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How to a Build a Stereo System for Vinyl Records

By January 27, 2015No Comments

The Internet has made it possible to listen to music whenever it’s convenient. More than ten years after Apple introduced the iPod, companies like Spotify and Pandora are now streaming these tunes straight to our mobile devices. Streaming saw a 60.5% increase between 2013-2104 and there are no signs of this technology slowing down.

But not everyone is on board with this.

Because digital music is highly compressed, this also dilutes the listening experience. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying digital music in your car or at the gym; it’s not optimal for certain types of music fans — namely, audiophiles.

Infographic: Streaming Boom Changes Music Landscape | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Vinyl records are once again the best way to listen to high-quality music the way it was intended to be heard. If you’re thinking of dusting off your grandparent’s records or starting a collection of your own, here’s how to upgrade your stereo so you’re prepared:

Buy a Turntable

It may sound like common sense, but buying a turntable is not that simple. Now that vinyl records are making a resurgence, many home audio electronics manufacturers are making all-in-one turntables to lure music fans. While these machines are an affordable solution for many, they may not be able to be connected to a receiver or external speakers.

A good turntable will have an adjustable/weighted tonearm, the ability to swap out cartridges/needles, and a direct-drive mechanism. These three features are what guarantee the turntable will last a long time. They also require minimal maintenance that can be completed every couple of years as needed.

A “real turntable” may cost more at the beginning, but it will save you money (and possibly your records) in the long run.

Buy a Receiver…and Maybe Some Speakers

A turntable requires a receiver to transmit the sound out to speakers. There is no difference between connecting a CD player or a tape deck to the receiver; it’s the same principle. And similar to choosing the correct turntable, selecting the proper receiver is not as easy as it seems. Many people purchase all-in-one stereo systems only to be disappointed they don’t have the ability to connect a turntable or additional speakers.

The type of receiver required for a turntable should have at least three channel inputs but ideally five or more. This makes it possible to not only connect a turntable, but maybe an extra pair of floorstanding speakers or an additional subwoofer. This way you’ll be able to adjust the output levels of your audio without turning down the volume.

Once you have your turntable, receiver and speakers ready to go, it’s time for the fun part.


Who wouldn’t want a cool Klipsch Soundbar for their stereo setup?

Buy Some Vinyl Records

There are two ways to start a record collection: Buy new or buy used. Both methods have their pros and cons.

Pros of Buying New Records

  • New records are always guaranteed to be in mint condition
  • New records of old albums have been remastered to sound better
  • New records  are constructed of better quality material than older records

Cons of Buying New Records

  • New records are more expensive than used records
  • New records are hard to find because of lack of record stores
  • New records are not as valuable as old records

Pros of Buying Old Records

  • Old records can be much cheaper than new records
  • Old records are often given away because they are not listened to anymore
  • Old records feature music that is not available anywhere else

Cons of Buying Old Records

  • Old records can sound horrible if the previous owners didn’t take care of them
  • Old records can cost more than new records if they are collector’s items
  • Old records in poor shape can damage your record player

The best route a new collector should take is to purchase both new and old records. This method guarantees a good mixture of favorite tunes with lesser-known albums that build a solid collection.

Infographic: 2014's Best-Selling Vinyl Albums | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Record stores have become almost extinct in the 21st Century, but some artists are still publishing music on vinyl that can be bought online or at concerts. Record shows are also popular across the world and it’s not uncommon for collectors to purchase an entire lot of someone’s collection. But no matter where the records are purchased, it’s also important to buy a vinyl record cleaning kit to protect your investment.

Take Care of Records

Taking care of vinyl records properly ensures they won’t get damaged and guarantees good sound quality. And apart from scrubbing them down with a cleaning solution every so often, there are other things you should do make sure the music quality doesn’t degrade over time.

There are many opinions on this subject because collectors have their own methods and all of them seem to work to a certain extent. However, there are some basic rules that should always be followed:

  • Always store vinyl records inside a protective sleeve
  • Always place records standing up vertically
  • Always use a vinyl cleaning solution to clean records periodically
  • Never stack records on top of each other
  • Never subject records to extended periods of heat
  • Never store records where they can fall and break

These rules may sound simple — and that’s because they are – but they will ensure you get to listen to music like it should be heard. If you take the time to set up your stereo system correctly and start a collection the right way, you’ll get to enjoy many years of a quality listening experience.

Happy collecting!

Do you collect vinyl records? What does your stereo system look like? Let us know in the comments below!

Author Ivan Barajas

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