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AudioInspiration 918

16 things you need to know before starting a vinyl collection

Thinking about starting your own record collection? Find out all you need to know right here!

In times of omnipresent digitalisation, analogue media has been making a comeback in the last few years – from photography to music. Maybe you’re thinking about starting a record collection but are unsure what you’re signing up for. Keep reading to find out what you need to get started.

1. Why buy vinyl?

Either you have audiophile tendencies and are a sucker for the warm analogue sound of music or you’re into the aesthetics of records, like the cover art and the record player. Maybe you love both. In any case, it’s essentially the physical beauty of records that make them so appealing. While digital music is not tangible, CDs often look like office supplies. By contrast, there’s something nostalgic about records that make them a celebration of music.

2. Are records worth the investment?

Yes and no. While digital music cannot be resold, CDs are generally traded at low prices. Vinyl, on the other hand, is likely to keep its value or, in rare cases, even increase it; provided it's in good condition, of course. However, you won’t be making big bucks with your black discs, so money making should not be your motivation to start a collection.

3. I know vinyl is analogue. But what does that mean?

An analogue signal is a continuous signal. A digital signal, by contrast, is reproduced in blocks of bits (0 and 1). However, music is transmitted via sound waves for both types of signal. In other words, you cannot tell the difference between analogue and digital by means of the sound waves.

4. Does vinyl really sound better than a CD?

Sometimes. First and foremost, it depends on the record player, amp and speakers you’re using. If you’re listening to a record on a good stereo system, you probably won’t hear the difference between a record, a CD or a high-quality digital recording. Having said that, scratches, dust or problems with the physical media will impede the sound quality.

5. So why do people enjoy the sound of records so much?

It is said that vinyl sounds warmer than digital recordings. This is because analogue signals capture a smaller dynamic range than digital signals. This makes digital recordings a lot more precise than their analogue counterparts. The slightly fragmented abstraction of digital signals is pleasant to the human ear. It’s comparable to analogue and digital photos. The digital version is often almost too precise and can feel cold and clinical.

6. What type of record player is for me?

Again, it’s all about whether you’re an audiophile or just like that vintage look. If you belong to the former group, you will have to splash out. For all you aesthetes out there, I’m happy to say that you can buy decent record players for little money. Obviously, the sound quality is also only «decent» but should do fine. Unless you’re an audiophile, of course.

Either way, you’re better off buying a new record player than getting one from the flea market. Old turntables usually have little ailments that often require tricky and expensive repairs.

We’ve got a wide range of record players to choose from to suit all budgets and requirements. I’ve picked out three for you and sorted them by price.

PT01 Touring (Entry, Semi-automatic, Black)
CHF 90.–
Numark PT01 Touring (Entry, Semi-automatic, Black)
1

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 6 – 8 days
    > 5 item(s) ready for shipment from external warehouse

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

CP-1050 (Mid-range, Manual, ash)
CHF 443.–
Onkyo CP-1050 (Mid-range, Manual, ash)
2

Availability

  • approx. 2–3 weeks
    Currently 3 piece(s) in stock at the supplier

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

2Xperience SB (High End, Olive)
CHF 1'490.–
Pro-Ject 2Xperience SB (High End, Olive)

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 7 – 9 days
    1 item(s) ready for shipment from external warehouse

Collection

  • All locations: approx. 8 – 10 days
    Currently 1 piece(s) in stock at the supplier

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

Check out all our record players

7. What’s the difference between a belt drive and a direct drive record player?

Belt drive record players are driven by an independent motor with a rubber belt. A direct drive record player has a built-in motor. If you plan on DJing, you will need a direct drive turntable. Audiophiles swear by belt-driven turntables because they produce less external noise and vibrations.

8. Do I need to get a stereo system plus speakers?

If you want good sound, absolutely. Speakers really make a big difference in terms of sound quality. Lousy speakers are capable of distorting beautiful recordings; high-end speakers, however, will bring out the best in recordings. Good speakers can easily set you back several thousand francs. If you don’t have that kind of cash but still want good quality, I recommend the following compact speakers. They’re about the size of a shoebox. The following speakers are a good example.

R-15M (1 pair, Stereo, Compact speakers, Black Poly Veneer)
CHF 219.–
Klipsch R-15M (1 pair, Stereo, Compact speakers, Black Poly Veneer)
16

Availability

Mail delivery

  • More than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:15
  • Dietikon: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Lausanne: Only 1 piece(s)
  • St Gallen: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Winterthur: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Wohlen: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

PickMup

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

9. What about a pre-amp? Do I need one of those?

It depends. Some record players are already equipped with a built-in pre-amp. If not, you need to get one or you won’t be able to hook up the speakers. If your record player has a «phono» input or a USB output, it already has a pre-amp.

10. Do I need a stereo receiver?

You do. If you have a stand-alone record player, you will need a stereo receiver. It processes the signal from the record player or pre-amp and sends it to the speakers. The receiver allows you to regulate volume and make other audio settings. Some feature a built-in radio or can be connected with other devices such as CD players or a TV.

R-S202DAB (Receiver, 2 x 100W, Black)
CHF 238.–
Yamaha R-S202DAB (Receiver, 2 x 100W, Black)
Hi-Fi Receiver with best sound quality and clear, well thought-out design. With Bluetooth and DAB/DAB+ tuner this receiver is equipped for different digital sources.
9

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 2–3 weeks

Collection

  • Basel: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Bern: approx. 2–3 weeks
  • Dietikon: approx. 2–3 weeks
  • Geneva: approx. 2–3 weeks
  • Kriens: approx. 2–3 weeks
  • Lausanne: Only 1 piece(s)
  • St Gallen: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Winterthur: approx. 2–3 weeks
  • Wohlen: Only 1 piece(s)
  • Zurich: approx. 2–3 weeks

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

TX-8020 (Receiver, 2 x 90W, Silver)
CHF 236.–
Onkyo TX-8020 (Receiver, 2 x 90W, Silver)
4

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 2 weeks
    Currently 2 piece(s) in stock at the supplier

Collection

  • All locations: approx. 10 – 12 days
    Currently 2 piece(s) in stock at the supplier

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

STR-DH130 (Receiver, 2 x 100W, Black)
CHF 211.–
Sony STR-DH130 (Receiver, 2 x 100W, Black)
3

Availability

Mail delivery

  • Only 1 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:15
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

PickMup

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

11. What do I need to know about needles and cartridges?

The needle runs along the record and transports the sound. The vast majority of turntables include a needle and cartridge. Needles need to be replaced every now and again, as they wear off after a while.

12. What is RPM?

RPM stands for revolutions per minute. In other words, how many times a minute the record completely turns. Records are produced in RPM denominations of 33 ⅓ RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM. The latter is quite rare and you’ll probably never come across it. Most 12-inch records rotate 33 ⅓ times a minute. Then there are other types, mainly EPs and maxi singles, that rotate 45 times a minute. The majority of 7-inch singles are 45 RPM. The RPM of a record is usually printed on the label and you will need to adjust your record player accordingly (to avoid the music sounding like the chipmunks or like an old drunk).

13. Does it matter how thick a record is?

Every time you play a record, the needle erodes a teensy part of it. So the more you play a record, the thinner it becomes. In other words, thick records are a little sturdier than thin ones. Many records weigh a healthy 180 grammes. That’s a good thing, as thicker and heavier records last longer, are sturdier, warp less and are better at absorbing vibrations.

14. Is it a good idea to buy a new pressing of an old record?

With new pressings, there’s a risk that the record label has no access to the analogue original and simply uses the CD as a master. This means that you’re basically buying an incomplete version of a CD that has lost all the «warmth» of a record. But with a tiny bit of research, you’ll soon know if the original master was used for the new pressing. If this is a case, you can go ahead and buy your copy. If not, it’s worth looking for an original version.

15. How should I store my records?

Store them in a cool and dry place in an upright position. If you pile them on top of each other, they could warp. Direct sunlight can also make them warp or make the vinyl wavy. Even though slightly warped records can still be played, they are irreparable. So take good care of your black gold and you will enjoy them for years to come.

16. How do you clean a record?

Clean, dust-free records play without popping and clicking and there are many cleaning sets to choose from. The important thing is to be gentle when cleaning your records to avoid scratching the surface of the vinyl.

Bonus: In my opinion, the following records should be part of every decent collection:

The Suburbs
CHF 26.90
The Suburbs

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 6 – 8 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Teen Dream (2LP+DVD+MP3,180g)
Teen Dream (2LP+DVD+MP3,180g)

Availability

  • Currently unavailable. Delivery date unknown.

Information subject to change.

View details

Lazaretto Ultra Lp (Vinyl)
CHF 36.90
Lazaretto Ultra Lp (Vinyl)

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 7 – 9 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Metamodern Sounds In Country Music (Vinyl)
CHF 21.90
Metamodern Sounds In Country Music (Vinyl)

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 7 – 9 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Thriller
CHF 30.90
Epic Thriller

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 6 – 8 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Hunky Dory (Remastered 2015)
CHF 33.90
Hunky Dory (Remastered 2015)

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 7 – 9 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Rumours
CHF 28.–
Rumours

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 7 – 9 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

In Rainbows
CHF 19.90
In Rainbows

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 7 – 9 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Highway 61 Revisited
CHF 23.90
Highway 61 Revisited

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 6 – 8 days

Collection

  • Unfortunately, this product cannot be collected.

Information subject to change.

View details

Check out our records here

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User
Riding my motorbike makes me feel free, fishing brings out my inner hunter, using my camera gets me creative. I make my money messing around with toys all day.

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User diego.romero

Werden demnächst auch die Künstler in die Filteroptionen aufgenommen? Es gibt noch einiges, was in meine Sammlung (discogs.com/de/user/diego.n...) muss. Aber so macht digitales "crate digging" nur mässig spass.

06.03.2018
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User NorfolkElektronikFL

Manchmal schreibt ihr ja super Zeugs und vieles (nicht alles!) in dem Artikel würde ich auch mit unterschreiben ... aber, eine dicke Platte wird weniger schnell 'abgetragen' .. so einen Schwachsinn habe ich ja schon lange nicht mehr gelesen.

07.03.2018
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User Waldoz

Der gute alte „Vinylhobel“ lässt grüssen! Das war in alten Zeiten eine üble Beschimpfung eines billigen bzw. schlechten Plattenspielers. Zweifellos kann das Abspielen einer Platte mit einer verbogenen Nadel die Platte ruinieren. Aber davei fliegen keine Späne. Das mit den 180 g könnte den Vorteil haben, dass die Rille mehr Auslenkung zulässt, ohne dass die Nadel „durchsticht“. Dann wäre mehr Dynamik möglich. Aber ob die Parameter bei dünnen Platten am Limit sind, weiss ich nicht.

07.03.2018
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User NorfolkElektronikFL

Die Rillenmasse sind je nach Pressung zwischen 40 und 100 µm. Das ist fern von der Dicke auch nur der dünnsten Schallplatte. Es gibt ja auch Schallplatten als Folien.
Das mit 'Abtrag' und 'durchstechen' ist aboluter Quatsch.
Der einzige Vorteil einer 'schweren' Platte könnte (!) ihre grössere Masse sein - das müsste aber erst mal noch bewiesen werden da auch die normale Plattenmasse im Vergleich zur Auslenkung und dem Auflagegewicht des Tonabnehmers jenseits eines relevanten Verhältnisses liegen.
Der Touch-And-Feel für uns Menschen wird wohl das einzige sein was hier positiv beeinflusst wird.

08.03.2018
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User brummeli

Also ich besitze ca 1500 LP,s und verwende einen AKAI Plattenspieler habe aber noch nie eine LP fortwerfen müssen weil sie abgehobelt war. War grosser Fan von Rolling Stones und Beatles. Habe auch noch eine kleine Sammlung an 78 RPM Platten der Nachteil dieser Platten ist das diese sehr zerbrechlich sind. Heute lade ich diese Musik vom YouTube herunter da im Auto die Musik Qualität nicht so wichtig ist!

07.03.2018
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User v.oettli

Eure Artikel sind ja meistens gut und brauchbar, aber hier hat es noch ein paar Fehler drin die nicht sein sollten, sorry..

Vorverstärker: "Hat dein Plattenspieler einen Eingang auf dem «Phono» steht oder besitzt er einen USB-Ausgang, hat dein Gerät bereits einen eingebauten Vorverstärker."

08.03.2018
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User v.oettli

Da wird in dem Satz einiges durcheinander gewürfelt. Wenn dann hat der Plattenspieler einen Ausgang, aber nur weil da Phono draufsteht heisst das nicht, dass ein Vorverstärker eingebaut ist, siehe z.B. den im Beitrag verlinkten Onkyo Plattenspieler. Hat hingegen der Verstärker einen mit Phono beschrifteten Eingang ist in diesem ein Vorverstärker integriert.

08.03.2018
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User v.oettli

Stereo-Receiver: "Ja. Wenn du einen Stand-alone-Plattenspieler hast, benötigst du zwingend einen Stereo-Receiver. [...] Manche besitzen auch einen eingebauten Radio oder können mit anderen Geräten wie CD-Playern oder Fernseher verbunden werden."
Nein, ein Stereo-Verstärker funktioniert genauso (oder auch ein AV-Receiver). Der Unterschied zwischen einem Stereo-Receiver und einem Stereo-Verstärker ist, dass ersterer einen integrierten Radiotuner hat, Geräte wie Plattenspieler und CD-Player lassen sich an beiden anschliessen.

08.03.2018
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