An Introduction to Record Collecting

by Sophie Pay

(Photo by Sophie Pay)

(Photo by Sophie Pay)

Hey there! Welcome to my advice series on record collecting, where I give you all the information I know about record collecting based on my own experiences over the years of record collecting. This all started for me with a CD collection in 2012 and I eventually switched over to collecting records in 2013, and I never looked back since.

What’s so great about record collecting?

The community we have is the best reason to collect. The culture of record collecting has been widespread over social media, and Instagram has been a home to a community of record collectors for quite some time, enabling people to find others with similar interests. The best part of the record community online is that everyone appreciates one another, and over time everyone knows each other.

Many collectors are known for their creative photos incorporating album covers; they encourage you to use your creative abilities to express your love for the format. It’s not just the feeling of acquiring material things, but to have some fun with it. Occasionally, there are contests to engage everyone and encourage fellow record collectors to get creative. Each post is critically thought of: whether it’ll be patterns, color schemes, or a theme. If you are looking to join this community, you have a lot to look forward to; the vinyl community sticks together.

Choosing a Turntable

You need to know what you are getting into: if you were like me and had collected CDs, records are way more expensive. If you are willing to spend that kind of money, go for it. Also, try avoiding all-in-one turntables at all costs, you can’t upgrade anything on it.

Personally, my current setup is an Audio Technica LP-120 turntable. The upside to owning an Audio Technica LP-120 turntable is that it has a built in preamp, which makes it more affordable. You don't have to buy a preamp if you choose to go this route, making the cost of your first setup to be a bit on the cheaper side. You can even switch the preamp off and plug in your own, if you want. Other features include, a weighted arm, anti skating, and pitch control.

Audio Technica LP-120

If you are looking for a turntable under 100 bucks, the Audio Technica LP-60 is the way to go. It includes a built in preamp just like the LP-120. Although, you must make note that it does not include the luxury of a weighted arm, anti skating, and pitch control. On the plus side, it has an automatic cue button which can help those with shaky hands.

Audio Technica LP-60

Another option you can take is choosing a belt-drive turntable rather than an automatic drive. With the U-turn orbit turntable, you have the ability to customize the turntable: you can choose a built-in preamp or an external one, a cartridge of your choice, and even what kind of platter you want.

U-Turn Orbit

Audio Technica LP-120 and Audio Technica LP-60 Comparisons:

I have actually tested the differences between these two turntables first hand, using my brother’s Audio Technica LP-60 as a comparison. The Audio Technica LP-60 and the Audio Technica LP-120 have major differences in performance, which is obvious because of the price. My brother had a record that would always skip and he had thought that it was due to the pressing of the album, which bad pressings actually occur from time to time. Although, with the LP-120, it was absolutely fine, with no skips whatsoever. The anti-skate abilities and weighted arm improve the performance of the turntable so much. The price difference is worth it in the long run if you see this as something you will continue to do, but if you are just going into record collecting for the fun of it and occasionally listening to records the Audio Technica LP-60 is fine. In owning a turntable, cartridges and belts will need to be replaced depending on how much you actually play your records. You must make note that expenses will not end if you go into record collecting. I hope that this will help you figure out if this is right for you. Good Luck!

Why do I collect records?

The main reason why I collect records is because music means so much to me and having that platform to look back on my life is important. No one really realizes that it trails your life, because every record you buy has a story behind it. It tells the story of your life, how your music taste changed over the years, and what musical phases you had gone through. It’s not just a material item to me, it’s more than that. If you go through my collection and pick out my Palma Violets seven inches, and ask me what’s the story behind it, you will get the whole story of my first show and how it was a turning point in my life. That moment, sparked my dream of working in the music industry, whether it was writing like I am now or playing an instrument in a band. If you get into my collection of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, you will get the story of how I became obsessed with Oasis for a good two years of middle school, which was the start of this CD, record, and cassette collecting journey. If someone ever questions you, just tell them this, “You won’t understand until you experience it” because the experience is worth it.