For The Record: Your Basic Guide to Records and Record Players


Blame it on the hipsters if you want, but record players are having a moment. They’re easy to find at Target, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, and many other retailers with varying designs and technical components. There’s something out there for everyone between casual listeners and serious deejays.

Purchasing a record player: 

If you’re shopping for one, here are a few to take a look! A lot of these models are around $100 but can go up to $300.

What you’ll be using your record player for is pretty important when considering what kind of record player you’ll be purchasing. A Crosley “Cruiser” model, for example, is pretty much the base model record player. It’s inexpensive and gets the job done. However, many serious say the sound quality is lacking compared to other record players. If you’re looking for a decorative piece for your living room, sound quality may not be a high priority. But if you’re serious about listening to records, shop around and look for a model that suits your needs.

Be sure to also carefully look at the technical specifications of each record player. You may need special attachments or wires to do more advanced things with cheaper players.

I recently purchased a Crosley portable record player at Urban Outfitters, which I touched on in my last post. It’s inexpensive, cute, and is a great starter record player.

So you bought a record player and some vinyls. Now what?


Where to Purchase Records

The easiest place to start looking for records you know you want to add to your collection, like records from your favorite artists, is Amazon. Especially if you’re new to vinyls, don’t know how often you’ll be listening to music, or don’t want to buy music twice, Amazon is the way to go with their AutoRip albums. It’s my favorite way to purchase vinyls, knowing I’ll have the MP3 files too that I can burn to a CD and listen to in my car.  (Vinyls with AutoRip)

Local music stores should also carry a decent selection, although they may not always carry the most popular records. It’s a little more old school. You look at a record from a band you think you know and like and buy it. It’s a gamble, but it’s part of the fun! Locally, we like to go to Rasputin Music and check out their records. You might also spend a little more on records from local music stores, but c’mon–you’re supporting local businesses!

Vinyl Subscription Services are also out there, and there are actually quite a few to select from. This post from Turntable Kitchen lists a few, and my friends rave about VNYL, which gets you 3 brand new vinyls for $39/month.

Thrift stores, antique stores, and garage sales are other great places to find vinyls, but they make up a whole different arena. You’re likely going to find old, dirty vinyls, but trust me–there will be some diamonds in the rough. If you’re feeling adventurous, this might be a fun way to shop for vinyls. Do keep in mind that records from these places will be from a different era.


How to Take Care of Your Vinyls/Records (Basic Care)

Vinyls are sort of like big CDs. Handle them with care! Hold vinyls by the edge as much as possible. You don’t want dirt and grime from your finger settling into the grooves of the record.

Store your vinyls in a cool, dry place. It’s easy to pull out a record if they’re standing vertically on a shelf, and it’s also the safest way to store your records. Some say you can store them flat in their covers, and others say don’t, because the vinyls will warp.

Always put your vinyls back in their sleeves when you’re finished listening to them. This will help prevent dust from getting on your vinyls.

Over time, dirt and grime will set into the grooves of your records. Use a damp cloth to clean them. If that doesn’t suffice, use soap and water.

Carbon fiber brushes can help get dust off your records safely. This one is highly rated on Amazon.

There are many products out there to help you take care of your vinyls from special cleaning products to special brushes. In my opinion, buy that stuff if you feel like you really need to, or if the records are not getting clean enough. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

Cleaning can’t repair a damaged record, so keep your records in good condition!

For more info on cleaning your records, this post does a really good job of breaking it down for beginners! 


How to Take Care of Your Record Player (Basic Care)

If your record player has a cover, keep your record player covered when not in use.

Be gentle when dusting your record player. Use a microfiber cloth around delicate parts. Consider using compressed air instead, too.

The stylus (the part that touches the record while playing) will get dirty over time. When it needs to be cleaned, gently blow the dust off (like an old nintendo game cartridge), or use a soft paintbrush to gently remove dust from the stylus.

Well, those are pretty much the basics! Enjoy listening to your vinyls and starting your record collection!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

One thought on “For The Record: Your Basic Guide to Records and Record Players

  1. My husband really wants a record player for Christmas, but I have no idea what type to get him. You mentioned that it is really easy to find a base model in most department stores these days. I think that I might find a basic model and invest in a nicer model later on if he is actually serious about this hobby.

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