First of all, we’re happy to have you here. Half of the fun of r/vinyl is noodling around with equipment and figuring out which gives us the best for our buck. We love it. Thrive on that kind of conversation. Which platter material can we spend money on that will theoretically improve the sound in a, though humanly imperceptable, measureable way?
But what if you’re new? You have a few hundred currency units saved, you’re stoked on this whole vinyl thing. Maybe you’re in college. Maybe you’re living at home. But you’re just starting. Where to start ? Oh, man. If you’re coming from an iPod an some Skullcandy earbuds and you don’t have the luxury/nerdery/oldness of having fiddled about with your parents stereo so as to make Thee Perfect Mixtape to impress Kate in eleventh grade in 1992 but it didn’t work out because she was a big Jane’s Addiction fan an you were showing off that copy of that one Rudimentary Peni album you found at the record store then you have some work to do.
That’s why you’re here. Starting from zero.
This thread is for you. It’ll help you get from scratching your head over why that Crosley is such a bad idea to annoying your mods with spinny animated .gif pictures of a Daft Punk playing in a Christmas-light-lit dorm room. Awesome.
I’m separating this into three sections. Appropriate links and commentary will happen there. I’d take a look. Lots of this stuff is on the sidebar, but if you’re on your phone or are lazy or are new you likely won’t see it. You’ve seen this, though. It’s why you’re here.
- What are the parts of a stereo that can play records and not only have sound come out of the speaker holes, but actually not sound shitty?I can do this with a wall of text! So your fancy new turntable has to have its puny electrical signal amplified into a small voltage before that small voltage is reamplified again into fountains of electrical current which make your speaker cones bob back and forth to the time of your new Tame Impala elpee. It needs some stuff for that to happen. If you have an old stereo receiver (it has a buncha plugs for you to plug in stuff and speaker outputs on the back), no sweat. Plug in the table to the “phono” input, screw the ground wire (the little flabby weak wire falling out of the turntable) into the “GND” screw (if you have a “phono” input, it’s there. Go look again), plug in some speakers, and you’re good to go!If you don’t, however, have a “phono” input (it seriously is a red and white set of plugs that says “phono” next to it), then you need to get another thing. It’s called a “phono preamp”. What it does is get your puny record player signal up to a point where it can be dealt with effectively by the rest of your stereo. It’s that tiny. Records also sound terrible on their own. In order to get the grooves to stay small, they turn down the bass and turn up the treble when they’re making the record. Your phono pre turns the bass back up (yowza!) and turns the trebs back down so it doesn’t sound like a little mosquito band playing in your stereo. If your records sound all tinny and weird, like how it sounds if you put your ear close to the needle, this is likely what’s up. These can be cheap, and the can be expensive. Google it, foogle!If you want something better written (and more pictureful) than this, dig The Beginners’ Guide To Turntables from turntablelab.com (and suggested by /u/feyek).
- Okay, I have to buy a turntable. What do I get? iamthejeff posted a pretty rad description of all the parts. People seem to like it. I’m inclined to disagree with some of the belt-drive vs. direct drive stuff (repeat after me: It. Doesn’t. Matter.), but other than that, it’s beautifully done.That’s great n’ all, but I only have five shiny ha’pennies to rub between my fingers. What do I do now? Fear not: some jerk wrote a post about buying turntables on the cheap
- What is a receiver? What is a preamp? What? This is a year old, but I have a thing about how to get your stereo going on the cheap that, I daresay, is the most beautiful thing ever committed to Internet.
- You mean I have to buy speakers? UGH. Under Construction! Anyone wanna chip in? As a hint: you get what you pay for, mostly, though there are some fantastic deals used. You might have to put in some time fixing 'em, though. Ought not to take more than an afternoon, though.Once you get those fancy speakers, though, you gotta put 'em in your room in the right way. The-Beer-Baron is here to help!
When speakers sound gud, they sound G-O-O-D gud. /u/cubical_hell weighs in on the idea of soundstage, MC vs. MM carts, the deal with Watts, and what the specs on speakers mean.
- They say I need a new needle to go with this stuff? What do I get? How do I put it on?
Under Construction! This is taking a long time to write, okay? I have beer to drink, and the *La Planete Sauvage* soundtrack I was listening to (GET IT. IT'S KILLER) ran out and I have to go flip it soon. More to come.
Now, on to FAQ kinda stuff:
Q: There’s a buzz coming out of my speakers! This sucks!
A: Screw in your ground wire
Q: I don’t have a place to screw in my ground wire! I checked twice! This sucks!
A: wedge it in an air vent. It needs to touch a non-painted part of the receiver chassis
Q: My record has a tiny little warp in it that if I squint real hard I can make out! This sucks!
A: Deal with it! Welcome to analog recording
Q: My record has a giant warp in it because I left it out, along with my poor poor dogs, in a car on a hot summer day in Mission Viejo, CA while I was shopping for a frame I could put my new copy of the Drive sountrack in at the Target on Jeronimo. How do I fix it? This sucks!
A: There are a few things you can do if you google around, but prevailing wisdom sez: you’ll just make it worse.
Q: Hey! My grandpa gave me an Elvis record? How rich did I just get?
A: check discogs to have your dreams shattered.
Q: Hey! I have _______ currency units. What is the best table I can get for ____________ currency units?
A: Hell if we know. There are lots of variables at play here, man. Read the guides to get a feel for what to look for. You’re gonna have to take a risk sometime in your life. Make sure it works before you by it.
Q: why is Beloved Nineties Pop Rock Record so expensive? It’s like a hundred dollars? Will someone sell me Beloved Nineties Pop Rock Record for cheap?
A: Major labels didn’t make many records in the nineties and early aughts because they were busy making all those CD’s. Vinyl usually came out as novelties or promos (except for mopey indie, punkity punk, rappety-doo and DJ-dance stuff). So there’s something of a premium on them. And no, exclaiming how much you want it isn’t likely to get anyone to cut you a deal. It’s a cutthroat world, son.
This is gonna get bigger.