The Internet has made it possible to listen to music whenever it’s convenient. More than ten years after Apple introduced the iPod, companies like Spotify and Pandora are now streaming these tunes straight to our mobile devices. Streaming saw a 60.5% increase between 2013-2104 and there are no signs of this technology slowing down.
But not everyone is on board with this.
Because digital music is highly compressed, this also dilutes the listening experience. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying digital music in your car or at the gym; it’s not optimal for certain types of music fans — namely, audiophiles.
Vinyl records are once again the best way to listen to high-quality music the way it was intended to be heard. If you’re thinking of dusting off your grandparent’s records or starting a collection of your own, here’s how to upgrade your stereo so you’re prepared:
Buy a Turntable
It may sound like common sense, but buying a turntable is not that simple. Now that vinyl records are making a resurgence, many home audio electronics manufacturers are making all-in-one turntables to lure music fans. While these machines are an affordable solution for many, they may not be able to be connected to a receiver or external speakers.
A good turntable will have an adjustable/weighted tonearm, the ability to swap out cartridges/needles, and a direct-drive mechanism. These three features are what guarantee the turntable will last a long time. They also require minimal maintenance that can be completed every couple of years as needed.
A “real turntable” may cost more at the beginning, but it will save you money (and possibly your records) in the long run.
Buy a Receiver…and Maybe Some Speakers
A turntable requires a receiver to transmit the sound out to speakers. There is no difference between connecting a CD player or a tape deck to the receiver; it’s the same principle. And similar to choosing the correct turntable, selecting the proper receiver is not as easy as it seems. Many people purchase all-in-one stereo systems only to be disappointed they don’t have the ability to connect a turntable or additional speakers.
The type of receiver required for a turntable should have at least three channel inputs but ideally five or more. This makes it possible to not only connect a turntable, but maybe an extra pair of floorstanding speakers or an additional subwoofer. This way you’ll be able to adjust the output levels of your audio without turning down the volume.
Once you have your turntable, receiver and speakers ready to go, it’s time for the fun part.
Buy Some Vinyl Records
There are two ways to start a record collection: Buy new or buy used. Both methods have their pros and cons.
Pros of Buying New Records
- New records are always guaranteed to be in mint condition
- New records of old albums have been remastered to sound better
- New records are constructed of better quality material than older records
Cons of Buying New Records
- New records are more expensive than used records
- New records are hard to find because of lack of record stores
- New records are not as valuable as old records
Pros of Buying Old Records
- Old records can be much cheaper than new records
- Old records are often given away because they are not listened to anymore
- Old records feature music that is not available anywhere else