How to Do Your Vinyl Record Collection Right

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How to Do Your Vinyl Record Collection Right

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Whether you're trying to resurrect your old vinyl collection or you're a newbie audiophile who just bought your first phonograph, here are some things you should know about getting the most out of your collection.
Get Your Storage Solution First
Before even buying that Animal Collective re-issue on vinyl, make sure you have a place to store it. Connoisseurs recommend storing all vinyl records vertically, not flat like so many pancakes. May I suggest the four-shelf IKEA Kallax ($35) is a good place to start. It replaced the popular IKEA Expidat series and measures just the right size for those LPs from the dollar bin (hey, somebody's got to buy all these dusty Dan Fogelberg albums). 

Make Digital Backups
Sure, you bought your records to listen to them, not just look at them. But you might not want to wear out that original pressing of Fleetwood Mac'sRumours—and you might want to be able to take the tracks with you on the go. Today, options abound for converting your LPs to digital audio tracks. The $30 ION Vinyl Forever kit is a smart approach. Use RCA cables to connect the turntable to the Vinyl Forever box, which links via USB to a computer. ION includes a EZ Vinyl/Tape converter software to help you making the digital files, though but you can also use a program such as Audacity. 

Add a Humidifier
The Library Congress recommends storing vinyl records in a room with relative humidity of 35 to 40 percent. They would know. If your den is too dry, try the Holmes Whole House Smart Humidifier for $199. Available this fall, the humidifier operates for 60 hours without needing to refill the tanks. Plus, you can use the Belkin WeMo app to control the humidity level using your smartphone. 

Invest in a Great Turntable
Don't settle for a cheap table with plastic parts just to save money up front. A proper record player like the $150 Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB has an aluminum platter and a stylus with dual-magnets that reads the grooves on a record more accurately. This model also comes with the built-in ability to connect to your computer for digital backup, so you won't have to buy another piece of gear for that later. 

Get Quality Headphones and Speakers
So you're going to all the trouble to collect an outdated audio format because of vinyl's warm, enveloping sound. And now you're going to turn around and dull that dynamic range by playing it through cheap speakers or headphones? To really hear the difference, invest in a good pair of headphones like the newMo-Fi set for $350 made by Blue Microphones. A built-in amplifier pushes out more sound (and more air) through the drivers. Another good option for those who can spend a little more: the Anthony Gallo Classico CL-4 floorstanding speakers ($2495 per pair) use carbon-fiber woofers to replicate sound just as the artist intended. 

For more recommendations, check out our reviews of on-ear headphones, over-ear headphones, andcelebrity-endorsed headphones. 

New Vinyl at Your Doorstep
Here's a fun way to add to your collection. Vinyl Me Please, monthly membership club, hearkens back to the days of the Columbia House (minus the egregious pricing model). For $23 per month, you receive one vinyl record per month—not bad consider most new albums can cost $20 to $40 plus shipping. A recent album I got by The War on Drugs is one of the best examples I've heard of vinyl offering a warmer and more life-like sound that digital. 

Swap Out the Cartridge
Want the best sound possible? Swap out your old cartridge. If you use a dual-magnet cartridge, you'll get pristine sound. But true audiophiles know a moving-coil cartridge is even better. The coils are small enough to read the subtle grooves of King Crimson or The New Pornographers. They don't weigh as much as magnets inside the cartridge. 

The most high-end models from McIntosh and Avid Hi-Fi that cost four-figures let you swap cartridges, but the $530 Audio Technica AT-LP-1240-USB is a less expensive option. To give you an idea on cost,Audio Technica sells dual-magnet cartridges for $139, while moving coil models run $565 and up. 

The swap is possible with older turntables, but watch out for the cheaper $100 models that have a fixed stylus. 

Keep 'em Clean
In this video, YouTuber ghettofunk13 demonstrates a method of using wood glue to clean an LP. You might not be emotionally ready to smear Vampire Weekend record with adhesive, but thankfully, there are other ways to restore older vinyl. 

ION Audio offers a classic cleaning kit called Vinyl Alive ($20) that comes with a velvet brush. Most turntables come with a stylus brush as well. As any connoisseur knows, make sure you use a back-to-front motion (the way the record moves) so you don't damage the needle. Unless you have a two-way DJ turntable, that is. 

Don't Forget the Phono Stage
One last consideration. Those of you new to the vinyl world might not know that a classic turntable does not have a built-in amp. If you connect directly to a Bluetooth speaker (shame on you) or even a recent audio receiver, your albums might sound like a whisper. What you need is a receiver that has a "phono stage" or an RCA input that adds extra power for better fidelity. Older receivers built in the heyday of LPs have this technology, as do some newer models such as the $450 Harman Kardon 3770, built with analog audiophiles in mind. Also, some newer turntables like the Audio Technicas mentioned earlier have built-in preamps, negating this problem. Watch out, though. Many new receivers from companies like Sony don't offer a phono stage anymore.

Bron: Popular Mechanics - datum onbekend

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