers have a renewed interest in high-fidelity listening. Most musical artists today release vinyl copies in addition to streaming music and the quality of records have never sounded better. You can buy new music releases as well as remastered pressings of old favorites in record stores, Urban Outfitters and on Amazon. I recommend supporting your local record store but if you don’t have one in your area, Urban Outfitters is a great place to start. If you’re looking to build (or add to) your own vinyl collection with old favorites, or favorite records of your parents and grandparents, and you don’t want to spend much money, then buy used. It’s a thrill to find a great album in a used record store or thrift store.
My number one tip when buying used is to only buy records in the best condition. It’s simply not worth it otherwise. Light scratches can ruin the listening experience, especially at high volumes. Scratched records, sadly, are a definite no. Save your money for quality.
Earlier this year, my Dad gave me his massive stereo speakers that we had in our house growing up in the 80’s. They bounce! I had them shipped to my place along with a workbench that he made that used to sit in the garage. I wanted to update the speakers and give them a more modern look so I tossed the screens and painted them a dark matte gray. I stained the workbench to serve as a console. The dimensions fit my gear and records perfectly.
I love how it all turned out. My speakers are Rockford Fosgate.
My turntable is the Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive DJ Turntable. It’s a powerhouse; amazing sound, and I love the sleek design. Turntables have either a belt drive or direct drive. One isn’t better than the other. It really just depends on which features you’re going for.
I’ve had this Pioneer amplifier/receiver for years and it’s still going strong.
Another turntable I have is this portable Crosley record player from Jack White’s record label and store in Nashville, Third Man Records. The speakers and amplifier are built in and the sound quality is great for a portable player. This is a good choice if you have an apartment or are otherwise looking to play music in one or two rooms. Crosley has been making record players for decades and you can find numerous designs and colors online and at Urban Outfitters. I fell for the black and yellow design of this player from Third Man Records and I love Jack White so, of course.
I recently pared down my vinyl collection by doing a little decluttering and donating about seventy-five records. I’m not interested in a massive collection just for the sake of collecting. I only want to keep records that I truly enjoy listening to over and over again.
You can buy special cleaning kits for records but I find these Swiffer cloths work great. They’re incredibly soft and won’t scratch.
Ronco and K-Tel Records were cranking out the hit compilations throughout the 70’s. I usually got at least one every Christmas. About six years ago, I scored a bunch of new old stock still in the shrink wrap at a used record store. It was like Christmas morning all over again.
I bought my nephew a record player for his first birthday and a handful of these Disney storybook records. These are really special and well thought out records for kids. I love them and so do little ones.
Many of my original records still have posters in them. I rediscovered this one of Prince recently and I’m thinking it deserves to be in a frame. It’s too good.
If you’re an audiophile like me, let me know some of your favorite records and vinyl memories.