is vinyl worth getting into now?
Updated: Mar 30
On the eve of Record Store Day 2017, and with the vinyl resurgence continuing to grow, is it really worth getting back into at this stage?
For those with an existing vinyl collection, it is certainly something worth strong consideration. But as well as buying a turntable, factor in the acquisition of a good quality electronic record cleaning machine. This may set you back £300-400, but an old record collection, particularly one that has been residing in a loft for a decade or two, can be completely transformed by such an item. But, it's a worthwhile investment. Not only will it get rid of literally everything wedged in those ageing grooves, but it'll also help to reduce static, keeping them dust free for longer. Anti-static record sleeves will also help, and will certainly be a great improvement on the common (sand) paper sleeves that most records used to come with.
Treated well, vinyl isn't the noisy, scratchy medium that most people remember. British, European, and Stateside manufacturers like Clearaudio and Michell Engineering, have continued to improve turntables despite the takeover of Compact Disc in the 80s and 90s, and almost 30 years later, things have moved on greatly. And a deck doesn't have to be expensive either - £300-500 will get you a great sounding turntable.
Vinyl's quality was previously discussed here.
For those starting completely from scratch, things aren't quite so simple...
As with all physical audio and visual mediums, the major bulk of your cash will go into the software - and don't forget that's an ongoing cost. Whilst you will pick up a number of albums for around £10-12, the majority are likely to be £15-20, maybe more for double/triple albums. Used vinyl can be a good way of building your collection, but factor in a record cleaning machine as mentioned earlier, as you are going to come across some really grubby ones!
So whilst the cost of new vinyl can be a major drawback for those without the disposable income, there's nothing quite like spending an hour or two in a record shop flicking through racks of vinyl. There's also the joy of finding a real gem among the used records at a charity shop, market stall, or car boot sale. Record Store Day is another fun aspect of modern day vinyl culture, taking place annually, with hundreds of limited edition releases available via independent record stores across the world. If you're local to Birmingham, I'd recommend Ignite Records in the city centre.
Storage is an important factor as your collection grows, but luckily, Swedish company IKEA has that sorted for you. Chances are, if you know someone with a half decent vinyl collection, they've got a Kallax shelf of some sort!
Think of getting into vinyl is like having a child. It'll need care, nurturing, supervision, space, and it'll require your money for decades to come! Sometimes you'll think, "why the hell did I bother?!", but the flip side is that you get the joy of guiding it as it grows and slowly takes over your home.
davidf @ the little audio company
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