Forever Spinning: A Guide to Vinyl Records

In recent years, vinyl records have gained in popularity and emerged as a viable alternative for serious audiophiles looking for a different listening experience in the digital age of Spotify and iTunes. If you’re ready to start collecting vinyl, you’ll need to get yourself a record player. From there, you may find yourself wondering about the basics of this classic audio format. There’s plenty to think about when choosing to listen to vinyl, especially if you are just beginning to immerse yourself in the hobby. Don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place to kickstart your new vinyl journey. Here are a few things you should know about those big, beautiful, black platters.

How is vinyl Played?

In order to listen to your vinyl records, a record player is required, along with an amplifier, your favorite headphones or speakers, and, of course, your record. Here’s why vinyl provides a superior experience to music in the digital format, so what are you waiting for? The following directions will have you spinning right ‘round in no time:

  1. Remove the vinyl from its sleeve and place it on the turntable platter.
  2. Turn the player on – your turntable should start to spin.
  3. Start by placing the tonearm (also known as the arm) over the vinyl. The stylus should be over the outer edge of the vinyl.
  4. Beside the tonearm, look for the cueing lever and press it down. As you press the lever down, you should notice the stylus slowly dropping until it reaches the vinyl. If everything is working as it should, you will hear the glorious sound.

If you have performed these actions and have no sound, check these common mistakes that newbies may forget about. Make sure…

  • …your amp and speakers are turned on.
  • …the stylus protector has been removed.
  • …your player is connected to the speakers.

Skipping Tracks

If you look at a record, you will notice grooves in the vinyl.T these grooves are a different hue as they set the beginning of a track. So, if you want to hear the third track, place the stylus in the second area since the first track is always the outermost one. press down on the lever and the player will do the rest from there.

Stopping the Record

Had enough vinyl goodness? Here’s how to stop the record:

  1. Use the lever to raise the arm and move the arm over, making sure it is in the reset position.
  2. Press the power button and wait for the player to come to a complete full stop. Keep in mind, if you press stop before lifting the arm you may hear an unpleasant sound.
  3. Carefully remove the vinyl by lifting it while touching only the edges.
  4. Slide the vinyl gently back in its sleeve. Do not drop the vinyl in the sleeve.
  5. Close the lid on the player and put the protector back on the stylus.

Inspecting and Buying Vinyl

Choosing the right vinyl record can be like finding the right partner or choosing what car to buy. It’s avery particular process that requires a good understanding of what you’re looking for to avoid disappointment once you bring it home.

  • Look for scratches or marks on the vinyl. You will want to avoid deep scratches that break the surface as these flaws will add extra noise to the sound. You can feel for deep scratches with your fingernail.
  • A dirty looking record is okay if you have a reliable way to properly clean it.
  • Check for signs of heat exposure. If a record has been exposed to heat, you will be able to notice by looking along one edge. When playing, it will soundlike a wind sound.
  • Warped vinyl is a bad thing. Youshould feel for the thickness of the vinyl and look at the sides for any visible warping.
  • Pay attention to splitting or cracks on the vinyl jacket. Run your fingers along any questionable spots on the record. If your fingers feel anything other than a smooth surface, your stylus will feel it too.
  • If the option is available, ask to give the record a spin. There will be times when a vinyl is clean to the eye and feel smooth to the hand, but once played it can have extensive noise. Other times, you may find a vinyl with marks and lines on it that sounds perfect.

The best part about vinyl is that you will learn as you go along. Now, get out there, grab yourself some fine records, and start spinning!